Welcome to the 21st installment of our 2021 Pride Month Series! Each day in the month of June, we will be highlighting a different member of the LGBTQ+ community who we think is a great example of representation and dynamic characterization. We will focus on fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — the positive voices within the LGBTQ+ community and in mainstream media.
Today, we will be celebrating Angela Montenegro from Bones. Angela works amongst the team of scientists within the Jeffersonian Institute to help solve murders. She differs a lot from the rest of the logical and often unsociable scientists with her outgoing and upbeat nature. Angela started her career as an artist and eventually wound up at the Jeffersonian Institute doing facial reconstructions to give identities back to the murder victims. However, amongst the many seasons of Bones, Angela also picked up lots of other amazing skills including doing amazing digital reconstructions of crime scenes and evidence. Angela is an amazing role model for women within STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
Warning: this article contains spoilers for Bones.
A big part of Angela’s character is her sexuality. She is frequently described by friends and family as a “free spirit.” Through the 12 seasons of Bones, we see Angela in a variety of relationships. In season 1, she is in a long-term relationship with Kirk Persinger who she only sees for three weeks every year. In season 2, it is revealed that Angela married Grayson Barasa whilst drunk in Fiji, although she remained unaware that the marriage was legally-binding. In season 4, Angela rekindles a romance with her ex-girlfriend from college, Roxie Lyon, after they run into each when Roxie is a murder suspect. In season 5 she also dates intern Wendell Bray.
What I found most refreshing about Angela’s relationships throughout the timeline of Bones is that it is just an accepted part of her character. Her friends and colleagues (except for Booth) were already seemingly aware of Angela’s sexuality, to which she says that she does not want to be labelled. It was not something that was shoehorned into storylines but was just an inbuilt part of her character. It was the first time I had seen something like this on television. It stands as an amazing representation of how LGBTQ+ can be represented on screen without any kind of fanfare but just as something that should be accepted about an individual. Actress Michaela Conlin, who plays the fantastic artist commented on feeling similarly about her character in an interview with Advocate.
“I don’t feel that there’s enough visibility with bisexual characters on TV at all. When they are portrayed it always — I feel like it’s meant to show me that they’re bisexual, rather than just having them be bisexual. Hart Hanson — who created the show and was running the show at that time that that [the Roxie] storyline came about — really treated it as any other relationship on the show. The other characters were happy for Angela. They didn’t comment on the fact that who she loved was not a man. It’s very normal. That, to me, was such a relief. Network TV … doesn’t always get [that] right. How do I feel about getting to do that? I feel really lucky to have gotten to do a lot of the things that Angela did. She’s so brave and strong and honest. I haven’t thought of it in the context of playing someone that was bisexual. I think it was just being able to play someone who was free enough and strong enough to love who she loved, and that’s it. There was no thought about the fact that it was a woman or a man.”
However, no one can deny that Angela’s soulmate is fellow colleague, Jack Hodgins. Their relationship starts all the way back in season 2 and the path to their happy ending is anything but easy. Over the years they face many situations together including finding out about Angela’s prior marriage, their own eventual marriage in a jail cell and Hodgins becoming paralyzed. Their undeniable chemistry and the pureness of their love made them a joy and a comfort to watch through the years.
In season 2, Angela is described in a newspaper article on the Jeffersonian team as “the heart of the operation.” Angela is most definitely that. She is generous with her time and love both romantically and platonically. She is the character that everyone goes to for advice and is loyal and loving. Angela is a great representation of an LGBTQ+ character and although I was sad to see the end of her story with the season finale, I am glad that she received a happy ending.
You can watch all 12 seasons of Bones on Amazon Prime, Hulu and on Disney+ (in areas with Star). Make sure to give it a watch (or a re-watch) and check back here tomorrow for our next Pride Spotlight installment.