Why It Matters That DC Comics Confirmed Wonder Woman’s Bisexuality

Wonder Woman is queer. Current Wonder Woman author Greg Rucka confirmed what most of us have suspected for years during an interview with Comicality:

[Y]es, [Wonder Woman is queer]. I think it’s more complicated though. This is inherently the problem with Diana: we’ve had a long history of people — for a variety of reasons, including sometimes pure titillation, which I think is the worst reason — say, “Ooo. Look. It’s the Amazons. They’re gay!”

And when you start to think about giving the concept of Themyscira its due, the answer is, “How can they not all be in same sex relationships?” Right? It makes no logical sense otherwise.

It’s supposed to be paradise. You’re supposed to be able to live happily. You’re supposed to be able — in a context where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for that happiness is to have a partner — to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship. And the only options are women.

But an Amazon doesn’t look at another Amazon and say, “You’re gay.” They don’t. The concept doesn’t exist.

Now, are we saying Diana has been in love and had relationships with other women? As Nicola and I approach it, the answer is obviously yes.

And it needs to be yes for a number of reasons. But perhaps foremost among them is, if no, then she leaves paradise only because of a potential romantic relationship with Steve [Trevor]. And that diminishes her character. It would hurt the character and take away her heroism.

This shouldn’t come as a bold declaration since the character originates from an island completely devoid of men. But it is. As a bisexual woman, Rucka’s acknowledgment was the equivalent of letting out a breath I didn’t know I was holding.

Rucka gets so many things right here that I got a little verklempt the first time I read it. Bisexuality (and pansexuality) in particular oftentimes gets overlooked in the LGBTQA community. So to have one of the most recognizable superheroes on the planet finally, officially come out of the closet is a reason for celebration. Especially a week after Bisexuality Awareness Day.

No, Wonder Woman is not her sexual orientation. But having her confirmed as a queer character is a huge leap forward in humanizing those of us that fall somewhere between straight and gay on the LGBT spectrum. Diana Prince is a compassionate hero, a grizzled warrior, an adept diplomat…and a bisexual.

The whole interview is worth your time, as Rucka goes on to discuss being cognizant of being a straight white man writing this extremely not straight white male story. I know I gave DC a lot of flack when they brought Rucka on, but as the series has progressed he has shown great compassion for Diana and her world.

Wonder Woman is queer. She always has been. It is part of her original make-up. Creator William Moulton Marston was famously engaged in a (at the time hidden) polyamorous BDSM relationship with his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston and partner Olive Byrne*. Those choices would be outside the mainstream today, much less in the 1940s. And yet, Marston and artist Harry G. Peter put out comics in which it was heavily implied the women of Paradise Island were not nuns.

Image Credit: DC Entertainment

*The Smithsonian has a great history of Marston’s life.

And yet in the past, getting DC Entertainment to admit Diana Prince is — at the very least — bisexual has been difficult. Even with properties such as Bombshells and Legend of Wonder Woman, where the authors come right up to the edge of putting Diana into a same-sex relationship, there’s always a veil of vagueness over it. Later this month, I have an interview with Wonder Woman: The True Amazon author Jill Thompson where she hedges over whether or not the main relationship in her novel is a love story. Had Diana been Dan, it wouldn’t even be a question that needed to be asked.

Which brings up an interesting point. It’s fantastic that Rucka has finally spoken on the elephant in the room but there has been sizable pushback from the comics LGBT community on social media that Diana needs to acknowledge her status on the comic page. Wonder Woman needs to say “Yes, I am queer.” On the one hand, I’m glad we’ve mostly moved past this kind of a ‘Very Special Episode’ where the minority character speaks directly to the audience. On the other hand, it still feels necessary. Today’s queer-coding can easily turn into tomorrow’s queer-baiting. See Marvel’s backpedaling on Hercules being bisexual.

Comics are always in flux and as long as Diana’s past relationships with women are in the realm of suggestion and implication it will be easier for a future author to undo all of Rucka’s good work. Having Diana talk about her past or present same-sex relationship(s) isn’t a guarantee of future acknowledgment, but it can be utilized as a talisman to hold up against future backsliding into obfuscating Wonder Woman’s sexual orientation. The Amazon Princess has already had to deal with a writer saying the character isn’t feminist. If someone had taken a moment to have Diana say ‘Yes, I am a feminist’ that embarrassing faux pas might not have occurred. Words matter. Saying them out loud gives them weight. The interview was a great first step. Now take another.