Bisexuality Wiki

The portrayal of bisexuality in the media reflects societal attitudes towards bisexuality.


Virginia Woolf's Orlando: A Biography (1928) is one of the earliest examples of bisexaulity in literature. The story about a man who changes into a woman without a second though, was based on the life of Woolf's then lover Vita Sackville-West, a bisexual like Woolf herself. Woolf's used the gender switch to avoid the book being banned for homosexual content, and was successful for it. Following Sackille-West's death, her son Nigel Nicolson would publish Portrait of a Marriage, one of her diaries recounting her affair with a woman during her marrage to Harold Nicolson. Other early, subtle examples include works of D.H. Lawrence, such as Women in Love (1920), and Colette's Claudine (1900-1903) series.

In more recent years, following a more socially liberal perspective of sexuality, bisexuality has become more common in literature. This includes the work of Bret Easton Ellis, Anne Rice, and Alice Walker.

Comic books

In 1981, X-men writer Chris Claremont intended the character Destiny to be the lover of Brotherhood of Mutants teammate Mystique, a shapeshifter, and had originally intended for Destiny and Mystique to be Nightcrawler's biological parents, with Mystique taking the form of a man for the conception, however Marvel editors did not allow gay or bisexual characters at that time.[1]


British film Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) portrayed a bisexual male named Bob with a lover of each gender. This was one of the earliest portrayals to be explicit on the subject of bisexuality, though a film versions of several novels involving bisexuality, such as Women in Love (1969) and Goldfinger (1964), had been released earlier.[1] The film is told from the perspectives of the homosexual partner and the heterosexual partner. Critics of the time described Bob as "shallow", "calous", and "selfish". Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many The following year, the American musical Cabaret was released as a film, featuring a bisexual protagonist.

1975 saw the release of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a musical about a bisexual antihero. Memorable films involving bisexuality from the 1980s include the film adaptation of The Color Purple (1985) and The Hunger (1983).

In the early nineties, independent film Go Fish (1994), which portrays a lesbian love story, had a bisexual moment in which a lesbian-identified character has sex with a man and on her way home is challenged by a "jury," who question whether a woman who has sex with a man can call herself a lesbian. She contrasts how a gay man who has sex with a woman is characterized as being "bored, drunk [or] lonely" but if a lesbian has sex with a man "her whole life choice becomes suspect." In 1997, Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy took on the question of sexual identity in a story about a lesbian-identified woman who falls in love with a man.

Bisexuality in film has become increasingly common in the last few decades, seen in popular mainstream films such as Brokeback Mountain, Rent(2005), Kinsey (2004), Y tu mamá también (2001) and Alexander (2004). In 2007, the musical Love Songs was released in France to considerable success and a Golden Palm nomination.

1992's Basic Instinct recieved controversy from the bisexual community for portraying a bisexual as a psychopathic killer. [2]

It's not uncommon for film adaptations of bisexual-themed novels to remove the bisexual content, as well as later revisions of original screenplays.[3] This is apparent in films such as Less Than Zero (1987), Hair (1979), Midnight Express (1974) (affair between prisoners becomes fictionalized rape) and The Dreamers (2003).

2008 saw the release of a documentary called Bi the Way, which attempts to portray common lives of bisexual people in the United States.


Bisexual characters appear in television series such as Karen Walker in the sitcom Will & Grace, and All My Children. In a 1988 episode of NBC drama Midnight Caller, "After it Happened", a bisexual man is depicted as an AIDS carrier who deliberately infects straight women. This episode proved highly controversial in the bisexual community. In 1990, a BBC mini-series adaptation of Portrait of a Marriage aired. In 2001, another bisexual-themed miniseries aired called Bob and Rose, written by Queer as Folk creator Russell T Davies. The mini-series is about a gay man who falls in love with a straight woman, and is based on the experience of a friend of Davies. [2]

Torchwood is a spin-off of long running british sci-fi Doctor Who, created by Russell T Davies. The show is based in Cardiff, Wales, and deals with several LGBT themes, specifically bisexuality. Each of the main characters in Torchwood has same-sex encounters at some point in the first season,[3] with The Sun describing all of the characters on Torchwood as bisexual.[4] Davies has said that he hopes to defy audience expectations of monosexual characters: Template:Cquote The lead male in the series, Captain Jack Harkness originated in parent series Doctor Who, which is considered a family show, as opposed to Torchwood's adult orienation. Davies has also described Jack as omnisexual.

The high rated MTV series, A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila (2007), is a bisexual reality show. Tila Tequila, is the bisexual bachelorette, trying to find love from 16 straight males and 16 lesbians.

In a 2008 New York Times interview, actor Sean Hayes revealed he is working on a television project called Bi-Coastal about "a guy with a wife and kids in California and a boyfriend in New York." [5]


David Bowie's androgynous appearance and open bisexuality was reflected in a some of his songs, in particular "John, I'm Only Dancing" (1972). The original video directed by Mick Rock, featuring androgynous dancers from Lindsay Kemp's mime troupe, was banned by Top of the Pops.[6] The single was not released in America, being judged too risqué by RCA[7].

In 1995, Jill Sobule's song "I Kissed a Girl" was met with considerable success. The song told the story of flirtation between two suburban female friends, both with male partners.

In 2003, Britney Spears staged a kiss with Madonna (who also kissed Christina Aguilera in the same performance) on an MTV Video Music Awards performance that would continue to fuel bisexual chic, and at the time many news and tabloid outsources referred to it as "lesbian chic", [4] [5] since it was clear from her impending marriage to Kevin Federline that Spears was certainly not a monosexual lesbian. The kiss is seen as a publicity stunt but helped to fuel the ever-growing trend. In November 2006, Paris Hilton appeared in public with her hand on Spears' left breast.[8]

In 2008, Katy Perry released a song called "I Kissed a Girl", though it is unrelated to the Jill Sobule version. It was by received Billboard Top 40 success. The song is about a girl's curiosity about kissing another girl, though she has a boyfriend.

Video games

The 1995 game Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh was the first to establish a playable bisexual character. Several video games including The Sims, Fallout 2, Fable and Bully allow potential bisexual romantic or sexual behavior.

In the video game series Metal Gear Solid, the villain Vamp is known to be bisexual, and is revealed in dialogue to have adopted the name as an indication of this. Another bisexual villain appears in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater named Colonel Volgin.

See also

External links

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  6. David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story: pp.169-170
  7. Nicholas Pegg - The Complete David Bowie: pp.112-113
  8. - Play your life!