I’ve mentioned my sexual orientation in the past, but never in a definitive, declarative sort of way. Never really felt the need. I’m not defined by my sexual orientation, after all, so why would it matter?
Apparently it does.
It matters to bigots, who would deny my rights should I wind up in a long-term relationship with another man some day and choose, as some couples may, to get married. It matters to the shittier side of the LGBT community to whom the word “bisexual” means “gay when convenient” or “more likely to be unfaithful”, or who don’t think I fucking count if I’m in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. It matters to people who hate the love of others for reasons the rational brain cannot comprehend.
But it also matters to other people who may identify as bisexual. It matters to someone who watches PortsCenter, finds my Tumblr, sees I’m bi and thinks, “Hey, he’s like me!” It matters to someone who doesn’t want to feel alone in a world that can’t decide whether being “bisexual” is a real thing or not. It matters to someone struggling to figure out which side of the fence they’re on, only to discover that there isn’t a fence and that actually that sexuality is just one big field that we can all run through, hand in hand, if we want to.
Frankly, I’m far more concerned about the latter group than the former.
If this discovery means you don’t want to watch my show anymore, or that you’re unable enjoy any of the content I’ve created over the years, that’s your prerogative. If it gives you a new sense of perspective on who I am, that’s fine too. Whether your perspective on me changes for better or for worse, do what you need to do.
In the meantime, I’m going to keep doing my thing. Because what I am, above all else, is me, and I’m not going to stop making PortsCenter, or writing, or doing stand-up just because someone out there thinks of me differently.
A lot of people saying they were “disappointed” that Dumbledore’s sexuality isn’t directly addressed in the Harry Potter series rather than addressed via implied subtext.
Personally, I prefer it that way. His sexuality shouldn’t matter. Nobody’s sexuality should matter, and it’s because people assume straight to be the default that they’re pissed off when that notion isn’t challenged. We shouldn’t make assumptions based on… well, on nothing.
At the same time, I do understand that disappointment. I get that visual representation is important. How important would it be for a young teen struggling with their sexuality to see an out gay man in a children’s fantasy series? That shit absolutely matters - I applaud it when it happens in Doctor Who, and I’d be applauding it if it’d happened in Harry Potter.
Maybe I just want a future where nobody assumes Straight Until Told Otherwise, where a person’s sexuality isn’t a big deal. It shouldn’t matter that I’m bisexual. But it does. It matters to people who see it as an issue, and it matters to people struggling with their own sexual identity who see an out bi guy getting on with getting on. It matters because we’re not in that future yet.
Maybe we’ll never get there. But it’d be nice, I think, for it not to matter anymore.
Two asks from what I assume is one anon:
I think the issue, as far as Dumbledore goes, is that people feel it’s “pandering” or whatever word they use. They see no evidence of it in the text, and so they feel that Rowling decided on it after the fact to give them this when the books were finished, so nobody would feel offended.
Of course, this ignores the fact that there was far more subtext to support it than there was for Kirk/Spock or Sam/Dean, and also the fact that it was simply never relevant to the character in the context of the story being told.
I tend to agree. I’m bisexual, and I don’t feel like I get a tremendous amount of representation as it is - characters are either gay or straight, seldom in between - but I also feel like a character’s sexuality shouldn’t matter either way.
We always assume characters are straight. Always. What I like about Rowling’s statements concerning Dumbledore is it challenges that assumption. Who else could be canonically queer in the Harry Potter universe? Who might be queer in any series? We don’t know! I fucking love that.
But I also understand the need, the desire, for visibility. To see a queer character on the page or on the screen, mentioning their sexuality. I do get that. At the same time, my bisexuality doesn’t define me. Your sexuality doesn’t define you. Why should Dumbledore’s sexuality define him?
There’s something I don’t quite understand, and I’d like some input.
LGBT fans of shows, novels, movies etc. (as well as fans of guys who bone each other) are constantly putting queer subtext onto things. Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are fucking. The Winchesters are bonkin’ in the back of the Impala. The Doctor and the Master were fucking, but probably aren’t anyone and their endless feud is something of an extended lovers’ tiff.
This is fine. It’s important, in fact - queer interpretations of the material are important because they question the heteronormativity of our media.
But when an author of a work says, after the series has ended, that actually yes, one of the characters is canonically gay… and for some reason that pisses people off.
I’m talking about J.K. Rowling here, obviously.
"There’s nothing to support it in the text!" people cry… but there’s also nothing to support Kirk/Spock slashfic. There’s nothing to support people shipping Rimmer with Lister with the exception of a dream Lister had in Series VII that clearly made him uncomfortable. Dean and Sam are brothers, for Christ’s sake. So why is it okay when fanfic authors do it, but not when the actual author of the work in question does it?
Where Rowling’s work is concerned, but maybe that’s what queer representation should be - just another person, getting on with their lives. By saying “But she doesn’t address it in the book!” you’re saying, “Well, prove it. Prove he’s gay.”
Prove it. Prove it. As if people in the LGBT aren’t trying to justify their own existence all the time already, you’re asking someone to justify the sexuality of a fictional character.
I’m not trying to stir up an argument - I’ve had enough of that this week with the Steven Moffat talk - but I do find it baffling how it can be okay for fandom to do it… but not for the author herself.
So I’ve been meaning to make a post about this for a while, since this topic has been rather popular lately. But I figured I should calm down first since an inarticulate scream of rage is rather useless.
Let’s take it from the top. Bisexuals get accused of passing privilege. What people mean by passing privilege is that while you’re in a mix gender relationship, you are taken to be as straight as they come. No one cares that you’re bisexual. You are socially acceptable while you’re involved with someone of the opposite sex. Let me preface this a little bit, and assume that the bisexual person in question is out.
Now, there is plenty wrong with this idea, and a lot of it stems from negative stereotypes about bisexuals being ‘greedy’, or ‘confused’, or people who have yet to pick a side. And there is plenty wrong with that, and I have read plenty of amazing posts that deal with the like. But what I personally hate about ‘passing privilege’ with a passion, and what I have personal experience with, is how very wrong people are about being seen as ‘straight’ being a ‘privilege’.
If you are a queer person I’m sure that you can remember what it’s like to be in the closet. And even if you aren’t there is no denying how hard coming out can be. How much courage it takes to tell your loved ones and your friends, to say ‘this is different about me’. Now, if you are queer, remember that moment. If you are not, imagine it. How much it changed the way people looked at you. How awkward you felt having to repeat it when people dismissed it, or were phobic about it. How difficult it was.
Now imagine that just because you went out with someone of the opposite sex, none of it matters. Suddenly people that were phobic are happy, people that were awkward are fine. Because clearly you are ‘straight’ after all, and you were merely seeking attention, or going through a phase.
Can you picture how much that hurts? Can you imagine how hard it is to date someone of the same sex after that? How many questions you have to field and how much judgement you have to face. Because clearly you are capable of doing the socially acceptable thing and you are being stubborn and choosing to be a leper. Because clearly perusing someone you are attracted to is wrong when you can chose to only go after ‘the right gender.’ And this idea that it’s a choice who we experience attraction to is one of the biggest reasons bisexuals get so much hate from both sides.
I call bullshit, massive massive bullshit.
Part of what so terrible about being in the closet is that you have to deny yourself the experience of being attracted to someone and not feeling judged for it, of not being hyper vigilant about anyone noticing your attraction. It’s a constant mental struggle to pretend to be straight. How do people get the idea that being bisexual negates any of that? That we don’t go through the same struggle of hiding ourselves. And maybe when we are in a mixed gender relationship we don’t invite the same scrutiny that a same gender relationship does. But being basically shoved back into that terrible closet space is no picnic, I promise you. And it sucks extra hard because friends and family don’t just whisper about it behind your back. They can and often do rant to your face about it.
And it’s exhausting.
This idea that we have it ‘easier’ is exhausting. How is it easy? Please explain to me how being considered rare as ‘a unicorn’ when we make up one of the LGBTA majorities is a privilege. Please tell me how ‘accepted’ my sexuality is when the suicide statistics for bisexual people are so high? So go ahead, please explain this ‘Straight Privilege’ people seem to think bisexuals have, because I sure as shit don’t see it.
Be who you need to be until you’re comfortable openly being yourself - there’s no shame in that - but remember you are absolutely not alone.