WARNING: Spoilers Ahead
Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine reached a milestone on Nov. 5: the airing of their 99th episode. And it certainly lived up to the hype. The biggest revelation from the episode was that Detective Rosa Diaz, one of the main characters, is bisexual and is currently dating another woman (though it is not much of a surprise if you ask the die-hard fans of the show).
Rosa being bisexual is something the show’s fans have been advocating for years, and the actress who plays Rosa, Stephanie Beatriz, has always wholeheartedly supported the idea. In fact, in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Beatriz said the following when asked where the idea of Rosa being bisexual originated from:
“I think I mentioned something. There’s a great episode (Season 1’s “The Vulture”) where Jake and Rosa mention Tonya Harding, and Rosa off the cuff says, ‘Yeah, she’s thick,’ as a compliment to Tonya. Ever since the episode, which was pretty early on, I thought, ‘Oh, Rosa is not heterosexual. She’s much more open to being bi or queer than I would have thought before.'”
There are so many things that make this new storyline incredibly important. First and foremost, it is one of the few bisexual representation in mainstream media. Rosa even said the word “bi” twice in this episode, which may not seem like a big deal, until you realize that so many shows avoid using that word and instead opt for the “I don’t like labels” phrase.
Second of all, Stephanie Beatriz herself is bisexual and came out about a year ago. Many of the few LGBT+ characters on TV are played by straight actors, and the fact that Rosa Diaz is played by an actual bisexual woman is a huge deal.
When non-bisexual people try writing stories about someone who is bisexual, there is a lot of room for inaccuracy. Having an actual bisexual person means real experiences being used in the story line, and it allows the character to be much more authentic.
Beatriz herself is not afraid to openly talk about bisexuality and the importance of bisexual representation. In that same interview with Entertainment Weekly, she said:
“Oftentimes bi characters are hypersexualized and sometimes duplicitous, and they’re playing both sides, or they’re simply defined by their sexuality and not by anything else. That’s not to say that every bi character on TV is like that, but a lot of them are, and that’s disappointing to me as somebody who identifies as bi or queer, because I’m not duplicitous or villainous. [Laughs.] At least I try not to be most of the time in my life. And let’s say you live in a place that you don’t know very many bi people, or you haven’t had access to many people that identify as LGBTQ in your life, and you’re gathering information from television — or let’s say you’re a kid who’s still figuring stuff out about yourself, and you haven’t come out, and you don’t even know who or what you are, and you’re seeing images of parts of yourself reflected in TV — the way other characters respond to a mirror of yourself, those messages are big.”
Brooklyn Nine-Nine has done a great job of portraying women, people of color and gay people properly without stereotypes. The main three women are all independent and badass; the two highest positions are held by black men, one of which (the Captain) is openly gay. Now, having a bisexual, Latina as one of the leads is just another step forward. And I have no doubts that the show will properly portray Rosa’s bisexuality over the course of the show.