Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Rosa Diaz Comes Out as Bisexual, Stephanie Beatriz Blesses Us Again

When the internet started spreading rumors that Rosa Diaz was going to come out on Brooklyn 99, I shrugged it off as wishful thinking. I mean, it’s only been the main desire of my heart since I watched the pilot episode in 2013, and that desire only intensified when Stephanie Beatriz casually came out as bisexual on Twitter last year, but come on, it’s a network TV show that already has two Latina characters and a black gay character; no way was Fox going to let the writers make it more diverse. Except I was totally wrong and they totally did! Rosa Diaz absolutely came out as bisexual on last night’s episode, “99,” just said right out loud, “I’m dating a woman. I’m bi.” And that was that.

No, really, it’s Rosa Diaz. That was that. She shut Charles down before he could get the words, “That’s great!” out of his mouth. She revisited it with him at the end of the episode. “I didn’t tell anyone I’m bi because I didn’t think it was anyone’s business,” she told him over a beer at Shaw’s. “And also, I didn’t want anything to change. But it felt really good to finally tell somebody on the squad. And now we go back to never talking about my love life again.”

I was hyped watching “99,” but I got even more excited after the episode when both Entertainment Weekly and Variety published interviews with Stephanie Beatriz. I’ve been doing this job for ten years and the most consistently frustrating thing is trying to get TV writers to listen and believe me when I explain why something is important, why something is harmful, and what makes gay storylines resonate. It feels like yelling at a wall most of the time. But then there’s Stephanie Beatriz, an openly bisexual woman in the room where TV happens. When she pitched the idea to them about Rosa being bi, they told her they’d actually been planning to pitch that to her anyway. And then they sat down with her and talked about what it’s like to be a bisexual Latina in this world.

Usually in interviews like these, it’s just a few sound bites and equivocating about how love is love and the show is still for everyone, but both EW and Variety published Beatriz in full: thoughtful, eloquent answers about why actually saying the word “bisexual” is important, especially on network TV; about the never-ending necessity of queer people seeing themselves reflected on-screen; about the rare joy of being able to relax into a queer storyline because you know the queer character isn’t going to die; about how language in the community continues to evolve as we understand more about the spectrum of gender and sexuality. These are conversations we’re having every day and it’s flabbergasting in the best way to see a queer woman talking about them in the most mainstream entertainment magazines. (You should especially read the EW interview.)

Also! Twitter!

According to Beatriz, Rosa will, in fact, be talking about her love life again. She’s coming out to the whole squad in next week’s 100th episode and later on she’ll be coming out to her parents.


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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Heather has written 599 articles for us.

31 Comments

  1. This is awesome, and will likely make me go back to watching again. I lost patience with the whole Pimento storyline, which coincided with characterization of multiple characters slipping into caricature (ugh, there was such horrible writing for Holt for a while), and everything felt like a parody of itself that didn’t really understand why the show had worked in the first place. Which sucked, because I absolutely love half the actors and enjoyed the first couple of seasons quite a bit.

    But this is great, and sounds like a return to form, and bisexual representation ftw.

      • I’m so glad they ended it (stopped watching before that). It was just SUCH a weird choice to make and have so much of the season hinge on Pimento, between entirely abandoning Rosa’s prior characterization, and they just did so little work trying to get the audience to care about the character in a show that had done such a good job of cultivating characters previously.

  2. This is so awesome just to hear her character say ‘I’m bi’ on TV, in terms of representation and I didn’t even know much I needed it until it happened and my heart was so full it was bursting. Also all the other things like how her character ain’t evil or cheating on someone or gonna be killed off soon, GOSH. I couldn’t stop smiling. It meant so much. It was amazing to see how much it had meant to other fans too.

    ALSO B99 is just an awesome and amazing and hilarious show generally.

  3. I teared up on public transport last night when I saw the “I’m bi” gif, cried more while reading the amazing EW interview, and am now at it again as I read this. Currently basking in that particular representation sweet spot where a character you love in a piece of media you love unequivocally comes out as the same thing you recently came out as and is played by a smart and sweet person who is also that thing!

    Thank you for writing this, Heather! I can’t wait to catch up on the last few episodes of the show, now — I’ve never been so glad to have something spoiled.

  4. This is such a very cool, wonderful, purely good *win* that we all needed. It’s just like, we’ve been talking about this thing for so long — joking about it on twitter and tumblr, saying it off-handedly like if we say it enough it’ll be real — that it’s almost hard to believe that it IS real. But of course it is! Because when you get queer women in the room, making the decisions and choosing the storylines, this stuff will just casually be included!

    That EW interview made me tear up. 2017 has been a stone-cold bummer, but some things about it have been really dang cool.

  5. I was watching the episode last night, and when I heard a woman’s voice coming out of the phone, I sat up. When Rosa said “I’m bi” I stood up and screamed, then immediately came here to see if anything was up about it. I wanted to celebrate with all of you! Bisexual representation ftw.

  6. This show is honestly such a gift. I always assumed they’d never actually make any real comments on Rosa being bisexual even though SHE IS SO OBVIOUSLY BISEXUAL because it’s a comedy show on fox and they had the whole thing with Pimento etc. etc. and then they went there! They just went ahead and said it out loud!

    I wasn’t actually expecting it to have such a serious tone (I’d always assumed it would just be like “oh hey, this is my girlfriend” in the nonchalant matter of fact way Rosa often does things), but I’m not unhappy they treated it like something that matters. Also I’m happy they did it in a way that made Charles not my least favorite character for a minute, and I appreciated how he went right back to nagging her about details at the end (I thought it was sweet).

    I can’t even recall the last time I was surprised in a good way by writers regarding a queer character and I’m so happy it’s on one of my already favorite shows!!

  7. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. I love this show, and I love Rosa, and I love Stephanie Beatriz, so this I just love everything about this.

    And I don’t want to complain, because this is perfect and wonderful and they’ve already given us so much.

    BUT. Isn’t it a bit out of character for Rosa to be hiding something because she cares about how others will react to that information? Rosa hides everything about her personal life – wouldn’t it have been more in character for her to tell Boyle “yeah, I’m bi. Always have been. I just don’t like talking about stuff” instead of making it a whole big coming out storyline? Don’t we have enough of those?

    BUT THAT”S JUST MY SMALL NITPICK! Otherwise, I love everything about this!

    • From the Variety interview:

      ‘Coming out was especially difficult for Rosa because she is a character who prefers to control how people view her, which can “shift in a matter of seconds if you tell them something personal and important, like your sexuality or your sexual orientation,” Beatriz notes.’

      From the Entertainment Weekly interview:

      ‘For me, the most important thing about this part of Rosa was to show that she isn’t just a steel wall. She does have vulnerabilities, […]’

      I would say that how Beatriz describes Rosa makes sense, and the way she comes out is consistent with it. We’ve seen insecurity from Rosa before. She does hide parts of herself that are inconsistent with the image people have of her.

      (By the way, in case you couldn’t tell from the fact that I read this article and both interviews and replied to a comment of this article, I also love everything about this.)

      • That’s true! Like in the thanksgiving episode she hid the fact that she was having dinner with her family, not just because she keeps everything hidden but also because she was specifically embarrassed about being so excited about it/it being really important to her. I think it tracks.

    • Okay, so after reading that EW interview, it appears that Rosa has known she’s bi for a long time. That’s better, but I dunno, I know that in most other shows I hate the offhanded comment about being queer and then never mentioning it again, but with the character of Rosa Diaz, that method just seems to make the most sense.

      But oh my god how much do I love Stephanie Beatriz talking about the importance of using the word “bisexual” and explicating including trans folks in that definition!

    • Casey, you will NOT be disappointed! I started it last winter because I needed a fun, silly comedy that would help me get away from the news and the rest of the grim dark drama on tv, and let me tell you it was perfect for that!

      Heads up, Jake Peralta, the main character, is pretty annoying in the first season or so, but I promise he grows up a lot and becomes pretty wonderful. Don’t let his annoying childishness throw you off in the beginning.

  8. I’VE BEEN HAVING SUCH A GOOD DAY ALL DAY. I forget how much of an effect stuff like terrible news and terrible representation has, and then we get a gift like THIS and I’m like – oh – it’s supposed to be like this all the time. As someone who celebrates Christmas, I can officially tell you that Rosa has saved Christmas.

    Also, we should have a poll for our top picks for Rosa’s girlfriend(s)! Including Gina Rodriguez (because she wants to) and Kate McKinnon (because Stephanie Beatriz wants her to) of course.

    IN CONCLUSION is it just me or does coming out make people bonus attractive? It’s a double effect since both actor and character are bi… #math

  9. Like since DAY. ONE. I have been wanting Rosa Diaz to have a girlfriend. I have talked about it all the time. I never thought it was actually going to happen and I am LOSING MY GODDAMN MIND.

    (I did, in fact, react by leaping out of my comfy chair and screaming, “OH MY GOD” at the cat)

  10. Finally created an account here just to comment on this post. This makes me so happy and is so damn important! Just hearing Rosa say “I’m bi” meant so much. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for me to hear a tv character say that while I was growing up. My heart is so full and happy and proud right now.

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