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On Lynda Carter, J.K. Rowling, and Living Up To Your Fictional Heroes

I don’t follow a lot of celebrities’ accounts on Facebook. No shade to the famous people, or to people who do follow their accounts. It’s simply not my bag, or I haven’t put enough time and effort into figuring out the famous strangers I admire and looking into their presence on the platform.

However, I do follow Lynda Carter. Wonder Woman herself.

Sure, Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman now, too, and she’s good at it with a charisma you can’t quite put your finger on. But Lynda? She’s Lynda.

Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot at the United Nations (2016). Image via DC Comics.

And Lynda Carter continues to embrace and embody the Princess of Power, for nearly two generations now.

When her posts pop up on my Facebook feed, I’m always encouraged by the values she speaks to. Justice, compassion, equality.

As America under Trump embraces xenophobia, racism and nationalism that is still separating children from their undocumented parents and still locking them in cages, Carter promotes a new graphic novel, Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed, that reframes the Amazon princess as a refugee. Carter also worked on the Supergirl TV show playing the U.S. president, who later was outed as an alien refugee.

On the Fourth of July, Carter posted one of her famous photos of Wonder Woman, cape and all, with a note that read, in part: “May we continue to fight for justice, freedom, and a more perfect Union together.”

It was a very muted Independence Day for many.

The pandemic continues to rage. The nation still plays host to nationwide protests after the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many, many more. Black Lives Matter, a movement to end police brutality, keeps pushing outward to dismantle the systems of racist oppression and force a true reckoning with America’s most powerful sins. All while we remain under the nasty whim of the White House occupier and his minions.

The red, black and green of Juneteenth saw greater recognition on my feed than this day of cookouts and Old Glory. Yet Carter posted the red, white and blue while calling for justice as true patriotism, and following up on her post supporting Black Lives Matter.

Another beloved actor known for donning a Stars and Stripes-themed superhero costume walks in Carter’s footsteps. Chris Evans is well known for consistently speaking out on issues of social justice, for years now.

I’ll have to write an entire column about John Boyega, who took to the streets to join anti-racism protests in London, and telling racist Star Wars and Attack the Block fans to fuck off. The man most famous for playing a Stormtrooper who shakes the Empire’s conditioning and joins the rebels, wants the same thing in real life. What a time.

Recently, Carter posted an article about one of DC’s upcoming young adult novels, a reimaging of the character Nubia. In classic Wonder Woman lore, Nubia is a Black Amazon who is Diana’s long-lost twin sister, also fashioned from clay and given life by the gods. In some stories, she’s even worn the mantle of the Amazon champion.

In Nubia: A Real One, perhaps for the first time Nubia will be placed in the hands on Black female creatives: writer L.L. McKinney (A Blade So Black) and artist Robyn Smith (Wash Day). It’s exciting, to say the least. Carter said of Nubia, “She is a star in her own right and I am thrilled that this beloved character is getting the spotlight she deserves!”

Black comic book nerds, often hungry for lack of representation, have long held up Nubia as a character of interest and celebration. On George Perez’s beloved run of Wonder Woman, we saw the addition of Philippus. Depending on the story, Philippus has been a general of the Amazon forces and mentor to a young Diana on Themyscira, as well as personal protector and lover to Queen Hippolyta. And it was damn disappointing in the Wonder Woman movie to see Philippus, played by the physically imposing and beautiful Ann Ogbomo, get little screen time.

If that Amazons spinoff movie ever does get made, as Patty Jenkins & Co. want to do, here’s to hoping that Philippus gets her proper flowers. And, hey, maybe throw Nubia in there as well. Lynda Carter, based on her track record, will be ready to champion the cause.

Carter’s response to the Nubia book is a far cry from the kind of social media messages we see from another actor tied to an iconic role in our geek lives.

Oh, that William Shatner. Lover of shit-posting online, railing against so-called social justice warriors while throwing about terms like “misandry” and “snowflake.” He who thinks any pushback on his opinions, especially from women, are “cancel culture” coming to silence him. He who fell hook, line, and sinker for the police officer crying over a McMuffin. The kind of guy who say “I don’t do politics” if you want to talk about social issues and how they’re connected to politics.

At least he’s for wearing masks in the coronavirus pandemic. Thank Kahless for that.

I can deal with a trolly crank like Shatner. Sometimes.

But J.K. Rowling, our new queen of anti-trans bigotry? The one who just can’t stop posting transphobic content, repeating comments from trans-exclusionary radical feminists (aka TERFs), refuses to heed transgender people, and calls for the same hard definitions of “biological sex” as the Trump administration, but says she’s for equality?

It’s horrible, and sad, and not a single, well-sourced rebuttal appears to move her. That’s how it goes with bigots.

It’s even more horrible and sad that Rowling does this while having accrued wealth and influence by writing and entwining herself in books about marginalized kids using their power to fight hegemonic evil … to advocate against a heavily marginalized group. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Eddie Redmayne, among many others whose lives were forever transformed by the existence of Rowling’s work, have spoken against Rowling and her bigotry.

Rowling knows she will be believed more than actual trans people and decades of proper research. She is doing all this – normalizing the misinformation from the self-styled “gender critical” that brings real harm to people – at an apparently pivotal moment for trans visibility and where rights protections for them may go.

It makes me very angry because Rowling, and all these transphobes, are so clearly wrong: in thought process, in logic, in execution. They think themselves champions of doing the right thing while failing to see their stances for the bigotry it is, and how this bigotry invites harm to the most vulnerable.

It leaves me fearful for my transgender friends, because of the indignities they endure – degradation that could mean death. It hits even harder for me because Black trans women receive the worst of this abuse, and so much of it comes from people in the combination of categories I fit into: straight, Black, cisgender and male. No one can say Black Lives Matter without including Black trans lives.

Lynda Carter, in 2018, said the following in an interview with Freedom For All Americans about LGBTQ+ people lacking protection against being fired, evicted, or denied access to public spaces simply because of who they are, especially regarding transgender people:

Wait…that has to be against the law, right? Sex discrimination is illegal. … That includes sexual orientation and gender identity though, doesn’t it? It has to. Why wouldn’t it? This whole debate is just ridiculous — I don’t understand why people care so much. Why is this an issue? … It’s even more frustrating to me because a lot of the people making these laws or discriminating against others are from my generation, and we experienced so much of this first hand, whether it was the civil rights movement or the women’s rights movement — we saw exactly how this affected people. How does someone being who they are have an effect on anyone else’s life? I don’t know that I’ll ever understand that. … I just can’t believe we are still having this conversation, which has been happening for my entire life … my entire life.

On June 15, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. Until that decision, it was legal in more than half of the states to fire workers for being gay, bisexual or transgender. And this happens while the Trump administration keeps trying to legislate transgender people out of existence – banning them from military service, undoing health care protections.

Carter wrote on Instagram, under a photo of her at a Pride march holding a rainbow flag, “A victory for LGBTQ rights is a victory for us all. Happy Pride!”



View this post on Instagram


A victory for LGBTQ rights is a victory for us all. Happy Pride! ?️‍?

A post shared by Lynda Carter Official (@reallyndacarter) on

So remember, geeks: For all the William Shatners and J.K. Rowlings who lustily and enthusiastically fail to live up to the ideals of the fictions they created and embodied, there are a bunch of Lynda Carters, too.



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