The X-Men’s resident telepath Jean Grey outs Iceman as gay in All New X-Men #40. She makes the revelation after he comments on the hotness of the provocatively dressed superheroine Magik. These aren’t the modern X-Men but their younger selves, who time travel to the present. Iceman initially denies it and notes that his older self isn’t gay. Jean seems to confirm this and calls it a “unique situation.”
Author Brian Michael Bendis tweeted that it was his intention for the announcement to come out without any controversy but that’s naive if not disingenuous wishful thinking. Jean consoles Iceman by telling him that homosexuality isn’t a concern in the modern age but that clearly isn’t the case based on criticism from religious leaders like Franklin Graham, who called it gay propaganda.
“There are thousands if not millions of stories of people who, for many different reasons, felt the need to hide their sexuality,” Bendis told CNN. “The X-Men, with the conceit of time travel, give us a fascinating platform in which to examine such personal journeys. This is just the first little chapter of a much larger story that will be told.”
Bendis seems to be implying that adult Iceman is living a lie. On the off-chance Marvel isn’t about to obliterate half a century of canon for the sake of political correctness, there is a more reasonable explanation. Young Iceman may have turned gay, or at least became open to the possibility, after being transformed by the Black Vortex, which is not a euphemism. Several of members of the X-Men including Iceman are imbued with cosmic power by the magical mirror gifted by space gods known as Celestials. An elvish looking Iceman renounces the power in Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men Black Vortex Omega #1. The Black Vortex’s guardian, Gara, warns them that the mirror is unpredictable except that “no one can use the Vortex and remain unchanged.” Cosmically powered Cyclops appears to revert back to normal but Jean scans him presumably to know if he’s still on track to become a mutant revolutionary like his older self. She discovers the change didn’t occur in his mind but in his heart. It’s possible that Iceman experienced a similar change of heart.
Iceman has had many heterosexual love interests whom he benignly kidnaps in Astonishing X-men #64. He’s infected by a fragment of the Death Seed used by Apocalypse to create his Horseman of Death. He subconsciously creates ice clones to protect his ex-girlfriends from his dark side. An Iceman clone kisses Mystique and tells her that he “genuinely” loved her. It’s clear this is not a platonic love as evidenced by the fact he only kidnaps ex-girlfriends but not friends or family.
Jean suggests Iceman’s failed relationships are a sign of homosexuality but if that’s the litmus test then Tony Stark AKA Iron Man is among countless other superheroes playing for the other team. Most people might not care about retconning the sexuality of a relatively minor superhero like Iceman but just imagine if DC Comics announced Superman is gay. It would taint the love story between Superman and Lois Lane as nothing more than a confused phase.