Like most blockbusters, before I even got to see "Deadpool 2," I saw at least seven headlines advertising how represents LGBT people. However, it wasn't for its titular character, who even the most casual comic book fan knows is pansexual, it was for Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who played a key role in the plot of the last movie. In this movie, the writers gave her a girlfriend, Yukio.
Unfortunately, Yukio has fewer lines than I could count on two hands. She seems to be unwaveringly cheery, but other than that, we don't find out much about her. Her girlfriend, Negasonic, takes a much smaller role than she did in the last movie. In the first movie, she was a part of the main supporting ensemble, now, while still there, she's more of a side character.
For the most part, the character's just ... stand next to each other. At most, Yukio holds Negasonic's arm for a bit. We don't get to see much of them act like a real couple. No kissing, no flirtatious, superhero movie banter. Yukio addresses Deadpool more than she addresses her girlfriend, and we, the audience, learn absolutely about their relationship. While this plays out on screen, internet news outlets tote Negasonic as the first "explicitly queer" superhero. After all, we've seen queer characters in blockbusters before, but it tends to be implied in "blink-if-you-miss-it" type moments.
Not to mention, Deadpool is already queer. A few passing jokes on this are made (which can easily be construed as "queerbaiting"), but we never see him act on what we all already know. This knowledge makes the insertion of Yukio painfully awkward. Does Hollywood think the world isn't ready for a gay main character? Would making Deadpool explicitly queer violate an unspoken "there can only be one rule"? Most importantly, do studios seek to put in the bare minimum of inclusion to capitalize marginalized audiences, but not alienate their more privileged one?
With each passing year, this seems to become truer. We saw similar trends with last year's blockbusters "Beauty and The Beast" and "Power Rangers", and we're seeing it again with "Deadpool 2" and the upcoming "Solo" movie. While the media praises this as progress, it shows how far behind we are, and how the media commodifies activism. This is not a step towards inclusion, it's still alienating. The members of the gay community are not props, they're human beings deserve authentic stories that humanize them. There are people who go their entire lives without meeting a single gay person, and the media could be their only exposure. It's a shame when people only have one impression of the gay community which is through the lens of media. The larger world will never know the gay reality, where you're exposed to people of multiple sexualities. There are more than one of us at a time. We are not your quirky side characters, we are nuanced main characters. This life deserves validation, and we should never settle for less.