Power Rangers hasn’t exactly been known for being LGBTQ+ friendly. You might remember how David Yost was driven off the original US show by homophobic slurs from producers and crew. The upcoming movie hopes to change that record with the first gay superhero in a major Hollywood movie: the Yellow Ranger, Trini.
Early reporting suggests Trini works her orientation out while trying to embrace her destiny as a Power Ranger. Being “the gay one” isn’t her main story purpose, just a part of her character, and that’s important. I like that it sounds as though Trini’s sexuality is being presented as a strength, something that makes her a better Ranger for accepting and not a weakness to be overcome.
Becky G, who plays the Yellow Ranger, gives me a lot of hope for good representation with her comments in a ScreenRant interview:
“…Zordon says ‘You must shed your masks to wear this armor.’ It’s true. People should accept themselves for who they really are and be proud of that and take ownership of that first and learn that self love to really be happy; and I think that’s why Trini never found her purpose just yet, until she met them and that’s why she never really learned to love herself, because she didn’t accept who she really is just yet.”
Well, I like the sound of that.
I like it even more because it makes me feel okay about Power Rangers again. For a long time after I found out why David Yost quit, Power Rangers was tainted for me. In a 2010 NoPinkSpandex interview, Yost admitted he walked right off the set at lunch one day after hearing one too many homophobic slurs. These comments came from “creators, producers, writers, directors”. He summed up the experience like this:
“Basically I just felt like I was continually being told I’m not worthy of where I am because I’m a ‘gay person’ and I’m not supposed to be an actor and you can’t be a superhero.”
He also reported that his co-stars were interrogated by producers about his sexuality (though he didn’t report any abuse from cast). I can’t even imagine how awkward and intrusive that must have been. While I missed Billy, I didn’t blame Yost for leaving. I just stopped enjoying Power Rangers. I couldn’t reconcile the positive messages in the show with the fact that one of my favorite characters had been bullied into a near-suicidal state while making it. This announcement has me excited about Power Rangers for the first time in a long time.
Yost approves of the new gay Yellow Ranger, which is another check mark in the “hopeful” column. I don’t think he’d be so positive if Trini was a tangled mess of stereotypes. He’s even defended the movie to some of his Twitter followers who were a little defensive on his behalf:
Becky G kept things classy by turning the praise back on Yost:
An argument can be made that, since the current Wonder Woman made her big-screen debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Yellow Ranger only gets the “first” title on a technicality. After all, Diana was too busy rolling her eyes at her fellow League of Justice members to bother with romantic entanglements so she could still be as casually bisexual as she is in the comics. We haven’t seen any solid evidence that DC plans to show that on screen, though. Even if they do, Trini will still get credit as the first film superhero to be openly acknowledged as LGBT.
That matters. Representation matters. I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but I get a little misty-eyed when I think of all the queer kids watching Power Rangers and seeing a cool armored gay superhero showing them it’s okay, that they’re okay. I’ve got feelings.
What do you think, readers? Has this announcement made you more excited for Power Rangers‘ March 24th release? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology being published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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