Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse banned in UAE over trans flag

Rishabh Sabarwal
Gwen Stacy in Across the Spider-Verse

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several Middle Eastern countries have banned the latest Miles Morales film, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, with many believing it’s due to the trans flag that briefly appears in the movie. Here’s more on the latest turn of events, with fan reactions.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has dominated at the box office and is widely considered to be among the franchise’s finest cinematic outing. Since the film’s initial release, admirers have gushed over its plot, animation techniques, and central characters.

After the events of Into the Spider-Verse, where Miles Morales met other Spider-People like Spider-Gwen in his reality, this new feature finds him back on Earth-1610 as the lone Spider-Man. The film also introduces Miguel O’Hara as Spider-Man 2099, who has established a covert ‘Spider-Society‘ to prevent the collapse of both the canon and the multiverse.

Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker after his transformation into the Lizard in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
The film shows Gwen’s past with Peter and focuses on her identity crisis as Spider-Woman.

Gwen Stacy’s adolescent experience in her own universe and the conflicts she has with her father about her identity are given equal weight to the multiverse adventure that has a lot in store for fans. A trans flag reading “Protect Trans Kids” can be seen hanging on the wall of Gwen’s room in a certain scene.

This sparked widespread speculation online that whether Gwen is a transgender individual or not. UAE and other Middle Eastern countries have opted not to release the film due to the trans flag the film displays in the scene. Here’s what fans had to say about it.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse banned in UAE and Middle East over trans flag in the film

It was first reported by fans on Reddit and other social media platforms that the current Spider-Man film has been banned in their countries due to the trans flag that appears in the film. When fans saw the flag and the film’s color schemes in various sequences, the conversation quickly spread across social media.

As confirmed by Esquire, UAE will not release the film in theaters, and it’s also reported Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern nations have also banned the movie as they believe it encourages homosexuality and contains graphic material, suggesting that it violates their country’s strict laws pertaining to the rights of LGBTQ people.

As the news of the ban broke this morning, theatres immediately deleted the film’s online and offline booking options, and fans who had pre-booked tickets reported receiving full refunds. The original release date of June 22, 2023 has now been cancelled.

One such fan who has already seen the film defended the movie by commenting, “That’s literally it. Nothing else. There’s absolutely nothing LGBTQ+ about this film other than that ONE frame in a 2 hour and 20 minute movie.”

Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Across the Spider-Verse emphasizes on the personal journeys of every Spider-Person and the conflicts they face.

Another fan who had been waiting for the film responded furiously with their thoughts by saying, “THIS SUCKS! I’ve never missed a movie with Spider-Man in it since 2012. I was badly waiting for this one. This ban ends my streak.”

A similar ban was struck to the Disney Pixar film Lightyear, which also had several content hinting towards the protagonist’s gender identity as a homosexual. While there has been no news about a digital or Blu-Ray release of the film or an official word from Sony Pictures on the matter, fans can only hope to watch Across the Spider-Verse once it streams online.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is in cinemas now. Check out our other coverage below:

About The Author

Rishabh is a Games Writer at Dexerto. He's our Fortnite expert and knows all there is about the Looped Island and the Zero Point. He comes with an experience in films and storytelling in India and has past experience covering Roblox, Fortnite and PlayStation titles for reputed publications. You can contact Rishabh at: rishabhsabarwal@dexerto.com