Thousands of fans have celebrated the news that DC's popular animated series, Young Justice, will return with a third season. The premise of the series revolves around the sidekicks of famous superheroes who join together to create their own league, and defend the world side by side with the Justice League. Though the series was massively popular and garnered positive criticism for its mature storylines and intense character development, the end of its second season left fans with several questions and a bitter taste in their mouths. Thanks to a sucessful online petition to bring back the show, Warner Bros. Animation announced on November 7, 2016 that the series would be returning for a third season, showing the power of both technology and fandom. With this update, of course, came speculation from the fandom about the new season, including the big question: whether Young Justice would actually portray openly queer characters.
Co-Creator Greg Weisman, in response to questions about the potential queerness of the characters, had confirmed that LGBTQ characters had already existed within the Young Justice universe, confirming the queerness of characters, such as Marie Logan, the mother of Beast Boy, in the Young Justice comics, as well as alluding to the potential queerness of other characters, such as Aqualad. Though more and more characters are confirmed as LGBTQ within the comics in general, including characters such as Batwoman, Wiccan, and Jughead, and though the emergence of queer programing within animated television series targeted toward children, such as Legend of Korra and Steven Universe have provided hope for LGBT representation in Western media, as of yet there are no openly queer young superheroes characters within an animated setting.
Some of the reason for the success of Young Justice is its diversity and inclusiveness, showing a range of strong and complex characters across various genders, races, and backgrounds. Greg Weisman himself has confirmed in multiple interviews that while diversity has always been a priority his work, most likely due to network restrictions, he has not yet been able to actually feature explicit confirmation of actual queer characters in his work.
Greg Weisman has long since confirmed the presence of LGBTQ characters in his work, but he has done so long after some of the series have concluded, denying the viewers the experience of actually seeing queer romance on screen. Though Weisman has explicitly stated in an interview with The Mary Sue
[Diversity's] always been incredibly important to me, including things that I wasn't allowed to do, like LGBTQ characters. We had those characters in those shows, but we hadn't been able to, unfortunately, objectively state who those characters were. We knew who they were in our heads and we tried to write them consistently to that point so that at the very least if someone wanted to see what we were doing, they wouldn't find anything to contradict that."
Though the effort is well appreciated, in this media culture, unless a character's sexuality is explicitly stated, there is still room for denial of their queer identity, which in turn denies actual representation. To the queer community, to the comic book community, and those who occupy the space in between, to see a character come out as queer, to fall in love with a same-sex partner or express a non-binary identity, would not only be revolutionary, but extremely validating to those of us who sorely lack representation.