After decades of hints and rumors, the original Catwoman, Selina Kyle, finally came out of the closet as bisexual this week. In Catwoman #39, Selina is the head of Gotham's Calabrese crime family, and, on the brink of a mob war, shares a kiss with the woman currently in the Catwoman costume, Eiko Hasigaway, in a moment that promises that have major ramifications for both characters as the storyline progresses. It's a big moment for the narrative, but most important is that, according to series writer Genevieve Valentine, the confirmation is canon.
In her blog, Valentine writes that, for her, "this wasn’t a revelation so much as a confirmation." Indeed, Selina Kyle's relationships outside of the one she shares with Bruce Wayne have been viewed with ambiguity for years, and adding this wrinkle to her character was something Valentine described as "indispensable." The moment between Selina and Eiko isn't meant to titillate, though, but lends the characters depth, especially with war right on the horizon in issue #40.
"This wasn't a revelation so much as a confirmation."
Catwoman's coming out is significant because the character is iconic, having debuted back in 1940 in Batman #1. As the title character in an ongoing series, Selina is one of relatively few out characters with real influence, and, as The Mary Sue notes, that we see her start a relationship with a character of color is doubly admirable. DC has struggled to date when it comes to representation; while there are plenty of LGBT characters like Batwoman, Midnighter, Apollo, and Green Lantern Alan Scott, few enjoy the same prominence as the core Justice Leaguers. (And remember the Batwoman marriage debacle of 2013?) Having a complex, storied character like Catwoman come out so matter-of-factly in her own book — and without attention-grabbing fanfare — goes a long way toward broader acceptance.