One of the first trans actors to play a character in one of the MCU’s Disney+ offerings talked about the importance of his part.
As far as LGBTQ+ representation goes, Marvel Studios has steadily been gaining some solid momentum.
Audiences saw Phastos in 2021’s Eternals be portrayed in a same-sex relationship, and Thor’s pal, the King of Asgard herself, Valkyrie is also canonically bisexual. There have been a handful of other LGBTQ+ characters in the MCU, but the franchise still has a long way to go to better serve certain queer portions of its fanbase.
Patti Harrison, a trans actress, appeared in Episode 6 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law last year before non-binary star Shea Couleé was cast as a series regular on Marvel’s forthcoming streaming show Ironheart. Now the MCU’s first trans masculine Disney+ actor has spoken on his own role in the latter of those series.
Zoe Terakes On His Ironheart Character
Interviewing with Collider, actor Zoe Terakes broke down what makes his character from Marvel Studios’ Ironheart so special.
He noted that he "didn't really know [he] existed" when watching TV and movies growing up, feeling "deeply grateful" for the opportunity to put the trans community in the spotlight:
“I think as trans people, growing up I didn’t get to see myself anywhere, so I didn’t really know that I existed. And especially not in a superhero show or movie. And so I think I just feel deeply grateful and moved that little trans kids and trans teens have something to look at and to know they exist and to know that they can have superpowers, and that that’s where we belong.“
Terakes continued, adding that trans and queer people “belong there with the big guys.”
“We don’t just belong in trauma stories on the fringes dying in things, you know? We belong there with the big guys. So yeah, it meant a lot to me.”
Who Could Terakes Be Playing?
It’s presently unknown just who Zoe Terakes is playing in Ironheart.
He does, however, drop an interesting hint when he mentions "superpowers" in the above quote. Could Terakes‘ character be a super-powered hero? Time will tell, but it would certainly be terrific for Marvel Studios’ queer representation track record if a trans actor was playing a full-fledged superhero.
Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, while not always a hero, was revealed to be bisexual, not to mention the aforementioned Phastos and Valkyrie being queer. America Chavez, who entered the MCU scene in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, has not yet officially been confirmed to be a lesbian like her comic book counterpart, but she was wearing a Pride pin on her jacket throughout the film.
It’s also important to note that Zoe Terakes isn’t the MCU’s first trans masc actor, as Zack Barack previously portrayed one of Peter Parker’s classmates in Spider-Man: Far From Home from 2019.
Marvel Studios’ Ironheart isn’t set to premiere until later this year but will continue the adventures of Riri Williams after the character’s blockbuster debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.