I know what you’re thinking. WONDER WOMAN has nothing to do with queer culture. Wonder Woman’s queerness isn’t even in the movie! Her love interest is a man! How can she be gay? While, yes, Diana’s primary love interest in the movie is a man, there is more queerness to her sexual identity than what meets the eye. But to find it, we have to dig deeper into her dialogue and background before we can unearth it

At times in this article, it may feel like I’m grasping at straws — that I’m finding gay themes where none are. But remember, whenever they are gay characters in a film or TV show, people revolt (see BEAUTY AND THE BEAST). So filmmakers use dog whistles to place references only the most astute eye can see. Or else they risk losing a large market, which is the last thing they want to do.

So they give only scraps of representation. Scraps which straight people say are imaginary or just creative thinking. Straight people can argue there’s no gay subtext in SHERLOCK or STEVEN UNIVERSE. It’s only fair that gay people get to argue that there are gay subtexts in films like WONDER WOMAN and THOR: RAGNAROK.

So let’s dive in…

The Evidence (*Spoilers*)

Let’s look at Themyscira. It’s an island of strong, warrior women and only women. On the one hand, Hippolyta had straight relations with Zeus to conceive Diana. Ares confirms this when he fights Wonder Woman in the film’s climax. However, it also stated that she was one of the only children to ever live on Themyscira. This means that the Themysciran women most likely have not been with any men for many centuries… if ever.

It’s naive to think that all sexual and romantic activity halted when the men went away. It is well known that the Ancient Greeks were very open about sexuality and same-sex relationships, even if they were only male-male relationships. Then, it’s not surprising that an island with a similar culture with only women on it would have the same openness. The text supports this idea as well.

Wonder Woman's Queerness

On the boat scene, Diana and Steve Trevor talk about Diana’s knowledge about sex (I know super awkward). She talks about how she read all twelve volumes of “Cleo’s Treaties on Bodily Pleasure.” In these volumes, it concludes that men are necessary for procreation, but not for pleasure. While it doesn’t seem that Diana herself has experience with this, she was taught all her life that men are not necessary for pleasure and has only seen same-sex relationships between women.

What This Means

So, this evidence seems to suggest that female homosexuality is the norm on Themyscira. It is also implied that Diana is somewhat naive and believes whole-heartedly in the values her mother and community have taught her.

If she took in all the lessons that the Themyscirans had to offer, wouldn’t she have absorbed their views on sexuality and romance as well? I believe she did. So, to her, homosexuality is the norm. This is, unfortunately, unlike the real world, where members of the LGBTQIA+ community have to struggle to get fundamental human rights.

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However, for Wonder Woman’s queerness, heterosexuality is a new, confusing thing that she has never encountered. To her, it’s bizarre and unusual. This is why she must be perplexed when she begins to fall for Steve. She has never seen a man before, let alone get to know one. As she gets to know Steve, it seems more and more like she begins to fall for him.

From Gay to Bisexual/Pansexual: A Journey

Many people start out as identifying as bisexual or pansexual as a stepping stone to coming out as a gay person. While many bisexual people are genuinely bi or pan, some people feel more comfortable latching onto a sexual identity which allows them to date people of the opposite sex but still explores queerness.

This may or may not be a problem within the community. However, it doesn’t mean that gay people who first came out as bi or pan are any less valid than those who initially came out as gay.

Wonder Woman’s Journey To Queerness

In her culture, queerness is commonplace. So, her journey into heterosexuality is something that would be entirely new for Diana. She may be afraid her family will not accept her relationship with a man. Since she does not know she isn’t going back to Themyscira, she may feel uncomfortable fully accepting her new sexual identity. Using bisexuality as a stepping stone into heterosexuality may be her way to figure out what her sexuality is.

Wonder Woman's Queerness

Or she may be genuinely bisexual, with love of men and women. After all, there is no confirmation of her romance with Steve. There is also no confirmation that she ever had a relationship on Themyscira. Therefore, she may still have a passion for women while discovering her love for men.

As for pansexuality, it is not as well known as bisexuality but is just as valid. And if Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman’s queerness were to meet someone who was a gender or gender fluid, she may decide she likes them. Perhaps she could find love in another person, even after the heartbreak of l0sing Steve.

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Nonetheless, that would require the executives at Warner Bros. to greenlight a character who does not clearly fall in the gender binary, which may be a long time coming, unfortunately.

An Imperfect Analogy

This tale of “reverse queerness” is not a perfect example of the queer experience. Most queer people are not magically transported to a gay-friendly community once they discover their queerness. In fact, many remain in the homophobic worlds they grew up in.

It can take years for a gay person to find a space where they can belong. Even then, gay people are never perfectly safe. Even more gay-friendly places like NYC and San Francisco are full of homophobes. LGBTQIA+ people are always under threat of verbal or physical assault from strangers and family alike. This Wonder Woman gets all the advantages of being “queer” without many, if any, of the societal downsides.

Wonder Woman's Queerness

If Steve were her lover, they would be accepted by everyone around them. They would not be scoffed at or denied service or a marriage license. The outside world lauds them. Even Themyscira may be happy with their union, as Hippolyta has no doubt had relations before to conceive Diana. They would understand if Diana wanted to be with a man, if at least for nothing else than to have a child.

Wonder Woman’s Queerness?

So, while the surface features may be similar, Wonder Woman’s queerness would not experience the same kind of oppression most people in the LGBTQIA+ community face on a daily basis. While Wonder Woman may be considered a queer figure, she, in this film, is not as out and proud as fans would like. Indeed, nods to her queerness are few.

In addition, her sexuality identity transition moves towards attraction to the opposite sex, which is the norm for the society she integrates into. Her struggle with her transition to a new sexual identity is something many queer people can relate to. Yes, she does skirt the problems the LGBTQIA+ community face in the real world. Wonder Woman questioning her identity is very common among gay youth. It’s nice to see some of the gay experience represented, even if it’s only a small snippet.

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