*Warning this post will contain spoilers for the episode “Game Night” from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, season 5*
I have recently finished watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine. My friend Gay Wolf strongly recommended it to me and told me about the bisexual and gay representation in the show. Seeing as I have been looking for this kind of representation, I gave it a shot. And am I so glad I did!
The episode “Game Night” of the show Brooklyn Nine-Nine was an intense one for the detective Rosa Diaz and, I suspect, for many of the viewers as well. Rosa came out as bisexual. I feel as if her coming out is a good step towards our representation in the media. Therefore, I think it's only fair to make a post about it. I will try to point out a couple of the things that stuck out to me, as well as why this is such an important episode.
Firstly, I wanted to point out that we were clueless about Rosa’s sexuality for more than four and a half seasons of this show. Most people probably assumed she was straight since it is still the “norm” for most people and most characters in the media. Furthermore, she was dating Adrian, a cis-man, which only reinforced this. As much as having assumed that Rosa was straight annoys me, it also makes me happy. Think about it! If everyone assumed the same thing I did, then her being bi can make people realise that bisexual people actually exist. We may not be easy to “pick out," but there are many bisexuals out there, including myself. We are normal people, just like them. It may also help them understand that being bisexual does not mean that that person is more likely to cheat on their partner. Of course, there are bisexuals who cheat, but guess what, people who identify as any other sexuality are just as likely to do so! Liking more than one gender doesn't automatically mean we will cheat on you. That's why it's great that they made Rosa bisexual! We see her date a man for a long time and she never once even thinks about cheating on him. She may not be a marching pride parade, but she is a great source of representation that most shows don't give us. Most of the time, bisexual characters are represented as cheaters in the media, playing into and reinforcing the stereotype. Just take a look at Maureen in Rent: there is an entire musical number dedicated to her cheating habits. Here is a link for those of you who don't know the song and movie, as I still strongly recommend watching it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0QfCIQgD94
Another thing I loved from this episode is the different questions she got asked throughout. For example, her friend and fellow detective, Amy Santiago asked her “How long have you known?” I love this question. Usually people will ask “How long have you been bisexual?” as if it was something we chose to become when it has simply always been a part of us. Another question Rosa got was “What made you to decide to tell us now?” I like this one because it wasn't asked out of anger for not having been told sooner, but out of sheer curiosity. When I was asked this same question, I could feel my parents’ annoyance in not having known sooner and their fear that I had a girlfriend. Lastly was “How did your parents take it?” This can often be a difficult question to answer. In the show, after asking her this, Jake finds out that Rosa is not out to her parents yet. These three questions are asked with respect in the show, which I adore. When coming out in real life, a lot of us get asked indiscreet and disrespectful questions, or similar questions but with a tone of anger or annoyance, which can be hurtful. Rosa is lucky to have such a supportive and understanding team.
The last thing I would like to discuss about this episode is Rosa’s parents, as they said a couple of things that made me cringe. When Rosa finally decides to come out to them, they don’t take it very well. At first, she meets them at the restaurant with Jake there for support. During this supper, they tell her that they would prefer her being someone's mistress rather than being gay. Later, her parents tell her that they are okay with her being bisexual, since she still likes men, and her father even insists that she will marry a man because “this is just a phase”. Rosa asks them to love her and accept her for who she is. By the end of the episode, her father starts to come around to the idea that she is not straight. Her mother, however, sadly still hasn’t. I understand Rosa’s pain; my parents are still wrapping their heads around the fact that I am bisexual. But, I'm still lucky: they have been very accepting in general, and they’ve been trying really hard to understand. I love them for it. I wish Rosa the same luck as I have, in the end.
Hopefully we will get much more representation like this - true representation - in the future.