Pride month is officially upon us, and given the tragedies that took place last year, those under the rainbow umbrella must find strength in solidarity.
In television and film, lesbians, gays, and trans people are receiving more representation than ever, and while this is great, other queerfolk tend to get very minimal air time.
Think about it; on several television shows, there’s a main female character who primarily dates men, however, may end up in a fling with another female character for a brief, season-long arc. The female character usually ends up going back to dating men, however, the word “bisexual” is never used to describe her. The cult-favorite show Orange is the New Black is guilty of this offense, along with several other hit television series. Hell, even my favorite show, Broad City, is guilty of this offense when describing my favorite character, Ilana Wexler.
Because of the rather limited representation that bi people receive onscreen, there are several fallacies associated with bisexuality.
As a bi man, these are a few of the things I’ve heard throughout the years regarding the bisexual lifestyle
- “It’s just a stepping stone, you’ll end up picking a team.” – I’ve had an idea of who I am since I was 17 years old. I’m pretty sure if it was “just a phase,” I would’ve “chosen a side” by now. While several young queerfolk label themselves as bisexual before eventually coming out as gay, this isn’t the case for all bi people. Yes, bi people are entitled to their preferences, but said preferences do not constitute them being gay or straight.
- “Do you like [insert stereotypical LGBTQ+-themed show or film]?” – I’ve never seen an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I feel the show is culturally significant to the LGBTQ+ community, but I really just don’t care for reality competitions. I also find pretty much every show produced by Ryan Murphy rather cheesy and contrived. I did enjoy Lionel’s story on Netflix’s Dear White People, largely because it didn’t illustrate a stereotypical coming out experience. Elena’s experience on Netflix’s One Day at a Time was also heartwarming, however, because a lot of film and television shows offer very little representation for bi males, I don’t really ever seek out anything LGBTQ+-themed.
- You should meet [LGBTQ+ friend]! You’d love [him/her/them]! – If the only thing we have in common is the fact that we both fall along the queer spectrum, I’m not interested in meeting your friend. Sorry.
- “I couldn’t date someone who’s bi, they’d probably cheat on me.” – If you believe someone’s sexuality will dictate whether or not they will cheat on you, that seems to be more of a matter of your own insecurities.
- “Do you fantasize about having sex with everyone you see?” – Like I said before, everyone is entitled to their preferences. I like girls, but I like specific kinds of girls. I like guys, but I like specific kinds of guys.
I’ve always been a believer in the idea that sexuality is fluid. Television programs like Bill Nye Saves the World, and Atlanta have done a good job of explaining that sexuality is a spectrum. Hopefully, more forms of media will learn a thing or two about representing bi people.