12 Awesome Openly Queer Superheroes

Author Thumbnail Caitlin Donovan June 23, 2017 10:08 AM

1Michiru Kaioh/Sailor Neptune and Haruka Tenoh/Sailor Uranus (Sailor Moon)

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Created in 1994, Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus are possibly the most iconic lesbian couple in anime and manga, at least for Western fandom. The two characters have the power to transform into planetary guardians with elemental powers. They were introduced as mysterious and powerful heroes who the younger heroes found themselves majorly crushing on. They distanced themselves from the younger Sailor Soldiers and refused to work with them, believing they needed to be more ruthless in handling their enemies for various reasons. However, they were shown to be ultimately well-intentioned and heroic. They eventually came around to be important allies to the younger girls.

Their love and loyalty to each other was shown to be just as swoon-worthy as the heterosexual relationships in the franchise, if not more sweoon-worthy. They eventually even raised a child together with another woman. Haruka is one of the few positive examples of a butch lesbian in media and her manga incarnation is sometimes interpreted as gender-fluid.

Sailor Neptune and Uranus were a lot of children’s introduction to queer characters. The original English dub of the anime tried to censor their relationship, making them “cousins”, but didn’t do a very good job of it. Scholars have also credited the popularity of the couple to the rising popularity of women-loving-women relationships in manga and doujinshi in the 1990s. 

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Caitlin Donovan is a long-time nerd with a passion for superheroes and epic fantasy. She lives in North Carolina with her cat and wrestles with writing novels and doing editorial work when she's not ranting about pop culture online. She runs a blog at ladyloveandjustice.tumblr.com
@Caitlin Donovan | caitlin@epicstream.com