Monday, February 21, 2011

Lesbians on TV: Biphobia in The L Word

The first couple seasons of The L Word had a lot of promise, at least when it came to being inclusive of diverse identities. One of the main characters I mentioned in the last post, Alice, started out as a proud bisexual character. And she got a lot of shit for it from her friends. If I remember correctly, in the pilot episode, Alice is asked when she is going to "pick a side." she says that she is looking for the same things in a man as she is in a woman, and that is a legit statement for many people who identify as bisexual. However, after Alice makes this statement, her friends make a joke about it.

Even so, at least at this point, Alice is proud to be bi and she sticks to the identity. And then it changes. But first, let's visit another storyline where a character experiments with bisexuality.

Tina, who at the beginning of the show, has been with her partner Bette for a very long time. In, about season 3 or 4, Tina starts having feelings for a man and leaves Bette for this possibility. She is ostracized within her community for having taken "heterosexual privilege" and being with a man.

Even Alice, the former proud bisexual, admits that she thinks bisexuality is gross, and she doesn't know how she ever identified as such.

Can we all agree that this sucks? Biphobia sucks a whole lot, and completely undermines the whole point of fighting for LGBT rights. You know, the right to love whoever you love, and be attracted to whoever you're attracted to? Unless you're bisexual or otherwise sexually fluid. Then you need to choose a side.

This instance is more than just a television show being stupid, as television shows often are, it is a television show perpetuating a very real problem that exists within the LGBT community.

Many members of the lesbian and gay communities have the same rigid idea of sexuality being black or white, gay or straight, as many heterosexual individuals have. Many see bisexuality as a stepping stone to "really coming out." Maybe there's some jealousy because someone who identifies as bisexual can sometimes have heteronormative relationships. I don't know, and quite honestly, I don't care.

As a movement, we are going to get nowhere if we keep denying the legitimacy of those who exist within our community.

I don't think it matters how you identify, that's your identity and your business, but that should go for everyone. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, fluid, or straight, it's just a sexual orientation. Get over it and move on.

We're fighting with society to have the right to be with whoever we want, without the constraints of social constructs. That's the "gay agenda"," right? So, we shouldn't have to fight within our own community to have the same thing.

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