How Xochitl Gomez Defied Stereotypes and Prejudices As America Chavez in ‘Doctor Strange’

America Chavez BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of BELatina/Marvel.

A few weeks ago, the world was ready to enjoy the movie “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” — or so it seemed. Censors in countries like Saudi Arabia refused to release the film in the country because of the presence of LGBTQ+ characters in the script.

It was about the character America Chavez played by Latina actress Xochitl Gomez. In the 12-second segment, Gomez’s character refers to her “two moms,” which seemed offensive to the media in the Arab country.

As reported by Variety, the premiere of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” was initially scheduled for May 5 in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. Films containing sex, homosexuality, and religious issues are routinely cut in the region to comply with censorship rules. Last year, the Marvel movie “Eternals” was banned in the region because of a scene with a gay kiss.

But the issue did not stop there.

At only 15 years old, Marvel newcomer Xochitl Gómez had to face cyber-harassment for her role. America Chavez is a lesbian and of Latin American descent, two traits that, for most, represent a step up in representation on the big screen.

As reported by The Direct, Gomez has been bombarded with attacks for her most recent Instagram post. The completely unacceptable harassment comes days after Marvel Studios confirmed her character’s LGBTQIA+ status, which has led to the film being banned in some regions.

Many have personally blamed Gomez for the ban, with one commenter calling her “the reason [they] can’t watch the movie [at the] cinema.”

Another called for the actress to “get out of the Marvel universe” and accused her of “[destroying] Marvel [for] so many countries.”

However, neither the harassment nor the violence of radicalized fans has eroded the young actress’ spirit.

Speaking to Marvel.com, Xochitl Gomez details her journey into the mind-bending MCU with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Upon discovering that she would be introducing America Chavez to the MCU, Gomez dove into the comics and “instantly fell in love with her,” noting her character’s confidence as a stand-out trait and just “a total baddie.” Gomez loves how the filmmakers were at times loyal to the comics but also presented a new introduction to the fan-favorite character by making her 14 years old, younger than the character has been seen in the comics, in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

“You can definitely see the beginning stages of what future America might become,” reflects Gomez. “I took stuff that was in the comics and kind of lightened it up since she’s less experienced. She’s younger than any of her known appearances in the comics, and I think you can see that. It was a fun challenge exploring what a younger and less experienced America might be, but also hinting towards the serious leader she would soon become. I wanted to keep that kid energy and a little bit of that fake-it-till-you-make-it confidence.”

For the producers and directors, Gomez’s talent and America Chavez’s character are critical.

“This character was important to me for many personal reasons, but also because it was important that we make the effort to have every kid in this world represented in our universe, and she represents both the LGBTQ+ and Latinx community,” said Victoria Alonso, President, Physical and Postproduction, Visual Effects, and Animation Production at Marvel Studios. “It’s the type of character I’ve been waiting to see us have since we started this journey with Iron Man back in 2008. I’m so happy she is part of the MCU family, and I know she will be a great addition.”