Apr 5, 2017

New Power Rangers Movie Features First Openly Gay Superhero

If you follow kid culture or grew up in the 90s, you know about Power Rangers.  Power Rangers was a television series that featured superheroes.  The superheroes were teenagers who were recruited and trained by a mentor to morph into "Power Rangers."  When the kids became Power Rangers they were able to utilize special powers and pilot immense assault machines, called Zords, to overcome the villains.

The show became very popular with kids and made a wave in popular culture.  Action figure toys and other merchandise had generated over 6 billion dollars by 2001.  The Power Rangers franchise has continued and as of this year consists of 24 television seasons, 20 different themed series and two movies, with a third movie that just hit theaters a few weeks ago.

Many parents, especially Millennial parents, who grew up with the Power Rangers, may take their kids to the movie or watch it at home with them when it comes out on DVD or pay-per-view.  But before they do so, they will want to be aware that the reboot features an openly gay Power Ranger character.  In the movie, there's a scene in which the Power Rangers are involved in some squad bonding.  The Yellow Power Ranger, who is a girl, reveals that she doesn't want her "strait-laced" family involved in her relationships. They learn that she is questioning her sexual orientation.  One of the other characters first assumes she is having boyfriend problems, but then realizes she is actually having "girlfriend problems."  It's a small moment, but one of the directors called it a "pivotal" moment for the entire film. 

In the original Power Rangers series, the Yellow Ranger was portrayed as a straight character.  This change in the new movie comes on the heels of Disney's Beauty and the Beast remake, in which Josh Gad plays a gay character, LeFou.  Both of these reflect an ongoing effort to normalize sexual behavior outside of God's design and plan.  And don't expect it to stop with what some would call simple "casual inclusion."  The push to move beyond casual inclusion and into all out celebratory mode in mainstream family programming will continue.

As I stated in an article about the "gay moment" in the recent Beauty and the Beast movie, as Christ-followers, I believe our response should not be "freaking out" but one of speaking the truth in love.  We should also use it as an opportunity to have conversations with our kids that empowers them to develop a Biblical worldview of sexuality.  A worldview that lines up with God's design and plan of sex being reserved for one man and one woman inside the institution of marriage.

I've often quoted the statement from George Barna that says "In the race to a child's heart, the first one there wins."  The fact that the Yellow Power Ranger, who is questioning her sexual orientation, is a teenager shows how vital it is that we help kids gain a Biblical foundation so they can properly navigate a culture that will tell them the opposite as they grow up. 

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