Make Harley Quinn Queer, You Cowards

Earlier this month, the new Harley Quinn-themed film was given an official title: Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Though the film starring Margot Robbie isn’t set to be released until February 2020, more details are finally starting to be revealed.

This week, Robbie, who reprises her role in the DC universe as the titular Quinn, sat down with PrideSource to discuss the movie and her character’s sexuality. Although it’s unclear if the character will be portrayed as queer in Birds of Prey, she is canonically queer, and Robbie said she would like to see that fact play out on screen — in fact, she’s pushing for it.

If you read the comics you know that Poison Ivy and Harley have an intimate relationship,” she said. “In some comics, they convey it as a friendship; in other comics you can see that they’re actually sexually involved as a couple. I’ve been trying to – I would love to have Poison Ivy thrown into the universe, because the Harley and Poison Ivy relationship is one of my favorite aspects of the comics,” she said. “So I’m looking to explore that on screen.”

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy’s relationship was first confirmed by DC Comics in 2015. But back in August, the comic juggernaut revealed that Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are actually married. Although it sounds like Poison Ivy won’t be present in Birds of Prey, it’s nice to know that Robbie, the film’s star and producer, is lobbying for her character to be queer — because it’s canon. So, my message to DC is: Make Harley Quinn queer, you cowards.

As of yet, DC hasn’t portrayed any of its characters as queer on the big screen, even though some of them are. Wonder Woman hit theaters in 2017, starring Gal Gadot as the nominal hero, who is also canonically queer in the comics. But the movie, as well as Justice League, which prominently featured the character, erased her bisexuality, save one off-handed joke about the women of Themyscira not needing men for “pleasure.” This is not to say that Diana Prince’s sexuality won’t be explored in the future, but as of yet, she appears to be straight in the DC film universe.

Birds of Prey is Harley Quinn’s first solo movie, and the first major spin-off of 2016’s Suicide Squad, so DC has a big opportunity to give a queer character the chance to shine. The movie follows Quinn, who assembles a “girl gang” to take down a villain. Mary Elizabeth Winstead will play Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell will take Black Canary, and Rosie Perez will play Renee Montoya. The movie will be helmed by director Cathy Yan, and penned by Christina Hodson. So, with so much girl power, both behind the scenes and on camera, it seems believable that the movie will be queer. But don’t get your hopes up.

Both Marvel and DC have been purposefully exclusive in the past, at least in their film franchises. Marvel’s 2017 Hulu series The Runaways featured Karolina Dean, a lesbian superhero, as such in the show. Jessica Jones, another Marvel show, starred Carrie-Anne Moss as the power-lesbian lawyer Jeri Hogarth. DC has been super inclusive in its TV slate, with CW shows like Supergirl and Black Lightning including lead queer protagonists. And earlier this year, a Batgirl venture was announced, which will star Ruby Rose as the out lesbian titular hero. But still, an out, queer lead has never been featured in the MCU or the DCEU.

If Birds of Prey is about Harley Quinn’s emancipation, then according to the comics, she will be “emancipated” from her abusive relationship with the Joker. What better way to get over a shitty dude than to spark up a hot romance with a lady-villain? Maybe it’s not Poison Ivy yet, because really, we have to ask ourselves: Are gay people really emotionally prepared for a superhero rom-com between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy? My brain says yes, but my body stays shivering.

All I’m saying is, maybe Birds of Prey isn’t the Quinn and Ivy rom-com of our dreams, but at least give us something. So many fans of superhero franchises are queer — as proved by the untethered lesbian fanbase that Supergirl has accrued. LGBTQ representation in the DCEU is way past due — quite frankly, it’s embarrassing and insulting that it hasn’t happened yet. So, one last time, DC, I urge you: Make Harley Quinn Queer in Birds of Prey, you cowards.

And one last gripe: If a romance between Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Ben Affleck’s Batman transpires in the next Justice League, I will get the Marvel logo permanently branded on my ass. Not to be dramatic.

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