The new Superman, Jonathan Kent, turned out to be bisexual and immediately the indignant comments appeared in the Italian news. Between comic ignorance and homobiphobia, some clarifications are needed.

This article was jointly written by Leonardo Gallori and Seeker G

Now we don't even have to give you this news anymore, because every single news site or newspaper has talked about it.
Yes, the son of Clark Kent (the historical Superman) and Lois Lane, that is Jonathan Kent (today the new Superman), is bisexual and has a boyfriend.

If you already know this news, you will probably be well aware of the rising of indignation which arose in Italy, upon hearing this news. Between people outraged because they believed the newspapers were talking about Clark Kent, and people outraged because, for some reason, a non-straight Superman is wrong, the discussion immediately got pretty heated.
Surely, it didn't help the way several Italian newspapers (HANDLE e Corriere della Sera first) broke the news, with headlines that made Clark Kent himself pass for bisexual.
It also caused a sensation, especially for The newspaper, the fact that this new Superman deals with issues like social struggles and ecology.

In this article, we will talk a little about these negative reactions to the news of Jonathan Kent's bisexuality, combining the views of our comic expert, Leonardo Gallori, and our expert in hate speech Seeker G.
In the first part, written by Leonardo, we will talk about the story of the character of Superman, who has always been a very political and committed figure.
In the second part, however, we will address the major fallacious (and subtly homobiphobic) arguments with which Jonathan Kent's bisexuality is attacked. Later, we will also talk about the real thing hate speech (or language of hatred) that has invested the character.

Jonathan Kent / Superman and his boyfriend, journalist Jay Nakamura
Jonathan Kent / Superman and his boyfriend, journalist Jay Nakamura

"Jonathan Kent! Who is he?" (semi-quotation from Manzoni's memory)

I apologize in advance if the history of the character is not completely clear, it is in fact difficult to follow all the incarnations of the characters of a publishing house with so many years on its shoulders.
Jonathan “Jon” Samuel Kent is the only child of Kal-El (Clark Kent / Superman) and Lois Lane.
The character was born, in full Silver Age, from the pen of Alan Moore and the pencils of Curt Swan in What happened to the Man of Tomorrow? (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, 1986), considered by readers to be one of the best stories ever told about the character of Superman.

Other creators of “different” versions of the character include Scott Lobdell (Jon Lane Kent, New 52, ​​Superboy vol. 5/6, 2013) and writer / artist Dan Jurgens. He delves into Jonathan Samuel White's character in Superman: Lois and Clark (December 2015), after he was born, on Terra Prime, in the event Convergence (June-July 2015).
Following the event Rebirth (2016), Jonathan “Jon” Kent is now the son of DC Universe Superman pre-Flashpoint and Lois Lane. Currently this is the canonical and current version of the character.

Jonathan Kent in Superman: Son of Kal-El

In July 2021, Jon is the protagonist of the series Superman: Son of Kal-El (Tom Taylor and John Timms). The series sees Jon protecting Earth as the new Man of Steel in the DC Universe, following his father's departure towards a war in deep space. Jon, having joined the XNUMXst Century Legion of Super-Heroes in a previous series, knows (?) That Kal-El is not destined to return to Earth as his protector.
In October of this year (2021), DC Comics revealed that the character is bisexual and that he will have a romantic relationship with a journalist friend (as per family tradition!), Jay nakamura.

“When I was asked if I wanted to write a new Superman with a new # 1 for the DC Universe, I knew that if we replaced Clark Kent with another classic straight white savior, it would be a real missed opportunity. I've always said that everyone needs heroes and everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes. "
“The Superman symbol has always been synonymous with hope, truth and justice. Today that symbol represents something more. Today more people can mirror themselves in the most powerful superhero in comics. "

Tom Taylor

Ecologist and politically committed Superman: why is this not new?

In addition to the "obvious" controversies, which have sprung up like mushrooms everywhere, regarding Jon Kent's sexual orientation, others have been added regarding his future ecological and political commitment. We will cover these first.

Is politics really something that doesn't exist in DC / Marvel comics?

First of all, there's the usual plethora of comments cheering on leaving politics out of the comics. As if politics were something abstract that does not permeate our everyday lives. And the sneers about Superman who, instead of dealing with the ENEMIES (!), Bends down to pick up cans and litter.

"The new Superman will face new challenges - real world problems - which he will stand up to as one of the most powerful people in the world."
“Five years ago it would have been more difficult, but I think things have changed in a really positive way. There will always be people who will use the usual argument of not putting politics in comics, forgetting that every single story has always been political in some way. "

Tom Taylor

Superman, in # 14 Superman (February 1942), stood on the cover holding the American eagle on his arm and behind him the shield with the flag of the United States. The Captain of the Publishing House of Wonders, on the other hand, on the cover of Captain America # 1 (Timely Comics, 1941) slapped a little man with a mustache who was condemning the world to a World War.
What is this, if not politics?

To return to our Boy Scout in Blue, this is the immigrant ultimate. He is a foreigner, a different one, even he comes from another planet! He was raised in Kansas by two parents (more or less over the years) who did not report the fall of the rocket to the authorities (outlaw?), And who passed on to him the best values ​​of the American Way of Life.
Supes has never judged anyone, never left anyone (humanity, animals, plants, etc.) alone.

The comic Superman: In the name of the Earth
The comic Superman: In the name of the Earth
And the ecological side?

John Byrne, in 1986, rewrote and revolutionized the origins of Superman (American Heroes nos. 30/35). He described Krypton as a sterile and hyper-technological world and its inhabitants who no longer enjoyed contact with Mother Nature because they had stripped the planet of any resources to the point of causing its inevitable destruction.

In 1991, DC Comics released a special commemorative issue, in recycled paper, for World Earth Day: Superman for Earth (To save a world!) by Roger Stern (text), Karry Gammill (pencils), Dennis Janke (chine), Tom McCraw (colors). In Italy it is translated as Superman: In the name of the Earth (Play Extra n.48, 1994).
It could only be Superman, Clark Kent, the noble Kal-El heir of the Kryptonian civilization, but man and human to the core, the bearer of the message that still echoes today: we must all participate together, according to our abilities, in the effort to preserve the planet from ecological collapse.

Timothy Drake, third Robin and here as Red Robin, revealed bisexual before Jonathan Kent
Timothy Drake, third Robin and here as Red Robin, revealed bisexual before Jonathan Kent

Queer superheroes: between requests for originality and emotional breakdowns

As is often the case when a non-heterosexual (or non-cisgender, but this is still extremely rare!) Superhero is introduced, or when it is revealed that an existing superhero is not straight, the reactions are… interesting.

Queer superheroes who have undergone a retcon: some examples

Revealing that a superhero or superhero that has been around for several decades isn't straight is a modus operandi that doesn't always work, and each case needs to be analyzed individually.
there retcon sexual orientation characters who are unclear, and who are further smoky due to a generally dull writing of the numbers in which they appear. This is the case, for example, of the young Iceman (a teenager transported to the present) in the last ten years of the numbers X-Men.
Alternatively, there are retcons that are taken, by a large section of the public, as the realization by the publisher of the fact that the characters he has written are interpreted as queer by many readers and readers. This is the case with Tim Drake, the third Robin, who was recently declared bisexual.

However, retlining the sexual orientation of existing characters is a risky practice. Generally, at every retcon voices are raised, from all sides, asking for invent original queer characters. In this way, these rumors always say, queer characters would not be just a sop and a stretch, but they would have more sense and dignity.

And what happens when you introduce a totally new queer character?

Well, this week we saw a new character declare himself bisexual who, before this occasion, had neither the way nor the need (he was literally a child) to talk about his sexual orientation.
And what do you think were the reactions from a considerable (and noisy) part of the Italian public? Or of people who have never picked up a Superman comic, but who still wanted to ride the wave of the rising Superman keyword on Google, so as to get a slice of visibility?

But, of course, it was all one shredding of clothes. And to cry on politically correct. And to make homobiphobic jokes.
“Why, my lady, we don't want this fr * cio Superman! Now I would never want him to come and save me, otherwise he could put him in my ass! ”Some people say.
Let us tell you more about the logical fallacies that lurk in reactions of this kind. And all the sexism and internalized homophobia they express.

Jonathan Kent (before accelerated growth) and Damian Wayne (fifth Robin, son of Bruce Wayne / Batman) in the Supersons comic
Jonathan Kent (before accelerated growth) and Damian Wayne (fifth Robin, son of Bruce Wayne / Batman) in the comic Supersons

The biggest fallacy arguments against bisexual Superman

Adrian Fartade, science writer and queer activist, has already answered this question very well in a post on Facebook. However, here we will still take the time to look in more detail at the major arguments based on a homobiphobic perspective that have been brought up.
The comments are excerpted from the Facebook comments section under the articles dealing with Jonathan Kent's bisexuality, published by Nerd League, HANDLE, The Republic e The Corriere della Sera.

Content Warning: from here on you will find homobiphobic comments which, in general, could be disturbing
Straight superheroes don't have sexuality, non-straight superheroes do (and it's ostentatious!

Basically, the problem that many users have with bisexual Jonathan Kent is the fact that this character's sexual orientation is just a matter of fashion and "politically correct".

1) Why it should be relevant in a comic book [Lega Nerd]
2) [...] ostentation at any cost has tired, [...] is not integration, and exasperating an idea by provoking senseless hatred [Lega Nerd]
3) people are tired of this continuous gay ostentation and there will be wisdom in this [ANSA]
4) Why don't you leave sexuality out in respect of childhood [ANSA]
5) However, until a few years ago I don't remember talking about the life and sexual orientation of super heroes. [The Republic]
6) I don't understand why it is necessary for a cartoon character to mention sexuality… .. [CdS]

Well, it's interesting that similar questions have never been asked, when Clark Kent kissed Lois Lane, or Batman made out hard on Catwoman on the rooftops of Gotham.
It is interesting that, therefore, the heterosexuality of the characters is never accused of irrelevance. And, after all, why is it important for Dick Grayson to be straight and in a relationship with Barbara Gordon? Don't you think that's "too much" for comic books? And let alone when these relationships appeared in the DC animated series! They really had to show us Superboy and Miss Martian kissing in Young Justice?

However, these comments show how sexual orientation, for some people, only exists if you are not straight. If you are straight and in a straight relationship, however, you are not mentioning the sexuality of the character.
You too will understand that this is not the case. Every superhero who has ever been in a relationship has dealt with their own sexuality and sexual orientation in the comics.

Straight couples like pandas in extinction?

1) Now seeing a straight couple is almost an exception [Lega Nerd]
2) By now we must be ashamed to be heterosexual. In this confused world, what a sadness [Lega Nerd]
3) Getting worse. Straight people will become pandas [ANSA]
4) The day will come when we straight people would be discriminated against [ANSA]
5) The racism towards straight people continues, trying to prove what? That being straight is wrong and being homosexual is right? [HANDLE]
6) But can we still say that I like the f…? I ask for a friend. [The Republic]
7) We are at the paradox ... it seems that being straight sexual today has become a shame ... [CdS]

Because a small percentage of queer characters in comics mean putting the entire heterosexual population in danger of extinction, evidently.
These comments are unexpectedly frequent and should make us reflect on how little we were used to seeing queer characters in the media, if today those (few) we see seem so numerous to us.

Does sexual orientation have to serve the plot?

"[...] his sexual tastes have been inserted contextualizing them and have any use for the purposes of the plot or have they been inserted in muzzo [...]?", Someone asks.
Again, it is very interesting that no one asks the same thing in the case of a heterosexual character.
In short, I remember when, in snyder cut film Justice League, Flash had been half-flirting with a random girl on the street while saving her from an accident. That too was an absolutely pivotal moment in the story, well contextualized and useful, right? Ah, no. It was a random moment, made to show the Flash's powers and that's it. They could have made him save a child, without having to sexualize it all.
But no, ladies and gentlemen: queer characters are the ones who need to be contextualized and useful to the plot. Straight relationships are always legitimate, however.

Superb: the confusion between sexual orientation and gender identity

1) Then let them change the name: Superbisex. Why Superman has a specific genre [Nerd League]
2) So will it be called Superbisex? [Nerd League]
3) Supergenderfluid [ANSA]
4) So not SuperMan but SuperBi or better SuperAltro [ANSA]
6) So it should be called supergay not superman! [CdS]
7) But then it should be called Superloro or Superbis or Superthen but certainly not SuperMAN !!! [CdS]

There are also many who have not understood that bisexuality is a sexual orientation, in which one is attracted to two or more genders. Is not, then, a gender identity, in which one identifies with two or more genders, as is the case with bigender or polygender people. Bisexual people can have any gender identity.
It is also interesting to see comments such as (5) and (6), in which he opposes -Mon and -gay, as if to emphasize that a gay man cannot also be a (real) man. That this is not the case with Jonathan Kent, who is bisexual and not gay, is another story.

But even if Clark Kent was bisexual, did you know that there are nearly 3 stories on AO8.000 featuring the original Superman in a relationship with Bruce Wayne / Batman? Fanart from With Your Poncho On
But even if Clark Kent was bisexual, did you know that up AO3 are there nearly 8.000 stories that see the original Superman in a relationship with Bruce Wayne / Batman? Fanart of With Your Poncho On

Homobiphobic reactions to Jonathan Kent / bisexual Superman

In this session we will hardly talk about fallacious arguments, why hatred has the characteristic of not being really argued.
We will therefore see the major types of reactions that carry negative stereotypes (therefore micro-aggressions) and hatred that have infested the comment sections of some news sites and Italian newspapers.

Is a bisexual Jonathan Kent also feminine? The misogyny behind homobiphobia

1) I can't wait for the restyling of the all pink costume and the thong instead of the knickers [Lega Nerd]
2) he does not throw his fists for fear of ruining his nail polish [Lega Nerd]
3) I would also wear a delightful pink cloak made with bobbin lace and the S in Swarovski crystals [ANSA]
4) Come on, will you wear the thong then ?? [HANDLE]
5) And a nice skirt instead of the cape ??? [CdS]
6) When is Thor, who instead of the hammer, a typical masculine & virile symbol, uses a handbag? [CdS]
7) You sent your son to earth flying and he is back waddling???????????????? [CdS]

Because, obviously, non-straight men have to be feminine. Which, in reality, would not be a bad thing, because a man has the right to behave and present himself as he sees fit, and not just in the way our society traditionally describes the "real man". But, in the eyes of homophobes, being associated with the female gender is demeaning and negative, because they associate femininity with weakness and other negative attributes.
Because, after all, a certain part of homophobic hatred derives from the perception of the gay (or bisexual) man as a man who puts himself in a feminine position, and who is therefore not only "less man", but also "less worthy". In short: homophobia always goes hand in hand with sexism and with the perception of the woman as an inferior being.

Hatred and loathing of queer people

Then there are those who are indignant and shout directly to "gender propaganda". After all, bisexual Superman is there to make us believe that certain "tastes" are "normal," according to some people. Or, in general, there are those who compare the creation of a bisexual Superman to "filth", "evil", "moral drift", "perversion". All, of course, conceived by the "lobby of pedophile creators", because we must not miss anything.
There is little to argue with these kinds of comments, unfortunately, because that would only mean giving them some kind of legitimacy, and the dignity of receiving an answer. The only thing that can be commented on is the hypothesis of comment (13), in which one wonders if they will also make Superman a illegal immigrant (evidently considered worse even than being bisexual). Well, as Leonardo said above ... this person has probably never really read an issue of Superman.

1) [...] I only say that they have fallen really low, they no longer have imagination, the only real goal is to transgress, forcing us to think that everything is normal when in reality it is not ... [Lega Nerd]
2) This new son of Superman would need kryptonite in the ass so he weakens and disappears before he is born. [Nerd League]
3) Homosexuality should not be cleared of customs, but recognized for what it is: a deformity of sexual desire or orientation that has very specific biochemical causes. [Nerd League]
4) But enough with these crap, ste crap, we can't take it anymore, that crap, enough with this deviance, ste paraphilias, we just have the boxes full. [Nerd League]

5) Now this is the time that evil is called good and good is called evil. [HANDLE]
6) Shame on making children confused! [HANDLE]
7) Now, in this time ruled by darkness, even children's tales are destroyed. [HANDLE]
8) We are morally adrift ... perversion is presented as "normality" [ANSA]
9) The abominable ideologies that spread and invade social life at any cost. [HANDLE]
10) What a drag…. you broke. This lobby of pedophile creators should be dismantled [ANSA]

11) Oddioooooo I'm not homophobic but now also the characters of old comics.🤮🤮🤮 [The Republic]
12) Can I throw up ??? I see him gay Superman going to save humanity hahaha but that's enough [CdS]
13) Homosexuality is now accepted without a fuss but leave Superman alone. Do not spoil the dreams of many children. If you really want to close the circle, make him also an illegal immigrant and that's it. [CdS]

Jonathan Kent and Jay Nakamura
Jonathan Kent and Jay Nakamura

Some conclusive words

In an ideal world, there would be nothing to say about Jonathan Kent's bisexuality. It would have been accepted as the sexual orientation of any other straight superhero.
At best, it would have pleased bisexual people, like Seeker G, because it pleases to see people like them explicitly shown in comics, and represented by prominent characters like Superman.
However, even today theexistence of a bisexual character is a horror to some. For others a stretch. For others still a ridiculous thing. Which is not nice, because it reminds real bisexual people that no, our orientation is not accepted or considered "normal". Because no one would ever have written comments, like the ones we read above, if Jonathan Kent had been heterosexual and had brought home a girlfriend.

On the other hand, articles like the one de The newspaper, in which Superman's environmentalist struggle is defined as a form of conformist "propaganda" shows us how simple it is to manipulate reality and create the bugbear of the "dictatorship of the politically correct" where there is nothing but the continuation of what Superman has always fought for.
And it is disheartening to think that there are people who have followed the adventures of the Man of Steel, that is, one of the best and most empathic heroes in the DC universe, and who in any case they learned nothing from him. Why, let's face it: Clark Kent would never write such comments.
And yes, the writer would always be portrayed as the antagonist, in a Superman comic.