Bisexuals are unfairly represented

Jillian Freeman

We are seeing a huge increase in LGBT representation. While this is a monumental step in the right direction, there is a substantial lack of the B. Bisexual characters are hardly ever featured in media today. On the rare occasion when there are stories featuring bisexual characters, they are often portrayed as either indecisive, promiscuous, or both.

When bisexual characters are only placed into these stereotypical boxes, audiences are likely to believe that real bisexual people are similar to the ones they are seeing on screen. Positive portrayals of marginalized people not only help those within the group, but also help society relate to and accept people they might not usually come into contact with. The bisexual community needs this.

Bisexual characters are usually put into a few separate archetypes by media. They are either depicted as untrustworthy and serial cheaters, promiscuous, unable to form intimate monogamous relationships, or they are just having an experimental phase and will without question go back to being considered heterosexual for the rest of their storyline.

To put an entire group of people in a box with one label is completely unjust. The act of stereotyping bisexual people directly affects how the general public views them. The average individual takes what they know from TV shows and movies to pass judgment on a group they know very little nothing about.

This combination of media portrayal and public judgment makes it so that bisexual people in real life are less likely to come out. Their personal sexual orientation more often than not is portrayed as confusion, a lie, or is hyper-sexualized. Bisexual characters are usually the villain or the sexualized comedic relief of mainstream media on the extremely rare condition they are featured in the first place.

On the other side of the coin, there is a whole different effect when bisexual characters are portrayed accurately and positively. This is an extremely rare occurrence, but seeing it in media can be life altering for the bi community and the community at large when it comes to seeing accurate representation.

On the CW’s musical drama and comedy TV show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”, there is a character named Darryl Whitefeather. Darryl is the quirky and kind boss at the main character’s workplace who is nothing but nice and entertaining. At the beginning of the series, he is married to a woman with whom he has a daughter. Throughout the course of the first season, he goes through a divorce. Later on, upon some introspective reflection, he realizes he is bisexual. There is an entire musical number dedicated to his coming out called “Gettin Bi,” which addresses stereotypes and celebrates the entire idea of bisexuality. Some lyrics include, “I tell you what Being bi does not imply that you’re a player or a slut,” “It’s not a phase, I’m not confused, not indecisive, I don’t have the ‘gotta choose’ blues.” To have a character on a mainstream television show simultaneously come out as bi and break down stereotypes is monumental for the bisexual community.

If more complex and well-received characters like Darryl Whitefeather are given screen time, both the bi community and the general public will greatly benefit from it.

Bisexual representation matters and the stereotyping of bi people on screen, and off, needs to be brought to an end. A small percentage of LGBT representation includes the B and when it does it is often not accurate or positive.

Mainstream media and society at large would with no question benefit from seeing how bisexual people are not all the same promiscuous and non-committal person they are portrayed to be. Just like people in general, every bisexual person has a different story.