I know from bisexual friends that people who are bi often get a bad rap.
I’ve personally never understood the problem — some people are gay, some are straight, some are in between, so why can’t someone be exactly in between?
Nonetheless, the existence of bisexuality sows confusion among gays and straights alike.
Our own Becca Morn has written about the conundrum that is bisexuality:
Everybody assumes that either I’m actually a lesbian, or that I’m constantly jonesing to be with a man.
Unless that man is George Clooney, in which case all bets are off. (It’s written into our pre-nup.)
My wife’s lesbian friends warned her I couldn’t be trusted, that I’d leave her. They employed all the anti-bi stereotypes, including the notion there’s no such thing as an actual bisexual – rather, we’re simply people who like to experiment.
And as I’ve said before, I know very few gay people who believe bisexuality even exists. When I bring up the topic, people usually roll their eyes, scoff, or make some comment suggesting bisexuals are confused, or lying, or something.
(And while some people who claim to be bi probably are gay, and simply using the bi label as a gateway-moniker before they’re fully comfortable admitting that they’re “gay.” But everyone? Doubtful.)
Well, “True Blood” star Anna Paquin (aka Sookie Stackhouse) was on Larry King’s show on the Russian state propaganda network the other day, and King asked her about being bisexual. It appears King was confused as to how Paquin could be bisexual, yet married to her male costar Stephen Moyer.
Larry King: Are you a non-practicing bisexual?
Anna Paquin: Well, I am married to my husband and we are happily monogamously married.
Larry King: So you were bisexual?
Anna Paquin: Well, I don’t think it’s a past-tense kind of thing. It doesn’t prevent your sexuality from existing. It doesn’t really work like that.
So many levels of wrong. One does not “practice” one’s sexual orientation, any more than than straight people are “practicing heterosexuals.” As for the confusion over Paquin marrying a man, well, yes, bisexuals like both men and women, so it’s entirely feasible for them to end up with, you know, a man OR a woman.
I don’t really fault King, here. He’s an admittedly older guy who’s not up on the lingo or the substance. I’d have liked for Paquin to see this as an opportunity to explain what bisexuality — what sexual orientation is — and educate both King and an audience that might be just as confused as he was.
As I’ve argued before, if people aren’t filled with malice, and if they’re legitimately asking you a question and simply get the question (or the premise) wrong, don’t rip their heads off. Educate them. And for those who say “it’s not my job to educate them,” to the degree that you want things to ever change, it’s your only job.