Batgirl Adding First Transgender Character To DC Universe

By Erika Hanson | 4 months ago

batgirl

The last decade has brought a vast breakthrough in LGBTQ+ inclusivity throughout Hollywood. Recently, the topic has been broached with the popular and ever-growing comic book genre of film as well. With the growing demand to depict diverse characters on film, DC Comics has been joining the movement as well. A few months ago, the eponymous comic company made waves when they released a new issue of the famous Superman comic that depicts Jon Kent, the son of Superman himself as bisexual. Now once more, the DC Universe is cementing their stance on the matter as they prep to debut their first trans-character in a live-action DC film via Batgirl.

Ramping up production, Batgirl is set to introduce Ivory Aquino as the first trans-character on their big screen. Deadline first reported the head-turning news yesterday afternoon. Created by Gail Simone and Ardian Syaf, the trans character first appeared in DC Comics alongside Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl in Batgirl Vol. 4 released in 2011. Aquino’s character, Alysia Yeoh acts as Gordon’s best friend and former roommate. With the dream to become a personal chef, Alysia works as a painter and bartender and also touts the status of being the first prominent transgender character in a major DC production.

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Ivory Aquino is a  Filipina-American actress and is also transgender herself. Before signing on for her role in Batgirl, Aquino was best known for her breakthrough role portraying transgender activist Cecilia Chung in the 2017 miniseries When We Rise. At the time she auditioned, the actress had only held cisgender roles and even held back the truth about being transgender herself when she landed the gig. The 38-year old actress has also appeared in When They See US and Tales of the City

Joining Ivory Aquino for the upcoming Batgirl film is an all-star cast including Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon, J.K. Simmons as Commissioner James Gordon, Brendan Fraser as the villain Firefly, and the return of Michael Keaton as an elder Batman. The film is being directed by Bad Boys for Life’s Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah with a slated release date late in the year. With specific plot details being kept tightly under wraps, what is known is that the story will center on Gotham City police commissioner Jim Gordon’s daughter, Barbara, and apparently has been a long time coming from the DC studio. 

Back in 2017, news broke that filmmaker Joss Whedon was tasked with helming the Daughter of Darkness’s feature film. Leaving the project in 2018, it would be nearly three long years until the DC character would land a new home with Batgirl’s current directors. With the anticipation over the project building momentum, Leslie Grace recently shared the first look at Barbara Gordon’s full Batgirl costume followed by a few set videos to show the suit in action. 

Inclusivity has long been a touchy subject in the comic book industry. But in recent years, companies like DC and Marvel have made great strides to include all aspects of sexual identity and race. Similarly, Marvel recently aired their first live-action same-sex couple on screen in Eternals. Phastos, the mastermind inventor and Eternal superhero, was given a loving husband and son and even shared an on-screen kiss with his husband. And as for DC, the comic behemoth has already been representing the LGBTQ+ community via TV. The CW’s Supergirl featured television’s first transgender hero. Likewise, the Batwoman series highlights a black lesbian hero.