In another win for LGBTQIA+ representation, Ivory Aquino is set to make her blockbuster debut as Alysia Yeoh in the Batgirl movie.
Representation in media, especially about race and gender, has always been important, but now so more than ever. People are no longer okay with inaccurate, stereotypical, or patronizing portrayals in movies, films, and other forms of entertainment. This holds true whether it be a small production or a major motion picture. And speaking of, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) just made a major step in representation with the casting of its historic transgender character. And she’s going to be played Ivory Aquino, a Filipina-American trans actress.
THE DCEU’S FIRST TRANS CHARACTER
As confirmed by Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter, Ivory Aquino was cast to play Alysia Yeoh in the Batgirl movie. Speculation initially ran when Leslie Grace, the actress playing Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, posted a picture on IG stories of her and Ivory together on set and even tagged her. Twitter account Batgirl Film News then shared images on set, which showed Leslie and Ivory filming scenes together.
The character of Alysia Yeoh is groundbreaking in her own right. The first trans character to be ever featured in a mainstream comic, she first appeared in Gail Simone’s Batgirl Vol 4#1 in 2011. In the comics, Alysia is a bartender and Barbara Gordon’s roommate and best friend. Her inclusion in the Batgirl film will be the first time a transgender character has appeared in the DCEU, as well as have a pivotal role in a major comic book movie.
Alysia though isn’t the first time a trans character has appeared in a DC property. In 2018, actress Nicole Maines played Nia Nal, aka the superhero Dreamer, in the Supergirl TV show. On the MCU side, trans actor Zach Barack had a role as one of Peter Parker’s classmates in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
WHO IS IVORY AQUINO?
Ivory Aquino has appeared in her fair share of Hollywood productions. She is most known for playing trans activist Cecilia Chu in 2017’s When We Rise. It was during the press tour for the project that she publicly came out as trans. Her other works include appearances in the Netflix shows When They See Us and Tales of the City, and series like New Amsterdam and Blue Bloods. Ivory also starred in Lingua Franca, which was directed by Filipina trans actress and director, Isabel Sandoval, where she played the role of Trixie. Clearly though, her appearance in the upcoming Batgirl film will be one of, if not her biggest role to date.
According to an interview with People Magazine, Ivory first realized that she was trans when she was five years old. She was born and raised in the Philippines before moving to America when she was in high school as an exchange student. Eventually, she started her journey of transitioning when she was a teenager, fully living out her identity and truth.
AN EXCITING TIME FOR DC FANS
After a tepid 2021, the DCEU is set to make 2022 a banner year with major films like The Batman, Aquaman 2, and The Flash all set for release this year. So, the inclusion of the DCEU’s first trans character in the Batgirl film has us even more excited for what’s to come from DC. With this milestone of inclusion and representation, there is a lot more to relate to and celebrate in the LGBTQIA+ community. And the best part is that a Filipina trans actress is getting her much-deserved time in the spotlight.
Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are directing the film with Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey), writing the script. Other cast members include Brendan Fraser who will play the villain Firefly, Michael Keaton who will suit up once again as Batman, and J.K. Simmons who returns to his role as Commissioner Gordon, the head of the Gotham PD and Barbara’s dad. Plot details are currently under wraps though we do know what Batgirl’s costume will look like. The movie is currently in production in London and is set for a release exclusively on HBO Max this 2022.
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