Mainstream culture and public hear-say often promote the idea that bisexuality is an act of free will, for fickle or sexually confused people perhaps, who interchange between relationships with men and women in a carefree manner. Sexual fluidity amongst women especially is usually presented as experimental and frivolous, but you’d be mistaken to believe that living and identifying as bisexual is as trivial, fun and free as the media can make it appear. On the contrary, openly identifying as bisexual puts you at risk of being discriminated and marginalised, not only by the straight ‘world’, but by gay people also.
Since the first episode of Season 3 of Showtime’s The Real L Word aired a week ago today I have noticed an online reaction amongst fans, mostly in the form of stroppy protests, to the extended inclusion of Romi in the show now she is in a relationship with – shock horror – a man.
There has been a lot of discussion about bi-phobia recently, within the LGBT community in fact, yet what continues to disappoint me is the substantial amount of prejudice channelled from self identified lesbians. The ‘real’ girls even touch on the issue of bisexuality during Episode 1; stating that women often become ‘excommunicated’ from lesbian circles when they begin dating a man. Seriously? Does a person have to pledge allegiance to one side or the other? You would think that being subjected to discrimination and marginalisation as openly gay women themselves would provide them, as members of the LGBT community, with a feeling of relatability, or at the very least empathy, towards bisexual people.
Kudos to Ilene Chaiken for featuring Romi and her boyfriend in the show. It would have been all too easy to cast Romi’s story aside now she’s involved with a man. It’s about time some light was shed on bisexual individuals in the media, allowing the community to throw away common misconceptions and myths. I hope that The Real L Word will go on to explore bisexuality, albeit through the eyes of one lady, and relationships within the lesbian community as a result of such choices.