The newest character to join the MCU is at the center of yet another foreign release ban. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness character America Chavez (played by Xochitl Gomez) is the newest LGBTQIA+ character to appear in the MCU and some countries are not happy about it.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar have all banned the Doctor Strange sequel due to the character’s sexual orientation and origin story that involves having two mothers. We saw a ban (with the same reasoning) in November 2021 when Eternals premiered and showed the MCU’s very first on-screen gay couple, Phastos and his partner Ben.
Nawaf Alsabhan, Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of cinema classification, told AFP (via The Guardian) that Disney is unwilling to remove “barely 12 seconds” from the film in which Gomez’s character refers to her “two moms.”
“It’s just her talking about her moms, because she has two moms and being in the Middle East, it’s very tough to pass something like this. We sent it to the distributor, and the distributor sent it to Disney, and Disney has told us they are not willing.”
Who is America Chavez?
America Chavez was first introduced in Vengeance #1 (September 2011) as Marvel’s first LGBTQIA+ Latina superhero. Along with superpowers such as flight and super strength, her primary power is the ability to punch star-shaped holes into other dimensions. Chavez would eventually go on to work with superhero groups like the Young Avengers and even become close friends with Hawkeye successor, Kate Bishop.
America Chevez’s origin story was never fully disclosed in Vengeance, but in the second volume of Marvel’s Young Avengers we learned that she was born outside the traditional multiverse, in a realm called the Utopian Parallel. This realm was said to have been created by the Demiurge, the sentient life force of Earth’s biosphere, which created the Elder Gods eons ago.
Chavez’s mothers were rulers of this Earth-like world in the Utopian Parallel. A series of black holes were threatening to collide the Utopian Parallel into the conventional multiverse, and her mothers died attempting to prevent that multiversal disaster from happening. At only 6 years old, America escaped to Earth-616 (the Marvel Comics base universe), where the Santana family of Washington Heights, NY, adopted her.
As she grew older, she became a neighborhood hero, but her foster family disapproved. She ditched their last name and took on her original, Chavez. Eventually, at age 16, she joined several super teams, most notably the Young Avengers.
Now, this is where things start to get a little confusing. Just last year, America Chavez’s original origin took a huge turn. In America Chavez: Made in the USA, it is revealed that Chavez’s mothers, Amalia and Elena, were actually Earth scientists working to cure a degenerative disease called Edge’s Syndrome. This rare condition, which affected only those with xx chromosomes, was afflicting their daughter, America. She learned all this from her previously unknown sister, Catalina. The Utopian Parallel wasn’t what she believed it was but inside an island facility run by a billionaire named Mr. Gales.
On this island facility, Mr. Gales created a contained pocket dimension, this “Utopian parallel,” where time moved slower. It was there that Gale would study America and other young children afflicted with Edge’s Syndrome in isolation. However, when America and Catalina’s mothers discovered that Mr. Gales’ intentions were not as benevolent as they seemed, they tried to help their children escape and died in doing so.
Photos via Marvel