Follow posts tagged #bisexuality, #biphobia, and #lgbtq in seconds.Sign up
“Both heterosexuals and homosexuals view bisexuality with misunderstanding, mistrust, hostility, and alienation. These scenarios do not leave bisexuals in the situation often referred to as ‘‘having the best of both worlds,’’ because ‘both worlds are closets'.”—
from Attitudes and Self-Images of Male and Female Bisexuals by Carol D. Bronn
“both worlds are closets”
Ouch. That one hit home.
Why I'm openly bisexual
- random person: Bisexuality is so ridiculous. It's not real. You're just scared or pretending.
- bisexual person: It's very real. I'm right here.
- random person: But you can just blend into straight society if you want to. You don't know what it's like to be completely discriminated against for being gay.
- bisexual person: Of course I know what it's like to be discriminated against. I have to prove myself every day.
- random person: Oh really? Name one person who's given you a hard time for being bi.
- bisexual person: You.
Okay, so from what I understand now, this is basically what happened
- A girl walked up to the stage and very respectfully told Jensen that she thanks him for being there, and she means no offense, but she herself is a bisexual person, and wanted to know if he thought Dean could possibly be bisexual.
- As soon as she started saying she was bisexual, and the crowd understood where this question was going, she was immediately drowned out by boos.
- Jensen and Jared were clearly confused about what was happening, and Jensen really didn’t understand the question through the booing.
- Jensen said, “come on, first question? Don’t ruin this for everyone,” but this was directed at the booing crowd, not the girl.
- Since the actors were clearly unaware of what was going on, the girl said that Cliff (bodyguard) would explain it later.They moved on from the question.
All in all, the j2 crowd acted like a bunch of fucking pricks who persecuted this girl simply for bringing the word “bisexual” into her question.
To everyone who booed her:
Why Dean Winchester would make a great bisexual character: an essay by me.
- Because if Dean was revealed as a bisexual and came to accept himself, his journey of self-suppression, maturing and self-acceptance would be much more real than what we see on TV most of the time.
There’s a thing about a lot of queer characters out there…they are presented as token queer characters and we don’t get to see any of the work they go through to accept themselves. There’s another thing about queer characters out there…they go through cookie-cutter coming out experiences, which either go the good way or the bad way, but there’s a bunch of variables that rarely changes about them. Real INTERNAL STRUGGLE barely ever gets showcased. People actually NOT COMING OUT TO ANYONE for the biggest part of their lives barely ever get showcased. This creates an understanding that all queer people go through roughly the same process of figuring themselves out and revealing everything to the world around. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing in nd of itself, that’s definitely how it goes for some people out there, but for others it doesn’t, and we need a variety of portrayal.
You know what I’ve seen people who oppose queer interpretation of Dean say, multiple times now?
“If Dean was a queer character, they should have revealed it from the beginning, having Dean fall for a guy right now won’t make sense, so he can’t be a queer character.”
This is about a hundred shades of bullshit, pardon my French. It’s WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, I can’t stress this enough. This is a really crappy argument for a whole bunch of reasons.
monosexism is real (and so is bisexuality)
The other day I had coffee with a man who tried to explain to me his theory on “why bisexuality is not real”. He explained to me that “People who claim to be bisexual are just straight people who are confused. They mistake jealousy for attraction (for example: a girl envies another girl’s beauty or personality but she is not actually attracted to her.)”
“What about gay people?” I said. “Oh no, that is totally different. That’s real”, he replied.
I get this a lot. And I struggle to understand it: Why is it only acceptable to be attracted to one gender? Sexuality is not so ridged; it is subjective, personal and highly case sensitive.
Bisexuality has some truly harmful stereotypes: gay people who are “just in denial”, straight people who are “confused” (or straight girls who are “seeking attention”); when I have come out to people as being queer, I am often asked questions such as “What percent gay/straight are you?” or “So, you like threesomes?” The astounding ignorance I have encountered on this topic is proof positive that monosexism exists. Apparently the idea of being attracted to more than one gender is too difficult a concept for people to grasp.
So I would like to set the record straight on a few things:
1. Do not expect me to be able to weigh my orientation in percentages. Though some choose to do this, I find it futile. (I cannot predict the ratio of men/women/transex people I will meet who I find attractive.)
2. It is not a phase.
3. Being in a relationship with a woman doesn’t mean I don’t like men anymore (and visa versa).
4. Bisexuality does not equal Polyamory.
5. I do not find women attractive because I am jealous of them. Period.
6. I do not like women because I want attention from men. PERIOD!
7. Having no specific gender preference does not make me “greedy”. It does not mean I get more dates (I don’t).
8. Having no specific gender preference does not make mean I want to fuck everyone (and If you think it does, you can be assured that I DO NOT want to fuck you).
There is an assload of meta out there about why people consider Dean Winchester to be a bisexual, and there could be a really fair argument that I have no right to contribute to the mass, because I’m going to say right up front:
I’m straight. A man who is only sexually aroused by visually female-bodied women. I’m panasethetic, so I can appreciate that a dude like Dean is beautiful, but in the same way I appreciate that the Impala is beautiful. No interest in fucking that, either. I don’t say this to defend myself, but because there is a long and ugly history of straight people deciding that they get to define queer people’s sexuality, up to and including to make it a diagnosis or a criminal act. I don’t presume to do that, and if Dean Winchester were a real person, I’d have absolutely no right to speculate on his sexual orientation.
But he’s not, and I haven’t been able to find a meta that fully suits me on the subject, so here I go, throwing my obnoxious heterosexual presumptive double copper Lincolns in the proverbial jar.
Like it or not, we live in a society where all people are considered heterosexual unless identified otherwise, so the burden of proof in this case is on me. So let’s get started with the obvious first question:
1. How do I define a bisexual?
Can’t argue that he is one unless I’m sure we’re on the same page as to what that even means, after all, and especially when I think that a misunderstanding about the finer points of that label is really important to Dean himself. By my definition, a bisexual is a person who is sexually aroused by cissexual people of both primary binary genders. Or, in laymen’s terms; someone who’s into both men and women.
However, here’s where the misunderstanding tends to happen. Most people see sexual orientation as a set of three slots: gay, heterosexual, or Jack Harkness if-moves-will-fuck. But it’s not.
The Kinsey scale is a little bit outdated in terms of not accommodating non-binary genders or asexuality/demisexuality, but for this case, it actually works. Consider a sliding scale from 0-6. A Kinsey 0 is completely heterosexual. Never, ever sexually aroused even a little bit by someone of the same sex. A Kinsey 6 is completely homosexual, never ever sexually aroused by someone of the opposite sex. We tend to think that of course then a Kinsey 3 is a bisexual and anything between 6-3 or 1-3 is straight with exceptions or gay with exceptions, but the truth of the matter is, anything that isn’t a 0 or 6 is some degree of bisexual. It’s like the one-drop rule, but without the disgusting racism and separate water fountains. For further explanation of this, I have a separate meta over here, actually. But if you’re with me, let’s move on….
I don’t believe for a split second that Dean is anywhere near a 3. I think he’s almost exclusively sexually aroused by women…but the key word there is almost. To paraphrase Miracle Max, only mostly het is slightly a bi.
And that’s it.
The ONLY criteria I have – or frankly am willing to accept – for why I think Dean is bisexual is that I feel he has displayed sexual arousal towards men. This is one of the biggest places where I diverge from a lot of the other meta on the subject out there.
I don’t give Liberace’s second best feather boa what kind of underwear he gets kinky about, whether he has a ‘nurturing personality, was placed in a maternal role with his brother, whether Kripke named him after a bisexual literary character, or whether he eats his hamburgers from more than one direction and butters his toast on both sides or God forbid whether he ever blew a trucker to get motel money for him and Sammy when he was a teen. None of that kind of crap matters to his or anyone else’s sexual orientation ever, and I don’t believe for an instant that the creators of the show are trying to tell us that Dean is bi through some kind of secret code that only the truly initiated can make out with their special decoder rings that tell them the lamp in Dean’s bedroom was designed by a bisexual industrial engineer and includes a switch that goes both ways.
2. What in canon do I consider evidence that Dean is one?
Dr. Sexy. Seriously. Seriously. Watch the clip with room for the possibility that Dean may not be 1000% heterosexual without that making him gay. See how he reacts to the female nurses and doctors. He’s embarrassed by being caught fanboying and how well he knows the show – a clear Grey’s Anatomy parody that he considers a ‘chick show’ – but simultaneously somewhat appreciative that yeah, they’re hotter in person. Then he spots Dr. Sexy. And dude, if you can give me an explanation for that behavior that isn’t he-turns-me-on-and-that-kinda-freaks-me-out-and-omg-my-brother-is-standing-right-here-and-I-swear-to-God-I’m-not-gay-but-HE’S-SO-FUCKING-HOT and doesn’t boil down to “it can’t be because Dean likes posse”, I’m waiting. It’s so stupidly blatant you have to bend over backwards like a Cirque de Soliel audition to come up with something else it could be.
There’s other moments too. Lots of them. Times where Dean’s pretty clearly been checking out a guy or flirting the way he usually does with women, the way he didn’t correct Aaron in 8.13, and of course, there’s the whole giant can of worms with the trenchcoat and perpetual scruff. But you know what? I’m not even gonna get into those. Because you can argue a glance here and a smile there and a raised eyebrow in that other scene, even if they do add up to a definite pattern. Castiel is ridiculously complicated and layered and up for a lot of debate, likewise the other biggie that gets brought up a lot, the Siren in 4.14.
But I don’t need those. I can afford to throw away 90% of my evidence on Devil’s advocate, because being bisexual isn’t about meeting a quota. It isn’t a punch card system; three boners for dudes and get the change of orientation and the pride flag free. You don’t have to date them or fuck them, and that’s not some technicality of “does a hand job count?” You sexually aroused by someone of the same sex? Congratulations, you’re on the bi spectrum.
And the only reason to be “but but but but” flustered and defensive about that, or to come up with all the elaborate justifications and rules that this counts and that doesn’t and this was an exception and that was different and this was only that one time is if you are either trying desperately not to “have to be queer” or if you genuinely don’t realize that it doesn’t have to be 50/50.
And that wasn’t a stethoscope in Dean’s pocket.
3. If so, why doesn’t he self-identify that way?
First off, Dean has never actually said he’s straight. He’s made a few “I don’t swing your way, buddy,” type remarks, but in context, they’ve always been very clearly the weaponized sass that he uses so well and often anyway. The only time he’s been sincerely flirted with in a non-threatening manner by a guy, it was in 8.13, and he literally fell all over himself. With Purgatory having helped him finally grow up and out of a lot of his old bullshit posturing, he was caught completely at a loss for how to handle it, and it’s telling that “Sorry, I’m not into guys” never seemed to occur to him.
But at the same time, no, I absolutely don’t think he identifies bi or pan or anything other than as a profound (and honest) lover of good posse. I don’t think he knows it’s an option for him. No, I don’t think Dean’s homophobic. Not in the least. Effemiphobic in motherfucking SPADES, yes. But not homophobic…he’s too often been too openly accepting of LGBT+ people, and with an unguarded and slightly flustered genuineness that is clearly not any form of trying to get cookies or be liberal.
I do, however, think that he’s incredibly undereducated about LGBT+ issues, and that he his stance on the matter would be a Are You Crazy face and “Dude, I’m so not gay.” And he’s not. But I also think that if you sat him down, introduced him to the sliding scale concept, swore up down and sideways that it did not in any way make him any form of feminine, and asked him if he had ever, even once or twice, looked at a dude and thought “yeah, I could hit that”, you’d get one of these.
(I also think that there would then be a deer-in-the-headlights look and he’d make an excuse to go get blind-ass drunk because a lot of things with wings would click into place in ways he was so not ready to cope with, but that’s the shipper in me, and this actually has nothing to do with shipping Destiel)
Oh yeah, and there’s that little factor of John Winchester. Do I even have to get into why “Dad, I think every once in a while, there might be certain guys who do it for me” would not have been the most advantageous choice in that father/son relationship? Or why Dean would feel an extra special twinge of failure and shame if he “caught himself” looking at a guy with the awareness of how horribly disappointed his father would be, when that was for so long such a driving force in his life?
4. So, do I think it’s on purpose?
To answer that, we have to look at on what level it’s being generated. All the content up until season 6 – when other characters start directly commenting on his subtext with Castiel in a distinctly non-platonic manner – is completely off the page. It’s all Jensen, and even in 8.13 and the Dr. Sexy scenes as they were on the page could easily be, no pun intended, played straight. Nor do I believe that it’s being written or directed with instruction for the non-verbals he gives, or that Kripke or any other showrunner took him aside and told him to play Dean secretly bi. Yes, the writers have admitted that with Cas specifically, they’ve picked up on and are running with (though to what extent they will run is up for debate) the off-page chemistry between Jensen and Misha. They’re reacting, not creating.
So Dean’s bisexuality is all Jensen, and ironically, I think that Jensen himself is probably in the same boat as Dean. Oh, I’m not speculating about his sexual orientation at all. Jensen Ackles identifies straight, has married a woman so hot she could give Johnny Storm sunstroke, and that’s the end of that. What I am saying is that I’m pretty sure that a conversation with Jensen about Dean’s sexual label would run almost word for word the same as the one I talked about with Dean up there.
I don’t think he’s “playing Dean bi”, I think he’s playing him as a heterosexual dude who has had a couple of brief, no big deal crushes on or moments of interest in certain very specific dudes but is otherwise resoundingly, promiscuously, energetically a fan of boobies and nice wet foldy places and currently has one motherfucker of a complicated shitstorm of an emotional mess with a wavelength of celestial intent who is riding the reconstituted meatsuit of a male radio salesman.
But why would he do that? Why would Jensen choose to play Dean as having a thing for guys sometimes? No offense, nothing against him, and I genuinely believe he would consider himself an LGBT+ ally, but I would be SHOCKED if he was thinking about any kind of “queer representation.” As I said, I doubt he even considers it playing queer.
What we do know, however, is that from the very beginning, Jensen has brought incredibly powerful, vulnerable, layered work to what could have been a shallow hunk of Midwestern bravado with a gun because he has openly said he has made an effort to explore Dean’s contradictions. He has enriched the character and deepened him by turning left at key points when Dean’s persona would be expected to turn right, just to give the character conflict within himself and against the vicious rules he measures himself by. And checking out the guy, not the girl when two people walk by and then snapping himself out of it with a quick Jesus, Dean, what’s wrong with you? Is exactly in keeping with the rest of what he’s done with that character.
Again, I don’t think he has tried to play Dean as a bisexual, and would be correct by his own most likely definition of the term to deny doing so. I know, however, he has succeeded in playing Dean as a man conflicted against himself and his expectations and specifically those in the arena of traditional masculinity, which he has explicitly and repeatedly stated IS his intent. I think occasional attraction to men is completely consistent with that and has been a part of his portrayal when the text has suggested opportunities to him that have made sense as valid acting choices in the context of the overall scenario… whether he understands the labeling system or not.
It’s kind of like how it doesn’t matter if he thinks he’s making a “vegan dish with a little cheese in it for flavor,” he’s now making something vegetarian, not vegan. A heterosexual character with a few same-sex attraction acting choices for flavor is a bisexual character.
5. What do I expect it to mean for the show and character in the future?
I don’t think Dean is going to “come out as bisexual.” I think that would be wildly OOC. I don’t think Dean is going to hook up with a random guy, or “accept himself as a bisexual man.” I think that if Castiel weren’t a factor, it would just continue exactly as it has been, and bluntly, that IS representation of how a ridiculous number of people who have no idea they “count” as queer live every day, especially in this country, and especially blue-collar men.
I do think that he and Castiel are going to become a canon couple, and I have listed my reasons for that which are all about narrative structure and good business sense, not shipping. If that happens, I think Dean will define himself as Straight With An Exception For Cas, and that’s completely in character, whether or not it pisses people off.
But whatever he calls it, there’s cheese in that dish.
“Back in grad school I did a talk on bisexuality with the GLBT student organization. One of the gay undergraduates said to me, “I think that when homosexuality is fully accepted, there will be no bisexuals.” And I said “I think when homosexuality is fully accepted, there will be more bisexuals than anything else.” I don’t know if that’s precisely true, but I do know that when someone tells me what their internal experience is, I believe them. When someone tells me they’re gay or lesbian, I believe them. When someone says they’re attracted to people without reference to gender, I believe them. When someone says they’re not interested in sex with anyone, I believe them. And I don’t think it takes a PhD in sex to recognize that each individual is THE ONE AND ONLY EXPERT on that individual’s sexuality. Asexuality is just another variation on human sexuality. We’re all made of the same parts, just organized in different ways. And if somebody says that’s their internal experience, well they’re the only ones who knows that. But why would gay people deny the existence of bisexuality, or fear and shun asexuals? Another experience from grad school: I had my first formal training about trans* stuff. We were talking about discrimination and hate crimes, and I asked, “Why does anyone feel threatened by transpeople? Why would anyone waste energy hating someone who isn’t doing anything to hurt anyone else?” (This was before the moral foundations research.) And my supervisor said, “How do you feel about your gender?” I thought about it for a minute and said, “Pretty good!” And she said, “People who hate trans people often don’t feel pretty good about their gender. Seeing someone else living their gender according to their own rules feels threatening because it means the rules about gender may not be worth following.” I do wonder how much of that dynamic goes into the fear and shunning that some gay folks express about bisexuals and asexuals. I wonder if they feel like there isn’t room in the tent for such diversity, when they’ve had to fight so hard for something as relatively simple (in its easy analogy with heterosexuality) as homosexual relationships. I can understand it, if that’s what’s going on. But I’m really, really ready for the world to move past that.”—the dirty normal
“I think everyone will agree, all the queer people will agree, that it means a lot when you meet your first open queer person. They become this huge figure to you. It doesn’t even really matter who they are, but they’re just this example to you, and you kinda latch onto it. They mean so much to you and kind of grounds you and shows you that it’s real, and you can be proud. And Charlie is basically that for Dean.”—Silven (silvenhorror) on profound radio
“biphobia” is misogyny + homophobia, because: the common misconception that bisexual men are “really gay” and bisexual women are “really straight” stems from the idea that if one could potentially choose between having a relationship with either men or women, everyone would choose to be in a relationship with a man, because men are better than women in every aspect (misogyny). and, when you’re harassed for being in a same sex relationship, they’re not harassing you because you’re bi, they’re harassing you because you are in a same sex relationship (homophobia).