The upcoming issue of the comic of Supergirl (#19) will feature a non-binary person of color named Lee Serano. The authors of the comic will be openly gay comics writer Steve Orlando and non-binary writer Vita Ayala. While Serano isn’t the first non-binary comic book character, the Supergirl non-binary character will introduce tens to hundreds of thousands of Supergirl readers to non-binary issues, a positive step forward for genderqueer representation in comics.
What does “non-binary” mean and how will it effect the Supergirl non-binary character?
Non-binary (sometimes called “genderqueer”) refers to a person whose gender isn’t exclusively masculine or feminine, existing between or outside of the cisnormative male or female gender binary. Sometimes non-binary people identify as a changing mix of male and female (genderfluid), having two or more genders (bigender, trigender or pangender), as a third gender or as having no gender at all (agender, nongender or neutrois).
It’s unclear which type of non-binary identity Serano will ascribe to. However, it seems as if their story will cover the hardships of being a young non-binary person. Here’s the description of the upcoming Supergirl issue:
In his search to write a CatCo piece on the truth about Supergirl, Ben Rubel interviews a young kid named Lee Serano, who recently became friends with the Girl of Steel. As Lee struggles with their parents and bullies at school for acceptance as non-binary, Supergirl is caught between punching her way through the problem and standing beside Lee as a symbol of hope.
CatCo is a media conglomerate in Supergirl’s world.
The Supergirl non-binary character isn’t the first of its kind
Serano is hardly the first-ever non-binary character in a superhero series. The Crystal Gems from the Cartoon Network sci-fi series Steven Universe are agender, even though they often present as femme.
Desire in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Rebis in Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol and Xavin in Brian K. Vaughan’s Runaways are all non-binary comic book characters as well.