Tag Archives: bisexuality

Celebrating (And Clarifying) The New Bisexual Superman

I’ve been reading comics for most of my life. In that time, I’ve seen many major upheavals and big events. A few of them even made mainstream news. I still remember how big it was when the Death of Superman first came out. That event made for some big headlines and its effect on the comic book industry is still felt today.

At the same time, reading comics for so long has given me a knack for sensing when an event will make mainstream news. It has also helped me get a feel for the kind of reaction it’ll get from those who don’t follow comics that closely. As a result, their reaction tends to be somewhat misguided.

With that in mind, I’d like to talk about Superman coming out as bisexual, a big reveal that made national headlines earlier this week. When I saw this, I was temped to post my immediate reaction. However, I held off because I suspected the oncoming storm of outrage would obscure any sentiment or point I made.

Sadly, it didn’t take long for some of that outrage to take hold.

Plenty of reactionaries whined about it for plenty of non-surprising reasons, ranging from your traditional anti-LGBTQ whining from religious zealots to people who just whine about comics becoming “political.” I put “political” in quotes because by political, it usually denotes “politics I don’t like.” It’s still just whining at the end of the day.

For me, personally, I’m all for this. I love that DC Comics is doing this with one of their characters. It’s something that I think fits the spirit and principles of Superman. He is someone who has love, compassion, and understanding for all. He saves men, women, and everything in between. His capacity for connecting with others knows no gender or preference. That’s what makes him Superman.

That being said, there is some important context to add to this. If you just read the mainstream headlines, you might get the wrong idea. For the most balanced take, I recommend the following NPR piece. It nicely sums up what’s going on here.

NPR: Superman’s son comes out as bisexual in a new comic. It’s a big deal — sort of

By now you’ve likely heard.

He’s queer now.

Yep: Superman, Champion of the Oppressed, the Man of Steel, the Man of Tomorrow, the Last Son of Krypton, the Big Blue Boy Scout, Mr. Not-A-Bird-Nor-A-Plane Himself.

Queer. All of a sudden.

And at 83 years old, no less! Bless his heart.

But that’s not what’s happening here. Comics being comics, the truth is a lot more granular.

We’re not talking about the classic, original-recipe Clark Kent/Kal-El Superman that’s been around since the June 1938 issue of Action Comics #1 first hit the stands. It’s not the Superman who’s infiltrated the global zeitgeist to become a part of our collective consciousness via comics, serials, radio, television, film, toys, roller coasters and the bedsheets I got for Christmas 1979.

No, it’s his son, Jonathan Kent. Whose precise backstory in the comics has been so ruthlessly pummeled by a series of reboots, retcons, space missions, time-travel and rapid aging as to render it so incomprehensible that it sends even diehards like me scurrying to the nearest wiki.

He’s slated to come out as bisexual in the pages of Superman: Son of Kal-El #5, written by Tom Taylor with art by John Timms, which will published on November 9th. Jonathan and his male friend Jay, introduced earlier in the series, will share a kiss.

I hope that clears things up. You don’t need to know all the complex continuity behind the details. You just need to know the basics.

In short, the Superman who came out as bisexual isn’t the primary Superman we’ve known since Action Comics #1. It’s Superman and Lois Lane’s son, Jon Kent. He’s actually a relatively new character, having debuted in 2015 just before DC’s Rebirth event. In that time, he’s grown and developed a lot, becoming one of the best Superman offspring characters we’ve seen in years.

He’s certainly grown on me in that time. This latest twist to his story only makes me love him more. I also encourage everyone curious about Jon Kent to read about him. If you need a starting point, I highly suggest a series called Super Sons. That firmly established Jon as someone who could wear his cape proudly.

In addition, it gives Jon something that further sets him apart from his father. Clark Kent will always be Superman, but that’s a title that need not be restricted to one man. Plenty of other characters have gone by that title and not all of them are directly related to Clark like Jon is. The title and the values behind it have always mattered more than the person.

Clark Kent understands that.

Jon Kent understands that.

The longtime fans of Superman also understand that.

Everyone who wields that cape protects, defends, and champions the values behind that name. Truth, justice, and the American way need not be the exclusive domain of a straight white man from Smallville. Someone like Jon Kent can also fight for them, but doing so doesn’t require that he be exactly like his father.

He can still be his own person and part of that persona just happens to involve bisexuality. That doesn’t at all detract from his ability to fight for those same values. It doesn’t change the importance of those values, either. At the end of the day, what matters most is that he fights for them with the same spirit and passion as his father.

That’s what makes him Superman.

It doesn’t matter whether or not he’s bisexual. He’s still Superman and one worth celebrating.

Leave a comment

Filed under Current Events, DC Comics, superhero comics, superhero movies, Uncategorized

How “Sexually Fluid” Can You Be?

https://confessionsofasomedaysomebody.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/threeway-kiss-spens-jesse-clark.jpeg

Whenever I ask a question on this blog, it’s usually for two general reasons. One, I want to get people thinking strange, sexy thoughts that may or may not require a change of panties later on. Two, I want to explore possible ideas for future novels, which may also require a change in panties at some point. In either case, the only real loser are the dry panties of the world.

I’ve asked questions about human enhancement, artificial wombs, and sex with robots. I admit I tend to think some oddly sexy thoughts in my everyday life. These aren’t exactly questions I can ask somebody on the bus without getting thrown out. I still think they’re worth discussing though. We’re all hear because of sex. It’s worth talking about.

This latest sexy question isn’t quite as colorful as sex robots, but it’s a lot more relevant. It has to do with recent trend that has been observed by GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, that the current generation of millennials is more sexually and gender fluid than previous generations.

What that means to those who took one too many sex ed classes in Texas is that more people today are not identifying as 100 percent heterosexual and more are not identifying 100 percent as a particular gender. I’ll give the Pat Robertsons of the world a moment to gasp and faint.

In terms of specifics, GLAAD’s 2017 Accelerating Acceptance report says that about 20 percent of millennials identify as something other than heterosexual and about 12 percent identify as something other than one particular gender. That’s quite an increase from previous decades where you couldn’t even get people to admit they masturbated.

GLAAD and their supporters say this is a positive thing and I agree to a large extent. It shows that more and more people are willing to come out as something other than what is considered “normal.” Given how the very concept of “normal” is flawed to begin with, especially in matters of sex, I think that shows that society is gaining a healthier attitude with respect to sexuality.

While this does count as progress in my mind, it does raise a bigger question that’s much harder to answer. Exactly how “sexually fluid” can we be in terms of our gender and sexuality? Does the report reveal a greater sexual flexibility in people? Or does it just reveal our current cultural trends?

Those are difficult question to answer. In some respects, they’re impossible to answer. Culture and attitudes do have an impact on our sexuality. Just look at last year’s trends in porn consumption for proof of that. At the same time, there are some components of our sexuality that are innate and inborn, a product of both genes and conditions in our mother’s womb.

The primary issue, and the one that neither GLAAD nor religious zealots can claim to know with certainty, is where cultural influence ends and biology begins. That line is not clear, poorly defined, and constantly changing as we learn more about our bodies and minds. Chances are it’ll keep changing for generations to come.

It’s still a relevant and interesting question to contemplate though. Is there a particular limit to how flexible a man or woman can be with their sexuality? I’m not just talking about the kind of flexibility that we see in “Orange is the New Black.” Prison is just one of those extreme situations that require us to be more flexible with our genitals than we’d usually be.

In this case, let’s try to avoid extremes and ask the question in the context of a functioning society. Just how fluid can a man and woman reasonably be? The answer for both genders might be different.

Current research indicates that women may be more sexually fluid than men. Is there a biological reason for this? Does the absence of testosterone or the abundance of estrogen make someone more likely to be attracted to both genders or not identify exclusively with one gender? Or is it possible that in a culture of internet porn, Lady Gaga, and Carl’s Jr. ads, female sexual fluidity is just more acceptable?

Again, it’s hard to pin down. The impact of sex hormones is always subject to change. We may discover tomorrow that pregnant women listening to boy bands may influence whether their child becomes homosexual, bisexual, or transgender. Human beings and biology in general are complicated, erratic, and as organized as a drunk stumbling through a Lego factory in the dark.

There may also be another factor to consider. These days, the worst thing you can be isn’t a communist, a Nixon insider, or an internet troll. Today, the greatest villain in Millennial crowds is the so-called “straight white cisgendered male.” Picture every villain inspired by Lex Luthor or Justin Beiber. That is who Millennials hate.

To be a straight white man who identifies as a man these days is to be a bad person by default. No matter who you are, whether you work for the peace corp or write erotica/romance, Millenials hate them because they think they’re the source of all the world’s problems. It’s one of those simple, believable, and wrong assertions that every generation believes to some degree.

The hippies had their villains. The yuppies had their as well. Millenials are no different. As such, they may be more inclined to identify as something other than straight, white, or male. It’s less a statement about their sexuality and more an elaborate display of virtue signaling, which is about as honest as genuine as a biology lecture from Jenny McCarthy.

So with these various complications in mind, I think it’s hard to conclude much of anything from GLAAD’s study. It’s one of those issues that’ll only become clearer in the future with the benefit of hindsight. By 2060, our descendants may look back on Millenials and say, “Wow! Those were some sexually confused motherfuckers.” They may also say, “Wow! I can’t believe we made that big a deal about sex back then.”

Until the day comes when we can all be shape-shifters like Mystique, this is going to be an issue. Sexual fluidity is one of those unavoidable outcomes from nature’s chaotic, often irrational forces. We can’t avoid it any more than men can avoid awkward boners.

It’s difficult to navigate, but I believe that Millennials are making a concerted effort to change that. The price, benefits, and extent of those efforts remain to be seen. All I know is that those efforts should give me plenty of interesting ideas for erotica/romance novels.

Leave a comment

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights