Do famous bisexuals owe it to us to be role models?

Anna_Paquin_Comic-Con_2012

“Anna Paquin’s speech on the Larry King Show made her an instant role model”

Representation matters. After all, we need people to inspire us, the same way straight guys have always had. We need to know that other people like us exist.

But besides just existing, should prominent bisexuals be worried about being our role models? If so, how should they do this? It’s not difficult to point out good role models – those bisexual people we love like Anna Paquin, whose speech on the Larry King Show made her a role model for all monogamic bi girls. But what about polyamorous ones? POC ones? Fat ones? Etc?

Members of the bi community often expect famous bi people to toe a certain line: never being promiscuous, never cheating, never talking about how their sexuality might have changed or evolved and devoting their lives to debunking biphobic myths.

Not only do they have to exist and come out, they also have to BEHAVE. It reminds me of that other group of people that is told to behave like this and like that to be accepted… yes, you guessed right, everyday regular non-famous bisexuals. At the same time that famous bisexual people have to be good bisexuals, they have to fight and win all the struggles all bisexuals face so they can act as a role model, and one of this struggles is with the b word: “bisexual”.

Melanie_B,_2011

“Mel B is one of a number of celebs who’ve come out without using the word ‘bisexual’…”

Cara Delevigne, Michelle Rodriguez, Mel B and others have all outed themselves in some way as desiring people of more than one gender. But this is not the only thing they have in common – they also never used the word “bisexual”, even though some were very clear about it without having to name it. But we need mentions, right? It’s not enough that they come out with sentences about “loving people”, “hearts, not parts” and other non-b-word bisexualities or sexualities. No, we need and demand more. They should say it, visibilise it, defend it, they should all be Anna Paquin.

Question: Was it easy for you to come out as bi? If the answer is “Yes”: GREAT, thumbs up for you, I’m sincerely happy that you were able to do it, but you certainly know that this is not the case for everybody. If the answer was “No”, well, then why the hell it should be easy or – worse – mandatory for famous people to do it? In your own coming out, maybe work mates, school mates, family and neighborhood wouldn’t believe you, would misjudge you, misunderstand what it means for you to be bisexual etc. To famous bisexual people it will be everyone listed above plus all the media and all the millions of people media gets to. Easy, huh?

And even when the b word is never spoken, the media will still splash “REVEALS BISEXUALITY” everywhere. Same thing they do to gay, lesbian or any other non-bisexual-identified person. For instance Tom Daley, who “was bi” and then “gay” and he NEVER said one thing or another. We just know he likes men – and still fancies girls –  which in itself does not mean anything. What we DO know is that everyone jumped to conclusions. The mainstream media coverage of the lives of lesbian and gay people is pretty shit, and of course its coverage of bi people is much worse – but they are the ones to be blamed, not, I think, lesbian, gay and bi people themselves.

Extending the “b-word” point, there is this myth we all hate: “If you are in a long term relationship with someone then you’re monosexual”. Yeah, OK, but them what are we doing to monosexual people who switch from a partner of one gender to a partner of another gender? Yep, we call them really bisexuals, cause if you keep on switching like this “Why don’t you come out bi already?” Look at the case of writer Chirlene McCray, who came out back at the 70s only to have her lesbianity questioned because she is married to a man. Straight homophobes will say she found the cure, lesbian biphobes will say she is a traitor, Larry King would say she “was” lesbian and we what? Are we going to say she should ID as bisexual to be coherent with both her past and present sexual and affective behavior? Really?

The following two tabs change content below.

Daniela Furtado

Dani is editor of South American bi website www.bisides.com

4 Responses to Do famous bisexuals owe it to us to be role models?

  • janis hetherington says:

    But in MY generation with the people I mixed with it was so ‘normal’ to be BISEXUAL. The hang up seems to be so much more pronounced with the ‘younger generation’ who appear to be so confused about any identity. Seems to me like a step backward. Less navel gazing and perhaps more action might be in order. I sometimes wonder if you actually like SEX or just labels.

  • Estraven says:

    As this article points out, it’s lovely that privileged people sort of come out, but not really helpful. But when you are privileged, you don’t need the help of the queer community the way the rest of us do. http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2013/12/02/tom_daley_and_maria_bello_come_out_is_no_label_gay_ok.html

  • lolopotamus says:

    You’re right. They probably don’t need as much help from the community the way we do. But having them come out and actually use the word “bisexual” when doing so, instead of just not identifying one way or the other, really is helpful…especially for bi youths! Representation is important.
    And I’m not saying that they are in any way obligated to do so, I think that if they are in a position where they can help others then they should seriously consider it.

  • “Representation matters. After all, we need people to inspire us, the same way straight guys have always had. We need to know that other people like us exist.” yep.right.there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *