When The CW debuts Black Lightning on January 16, they’re not just debuting a show about an all-black family of superheroes.
They’re also debuting the first on-screen DC canonical lesbian superhero, who also happens to be a woman of colour.
Black Lightning features the title character as a father to two daughters: Thunder and Lightning. And it’s Thunder, played by 28-year-old Nafessa Williams, who is set to make history.
Thunder, whose real name in the show is Anissa Pierce, is the eldest daughter of the eponymous superhero, Black Lighting, aka Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams).
In the comics, she agrees to a deal with her mother and father. Graduate college; THEN you can become a superhero. While her younger sister, Jennifer Pierce (China Anne McClain), has powers more in line with Jefferson’s electrical abilities, Anissa is able to increase her body mass while completely reserving her volume.
And there’s even more for LGBT fans to get excited about. Just like in the comics, Thunder’s getting a love interest.
Played by Pretty Little Liars actress Chantal Thuy, the half-Amazonian, Asian-American Grace Choi will feature in the show as Anissa’s girlfriend.
In the comics, Grace is bisexual, and there seems to be no reason to doubt she will be in the show as well.
Another show currently on TV to feature a lesbian superhero is Marvel’s Runaways, in which one of the main characters – Karolina Dean – slowly realises her sexuality.
Last year, Thor: Ragnarok included Valkyrie, a bisexual superhero and woman of colour – though fans were ultimately disappointed with the fact that her sexuality wasn’t made clear on screen.
Marvel also launched a comic led by America Chavez, a queer Latina teenager with lesbian parents.
The comic, called America, prompted an outpouring of support from readers who were overjoyed to finally see an LGBT Latina superhero lead her own comic.
However, Marvel also moved to quash speculation that two warriors in the upcoming film Black Panther will be in a lesbian relationship, sparking outrage and accusations of erasure.