Contrarian Fanboy: Mystique Needs To Be An LGBT Character In The X-MEN MOVIES!

“You are an exquisite creature, Raven. All your life the world has tried to tame you. It’s time for you to be free.”- X-Men: First Class

Last weekend, my non-geek girlfriend asked who the prominent lesbian characters in comics are. I immediately pulled out my Batwoman graphic novels. I proudly boasted that Batwoman was not only an incredibly bad@$$ lesbian character- she was also Jewish! I then listed the few others I could come up with, and stalled when I ended up at Mystique, AKA Raven Darkholme. Is Mystique homosexual, bisexual, or transgender? Do I even have the right to define an awesome character like Mystique? Is there a box Mystique can or should fit in? No matter the answers to these questions, Mystique is one of the most intriguing and bravest characters in comics because, like many in our society, she does not allow herself to be policed by the roles of masculinity or femininity.

Mystique is one of the coolest mutants in Fox’s X-Men universe. You cannot help but respect her dedication to mutant rights, until the movement turns on her. She is a troubled soul who can make herself fit society’s warped standards of beauty, but only if she changes everything about herself.  But in the movies, she is portrayed as a heterosexual character who shows sexual attraction to Beast, Magneto and Wolverine.

In the comics, Mystique’s closest relationship is with the blind precognitive Irene Adler, AKA Destiny. Mystique and Destiny team together as members of Freedom Force and The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Chris Claremont, the longest running X-Men writer, originally intended Mystique and Destiny to be Nightcrawler’s biological parents. Of course, this means Mystique would have had male reproductive organs. Damn, that would have been a groundbreaking story for the time. Upsettingly, the Comics Code Authority had a “no gay or bi-sexual characters allowed” rule in effect until 1989, and Claremont scrapped his plans for the lovers.

Years later, Marvel finally established that Mystique did have a sexual relationship with Destiny. In flashbacks, just like Claremont originally intended, Mystique takes the form of a man during her courtship of Destiny. Mystique’s relationship with Destiny dates from the 1930’s, when they first met, until 1989 when Destiny dies at the hands of Legion in Uncanny X-Men #255.  After Destiny’s death, Mystique mourns for her former partner in a way only someone truly in love would. Even though, Mystique has had many associations, her true love has always been Destiny. While Mystique has had many relationships with men in comics, none carry the emotional depth of her relationship with Destiny. All of her relationships with male characters are because she is using them to get something. Mystique is the biological mother of both Nightcrawler and Rogue. She may have used both her male and female sexual organs depending on how she identified at the time. It should also be noted that Rogue is adopted (at the age of 4) by Mystique and is brought up by the shape-shifter and Destiny. So why is she portrayed as heterosexual in the movies? Andrew Garfield recently stated he would like to see Mary Jane as a male character and have Peter Parker explore his sexuality. Fans nearly rioted. Aside from the more hate filled debates, one of the main debates many fans made was that an established character should not have his or her sexuality changed. These fans claimed that all their great hetero-heroes were being threatened to appease some imaginary liberal monster. In most cases, to make sure no one felt they were being homophobic, these fans stated they would enjoy more LGBT characters as long as they were new characters and not classic characters exploring his or her sexuality.

Hmmmm, if characters cannot have alternate reality forms where they explore a different sexuality, why is it OK that Mystique is portrayed as hetero in the X-flicks? She is one of the only mainstream characters to truly step outside the boxes of sexuality. Where is our outrage? And why did so many of you get uncomfortable reading this article when you realized Rebecca Romijn may have had a penis? C’mon y’all, if you truly are not biased, let’s start the riots!

Source of Marriage Equality Meme: Journey Into Awesome ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Jay Deitcher, LMSW(@mrdeitcher) is an educator on comic history and runs successful Free Comic Book Day events yearly.  You can see a listing of his incredible articles at

Jay Deitcher is a writer and licensed social worker from Albany, NY. He is currently taking MFA courses at the College of St. Rose. You can read his other work at
  • Darth Rick

    I agree, I’m not particularly stoked about a gay Spidey (then again its not like Garfield resembles the Peter Parker I grew up reading) but I felt that Singer didn’t do the Mystique character justice. Then again they could always Superboy-Prime an explanation where Jennifer Lawrence’s younger Mystique had a dalliance or 2 with the fairer sex.

  • Edward Schriner

    If they start having LGBT characters in Marvel, I am defecting to DC and if DC gets them, I will swear off comics altogether! Being gay in my eyes is an aberration to Nature because that is NOT how God made us!

    • marx

      Just a heads up, New 52’s Green Lantern is gay. You’re not safe anywhere haha.

    • Brian T. Evans

      Northstar in the X-men comics is gay and actually was married not to long ago in an issue of Astonishing X-men.

    • Roxtaf

      Pst we made god, not the other way around.

    • The Fabulous Batman

      Farewell ..We do not care about your ignorance.

    • Jpc

      God is an aberration to nature take your hate somewhere else, I get your trying to spread gods word but why not focus on the positive messages from your novels like treat Everyman like you yourself want to be or let he who is without sin cast the first stone, you are using god as a vehicle to spread your insecuritys regarding homosexuality and if I was god I wouldn’t approve, be nice

    • Grindhouse Daikaiju

      Cool more comics for me! bye you fucking tourist! you’re not a true fan and never will be.

  • tracey

    I think it would be great to see a bisexual (or, possibly more accurately, pan-sexual/trans?) Mystique, and to see the full range of her personality restored. Edward, there are already LGBT characters in both DC and Marvel, so I suspect you need to defect altogether.

  • Roxtaf

    It’s not just with mystique’s sexuality i think is a loss in the series, they seriously nerfed her age. and to me they took something away from the wolverine’s relationship with sabretooth when they where made to have gone through the ages as brothers.
    Funny to hear the Andrew Gafield wanted to kiss guys. I think it would be outlandish to make M.J. a guy, and in general to have Peter jump that much out of character, but if they explore it with some other character in a movie, i wont go kill myself in a giant campfire made from spiderman comics. To me what happens in movies stays in movies, it is just like an alternative timeline to the comics.
    To all you homophobes hiding behind excuses of all kinds, relax, homosexuality is a documented part of human nature. And if you believe “god done it” then stop judging, that is god’s job alone, not yours

  • TheGlenOfDoom

    Yes… on all levels. However, it was my understanding that NightCrawler’s and Mystique’s father was Azazel

  • JourneyIntoAwesome

    I enjoyed the post and am I big fan of Mystique and Destiny but please add a photo credit back to my site for the Mystique and Destiny marriage equality image I made. Thank you. (

    • Jay

      Absolutely. I am sorry about that. I had not seen your site before(I got it out of Google images). I will give link it to your site when I get to my computer in a few hours. I am glad I got to see your other art. I love them all. Keep up the great work and thank you for reading mine.

      • JourneyIntoAwesome

        No problem! Thanks so much for adding the link. 🙂

  • jj

    I like how the writer had to start the piece about his girlfriend, so no one would think he was gay. What a douche!

  • Christie

    YES. It makes me sick that she is a hetero who is seemingly in love with Chares Xavier. Spitting on the awesome mystique of the comics.

  • Craig Crestford

    I agree that Mary Jane shouldn’t be changed into a man and Spider-Man should not be made homosexual, but I get REALLY mad that homosexual characters get whitewashed and changed. It’s so wrong seeing them being closeted when being presented to a huge audience. It sends a terrible message to many gay teens who consider suicide. Respect the source material or use another established character. Turning straight characters gay when they are already great gay characters just waiting to be used is also “disrespectful” to those characters. As if them being gay makes them not cool enough and people need a heterosexual to represent gays.

  • tyson

    Mystique is a very small part of a very large movie. Her sexuality is
    complicated, and I would argue that it’s not covered in the movies
    because it’s not important to her part of the story. If it was the Mystique movie, fine. But it’s not. Shoehorning in a plot about her sexual identity would just come off as preachy.