I wanna see you out that (closet) door. Baby, bi, bi, bi.
Though we’ve largely gotten past stigmatization around female bisexuality in media (thank you Katy Perry, Kissing Jessica Stein, and Broad City), we haven’t always afforded carte blanche to boys.
Perhaps that’s why Prime Video’s hit rom-com Red, White, and Royal Blue (based on Casey McQuiston’s bestseller) is being heralded as quietly revolutionary.
In the film, Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez) is not only the first son who’s fallen for Henry, the Prince of England (Nicholas Galitzine). He’s also bi, an attribute that director Matthew López makes explicitly clear.
“Alex’s bisexuality is as important to who he is as Henry’s homosexuality is,” he told Teen Vogue, adding that it was “very important … that people [acknowledged] the fact that this is the story of a gay man and a bisexual man falling in love with each other.”
At the same time, the character’s bisexuality is a footnote in the steamy flick, and never made a joke. Though we do hear President Uma Thurman earnestly say, “The ‘B’ in LGBTQ is not a silent letter.” (In the most comically Texan accent.)
To be fair, it’s not exactly a novel concept. Bi men are well-represented in films like My Own Private Idaho, Y tu mamá también, and Call Me By Your Name, as well as amongst icons like David Bowie, Morrissey, and Freddie Mercury. Despite that visibility, biphobia has long run rampant in the LGBTQ+ community. A 2016 study even showed bi people reported higher levels of psychological distress, likely due to marginalization from their peers.
That being said, a 2023 Gallup poll seems to confirm the (pink, purple, and blue) tides are changing.
According to the report, nearly 60% of LGBTQ+ adults are bisexual. Younger generations are seemingly the most likely to get the best of both worlds, with one-fifth of Gen-Z identifying as LGBTQ+, and 13.1% as bi. This is nearly double the numbers of millennials, 11.2% of whom identify as queer and 6.9% as bisexual.
And when you look at the bi representation in shows geared to younger audiences (and our not-so-guilty pleasures), it makes sense.
The Summer I Turned Pretty on Prime Video blessed us with the goofy and charming Jeremiah Fisher (Gavin Casalegno). The bisexual king proudly admits Ariana Grande is his favorite artist –– though he’s preoccupied by a love triangle involving the girl of his dreams and his moody older brother. Happens to the best of us!
Still, he’s no competition for the internet’s newest boyfriend: Heartstopper‘s Nick Nelson (Kit Connor).
In the second season, Nick is ready to share his relationship with Charlie Spring (Joe Locke). But even in the Netflix show’s adorable and comfy universe, he is constantly reaffirming his bisexuality. Nick even captions his coming-out Instagram post, “Boyfriends ♥️ (I’m bi, actually).”
OK, it may be overkill to some gay viewers. But considering the lack of bi male characters on screen, it’s completely understandable. Plus, his character’s mom is portrayed by queen Olivia Colman. We must stan!
The sentiment seems to mirror Connor’s own experience with coming out as bisexual last year.
“Telling someone you’re gay or bi or part of the queer community, there’s a thing where you feel like they might see you differently or think that it would change who you are,” he told The New York Times in July. “For me, it’s just who I am.”
And the hunky Heartstopper heartthrob is in good company. The authentic bisexual representation we’ve seen onscreen is being reflected IRL en masse.
“I will admit that I probably spent the first close to 20 years of my career just broadcasting as hetero,” he said. “Growing up around homophobia” made him feel “like [he] needed to protect some secret.”
Does it have to be that big of a deal? i havent done much aside from kiss so tbh don’t wannna jump the gun but tbh i feel things and i dont wanna pretend i dont. 🙂♬ original sound – Lauv
It’s a culture of candidness that likely inspired Lauv to open up about his orientation. “When ur dating a girl but ur also a lil bit into men,” he wrote in a TikTok. “I’m gay but I’m not gay but I’m gay but I’m not gay.”
Diplo also made headlines with a similar admission. On Emily Ratajkowski’s podcast, the DJ revealed he’s “gotten a blow job from a guy before.” “I don’t want to define that I’m gay,” he said. “I think the best answer I have is I’m not not gay.” We’ll take it.
Still, some male celebs are comfortable putting a label on it.
Wayne Brady and Peruvian reality star Nicola Porcella recently came out as pansexual. And soap opera hunk Rodrigo Simas told Brazilian publication Extra he identifies as bi in March. “It is a label, but I feel mature and calm to talk about it now,” he said.
Josh Seiter, who appeared on The Bachelorette, also revealed he identifies as bisexual in June. “For me, it was kind of about coming into who I am genuinely, rather than who I was conditioned to be or think I was,” he told Queerty.
That being said, Seiter’s story shows we haven’t completely gotten past the stigma and bigotry. Recently, his Instagram was hacked and falsely reported his death. The 36-year-old called it a “cruel joke.”
It’s one thing to lust after bisexual bros on IG and pine over bi characters on TV. But if we’re dubbing 2023 the year of bisexual men, hopefully widespread acceptance is on the horizon.
It’s like The Challenge star Paulie Calafiore (who came out in an interview with GLAAD) said: “This isn’t a competition of ‘Who’s actually representing this.’ Everything is together. It’s not just L, and then G, it’s [the] LGBTQI+ community.”
Regardless, there’s never been a better time to let your bi flag fly!