Bisexual Representation Gracing Our Screens
Everyone has seen the large influx of LGBT+ characters on television lately, but bisexuals are still grossly underrepresented. This is surprising, considering an estimated 5.5 percent of women and two percent of men identify as bisexual. It would be great to see those numbers reflected on screen, but only in good bisexual representative roles. Here are some fantastic bisexual characters on television right now that can set the path for more of their kind.
Grey’s Anatomy, an ABC show, is one of the first shows on television to show a bisexual character in the form of Callie Torres. Callie starts out the show only attracted to men, even marrying a man on the show. As we watch her develop, she, for the first time, develops feelings for a woman, discovering she is bisexual. One of the issues the show addresses is bisexuality versus homosexuality. The number one reason people experience biphobia is that they don’t understand bisexuality. Grey’s Anatomy does a great job of addressing the misconceptions of bisexuality and the gay community’s intercommunal biphobia.
In the show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, there is one bisexual character that comes out in the first season, Darryl. This is a rare case of male bisexual representation and one that does it incredibly well. In Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, they address the idea of bisexuality through the song, “Getting Bi”, and in the episode “Josh is Going to Hawaii”, and discuss many of these controversial concepts and misconceptions of bisexuality. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend also normalizes coming out to children. A large argument among anti-LGBT crowds are comments like, what will the children think? But Crazy-Ex Girlfriend doesn’t tolerate that kind of thinking. Not only do we not see Darryl come out to his daughter, but we see her integrated seamlessly into the plot, referring to Darryl’s partner, Josh, as her father’s boyfriend. It doesn’t affect her relationship with her dad at all.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s, Rosa Diaz, a long standing character on the show, had relationships with men for the majority of the show, but finally comes out as bi to her coworkers, who then, in turn, help her come out to her family. This representation in Brooklyn Nine-Nine does a fantastic job at making sure their bisexual character has a full character arc in coming to terms with her sexuality and shows the real effects of coming out and shows ways to cope with losing some family after by creating a new sense of family.
Clarke Griffin from the CW’s The 100 is a fantastic, fleshed out female character and bisexual! She falls in love with both men and women throughout the series, and never has a coming out moment - in this futuristic world, her sexuality is fully accepted, which is a breath of fresh air on the screen.
Ilana Wexler from the fantastic Broad City is another bisexual icon. She’s loud, bold, daring, and endearing. She talks endlessly about her sex life and sexual preferences. She’s a 2019 Feminist hero, and anyone that doesn’t know her character I demand watch Broad City ASAP.
Overall, there are a ton of misconceptions about bisexuality in today’s society. When someone comes out as bisexual, many questions are posed. “Well, if it’s not 50/50, doesn’t that mean you’re actually gay/straight? Well, which gender have you slept with more? Is that reflected in your percentage? When was the last time you slept with a man vs. a woman? Who do you think you’re going to marry? Will you want kids?”
These questions are not what bisexuality is about. It’s fluid, the answers are not concrete. Because of this, many people see bisexuals as overtly sexual, untrustful, unable to make a decision or not gay enough, inappropriate for children, and are unwilling to date someone who is bisexual. It is therefore incredibly important for bisexual representation to debunk those rumors. Grey’s Anatomy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine,Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The 100, and Broad City all do as such in their own ways and are just the beginning of the good representation we need to see on screen for bisexuals.