"Influence," the first of the latest batch of Young Justice season 3 episodes, has revealed that one of the junior Justice League members is genderqueer: Halo. This revelation is less shocking than it might seem, however, given the background of the character in question and their unique circumstances.
DC Comics has been strongly encouraging LGBTQIA representation in their comics and their adaptations in recent years. Both Wonder Woman and Catwoman were confirmed as bisexual in their solo series and Harley Quinn's long-hinted romance with Poison Ivy is slatted to be explored in an upcoming DC miniseries. John Constantine, who has been portrayed as bisexual in the comics since the 1980s, was depicted with a steady boyfriend in Legends of Tomorrow season 4. Plus, The CW will be premiering a Batwoman series later this year in which the central character is openly lesbian (and so is the main actress, Ruby Rose). Yet Young Justice hasn't revealed any of its characters as non-heterosexual until now.
"Influence" sees the four youngest members of the Outsiders - Terra, Geo-Force, Halo and Forager - being recruited to officially join the Justice League's covert-operations team. Upon welcoming them to the Justice League's base, the Watchtower, team leader Ms. Martian comments that it's nice to see another non-Earthling on the team, making reference to Forager's status as an outcast from the bug-people of New Genesis. Tigress agrees, saying that she thinks its nice to see more girls on the team and that they're keeping pace with the boys. This leads Halo to announce that they are not really sure if they are a girl or a boy, despite their human female body.
The character of Halo has been something of an enigma since first introduced at the start of Young Justice season 3. Originally a servant in the palace of the Markovian Royal Family, Halo was apparently killed during an attempted coup but was inexplicably resurrected with strange light-based powers and no memory of who they had been. With the aid of the Outsiders, Halo learned to master their powers, which included the ability to generate Boom Tubes - portals between two points in space. When Halo displayed this final power and Forager compared their abilities to those of a Motherbox (the living computers used by the New Gods) the Outsiders realized that the soul of a dissected Motherbox they had found in a Markovian lab must have found its way into a dying woman's body, transforming them into a new kind of being.
Halo explains to the rest of the team that they have been coming to terms with her new identity in the wake of the revelation that their soul came from an alien machine and that they have realized that "despite my outward appearance, I do not know that I am a girl or a boy, as Earth languages define the words." When Geo-Force, who is in a romantic relationship with Halo, expressed his confusion, asking if the fact that Halo's soul came from a Motherbox denotes a feminine nature, Halo explains that "Motherbox" is an English approximation of the New God word for what they were. Halo says there's no real way to explain it beyond saying that whatever they are now; they are "just me." This is more than good enough for Geo-Force, who squeezes Halo's hand all the tighter when they ask him if it's okay that they're not sure if they are a woman or not.
While some viewers may object to this exploration of gender issues in the middle of a superhero show like Young Justice, this sort of story is hardly unusual for DC Comics. Moreover, science fiction has long been used as a means of examining real-world issues from a distance, as shown in the vast majority of Twilight Zone episodes. Whatever Halo might be - biological or mechanic, boy or girl - they are a hero, first and foremost.