Some Folks Think Midnighter Should Be Biphobic, Yes Really

There’s been a lot of talk about bisexual characters in comic books, namely the erasure of various bisexual characters, and overall lack of bisexual representation in mainstream comic books. Another conversation on bisexual representation cropped up today on Gail Simone’s (Secret Six, Birds of Prey) twitter feed this morning. Namely that Midnighter, the popular gay character currently soloing in his own title written by Steve Orlando with art done mainly by Aco, should be biphobic.

The conversation was sparked by Steamworks Toronto, the twitter account of popular award winning gym and bathhouse for queer men, who tweeted about Catman–who is bisexual and currently appearing in Secret Six–and Midnighter having a fated meeting or crossover – which is a pretty wicked idea that I completely support.

The argument was made that biphobia is a real issue many face within the queer community–which is completely true. In a report released by Movement Advancement Project an independent think tank that focuses on LGBT issues, more than half of the LGBT community identifies as bisexual, yet are among the most invisible within it. We see this erasure of bisexual people in our media, specifically in the recent erasure of Marvel character Hercules within the comic industry. It’s become a frustrating trope that bisexual characters are never allowed by their narratives to state, specifically, that they are, in fact, bisexual. Nicole Kristal, author of The Bisexual Guide to the Universe and creator of the #StillBisexual hashtag campaign, even created a visual series of characters in media who we bisexual without the narrative ever explicitly stating they were bisexual.

Britney S. Pierce from FOX’s Glee in Kristal’s #StillBisexual Visual Campaign

This stereotype, and many other harmful stereotypes of bisexual individuals still heavily permeate our society, including the queer community as a whole. So the conversation should be had, needs to be had, and can be had within the larger more mainstream series of comics being released today.

But Midnighter? Why specifically this character? Because he’s popular? There’s nothing inherent in his characterization as displayed in his New 52 representation that would suggest he would feel this way. Especially considering his overall isolation from the community. Nor is the reason of his popularity necessarily good enough to warrant an overhaul of the character to suit this specifically proposed storyline. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a story to be told here.

There is a very obvious need and justified desire to see more prominent bisexual characters and better bisexual representation in our media. If there are those arguing against that, well, they’re probably biphobic. But these stories shouldn’t be shoehorned into a story simply because it’s popular and handled messily within that story. If anything, such a story should be told from the perspective of a bisexual character.

While there should be more, there are some current big named bisexual characters who are leading their own comic book solo titles. Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Constantine are three of the bigger names, then there’s Voodoo, Alysia Yeoh, Porcelain, Jeanette, and of course Catman. There’s still problems with bisexual erasure in comics, which is a symptom of biphobia. There’s the consistent stream of real world biphobia that reflects itself back into our media by denying the validity of their existence. So a story about a bisexual character or characters dealing with biphobia in various forms is a story more than worth telling; it’s one that should be told, period.

But the medium isn’t without bisexual characters who can tell their own stories. They just need–they deserve–that chance.

UPDATE 12/2/2015:

All’s well that ends well, I suppose. Now lets start talking about how the Justice League Dark movie is probably a-go, and start pushing to make sure the movie doesn’t forget Constantine is bisexual. First big screen queer superhero, lets make it happen.

Desiree Rodriguez

Desiree Rodriguez

Desiree Rodriguez is currently majoring in Converged Communications. She's a writer, geek girl, and proud queer mestiza woman. Desiree is an entertainment writer for The Tempest, and contributor for Nerds of Color. Desiree has written for The Young Folks, The Feminist Wire, and Geeked Out Nation.