Minorities in cartoons: Alysia Yeoh

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is Alysia Yeoh, a supporting character to Barbara Gordon (Batgirl). Alysia first appeared in “Batgirl” (vol. 4) #1 in November 2011. Alysia was created by writer Gail Simone and artist Ardian Syaf.

Background

Batgirl (vol. 4) #45 cover
“Batgirl” (vol. 4) #45 (December 2015). Art by Babs Tarr.

Alysia’s backstory states she moved to the United States from Singapore, and settled into Gotham City. There, Alysia works as a bartender, while also engaged as a painter and an activist (she’s against Bruce Wayne’s gentrification practices). Eventually, Alysia advertises for a new roommate, and finds one—Barbara Gordon. Barbara had recently moved out of her father’s home, and needed a place to stay. Alysia and Barbara quickly warm up to each other, though Alysia suspects Barbara of harboring some sort of secret.

Alysia briefly dates James Gordon Jr., Barbara’s brother in modern comics. (Silver and Bronze Age comics gave Barbara an older brother named Tony.) Unfortunately, Alysia quickly discovers that James is insane and evil. Fortunately, Alysia’s love life improved since, as she eventually marries a woman named Jo in “Batgirl” (vol. 4) #45 (December 2015).

Eventually, Barbara and Alysia have a heart-to-heart talk about their lives. While Barbara reveals more about her background (but not her secret identity as Batgirl), Alysia reveals that she’s transgender. Barbara, of course, doesn’t care, and accepts her new friend.

Outside of the DCU, Alysia’s appeared in “Bombshells,” an alternate-universe digital-first title set during World War II.

Alysia’s earned some attention from mainstream media, though as far as I can tell, she’s yet to appear outside of the realm of comics.

(Updated 3/31/18)

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