From the comic books to the big screen, Deadpool has made his mark as a fan favorite. Wade Wilson has used his fourth-wall-breaking narration to absolute gruesome (and gleeful) perfection, showcasing his antics and celebrating them. You can step into any comic con, in any country, and find yourself staring at a sea of familiar red and black masks.
People use his character to have fun. With sarcastic quips and playful nature – the character has been immortalized in movies by Ryan Reynolds – people have had fun masquerading as him. In many ways, the persona of Deadpool has the complexities and the carnage to challenge the status quo. He is ridiculous and hilarious – isn’t that what we should all be striving for? Too, there is definitely one way in which I relate to Deadpool – through his pansexuality.
Pansexuality is an often-debated term when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. It often is used in a hostile conjuncture with bisexuality as many believe that the terms oppose one another. Really, like sexuality itself, the terms are fluid and dependent on context. For example, bisexuality doesn’t discount transgender or non-binary people.
For myself, however, pansexuality is a term that truly encompasses that I am attracted to people regardless of gender. As David Rose puts it so eloquently in Schitt’s Creek, I like the wine and not the label. But you can use the terms yourselves whichever way you want – it is all down to how one wishes to express one’s feelings.
Ironically, the Merc with a Mouth has had a murky history with his own sexuality. Whilst reading the comics and watching the films, I have also presumed Deadpool to be pansexual. He flirts openly with men, women, demons, and death. However, upon further research, it turns out he has never had a set sexuality. When challenged by a fans essay, creator Fabian Nicieza did state he was invented to be fluid (due to his cancerous cells, which makes me want to do a Piccard facepalm), and that he often bounced between gay and straight.
I get the unwillingness to label a popular character, but sweeping generalizations about sexualities do more damage than not. If he is designed to slide between the two, then there’s a term for it: pansexual.
In articles from Syfy and The Guardian, and indeed with fans scouring the pages of Marvel, there is a lot of evidence that points towards Deadpool’s sexuality. In many sequences, Deadpool has flirted heavily with Spider-Man and Wolverine – pulling them into physical embraces that would be perceived as romantic and sensual if the recipient were a woman. However, in the comics, Deadpool has only ever had relationships with female characters – or has he?
Deadpool’s most famous relationships are with a demon named Shiklah and the cosmic entity Death. They present mostly as female but are objectively fluid in gender and have appeared in the comics in many forms, and Deadpool has had no qualms about this. Shiklah even transforms into a being without genitals or breasts, where Deadpool is attracted to them mid-transformation. Regardless, Deadpool’s sexuality has been conflated (in a good way, I reckon) to the point where the general consensus deems Deadpool to be pansexual and proudly so.
Even director Tim Miller wished to express it in his films with Reynolds supporting the fact. In Deadpool 2, most of the marketing, along with some of its in-film jokes, implied Wilson is attracted to Josh Brolin’s sneering Cable. In fact, across both outings, the character makes remarks and even kisses a guy on the cheek, without question. Sadly though, the films never quite make that leap to unambiguous representation. I know it will never be as simple as the character turning to the audience and saying, ‘Oh hey, I’m pansexual,’ but this is Deadpool – it could totally be done, even in a tongue-in-cheek way.
Now is the time for Marvel Comics, and Disney as filmmakers, to take a stand for pansexuals like myself, because if there ever was a character who encompasses free love and an appreciation for all sexes, then it’s him. Acknowledging Deadpool’s fluidity in his sexuality would not only be fantastic representation for the LGBTQ+ community, but it also makes sense for his character. Here is a person who sees others for who they are and is attracted to the whole load of it.
Deadpool deserves that confirmation, as do other LGBTQ+ characters such as Loki. And, importantly, so do we.
Keep an eye out for more Pride-related features, from Doctor Who, to Star Trek, to the MCU…