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Trans employee slams Marvel's ‘allies’ Pride series for 'erasing' LGBTQ+ voices (exclusive)

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Marvel

Marvel said it would celebrate Pride this year "by looking beyond those of us in the LGBTQIA+ community and focusing on those who support them: the allies.”

A transgender Marvel employee is expressing their disappointment after the comic book giant announced its annual Pride comic series will focus on straight “allies” this year.

Marvel revealed last month that instead of doing their usual Pride anthology, the publisher would release a one-shot, X-Men: The Wedding Special. The issue follows the marriage of “one of the longest-lasting gay couples in comic book history” — Mystique and Destiny — while also being Marvel Comics’ first wedding between two women.

Alongside the one-shot, the company is releasing eight variant covers of LGBTQ+ Marvel characters paired with better-known superheroes in their stories, who are described as “Pride allies.” Marvel explained in its announcement: "Marvel Comics will be celebrating Pride Month this year by looking beyond those of us in the LGBTQIA+ community and focusing on those who support them: the allies.”

While the announcement sparked befuddlement online, it also created internal turmoil at the company. An employee who has ties to both Marvel and projects at its parent company Disney told The Advocate that when they were first sent a company email announcing the issues, they “honestly thought it was a prank.”

"I thought, ‘they're really erasing us,’” said the employee, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid retaliation at work. “Because a lot of people have just opted to not do Pride stuff at all. Which we've all noticed, because of the backlash from what happened with Dylan Mulvaney and Bud Light. We all paid for it.”

The employee said that several people responded negatively to the company’s announcement internally, including Drag Race: All Stars season 5 winner and series regular on Marvel’s Ironheart Shea Couleé. Many expressed their thoughts in email replies to Marvel’s announcement, but the employee said none received a response to their knowledge.

The Advocate has reached out to Marvel.

To the employee, Marvel’s choices didn’t just come across as tone-deaf, but rather demonstrated that the company “only sees you as a Pride commodity.” They said that LGBTQ+ people have fought for “literal inches” just for corporations to “go back a whole foot.”

“We get one month, and they corporatized it so much,” they said, continuing, "It's the one time of year where we can get a check from these awful people who also donate to disgusting Republicans and big oil and bombing innocent people. These companies do all these things and they can't be supportive of queer people, and then they want our money.”

Companies have often received criticism for only supporting LGBTQ+ initiatives during the month of June and remaining silent on issues that affect the community throughout the rest of the year. Now, the employee says queer people are at risk of not being acknowledged at all as corporations bend to conservative pushback.

“I'm trans in November. I'm trans in December. If you're only working with me in the month of June, there's a huge problem,” they said. Now, they maintain that “we need to revoke all of our queer dollars” from companies that don’t support the LGBTQ+ community.

“[Marvel] made a huge misstep, and they need to answer for that,” the employee said. “You can't just erase it and then erase us in tow because you didn't actually do a Pride issue.”

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.