The Brooklyn 99 Episode that Changed My Life

In Season 5 of Brooklyn 99, one of the characters, Rosa Diaz, comes out as bisexual. It is a pivotal moment for Rosa because she was worried everyone would judge her for being bisexual. The most stressful part of this episode was when Rosa was worried about telling her family she was bisexual, and Jake Peralta, her friend, lends her support by going with Rosa to eat dinner with her family. When Rosa’s parents meet her and Jake, they assume they are engaged, and when Rosa clears up that Jake is engaged to another coworker of theirs, Amy, her dad says that is a relief because they thought she was going to come out as gay to them. When Rosa finally tells the truth that night, that yes, she is bisexual, her parents are in shock and have a hard time accepting this. When Jake and Rosa go to play game night with her parents, Rosa, in a game of pictionary, draws a same sex couple, and her parents try to say that the two women holding hands in the picture are friends, coworkers, anything but two human beings who love each other and are married. Rosa, rightfully frustrated, tells them that it’s a wedding between two women and that Rosa, contrary to her parents’ heteronormative expectations, will marry a woman someday. Her dad says, “there’s no such thing as bisexuality” and Rosa and Jake leave because clearly her parents aren’t going to change how they view Rosa’s orientation.

Rosa’s dad comes up to see her at work and formally apologizes for not being understanding, and says that while he is going to try and support her more, Rosa’s mom needs time to think about accepting Rosa for who she is. This was even more stressful because these two people raised Rosa to be the incredible woman that she is, and the fact that they cannot accept the fact that she is bi is depressing and also not an isolated instance of biphobia. As a bi-identifying person, this episode was powerful, and while I feel fortunate to have had support coming out, I know I cannot speak for other bisexual people. The actress who plays Rosa Diaz, Stephanie Beatriz, has this amazing piece in GQ about being bisexual and dealing with people’s assumptions about her just because she is married to a straight man. She says in the piece that a lot of people assume that if you are in a straight relationship, you are straight and nothing else, and if you are in a same sex relationship you are gay or lesbian and nothing else. But bisexual people like Beatriz and True Blood actress Anna Paquin are proud of who they are and that gives me hope.

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