Why Dean Winchester’s Bisexuality Matters

Hunting for queer representation. It's the family business.

dean-winchester

Supernatural | © CW

Warning: this article contains spoilers for Supernatural seasons 1 through 11.

Dear SPNFamily,

We’ve all done the homework. We’ve screencapped every eye flicker, every smile, every jaw clench. We’ve catalogued, archived, and tagged the fleeting moments; memorized facial tics, voice cracks, and lip quivers. We’re not obsessed (okay, debatable). We’re just on the prowl for bisexual Dean Winchester. And, turns out, he’s pretty easy to track down.

Bisexual Dean is everywhere. But most fan references to his queerness focus on his relationship with Castiel, the Angel of God who appears in season four. Fair enough – the sexual chemistry between them is hotter than a yellow-eyed demon in Hell. But I’m more interested in the quieter moments from the earlier seasons – the ones that prove Dean’s bisexuality has existed all along.

In season one’s “Hell House,” Dean gets visibly flustered when Sam emerges from the shower with nothing but a towel and glistening pectorals. The look on Dean’s face is not so much an “oh look, my little brother has muscles now” than a “oh shit, what fresh hell is this hot specimen.” Yes, we all know they’re brothers. And so does Dean – he quickly averts his eyes in a tizzy.

 

 

(I can’t be the only one who read this scene as sexual – the implication being that Dean hurries into the bathroom to “clean the pipes.”)

In season two’s “Bloodlust,” Dean becomes emotionally intimate with fellow hunter Gordon Walker. In a private moment, when he finally broaches the topic of his father’s death, Dean says, “Can’t talk about this to Sammy. You know, I gotta keep my game face on. But, uh, truth is I’m not handling it very well.”

 

 

Up until then, the only person we’ve seen Dean be vulnerable with (outside his immediate family) is Cassie Robinson, an important ex-girlfriend. This immediately places Gordon, someone he’s just met, on the same level as a woman with whom he’d had an intimate relationship. Bisexual, biromantic, Dean.

Again, in season two’s “Croatoan,” when Dean tries to leave town during the viral outbreak, he is stopped by an older man who asks him to get out of the car. After lots of eye-flirting, Dean says, “Well, you are a handsome devil, but I don’t swing that way, sorry.”

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Sure, Dean. We believe you. Especially when you say it in that tough-guy voice. “I don’t swing that way” is a phrase Sam would never feel compelled to say. In fact, Dean’s constant masculine posturing throughout the series is what first caused me to read his character as bisexual. Whenever the boys are mistaken as lovers, Sam shrugs it off, but Dean gets defensive. Sam remarks on this in season two’s “Playthings:”

Dean: “Of course, the most troubling question is why do these people assume we’re gay?”
Sam: “Well, you are kind of butch. They probably think you’re overcompensating.”

Sam has a point. By all intents and purposes, Dean is the ultimate “man’s man.” He’s a rugged, demon-fighting, sexually voracious, smack-talking dude who oscillates between rocking out to Air Supply and severing a vampire’s head with an industrial chainsaw. But he’s bisexual too. And it matters.

To my knowledge, there are no bisexual characters as stereotypically masculine as Dean is in Supernatural. In a world where gay men on television are Jack McFarlands and Kurt Hummels (although they’re wonderful too), representation of a “butch” bisexual man is important. But the unfortunate fact remains that the Supernatural producers still shove Dean’s queerness to the margins. He never talks about his bisexuality, physically acts upon it (other than the aforementioned eye-fucking), nor engages in any sort of “questioning” behaviour. (I’m still waiting for the scene where Sam walks in on Dean watching gay porn and eating pie: “I like the cinematography!”)

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Like the Winchesters, we’re hunters. But we’re not hunting the supernatural. We’re hunting for queer representation. And sometimes it seems that, no matter how clearly we see it, from a strictly “canonical” perspective, the ghost of Dean’s bisexuality is still wandering around hospital hallways and spelling out I-A-M-B-I on Ouija boards. But seriously, fuck “canon” on this one. Because there are a million examples of Dean’s queerness (NSFW). Like I said, we did the homework.

Dean Winchester is bisexual. Always has been, always will be. And a hoard of hungry hellhounds couldn’t scare me into thinking otherwise. Because Dean’s bisexuality matters to me. For many reasons. For every time I caught sight of my crush in the high school locker room. For every time I wanted to make the first move but didn’t for fear of being clocked in the face. For every time I didn’t see a queer male TV character who looked and acted like me.

I am Dean Winchester and he is me. In all our glorious, masculine, non-traditional bisexuality. And when I watch him, I matter.

Love from,
A Butchy Bisexual who does swing that way.

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Click here to read more about bisexual Dean on FAN/FIC Magazine.

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About Marty Stu (5 Articles)
Marty Stu lives a dangerous lifestyle and is desired by all women. He is also a multi-user pseudonym for writers who wish to publish anonymously for FAN/FIC Magazine.

27 Comments on Why Dean Winchester’s Bisexuality Matters

  1. Dean isn’t entirely straight, see there’s a thing called leaning here. Dean leans towards women, but i’m sure that if Dean is in love enough with a guy that he could totally be into them. Such as Cas. What the problem here is that everyone is wanting him to be Bi for rep, not because it’s painfully obvious in the show. What i’m trying to say is that if you want LGBT+ recognized and accepted, instead of trying to make the characters be like “I’m gay, I’m gay” you could totally just be like, “Oh he’s bi, good for him. Now continue on for the plot!”. Staph trying to force gay rep, accept the show for what it is.

  2. I just want to know why everything has to have some type of LGBTQ? Omg the main character needs to be gay, he needs a lesbian bestie. There are so many things that are LGBTQ now that it’s almost impossible to watch something without wondering why producers have this NEED to make things represent the LGBTQ Community. Why can’t we accept that sometimes people are straight. Jk Rowling made Dumbledore gay because she didn’t have any LGBTQ characters.
    Why? Just why?
    FYI: I have nothing against the LGBTQ Community I have family who are I have friends that are. You be you.

    • Leila Hunter // November 21, 2018 at 1:48 am // Reply

      No, you’re right. I mean think about it. Do we really need Dean Winchester, one of the two main characters of Supernatural to be gay/bi? Just completely change the game like that after thirteen years? Now everyone needs to be gay for representation, if not, you’re homophobic. If you speak up about it, you’re homophobic. Not everything needs to be LGBT, there are other minorities that need to be represented and other things to be addressed. It’s represented over and over, yet people still feel the need ask for more. Are you really at the point where you’re bending a character’s sexuality with no solid proof? Are you that desperate? It’s not even needed on SPN because it’s been represented already, plenty or times. This is not me going on a rant about how LGBT+ people need to sit down, just saying that there’s enough representation on SPN and almost everything else, Dean is straight, he’s not bi or gay and he doesn’t have to be. That’s just the truth of the matter.

    • Agreed, i feel the exact way. If people want gay rep to be accepted stop making such a fuss about it xD

  3. Does anyone remember season 6 episode 9 when Sam asked Dean if he had “serviced the king” and the way Dean looked after he said that?

  4. On a side note: Angels in Christian lore were made before man in God’s image. Therefore, all of them are male and that means all of them were homo romantic meaning Cas’ feelings for Dean are pretty spot on. And I’m okay with the Bi-Dean theory. It makes sense, even if the producers don’t feel comfy letting the cat out of the bag. To all you other guys, it’s a work of fiction and it’s not hurting anyone to make fan theories with characters. If a fan makes an lgbtq headcanon, it’s a freaking headcanon. Get your metaphorical panties out of a twist. Thank you.

  5. I can argue about the episode “Hell House.” Where Sam comes out of the bathroom in only a towel. Dean’s reaction is that way is because he was hoping to not be caught pranking his brother

  6. Is everyone forgetting in Season 8 when Dean is questioning two girls and there’s a guy that’s essentially hitting on dean and he doesn’t realize it until he confronts him. Dean gets very nervous and even trips. This seemed quite odd for me!

  7. Andrea Fowler // February 16, 2018 at 11:24 pm // Reply

    Dean was flustered in the scene when Sam comes out of the shower because Sam almost caught him putting itching powder in his underwear that’s all does nobody remember this? Watch the episode again folks

  8. I strongly disagree because the evidence cannot be taken at face value.
    Starting with the scene where Sam walks out of the shower, Dean turns around and doesn’t expect to see his little brother ripped; so naturally we see that surprised look on his face.
    To the “clean the pipes” quote, it means to pee. Seeing they’re staying in a motel, there is only one bathroom so Dean has to wait. Your argument here would be stronger if he had gone in to pee as Sam was showering.
    The opening up to a person you just met thing is not uncommon and not “biromantic.” It’s easier to open up to a person you don’t know very well for a different perspective. I personally have done this with a few co-workers that I don’t know outside work after my wife left me. I gained helpful perspective.
    The Croatoan episode might hold water if Sam and Dean weren’t actors themselves. We’ve seen them in many episodes play different parts when the situation calls for it. Straight men recognize other handsome men all the time, most just don’t say it but it certainly doesn’t mean said man is gay or bi.
    I have told a few gay men “I don’t swing that way” and meant it. Can not Dean do the same?
    The reference to Playthings is actually the writers acknowledging these fan fics and working them into the script as a nod to the audience.
    I rock out to All Out of Love, my friend loves Adele’s Hello. We shoot each other eyes all the time, because we just enjoy each other’s company. At work we’re pretty much Destiel, but we’re not gay. The issue here is that society will not allow two men to just be close friends.
    To quote Bobby, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

    • I totally agree with you. About his eye-flirting, I think it’s not actually flirting, it seemed that he just did it instinctively.

    • Leila Hunter // November 21, 2018 at 1:23 am // Reply

      Thank you! This post was mainly about Dean’s expressions/habits towards other men, his behavior, and a basic statement of “Well, Dean acts like me and I’m bisexual so he’s bisexual” and it’s not the case. Dean has repeatedly said he doesn’t swing that way, (people like to point out that he lies about his feelings, but what does that have to do with his sexuality and why would he feel the need to lie about it?) he has never been romantically/sexually involved with another man, he has never dated or slept with another man and he won’t because he is straight. I honestly don’t understand why it’s so hard to accept, there has been other LGBT+ representation on SPN. You can’t just call him bi because he looked at a guy like that or because he said this or because he acts like me and I’m bi. (Me and Dean share more than several qualities and I’m straight.) It doesn’t work like that. He’s not in the closet or figuring anything out and he’s definitely not in love with Castiel. (whom he called family for goodness sakes) By a million examples they probably mean a bunch of GIFS of Dean staring at Cas or him making a joke. Dean is STRAIGHT, always has been, always will be and if Eric Kripke (creator of Dean Winchester btw) calls him straight then he probably is.

  9. I also am LGBTQAP. (The P part). I loved this article. I really enjoyed it and it has supported my opinion that Dean W. is not straight. Thank you.

  10. Yup, he’s Bi!

  11. Honestly, I never felt Dean as bi nor gay. I didn’t even know there are some people who consider him as bi and I watch this show since 2006. Please do not get me wrong I am also a LGBTQ supporter but I think we can not call characters gay/bi as long as show does not confirm it. (For example, now we call Wonder Woman bisexual cause producers “confirmed” it) So, If Dean says he doesn’t swing that way (means he’s no bi) it is okay for me and I also be okay if he was bi because I love the character.
    Also, I do not agree with the idea (which most people say) “They don’t confirm hes bisexuality because they are afraid of losing fans” because nowadays no shows losing much fans for having LGBTQ characters (which is a good thing) and most fans will just happy If he was bi and rest of us wouldn’t mind, like me. And friendly reminder there are dozens of male gay/bi characters in most TV Shows who are as masculine (or butch in Sam’s words) as Dean. Even in Supernatural; Don’t you guys remember that gay couple from season 11? They were pretty masculine.

    Sorry for long comment. I liked how you write your opinin with a proper language and not acting like those pesky shippers who doesn not agree with their request. Keep your good work ! )))

  12. catherine9676 // April 25, 2017 at 8:30 am // Reply

    Really enjoyed this article. In my opinion, I agree that Dean may be bisexual, but I never considered those examples from before Castiel was introduced. Interesting..
    Considering most of my knowledge about this comes from the ever debated topic of Destiel, it is interesting to see his behaviour from the early seasons in a different light.
    I hope you keep writing more, really like your stuff 😊❤️

    • I like that about this article too. A lot of meta about Dean’s sexuality focuses on Destiel and, here, there’s a clear case to be made for the more incidental, less obvious queer moments. I enjoy any sort of meta and fan theories about characterization, particularly when it comes to the Winchesters or my beloved Draco Malfoy. 😉

      Thank you so much for your lovely words. 😘

  13. Robert Orwell // April 2, 2017 at 4:16 am // Reply

    I too believe he is bisexual, but, considering how homophobic US society truly is, can you imagine the damage it would be done if Dean were to come out? Although the show has attracted lots of women to its audience, its fan-base is mainly composed by men, lots of them being the rugged tough Texan WASP kind of guy, which is equal to say they are quite homophobic – some of them are also closeted gays or bisexuals, seemingly like Dean, and strongly struggle against their nature, so you can imagine the results of a come-out in Spuernatural, can’t you? It’s sad, really sad, but it’s true.

    • Interesting comment! Yes, I imagine there would be a lot backlash if Dean Winchester were to “come out” as anything but straight. Especially because we aren’t used to seeing traditionally masculine characters (like Dean) who also identify as LGBT in popular media. That being said, there would be a whole hell of a lot of celebration as well — from fans (Destiel shippers, perhaps), from the LGBT community, and from people who embrace and are accepting of marginalized identities.

      I myself do not have a strong opinion either way about Dean Winchester’s sexuality. (I just want Dean to be happy. Perhaps he’s pie-sexual.) However, unfortunately for fans of bisexual Dean, I would be very surprised if the creators of Supernatural ever publicly acknowledged or promoted either Winchester as openly queer. Western media is still very conservative and studios do not like to take risks. The good news is… things are (slowly) starting to change for the better in terms of representation (e.g. The Force Awakens, Rogue One). But, sadly, I don’t think we’ll get there by the time Jared and Jensen decide to leave the ’67 Impala behind.

      Then again, if history tells us anything, Supernatural might remain on television forever.

    • Leila Hunter // November 21, 2018 at 1:33 am // Reply

      If Dean Winchester came out (though he won’t because he’s straight) I doubt the backlash would be because the people who watch the show are homophobic or closed gays/bis. (do you guys like assuming false things about people?) It would be because you have this character who has only flirted with women, slept with them, and who has been so sure of his sexuality and just abruptly comes out as gay/bi, that just wouldn’t make any sense and would be highly unnecessary considering the staff/cast members who have confirmed him straight, as well as the representation that was already on the show.

  14. Enjoyed your writings on the Dean Supernatural lore. Being an Associate of the WJGroup, and extremely grateful for being not being a ‘straight’ male, I am writing a story on a Dean-Benny relaltionship. Its a great story (a little sexually graphic though), and should complete it by March 10, 2017. My bosses in Switzerland and Argentina are not very hot about it, but they admit they can not stop me from completing the story. Thank you for your writings on Dean bisexuality (and why it is important). Gabriel Salazar, WaltersJudsonGroup

  15. The more I look at this website, the more that I have to roll my eyes in despair. I get why it’s here.
    I just hate that conjecture and opinion is being perpetuated as fact. It’s dangerous and it’s unprofessional.

  16. I guess you see what you want.

    • FAN/FIC Magazine // January 23, 2017 at 6:04 pm // Reply

      Exactly? I’m LGBTQ, which informs my personal reading of Dean Winchester as, well, not-entirely-heterosexual. Everyone brings their own identities and life experiences into the texts we consume, whether we intend to or not. I prescribe to the idea that “canon” is more fluid than fixed. You may disagree.

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