Lucifer: the Devil of Heteronormativity
Recently I’ve been trying to get back into watching new TV shows instead of religiously rewatching Brooklyn Nine Nine, and when scrolling through my Netflix watchlist I spotted Lucifer. I’d heard whispers on the internet and from friends that it was a bit gay, so I settled in and binged up until season three episode eleven. At that point I gave up because not only had it become incredibly boring with each passing episode, it’s also really fucking straight.
Now, before you jump into my DM’s or the comments and scream “THIS IS BISEXUAL ERASURE” please just take a second and actually read what I’m about to say.
During the three seasons I subjected myself to, I took extensive notes on Lucifer’s sexuality and how it was presented, and you know what I found? 99.9% of the time he’s only ever shown to flirt and have casual relations with women, despite the fact he is known to have sexual relations with men. The 0.1% of the time when we ever see a man anywhere near him in a sexual capacity is when there’s a threesome or an orgy, and the man is kept far, far away from Lucifer. You don’t even see him casually make out with a guy in his own nightclub, Lux.
What could be the reason for this lack of screen time for his male dalliances? Could it be the show wanted to provide bisexual representation for those with preferences for the opposite sex? Of course not – the creators only cared about making Lucifer palatable in order to attract a wider cishet audience, which resulted in him being a mega womaniser to make up for his effeminacy. Bisexuality is only used in passing so he can be sexually promiscuous to the highest level and live the classic debauched lifestyle of the devil we’re all familiar with. This is backed up by the fact that the only other queer character aside from him (up until the point I watched) is his side-kick demon, Maze, who is also a promiscuous bisexual and yet isn’t shown physically with a woman until later on in the show (despite flirting with multiple women in earlier seasons).
Both Lucifer and Maze could have easily been promiscuous and straight without the narrative being affected at all. Queerness is only used to enhance their immoral, demonic behaviour which is why their queer dalliances are never shown, despite there being many opportunities to do so. Lucifer could have dripped candle wax onto a hunky enby as foreplay; Maze could have made out with the woman whose breasts she’d massaged in a Canadian ski lodge. It was a conscious decision by the show runners to never display queerness physically because they didn’t want to lose their mainstream cishet audience.
Now, I know this can come across as if I believe bisexual folks have to prove their sexuality in order to be valid, but that’s not the case. If you’re a bisexual who has only ever been in “straight” relationships, I couldn’t care less. My criticism of bisexuality in Lucifer comes from knowing that it’s constructed by creators to deliver a set narrative for the enjoyment of a cishet audience. People’s sexuality in real life does not function in the same way a character’s does in a story.
Saying that however, if the show did choose to explore Lucifer’s bisexuality and how he has a preference for women, while I would have appreciated the exploration I would have been somewhat disinterested. There’s only so much queerness you can explore in a narrative where a character fits into heteronormative society. Even with the eventual relationship of Maze and Eve it’s within the confines of monogamy and marriage. To be queer is to inherently go against the status quo, to live differently to what heteronormative society deems acceptable. I crave representation on screen that does the same but until queerness is profitable, I guess we’re stuck with watching shallow representation that had the potential to be queer as hell.