The New 'Power Rangers' Movie Is a Big Win for Diversity

March 25th 2017

Kyle Fitzpatrick

This post contains multiple spoilers about the “Power Rangers” movie.

The new “Power Rangers” movie is currently out in theaters and intends to do a lot more than rake in those nostalgia dollars — it's actually a huge moment for superhero movies.

As many outlets are reporting, Trini — the Yellow Ranger played by Becky G — is queer.

The character’s sexual orientation is revealed in a scene where Trini admits she isn’t having boyfriend problems but rather girlfriend problems.

This is reportedly the first “big-budget superhero movie to feature an LGBT protagonist,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

Reactions to the news have mostly been positive.

Many have seen this portrayal as an overwhelming sign of progress for the movie industry and support for marginalized individuals.

Others have taken a more cynical view: The Power Rangers have always been queer or that such characterization isn’t as thorough as it could be.

 But the Yellow Ranger isn’t the only character who is different.

While a lot of the conversation about the new "Rangers" movie has to do with Trini, she isn’t the sole superhero breaking stereotypes. Billy — the Blue Ranger played by RJ Cyler — is on the autism spectrum

The reactions to this have been similarly warm, highlighting how the film is a shining example of multi-tiered equality.

The Blue Ranger’s being autistic fits in with a recent wave of autistic characters in media. From the recent addition of an autistic puppet in “Sesame Street” to Symmetra in “Overwatch” being on the spectrum, media representation of autism appear to be on the rise.

Reminder: representation matters.

When the media reflects a diverse society, everyone benefits as these measures work to thwart stereotypes.

There are many examples of this, on both sides of the coin. When representation of gay and lesbian characters in media increased in the 2000s, some viewers cited TV and film representation as the reason why they viewed LGBT people favorably. When black men are portrayed in a distorted manner in media, attitudes toward them are exaggerated, lack sympathy, and are generally antagonistic.

Although the new "Power Rangers" might seem like typical Hollywood fare, the film is doing a lot more than fighting on-screen monsters.