No more wondering about subtext or worrying if you’ve been reading between the lines: “Wonder Woman” writer Greg Rucka has confirmed that Diana of Themyscira is officially, canonically, queer.
The news probably does not come as a surprise to most Wonder Woman fans, especially those who have been keeping up with Rucka’s current “Wonder Woman” run.
The DC Rebirth relaunch has Rucka telling two Wonder Woman stories, one with artist Liam Sharp following Diana’s quest for her truth and the location of Themyscira (her homeland) in the present. And the second with artist Nicola Scott exploring Diana’s first year as Wonder Woman.
“Wonder Woman” No. 2 kicked off the “Year One” story line, and Rucka and Scott have clearly shown that life in this Amazonian paradise comes complete with family, relationships, desire, friendly contests and boastful innuendos. The only things absent on Themyscira, of course, are men and thus the need to remember words such as “brother.”
In an extensive interview with Comicosity, Rucka is asked specifically whether the Wonder Woman introduced in “Year One” is queer. After getting clarification that queer, in this instance, means “as involving, although not necessarily exclusively, romantic and/or sexual interest toward persons of the same gender,” Rucka answered in the affirmative.
“Yes,” Rucka said. “I think it’s more complicated though. This is inherently the problem with Diana: We’ve had a long history of people — for a variety of reasons, including sometimes pure titillation, which I think is the worst reason — say, ‘Ooo. Look. It’s the Amazons. They’re gay!’ ”
Part of this complication comes with understanding the full implications of Themyscira.
“It’s supposed to be paradise,” Rucka said. “You’re supposed to be able to live happily. You’re supposed to be able — in a context where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for that happiness is to have a partner — to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship. And the only options are women.”
So of course, Amazons are in same-sex relationships.
“But an Amazon doesn’t look at another Amazon and say, ‘You’re gay.’ They don’t. The concept doesn’t exist,” Rucka said.
That said, Rucka is not shying away from the explicit labeling of the island paradise. Themyscira, with its absence of men, heterosexual relationships and heteronormative expectations, is definitely queer. Just because the Amazons don’t have a word for it, doesn’t mean that’s not what it is.
“This is important to me too,” Rucka said. “By our standards, where I am standing of 2016, Themyscira is a queer culture. I’m not hedging that. And anyone who wants to prevaricate on that is being silly.”
Rucka also explained why it is important for him and Scott to recognize and portray that “Diana has been in love and had relationships with other women.”
While Wonder Woman may not stand up on any rooftop to proclaim her sexual orientation “in all bold caps,” a denial of her queer identity and past same-sex relationships would take away from her agency as a character and the magnitude of her sacrifice, according to Rucka.
So is Wonder Woman queer?
“The answer is obviously yes,” Rucka said. “And it needs to be yes for a number of reasons. But perhaps foremost among them is, if no, then she leaves paradise only because of a potential romantic relationship with Steve [Trevor]. And that diminishes her character. It would hurt the character and take away her heroism.”
You can read the full interview here.