gkoultoura said: I'll bite. Rank the X-Men from the original and new genesis teams in rank of gayness :)
This is presumably inspired by my essay series Mutant & Proud over at ComicsAlliance, so people should go read those essays if they want more context to these answers!
Caveat 1: I’m talking here about gayness in terms of otherness, subversion, transgression. None of these characters is officially queer.
Caveat 2: SOUND THE OPINIONS KLAXON.
OK, let’s go from least gay to best.
Yeah, I know, he’s the obvious choice, but it’s true. Cyclops is the establishment X-Man, a representative of old school patriarchal supers in the queer new world of mutant heroes, and I find him an unpleasantly oppressive presence; entitled, authoritarian, and hypocritical. His willingness to betray lovers and abandon children and still hold himself up as a paragon and leader feels emblematic of straight male privilege. (Kid Cyclops is better, but for the sake of clarity I’m ignoring the time-travel gang.)
The X-Man whose whole deal is appropriating other people’s queerness to make himself feel special. He wasn’t even a mutant; he was a rich arrogant bully who used money and influence to buy his way onto the team because he didn’t like the idea of there being a club he couldn’t belong to. Little shit.
The founder of House of Xavier, but in no way the den mother. In fact, the horror story inversion of a den mother; a creepy, pious and paternalistic cult leader with serious issues respecting people’s boundaries. You should not trust your daughters to this man. He’s basically a youth pastor. Shudder.
Shapeshifters are often used as a lazy stand-in for genderqueer identities — which is not to say the subject can never be tackled well through such a device, but it’s frustrating that it’s just about the only way it’s ever tackled at all. Even by the standards of other shapeshifters, Changeling is vanilla as hell. Given only months to live, the identity he took on was… Charles Xavier. Uh-huh. You do not-you, Kevin. (Side note: Morph of the Exiles is much queerer, but he’s a different guy.)
No fun at parties.
His power is screaming, which is both flamboyant and gender-subversive. But Sean is also the most conventionally dad-like of the X-Men — as an actual dad, as a teacher, as a pipe-smoking sweater-wearer. Dads can be a rainbow, but conventional dad-ism is straight.
I’m all for prissy arrogant a-holes in my comics — hi Namor — but Sunfire is too uptight and isolated to let his freak flag fly. He’s Straight Namor. No-one wants that.
Privileged, passing, entitled, and conforming to conventional standards of beauty. Super-het. But his power is femme, outre, escapist, and transcendentally transformative. V gay. So Angel is equal parts queer and straight, and he is our de facto dividing line between the queerer and straighter X-Men. (Even his Archangel persona feels like a fairly heterosexual acting-out of adolescent anxiety.)
It’s often been argued that Iceman is a closeted gay man, and this manifests primarily in his failure to understand his own potential, and also in his being sort of hopeless with girls. I don’t know if that makes him gay. I that mostly just makes him a dumb boy. But it wouldn’t be out of character if he came out, and if it happens he obviously gets bumped to the front of this list.
Jean represents female sexual power — the demure girl who learns that she has every right to own her desires. Herein lies a contradiction. Her sexuality is straight — she’s a woman discovering her heterosexual self and deciding if she wants to play house with Scott, play doctor with Logan, or destroy alien worlds of asparagus people (oh, straight women!). But female sexual power is culturally queer, because anything that contradicts the narrative that only straight men have sexual power is subversive. So Jean exists at the Elsa intersection; all female empowerment narratives are a bit gay, but their primary importance is often as women’s stories.
King butch. But Colossus is a tender, sensitive lad who puts up an impenetrable outer shell in order to deal with the pains and struggles of the world. He represents the vulnerability inherent in putting up a front. Petey Pureheart is a blushing virgin soldier who is still a little terrified of sex.
When Lorna Dane was a student, she felt a strange compulsion to move to San Francisco. Now, granted, she was responding to Mesmero’s psyche-generator, but still, metaphor. Lorna’s mental instability and vulnerability to strong influences are sadly also all too indicative of adolescent identity struggles in an intolerant society. (If you’re a young person struggling with LGBTQ identity issues, please know that The Trevor Project is available to help, 24/7.)
Grant Morrison’s second choice for coded queer expression during his run; Emma Frost was clearly his queerest character, but she’s not “new genesis”, so she doesn’t make this list. Beast’s James Franco-esque “am I or amn’t I?” media games in New X-Men actually knock a few queer points off his score — it’s exploitative and privileged behaviour, Hank-Franco — but his experimental body modifications and his journey to accept his big hairy self are A-gay. Also, gay people read more books. (Probably.)
Cyclops’ psuedo-queer little brother — and, I swear, the straighter the writer is, the more he struggles with writing Havok. Alex is not meant to be a shade of Scott. He’s meant to be a contrast — more powerful, less disciplined, more temperamental, less safe. Cyclops keeps his powder dry because he wants to be that uptight guy. Havok wants to let loose and be passionate, but he’s terrified of who he’ll hurt if he does.
The runt is a favourite of many gay men — with his hairy pocket-muscle body and his alpha personality, he’s one leather cap away from full daddy. And let’s face it, if a century-old wandering soldier with a healing factor and a couple of shapeshifter exes hasn’t dabbled, what is dabbling even for? We also know that at least one alternative reality version of Wolverine is into Hercules in a big way, and as far as I’m concerned that’s canon for this version too until proven otherwise.
The good demon; a character who finds no contradiction in being sexual and spiritual. Nightcrawler struggled for years with his identity, but he’s he’s learned to love himself in all his freakish glory. Plus he’s Catholic, the gayest of the faiths.
The queen. Storm is an outsider who transcends the world that hates and fears her. She is queer in appearance, queer in style, queer in manner. As a mutant woman of colour she exists at an ugly intersection of prejudices, but she doesn’t hide, she doesn’t conform, and she doesn’t give up. She takes her anger and turns it into fuel for the fire. Storm is elemental — her queerness is one with nature; and she is universal — her queerness is part of us all; and she is compassion personified — she holds her arms open to embrace those whom no-one else will embrace. Her name is Storm, but she’s really a shelter. That’s why Storm is the den mother of House of Xavier.
Storm is also actually actually bisexual; the writers and editors just aren’t brave enough to come out and say it.