The comic book world is about to get its first transgender leading character. The central protagonist in the upcoming superhero series "Alters" is Chalice, a trans "hero for the new age."
“The 'Alters' series focuses on characters that have different forms of disadvantage, whether they are marginalized by society or struggling with their gender identity,” said Paul Jenkins, the comic book's author.
By making Chalice the central character, Jenkins said he wants the audience to experience power with a purpose and wants her "persona to represent something meaningful."
“Her transition is a driving factor of the story," said Jenkins. “[And she] helps other people when she makes a second transition into an Alter and does that through the lens of compassion."
Chalice is one of many "Alters" readers will encounter in the new series. These powerful "mutants" are "emerging all around the country," according to the series' website, but these superheroes are "met with fear, distrust, and prejudice."
Other characters Jenkins plans to include in the series, which will debut in September, include a homeless woman who balances feeding her family with saving her community and a man suffering from PTSD but is still committed to helping others.
Jenkins said his personal experiences ignited his interest in sharing stories about characters who are marginalized. Raised by a bisexual mother, Jenkins recalled how difficult it was for her to come out . He also said the pain he endured after fracturing his neck inspired him to include a quadriplegic character in the upcoming comic book series.
“I just want to share my compassion for people who are struggling in any kind of way,” he added.
Nick Adams, director of GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program, applauded the decision of the "Alters" team to include a trans woman as the comic's central character.
"While transgender characters remain rare on TV and are non-existent in mainstream films, comic books have been giving readers interesting, multidimensional trans characters for quite a while,” he said. “I look forward to reading ‘Alters’ and seeing a trans woman as a true superhero."