The Gay Rights Parable of X-Men: First Class Is Very Real, Says Screenwriter

XMenMagneto300.jpgA new article posted at the website Think Progress draws up the queer/coming-out parallels in X-Men: First Class, and if you haven't seen the movie, you'll find much of the evidence undeniable: Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) even utters to his CIA boss, "You didn't ask, so I didn't tell" after he's outed as a mutant by Professor Xavier. But one dissenting commenter on the article provoked an actual X-Men: First Class screenwriter to jump in and clarify that all the LGBT metaphors (among other civil rights implications) were very intentional.

After commenter Deborah Hoff disagreed with the author's LGBT parallels (traced back to Iceman's "coming out" of sorts in X2), First Class scribe Zack Stentz jumped to the film's defense. Hoff's offending comment read as such:

"Um, nothing really gay about it. I've loved all Marvel comics since a kid and there never was nor is there anything gay in X-Men. Say that to Wolverine and he'd likely rip ya a new one. Not that they shouldn't have a gay super hero. There just wasn't ever any in X-men. The men in the film were friends. I think it's kinda homophobic to assume every male freindship is gay. So, they shared a tender moment. They didn't have sex. As Stan Lee used to say, 'Nuff said.'"

A couple dozen comments later, Stentz appeared with a rejoinder:

"Um, no offense, but you're wrong. I helped write the movie, and can tell you the gay rights/ post-holocaust Jewish identity / civil rights allegory stuff was all put in there on purpose. Joss Whedon designed the whole "Cure" storyline in the comic books specifically as a gay allegory, and Bryan Singer wove his own feelings of outsiderdom as a gay man into the movie series. The whole "Have you ever tried NOT being a mutant" coming out scene in X2 isn't even particularly subtle, while it is effective."

Glad that debate's over! Now we can get back to the real issues, like more January Jones jokes.

· 'X-Men: First Class,' Gay Rights, and the Intelligence Community [Think Progress]


  • NP says:

    Deborah Hoff apparently doesn't understand the concept of subtext.

  • Alex C. says:

    I thought the gay commentary was a little too on-the-nose. I would have loved to have seen it exhibited more in Magneto and Professor X's relationship, but it was wasted.

  • ZebedeeDooDah says:

    Also, there have been gay X-men at various levels in the comics. Northstar for instance, comics first gay superhero (to my knowledge), has been a member of team for about a decade now. Also Colossus was gay in the Ultimate reboot, and had a crush/friendship with Wolverine, who was aware of his feelings and didn't reciprocate, but didn't let it affect their friendship. He didn't "rip him a new one".
    Is it wrong that the idiot who started this whole thing nearly offended me as much with his clear lack of X-men knowledge as he did with his subtle homophoboia? I'm a nerd, right?

  • CiscoMan says:

    Kudos to the filmmakers of the various X-men films for the thoughtful subtext. I wish they worked more on the text, though. You know, asking questions like, "Do we need to give Jennifer Lawrence something to do besides stand there?" and "Does January Jones know what project she's working on?"

  • ZebedeeDooDah says:

    Oh, and there's a error in the article, Beast's line was "You didn't ask, so I didn't tell". Clearly just a slip of the finger or whatever, but in case anyone wants to correct it, there it is.

  • Christopher Rosen says:

    Thanks for the heads up! Fixed.

  • Tommy Marx says:

    One of the things I've always loved about the X-Men is the gay analogy. As a teenager in the '80s, I always felt like I had this terrible secret that no one could ever find out. Although I picked up on the parallels to gays in the comic series, it was really the "God Loves, Man Kills" GN that made me understand one of the reasons I loved the X-Men so much.
    The best thing about the X-Men, though, is that I've met several people who felt the exact same way I did about the X-Men being representative of who they were, and in each case it was something different, whether it was race, feeling like a nerd, etc. I think the X-Men appeal to anyone who feels like they don't fit in for whatever reason. I think that's really cool! And most of that was because of Chris Claremont, who gave the X-Men such a universal appeal.

  • Tommy Marx says:

    LOL - I'm gay, and I too found myself offended for her lack of knowledge before her feelings about gays. Also, I don't think she understood that the X-Men franchise echoes the struggle for civil rights, not a revelation that they're all gay.
    Karma, one of the original New Mutants, is a lesbian, as was Sunfire in the Exiles. And Rictor and Shatterstar are a couple in X-Factor.

  • Louis Virtel says:

    Yes, thank you! I was obviously delirious with excitement after writing "gay rights parable" in the headline.

  • Margo says:

    Via the Bookslut:
    Me: "Why are there only white people in this movie?"
    Friend: "The white people are metaphors for black people."