Others have already pointed out how rude and demeaning this choice on the part of the Constantine TV show is. It’s cowardly, it’s bull, it’s bigoted…
…and it’s also factually untrue.
Saying that it’s not important that John Constantine be shown as bisexual is a lot like saying that it’s not important that Batman is an orphan, or that Captain America fought Nazis in World War II. I would argue that bisexuality lies at the very heart of the character.
First off, let me clarify something. I’m not saying that the Hellblazer comics have been “The Hot Bisexual Adventures of John Constantine, Who By The Way Likes ‘Em Both, Know What I’m Saying, I Bet You Do, Wink Wink Sailor”. His sexuality isn’t usually the focus of his stories – but that’s not the point. The fact that a bisexual man might want to have sex with either gender isn’t the defining trait of that man, any more than the fact that I’m right-handed doesn’t dictate everything there is to know about me.
Let’s take a step back. The character of John Constantine was originally defined as a reaction against the politics and social policies of Margaret Thatcher and her ruling Conservative party in 1980’s United Kingdom. Very often, the supernatural threats he faced were allegories to the crushing weight of marginalization and oppression that people felt in that country. And here’s the kicker – one of the issues that Thatcher was the most extreme on was the subject of homosexuality. John’s identity as a bisexual is at the very core of why he struggled against the forces of darkness – because he was branded by his society as a freak unfit to live even in the shadows, whispered of as something unclean and destined for Hell. Just as Captain America’s witnessing of the horrors of Nazi Germany inspired him to fight for what he believed in, to stand up to tyrants and murderers, so too did John Constantine’s sense of fear and anger regarding those who ruled his nation define and inspire him. The only difference is that John was a little more subtle about it; he didn’t have a pink triangle wearing a trenchcoat fly through his parlor window one night, giving him the idea that he must become Bisexual Trenchcoat Magic Guy.
So if you’re one of those persons waving off this issue as unimportant – that’s your privilege talking. I don’t like playing the “check your privilege” card, because I think it’s too often abused and overused by people who want to bludgeon those around them with the power of self-righteousness, but in this case, I think it’s damn appropriate. You might not see this as an issue because it doesn’t affect you, but trust me, it affects a lot of people out there, more than you realize, and the sooner you realize that the world isn’t just about what inconveniences you personally, the better off you’ll be.
And I’ll bet you anything that if DC released a new Batman TV show where his parents never got shot in a dark alley, where Bruce simply decided one day that dressing like a bat and beating up poor people would be “totally wicked extreme” and that his mom helped him sew his first bat-logo… that there would be people lining up on the streets screaming about how DC was “forgetting where the character came from”, and that you’d be nodding your head in sympathy.
Have I made my point yet, or am I being too subtle?