The Advocate asked DC Comics’ co-publisher Dan Didio why they’re making Batwoman an integral part of Batman’s universe, rather than promoting her as a major character alongside one of the other big heroes in the DC roster. According to him:
There’s a lot more characters that inhabit Batman’s world. We knew we were interested in reintroducing the Batwoman character to his mythology and we also wanted to show a [different] point of view…because some of those characters without superpowers come from the same sense of grief in their past. Establishing [Batwoman] as a lesbian early on it givers her a different sensibility, a different point of view, and it also allows us to tell stories from a different angle that sets her apart from the other characters in Batman’s world.
Kate Kane did lose her twin and her mother as a 12 year old, which makes her fit that grief narrative pretty neatly. I have no real quibble with the idea that two characters who are linked by iconography and narrative should appear in the same universe together. At the same time, it’s an interesting acknowledgement that the Batman universe is seen as more diverse within DC, and thus a place where it’s okay to add even more diverse characters. I’d be really interested to know more about the extent to which diversity in culture is a draw for consumers who aren’t members of minority groups. Any group in pop culture that’s made up only of white, straight people doesn’t really look like my life, so I find it somewhat less compelling. But I don’t know if that’s a widespread phenomenon that matches up with younger people’s support for things like equal marriage rights.