By Brian Andersen
Originally published on Advocate.com June 16 2014 1:38 PM ET
It’s rare to have a recurring trans character in a comic book, and rarer still to have that character’s love life featured as casually and openly as any other’s. Alysia Yeoh, the trans roommate of Batgirl’s alter ego Barbara Gordon, who has been a key part of the comic since the beginning of its latest incarnation, gave us a historic moment for LGBT visibility in comics when she was discovered mid-hookup in Batgirl 32.
Alysia has been a big part of Batgirl’s life since the first issue of DC Comics’ rebooted monthly Batgirl comic book series, written and created by LGBT ally Gail Simone, debuted in 2011. Although she wasn’t revealed to be trans until a few years later – in Batgirl issue 19 last year – Alysia has appeared in nearly every issue since.
In an attempt to torment his estranged sister, Batgirl’s psychotic brother James romanced and dated Alysia during the “Death in the Family” epic that crossed over the entire Batman family of comic books. Alysia not only survived the manipulations of Batgirl’s brother but has since moved on and appears to now be dating a woman.
Longtime readers of DC Comics will also excitedly note that this issue winks back to DC Comics history as it reunites Birds of Prey characters Barbara Gordon, Huntress, and Black Canary from Simone’s epic five-year run on the title. In 2003, when Simone took over Birds of Prey, Barbara Gordon had long since hung up her cowl and was using a wheelchair after the Joker shot and paralyzed her. This horrible moment in comic book history only made Barbara Gordon that much stronger as she became the powerful, computer-savvy information broker known as Oracle.
As Oracle, Barbara brought together a team of women known as the Birds of Prey to serve as her field agents on dangerous missions throughout the DC Universe. The team mostly consisted of Black Canary and the Huntress along with several guest stars. Since DC Comics rebooted its entire line of comic books in 2011, this popular and beloved team ceased to exist in the current DC Universe. Fans of the original series, however, can now celebrate the team’s reunion.