Why ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Rosa Coming Out as Bi Is Good News for All Latinas

When I was a teenager and dealing with feelings of attraction to both men and women, I didn’t really have any Latinx role models to look up to. The only bisexual person I knew at the time was Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Although that character ultimately helped me come out, I really wish I could have had an out and proud Latina to look up to. On last night’s episode of Brooklyn 99, Stephanie Beatriz’s character Rosa Diaz came out as bisexual—and gave hope to queer Latinas everywhere.

The scene came as a complete surprise to me, a longtime fan of the show, when Rosa’s ever-inquisitive co-worker Charles (played by Joe Lo Truglio) tried to find her a new boyfriend and then questioned why a woman on the phone with Rosa called her “babe.” The emotionally guarded, tight-lipped badass detective tried at first play it off, until finally she admitted that she was dating a woman and was, in fact, bisexual. While she still didn’t particularly want to talk about all of the details of her life, the revelation was still one that shocked and delighted fans.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Beatriz revealed how the writers made the decision to have Rosa come out as bisexual shortly after Beatriz herself came out on Twitter last year. She also spoke about why it’s so important to see LGBT and specifically bisexual representation on television, saying:

“Oftentimes bi characters are hyper-sexualized 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. And they’re really taken in by all of us. There’s a reason that people sometimes think bisexuality is not something that’s a real thing, which is so mind-boggling to me, but I can see how that might happen if that access isn’t there. How are you ever going to appreciate, I don’t know, the color blue if you’ve never ever seen it, you’re just going to be terrified of this weird thing — there’s this weird mix of green and yellow, and you don’t understand it at all.”

To that, she gets a round of applause!

For me personally, it was difficult to come out as bisexual because I simply didn’t know or see anyone else who was like me. As I got older, Sara Ramirez’s character, Dr. Callie Torres, on Grey’s Anatomy, came out as bisexual and that was a big help. But, to be honest, we need more representation on television of queer Latinx characters—and this is a great start.

For her part, Beatriz thinks that Rosa’s bisexuality will not come as a surprise to anyone who is “any kind of LGBTQ teen who’s desiring representation on TV.” And in fact, Twitter reactions have been positive and congratulatory.

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