With those words, The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield has launched a long overdue debate over why virtually every single well-known superhero has remained resolutely heterosexual ever since Superman first appeared wearing a skin-tight costume and bright red briefs.
At least, Garfield should have launched that debate. Instead, the reaction has largely been knee-jerk trolls posting in all caps about a gay agenda, while gay and gay-friendly geeks swoon at Garfield’s refreshing attitude.
Meanwhile, the actor’s central question — why can’t Peter Parker be gay, or at least be, you know, bi-curious? — has gone rather unexplored. Perhaps it’s because at first glance, the question seems intractably depressing to answer, inviting the kind of cynical “because mainstream America would reject a gay Spider-Man” shrug that makes you hate people in general for sucking so much. Or, conversely, the question seems so rhetorical — “Because of course he should be!” — that trying to answer it feels maybe a little dumb.