I waited to share my thoughts because I let them stew and I was distracted by a ton of nicely done fanfiction (fanfic writers, I love you all for your beautiful artwork and writing and I just appreciate the fuck out of you).
Anyway, so Power Rangers happened last week, have you heard? Have you also heard that the cast of awesome misfits is beautifully diverse even if we still have our “irrelevant white male leader”? Then you may have also heard that Trini Kwan is Latina. And not just Latina, but also potentially queer. The girl doesn’t like labels at the moment, and as a queer Latinx myself I totally understand that for teens and others who are discovering themselves: labels can be a bitch to figure out. So here’s to the label-less Latinx Yellow Ranger giving this next generation of Latinx youth another superhero representative to look up to (shout out to America Chavez whose debut comic recently came out)! Here’s to the questioning youth of all ethnicities and races who can see someone struggle to put a name to who they are and realize they are not alone in the unknown. It takes a lot of guts to admit you don’t know who you are.
For me, the best part was that it did not use up an excess amount of screen time. Trini doesn’t know who she is or who she’s into? Fine, that sucks but her friends will help her through it. The End. Okay, not the end because then we get adorable moments with Zack, that cafe scene with Kimberly that I have too many feelings and theories about, and the powerful heart-wrenching attack by Rita. Trini isn’t some two-dimensional gay going through the same motions. She’s a regular teen that deals with crushes, school, awkwardly normal family with not so normal requests for urine samples, and maybe one psychotic intergalactic baddie that must read minds because I can’t be the only one to notice how many times she touched Trini’s face and lips, right? You guys saw that, too? So I guess what I’m saying is that Trini was a main character treated like a main character and her sexuality wasn’t her only storyline but it consistently existed and was never erased.
This is what we mean by representation. This is what we mean when we say representation matters. Never in my lifetime did I think I would get lucky enough to go to the theaters with my girlfriend and see myself on screen because I never have before. Unless the film is iconic, most Latinx characters are reduced to side roles, hired help, the ignorant immigrant, or worse. Here I have a main character with depth and vulnerability and I see me. If you showed me this film at 17, I have a feeling my journey in life would have been a very different one.