As LGBTQ+ actors emerge from off-screen audiences, their on-screen roles are also changing, bringing with them a new wave of diverse storytelling.
The Umbrella Academy Star Elliot Page recently gave fans a glimpse of an unexpected twist to the show’s third season, Tweeter “Meet Viktor Hargreeves”, along with a photo from the show. Although nothing action-packed happens in the scene (just showing the subtitled Viktor sitting in a bar), the image still answers a question that fans were more than curious about. In the months following the release of The Umbrella AcademyIn the second season of, Page came out as transgender. And while Netflix and Page confirmed he would continue portraying Vanya (now Viktor) in the show’s third season, it was unclear what form that would take until now.
There are still details to be worked out about how the show will approach Viktor’s transition, but it puts the character front and center as one of the most visible trans characters in modern television. This kind of exposure can be a major boon to promoting trans rights around the world, and it’s all because Page made the decision to step up and be who they really are. This kind of change of a character on screen is exceptional, but not as rare as it seems at first glance. Let’s take a look at a few other actors whose LGBTQ+ identity has passed down to the characters they portray onscreen.
Stephanie Beatriz as Rosa Diaz
Stephanie Beatriz first appeared as Rosa Diaz in Brooklyn nine-ninefrom the inaugural season in 2013, alongside the rest of the show’s main cast. Her character was a leather-clad rebel, a massively intimidating detective with a heart of gold and a firm belief in doing the right thing. Beatriz went bisexual in a comedy short Tweeter in 2016, before the release of the show’s fourth season. It would be a season later that her character would also come out, with Rosa exiting Charles Boyle and later the rest of the team in an unusually emotional speech.
According to an interview with Weekly entertainment, Beatriz had thought of the character as bisexual since an offhand joke made in the first season, but his public outing was what prompted her to work with the show’s writers to find a way to tell this story in all its complexity. . She points out that Rosa’s story is far from an exact account of hers, but that there are still commonalities. She was also thrilled to be able to play a bisexual character on screen, describing him as “absolutely happy” and something she could never have dreamed of “in a million years”.
Wentworth Miller as Leo Snart aka Citizen Cold
Wentworth Miller’s portrayal of Leonard Snart/Captain Cold is an interesting case, as he came out as gay before his first appearance as the character in the flash. Miller came out in a public letter at the 2013 St. Petersburg International Film Festival. Snart comes across as more focused on his life of crime than romance in his on-and-off appearances on the show, which is perfectly fine. Not every character needs to have a romance arc. The character’s sexuality only became relevant when he became a regular in the first season of Legends of tomorrow, where it was revealed that he was…straight. He flirted with Sara Lance throughout the show’s first season, culminating in a passionate kiss in the show’s final episode moments before she disappeared.
Again, that’s perfectly fine. It would be a much bigger problem if gay actors could only play gay characters. And even though the character is dead, Miller would continue to pop up here and there on different Arrowverse shows. In the third season of the flash during the Arrowverse’s crossover event for the year (“Crisis on Earth-X”), he makes a dashing return as Leo Snart, a multiversal doppelganger of the original Captain Cold, now Citizen Cold. This version of the character is openly gay and in a romantic relationship with The Ray, another character introduced during the crossover. While Snart’s journey to representation is a long and winding road, it’s still important.
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