Mainstream television tackles bi-phobia, knocks it out of the park

Mainstream TV sure has come a long way.

It wasn’t that long ago that a character’s sexuality being anything other than heterosexual would cause shock waves of controversy across middle America. Slowly but surely, audiences became more comfortable with gay and lesbian characters.

But there’s still a pretty big gap when it comes to bi representation on the small screen, and CBS’s Madam Secretary took a step to close it during its most recent episode.

Not only that, the show managed to cram in a pretty wonderful lesson in along the way.

In the show, Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord’s (Téa Leoni) personal assistant (Erich Bergen) comes out as bi to his boss.

Here’s some of the dialogue:

“This is hard for me because I’ve experienced a lot of weird bi-phobia from everyone: gay people, straight people. I’ve gotten used to keeping people at arm’s length.

But I realize now it’s maybe kind of the opposite, that if I can’t be honest with people about who I am then how can I ever have an honest experience with them?”

Leoni’s character doesn’t say much, but her actions speak louder than words.

Is it an Emmy Award-winning moment? Eh, no. But we tip our hats all the same.

Check out the full scene below:

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  • Donston

    I wish I wasn’t so consistently dismissive of the idea of “bi-phobia”. But the definitions of bi-phobia and the instances of supposed bi-phobia leave me mostly unmoved. Hell, I still get confused on what being bisexual actually means, because so many have their own individualized definition nowadays.

    The onus is put on homo and hetero-identifying people to be all-accepting. Yet, internalized homophobia, narcissistic/megalomaniac based identities and behaviors, indifference/feelings of superiority towards homo “identifying” people are things we frequently witness from a great percentage of bi-identifying people (particularly men). But those things remain completely un-examined by gay media. And that refusal to investigate helps lead to this impasse and a lack of real understanding. There cannot be any growth and understanding unless real conversations are had.

    • Donston

      This will be my only comment on this article.

    • ErikO

      Yet then you have A LOT of gay men and lesbian people, and heterosexuals who are extremely biphobic and hypocritical bigots, so your arguments in the second paragraph are moot, and pointless.

  • stevetalbert

    Is he a bottom with guys and top with women.. or top with guys and pegging by women…or all of the above?? Why is that a plot point in that show? It seems out of the blue forced.

    • Donston

      (Okay, I lied).

      I watched the episode On Demand. I had given up on this show after the first five episodes of its debut season. The moment did indeed feel out of no where. I also have a feeling that they will never bring it up again. They just wanted whatever suspicion about the character’s sexuality to be solved so they could move on.

      My whole issue with the “bi movement” and whatever extent of “bi-phobia” that exist that isn’t connected to homophobia has never been with genuine bisexual people who are un-ashamedly living their lives as who they are. It’s the people who take on the moniker because they like to dominate or be dominated by masculinity/femininity or because they “like different people’s energy”. No matter how you twist it that’s megalomania and fetish not bisexuality. Also, there’s the internalized homophobia, narcissism and ego-dystonia that plague many gay men and even more bi-identifying men. These things need to be confronted in storytelling and in the media before people start hyping “bi-phobia”.

    • Kenney G

      LOL True

    • Kenney G

      Men like him are all power bottoms, they are weak when it comes to men and want to try and act so manly with a woman. I can see why straight women wan nothing to do with them

  • Darson

    What? Where was the gunshot ringing out and his body slumping to the ground. Isn’t that how these scenes end? No happy endings for those who aren’t completely straight and white.

  • baal61

    Really’ I’m so sorry they suffer so’ LMFAO!

    • ErikO

      Biphobia is just as bad if not worse than homophobia is; but a lot of gay men and lesbian women are hypocrites when it comes to bisexuality and believe it’s fine to be biphobic.

  • Jack Meoff

    I always assumed his character was gay but that they didn’t feel the necessity to address it as an issue which I thought was cool but having him come out as bi seems a little confusing to me since his character has seemed SO gay for all these seasons.

    • Kenney G

      most of those over the top fem gay men are bisexual and are some power bottoms

  • Richard 55

    Hopefully he won’t be obsessed with GLBT identity politics. He needs to be cool, masculine and courageous enough to avoid GLBT pride parades.

    Just be an ordinary man. Don’t let GLBT people own your identity. Just say NO to GLBT.

    • Texasholdem

      “just say no to GLBT” yet you are here posting on a website for GLBT issues. Take your own advice and go hide away in a closet.

  • Kenney G

    Hell Most Bi men are Biphobic, What straight man do you know have a wife and kids and say he’s straight but he want to screw other guys? I can think of about 5 of them right now. In front of their friends they are straight as an arrow But Let them get you alone and see what happens. I work with these men. I doubt if they know what a bisexual is.

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