At the 2018 Voltron Legendary Defender panel at San Diego Comic-Con, showrunners Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos revealed to fans one of the best-kept secrets of the series to date:
Shiro is gay.
After months of the creators and voice actors teetering around answers, promising happiness for LGBT+ representation, and dodging angry fans of the show, it was finally revealed that Shiro had a boyfriend, Adam, back at Galaxy Garrison before the Kerberos mission.
The fact that VLD gave outright LGBT+ representation is shocking.
The gay character being Shiro — the Takashi Shirogane, Black Paladin, Leader of Voltron, golden boy at the Garrison, everyone's hero, Mr. Macho man?
I think it's safe to say I am not the only one who did not see it coming.
When my Twitter timeline exploded with the news from SDCC, I actually cried.
Here I was, a 20-something obsessed with a kids' cartoon, seeing a canonically gay man leading a team of badass pilots in space in an all-out war to save the universe. I couldn't believe it was real.
But it is. Shiro is gay, it is canon, in the show, blatantly out in the open, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
Safe to say, we gays are happy.
This is huge, not only for the show itself and for the fans, but for what this kind of move means in the world of media, kids television shows or otherwise.
A lot of people have begun arguing, asking why there needs to be a gay character in a kids' show. Furious why Netflix and Dreamworks Animation are forcing their views down their throats. Complaining that everything is too politically correct, that gays are taking over, that they can't relate to LGBT+ characters, they don't want to watch tv with homosexuals.
Sorry to break it to you all, but at least 20% of millennials in the US identify as LGBT+. Are we not the future? Shouldn't our media reflect who we are? Have we not sat and suffered quietly through enough heterosexual media? Do we not deserve to see ourselves in our fictional heroes?
Even if you are straight, can't you realize what it means to a kid to see a man like Shiro, their hero, openly gay? A kid who is questioning who they are, figuring out what they want to be and who they want to love — don't those kids deserve to see LGBT+ people normalized on-screen?
The thing is, having a homosexual relationship normalized on TV is hard to come by. Even rarer is an instance where that character's entire storyline is not solely focused on them being gay/realizing they are gay/coming out/etc.
Now, Shiro? Shiro has a chronic illness, he is missing an arm, he lives with PTSD, he is a minority, and he is gay. But guess what? None of these are his defining traits. He is more than his disabilities, his struggles, his identities.
Shiro is defined by what he does, how he treats others, his resilience and his total belief in his teammates and in the universe. He is defined by his compassion and his silly antics, his drive and his passion to do good, to be great.
Shiro is a defender of the universe, he is gay, and he is here to stay.
I think this reveal is just the start of what is going to be an incredible last two seasons of the show. I cannot wait to have my heart broken August 10th when Season 7 streams on Netflix.