Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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 How a Queer Couple Reimagined Edie Windsor as a Comics Superhero

Edie Windsor

Iconic DC Comics superhero Wonder Woman has always stood for truth, justice, equality, and — for LGBTQ+ fans who’ve seen the demographics of Themyscira, the mythical all-women island of Amazon warriors Wonder Woman hails from — queerness as well. As part of her monumental 80th birthday, DC released the book Wonderful Women of the World, edited by Laurie Halse Anderson with a cover by acclaimed artist Nicola Scott.

The book highlights the work of 23 true superheroines — pioneering women around the world, including Malala Yousafzai, Beyoncé, Marsha P. Johnson, and marriage equality warrior Edith Windsor. That story follows Windsor from meeting her partner, Thea Spyer, through their marriage and Windsor’s ultimate victory in the Supreme Court that paved the way for nationwide marriage equality. Windsor’s tale is juxtaposed with another true story, that of writer Amanda Deibert and artist Cat Staggs, the couple who collaborated on telling Windsor’s story in Wonderful Women of the World.

Queer couple and comic book industry vets Cat Staggs and Amanda Deiber on imagining Edie Windsor as a superhero

Courtesy DC Comics

 

When they were approached by DC about taking on the task of telling both their story and Windsor’s, Deibert says they jumped at the chance, especially when they learned of the way the story would be presented.

“The concept was to take the story of Edie Windsor and everything that she did not just for herself but the whole community and make it global and personal,” Diebert explains. “So instead of a biography, it is about her and all of us. We also really wanted to share her impact on our own lives on a personal level. We are women who are grateful to her and who look to her as a role model and icon.”

 

Queer couple and comic book industry vets Cat Staggs and Amanda Deiber on imagining Edie Windsor as a superhero

Courtesy DC Comics

 

“Getting to share a truly great love story with the world that we don’t always get to see is incredibly moving and meaningful,” adds Staggs.

Deibert and Staggs first met online in 2008, eventually marrying three years later. However, since they reside in California, their marriage wasn’t recognized because of Proposition 8 (the 2008 ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the state).

 

Queer couple and comic book industry vets Cat Staggs and Amanda Deiber on imagining Edie Windsor as a superhero

Courtesy DC Comics

“When we got married, we traveled to New York as soon as it was legal there because at the time it wasn’t here,” Deibert says. “Our marriage kind of happened in phases. Our daughter was 5 months old when it became legal nationally. Our commitment to each other and as a family was never in question, but the legal protections are important to us, especially as mothers.”

Fortunately, there was a silver lining to having to make that commitment to each other multiple times. “Having to do things in parts, getting married over the course of multiple years, made us appreciate it more,” says Staggs.

Queer couple and comic book industry vets Cat Staggs and Amanda Deiber on imagining Edie Windsor as a superhero

Cat Staggs and Amanda Deibert 

It seems almost implausible that in the not-too-distant past Deibert and Staggs’s happily-ever-after being legally recognized would’ve been as fictional as Wonder Woman’s adventures. However, through the hard work of real-life superheroes like Windsor, they get to live their story on (and off) the page.

 

This story is part of The Advocate’s 2021 People of the Year issue, which is out on newsstands November 23, 2021. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe — or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.

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