Young Justice co-creator Greg Weisman got into an argument on Twitter this week about the presence of “LGBT” characters on his animated show. Several Twitter users objected to the idea of having LGBTQ characters in the upcoming third season of Young Justice, arguing that a children’s show shouldn’t include romantic storylines about characters who aren’t straight. Weisman’s response prompted questions about what “representation” of the queer community now requires in 2017.
Weisman, at one point, responded to commenters with: “I’m not offering up any spoilers. But I will say I have zero patience for your homophobic attitude.” He delivered the final clapback to the group by tweeting that there “are already LGBT characters in #YoungJustice,” sparking, of course, a new discussion among both trolls and progressive fans.
Despite Weisman’s willingness to vouch for the validity of having LGBT characters in a cartoon aimed at a younger audience, there’s not really any proof to back up his claims. Several characters in DC’s comics openly identify as queer — Kate Kane’s Batwoman identifies as a lesbian and a reimagined Aqualad in DC’s Rebirth has “Jackson” identifying as gay, to name only two — but no one in the Young Justice series has ever even implied they identify as being queer. Though Weisman apparently considers at least one of his characters gay, his audience has been given no proof.
It seems Young Justice might be suffering from the same identity issue that Dumbledore did in 2007 when J.K. Rowling announced after the fact that her now-deceased wizard identified as gay throughout his time in the Harry Potter series. While the move impressed many at the time (and caused a lot of contention), that was ten years ago, and the world now expects more. It deserves more.
This is not to say that Weisman and the rest of the team behind the upcoming third season of Young Justice don’t plan on adding openly queer characters to their show. But, up until this point, not even an indication has been made (despite what fandom ships might have you believe) that any of the characters on Young Justice identify as queer.
Young Justice’s move from Cartoon Network to Netflix for its belated third season might be an indication of representation to come when combined with Weisman’s tweet, but firm proof has yet to be found.