'Batgirl' casts Ivory Aquino to play first-ever Trans character in DC movie

The Filipino-American Transgender actress will play Batgirl's best friend in the upcoming movie.

Split screen: Trans actress Ivory Aquino (left), Batgirl character Alysia Yeoh (right)
Image: Via Twitter

Time to celebrate for LGBTQ+ comics fans as Ivory Aquino will star in Batgirl, reaching no less than two milestones in doing so. She will be the first openly Trans woman to star in a DC Comics film and she will play the role of the first Trans character to ever appear in a live-action title from the famous media franchise.

A Filipino-American actress, Aquino is already famous for her role as Trans activist Cecilia Chung in When We Rise, ABC’s mini-series on the history of LGBTQ+ rights advocacy in the US. It was during a press conference for the docu-series in 2017 that the actress decided to publicly come out as Trans.

Aquino is also an outspoken activist for Trans rights herself and was a vocal critic of the Trump administration and the impact it had on Trans lives.

As for her role in Batgirl, she will play bartender Alysia Yeoh, the superhero’s best friend and flatmate. The character first appeared in a 2011 issue of Batgirl written by Gail Simone and illustrated by Ardian Syaf. At the time, this was also the very first major Trans character to be written into a mainstream comic book.

The news that Ivory Aquino would be starring in Batgirl first leaked earlier in January when actress Leslie Grace, who plays the superhero herself, shared a photo of the set on her Instagram stories, tagging Aquino and writing their characters’ names as a caption.

Aquino’s casting seems to be part of a broader move towards increased LGBTQ+ representation in superhero adaptations. Recently, the first Trans superhero to ever appear on TV was included in the CW series Supergirl. Moreover, Marvel’s Eternals featured the first major LGBTQ+ superhero to ever appear in a major Hollywood franchise.

Although there are no specifics regarding the film’s plot, we know that the story will centre around Barbara Gordon, Batgirl’s alias and daughter of the famous Gotham police commissioner, Jim Gordon. For DC LGBTQ+ fans, this film is an occasion to finally witness some Trans representation alongside some of the characters that they love.

Batgirl is set to be released on the streaming platform HBO Max in 2022, although no official date has been set yet.

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