Why I No Longer Want To Be a Mutant, by Alex Summers

Transcribed by Nathan Tabak; inspired by Luis Pabon’s “Why I No Longer Want To Be Gay,” with an added tip of the hat to Uncanny Avengers #5

I no longer want to be a mutant. I know that on the surface, this statement reeks of the denial, self-loathing and internalized mutantphobia not commonly associated with accepting and integrating one’s status as Homo superior, but truth is, I just don’t want to be a mutant anymore. It has outlived its usefulness. I have experienced all aspects of life with the X-Men and X-Factor and can safely say that it no longer speaks to the person that I am or want to become. I didn’t always feel this way.

Initially I came to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters searching for cameraderie, brotherhood (lowercase, not the one of Evil Mutants), and giant mutant-hunting robots to destroy with my plasma blasts. In return, I got a costume that looks like a broken egg beater attached itself to my head, infidelity, years spent in badly-written alternate realities, and disunity. The self-loathing in this community forces you to encounter a series of broken mutants who are self-destructive, hurtful, cruel and vindictive towards one another. I have struggled to adapt my moral code to fit the behaviors concomitant with an identity as Homo superior, but it seems being a mutant is forcing me too far away from everything I love and value. The indiscriminate sex, superficiality, unstable relationships, self-hatred, inability to age, ageism, shade, loneliness, preoccupation with sex, anti-human prejudice, and time-traveling teenage versions of ourselves all seem to come out of the ground I thought they were buried under. Mutants just seem to find it difficult to transcend the stereotypes and clichés attached to their species and it is becoming disheartening.

It has been forty-five years since I decided to live my life as a mutant, and it has not been an easy road. It has been fraught with much pain and misery that I initially tried to mask with gratuitous violence and shacking up with Magneto’s daughter. In the beginning it was hard to admit that I was a mutant. But I did and it was a very freeing experience. It gave me the opportunity to assert my identity when for years I struggled with this. It gave me a chance to stand with the X-Men and face down prejudice not only from our fellow mutants, but from family, friends and society as a whole. Standing with my brother Cyclops, Iceman, Polaris, Angel, and the rest, I took pride in my mutant-ness and felt as though I were a part of something greater than myself, a movement of people gifted with a genetic difference and unafraid to show it. But the truth is, we didn’t love each other; we were just infatuated with the idea of belonging and going against the grain. We loved the freedom and transgression of rebelling against Homo sapiens, the adrenaline rush of defeating Magneto or Mystique yet again. The pride and self-respect that we thought was intrinsic to our cause was just a set of adamantium claws that we turned in on ourselves in the guise of Xavier’s dream of human and mutant coexistence.

Back during the Legacy Virus crisis, resources were scarce and mutants were afraid. Our community came together, and sacrificed much, to find a cure for this terrible disease. But now, under Cyclops’ leadership, there seems to be a preoccupation with the seduction of mutant power, as X-Men drunk on the Phoenix Force imprison the Avengers, conquer the earth, and kill their own former leaders and father figures. Weapon X, once known as a mutant torture facility, has literally become the new Xavier School, and hard-fought victories are now followed not by peans to peaceful coexistence, but rather catchphrases like Quentin Quire’s “Magneto was Right”. The life is starting to look a lot like a slow Days of Future Past simmering on low heat, and it doesn’t hold the same appeal that it once did to me. It is a life in serious need of renovations.

Mutants used to approach other mutants with a modicum of chivalrous courage. Now they have sex with female robots or cynically grab women on the rebound from painful divorces. I am not too young to long for the good old days, so I’m going to do it at length, and this life makes you miss what it meant to be a mutant. It makes you long for the times when we had healthy relationships with our mentors, and when Wolverine would be your drinking buddy instead of leading a kill squad and then becoming a dead adamantium statue to be fought over by supervillains. Even the near-annual crossovers we used to enjoy have been eliminated and replaced with an endless stream of interchangeable dialogue, incoherent plotting, and three different versions of Iceman. It just isn’t worth it anymore. And while I recognize my genetic abnormality, I choose to no longer associate myself with a life that lives outside of morality and goodness. The mutant life is like the love of a good girl whose attention and love you initially covet but who eventually gets brainwashed by the Brotherhood, becomes a malevolent cosmic being, destroys entire planets, and then dies and is resurrected multiple times. It’s just not where I see myself anymore.

on November 23, 2014