Bisexuals haven’t had much televised representation. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some; but almost none of them have referred to themselves by THE WORD. What we get is a lot of “not into labels,” “I’m open to anything,” “confused,” “exploring,” or, more often than not, a permanent stake in the ground of preferred gender, I AM GAY NOW or I AM STRAIGHT NOW. When it comes to those outside that binary, we’re kind of on our own.
In fact, I remember perhaps the first time I heard bisexuals discussed on TV.
And that was pretty much it until this shitshow.
Some select quotes from the above video:
“What kind of question is that, ‘is it a problem?’”
“Of course it’s a problem!”
“That whole generation is all about sexual experimentation. All the kids are going bi.”
“So what? If all the bi kids are jumping off a bridge, you gonna do that too?”
“When did this happen? When did all the sexes get all confused?”
“You know, I did the whole ‘date a bisexual guy in college’ thing. They all ended up with men.”
“And so did the bisexual women.”
“I’m not even sure bisexuality exists. I think it’s just a layover on the way to Gaytown.”
Neat neat neat.
So last night on Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s 99th episode, when Rosa Diaz told Charles Boyle that she’s bi and dating a woman—she just said it!—it was a huge moment.
Stephanie Beatriz, who is bi herself, was involved in the development of the story. Both as a bisexual woman and as someone who cares about this character, Beatriz described the importance of this moment to her and the show.
Not to say that my story is the same as Rosa’s at all. It’s not. But there were things that we wanted and thought would be really important — like the word itself: bisexual. To me, that’s an important word in my coming out. I know that not all people are totally celebratory of that word because it’s from a time where it was like these two genders — that’s all there is. And now there’s a lot more flexibility and fluidity in sexuality, which is why sometimes I gravitate toward the word queer as well. For me, bisexuality includes people that are trans, it can include people who identify in different kind of ways. But for Rosa, there was a point for her where she heard that word somewhere along the line and she saw herself in that word, so for her, it was important for her to identify in that way. I suggested that that word was really important to Rosa and that it also would be really important to the bi community to have that word said aloud on TV. Not just a suggestion that she dates girls now, but a clarity on this character: This is who I am, and I’d like you to know it — and accept it.
On behalf of everyone who took the “layover to Gaytown” and built a lovely home there, thank you Stephanie Beatriz and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.