Loki: Is Marvel Choosing To Be Gender-Inclusive Or Not?

Will it be keeping its promise this time?

Disney and in turn Marvel Studios haven’t been the flagbearers of gender inclusivity in the world of cinema. Often, Marvel has been criticized for taking characters from the comics who are LGBTQ in the pages but this particular aspect of their identity never makes it to their adaptation on screen. So, when Marvel subtly revealed that Loki is gender-fluid, and also introduced a Lady Loki, fans were elated but still wary as such promises have been made in the past. And it is hard to decipher whether Marvel is done making fake promises or is sticking to its old ways. 

[SPOILER AHEAD from Episode 3 of Loki]

Remember the time when Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok was supposed to be bis–ual, the actress, Tessa Thompson who played the character confirmed this much. But reportedly, the scene which would have established her s–ual identity never made it to the theatrical cut and the rest of her scenes in the film never explicitly addressed it. Many hoped for Marvel to at least let Loki’s gender identity from the comics show in his on-screen adaptation as well. And thus when a promotional spot, before Loki was set to debut on Disney+, presented a brief look at the file the Time Variance Authority had on Loki in which it was written that the God of Mischief is gender-fluid. 

There were already rumors swirling that Loki is set to introduce Lady Loki but it still remained to be seen how she will be represented in the show. Then came Episode 2 of the series and it ended with the reveal that it was Lady Loki who had been killing TVA agents and stealing their time reset charges. Given how it was stressed that the TVA had never let an unexpected event proceed enough to create significant changes, it was expected that this Lady Loki was just a form Loki had taken up because he is gender-fluid. 

But now that we have binged Episode 3, we are not so sure. 

In Episode 3, Loki, who had followed after Lady Loki, broken a tense truce and begin sharing their life stories, though the latter is still wary. But she did end up disclosing that she has been on the run from the TVA pretty much since she was born. This means that the unexpected event that creates a variant was her mother giving birth to a girl i.e., Lady Loki, instead of a boy. This means she was never male, to begin with. So, it is not a male Loki who has taken on an appearance of a female or chose to be reborn in a female body (which happened in the comics) because he is gender-fluid, Lady Loki was born female, which means she has an entirely separate identity from Loki here. 

And as a consolation prize, later in the episode, Loki accepted that he has had both male and female suitors and has been hooked up with them. Yes, it is a big thing that a leading character like Loki accepted he is bis–ual.  But that felt more along the lines of how director Joe Russo appeared in Avenger: Endgame, as a gay man who attended Captain America’s grief counseling meeting. Yeah, he was Marvel’s first openly gay character but he came and went in the blink of an eye, which is what Loki’s admission feels like at this point. But still, Marvel daring to making a major character openly accept that he is bis–ual is definitely something that should be lauded. 

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