Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness isn’t coming to audiences in Saudi Arabia. While no iron-clad reason has been stated, the writing is on the wall and America Chavez is the reason. Played by Xochitl Gomez, her character is gay. Not subtle gay, not I’m not sure about it gay. She’s straight-up queer and has no qualms being who she is in the comics where she was born.
The problem comes down to Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality of any sort is illegal. It’s a reminder that while the world has grown and changed in so many fascinating ways, there are still places that see the LGBTQ community as a threat instead of a group of people trying to live their lives. And it’s fear at the mere prospect of change that keeps those stuck in the past, where they are now when it comes to the rights of LGBTQ people.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened either in the region, when it comes to censorship of film due to LGBTQ characters like in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Eternals was banned because of its inclusion of a lovely gay couple. West Side Story, which has its own set of issues, was banned for having a transgender character in the new adaptation of the classic.
The fact of the matter is that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and America Chavez is only the beginning of LGBTQ representation on our screens. And that’s a good thing.