Bi Your Side: Bisexual+ visibility on TV at an all time high

It’s Pride month, and bisexual+ visibility might just be about to reach an all-time high, on British television at least.

As we gear up to celebrate Pride, we also celebrate the launch of Courtney Act’s bi+ dating show The Bi Life, following on the heels of Desiree Akhavan’s new comedy series The Bisexual.

The bisexual dating stage was set in September when a contestant on The Bachelor in Vietnam gave her own rose to a fellow contestant, declaring her love.

Of course, this was largely reported worldwide as a “lesbian twist” or a “shock lesbian romance” rather than that the contestants in question were likely bi+, but it was a landmark moment just the same.

That the two contestants are now officially a couple makes for a refreshing change from seeing ourselves portrayed on screen only as evil and/or promiscuous.

Bi visibility and support is important. Recent polls and surveys in the UK show that 49% of 18-24 year olds identity as something other than completely heterosexual, and 43% identify as somewhere between hetero and homosexual.

In an interview with Dazed Digital, Courtney Act, who identifies under the bi+ umbrella, said The Bi Life has “queer people in a space with each other, not having to explain their identity, and feeling supported.”

Courtney said she thinks “the biggest struggles [in being bi] are other people’s perceptions and understandings, unpeeling that socialisation and realising whoever you’re attracted to is correct.”

It sometimes feels like the UK is driving itself off a cliff with Brexit, so it’s welcome to see good news coming out of there for a change. Good news like new comedy drama The Bisexual: written by, directed by, and starring the openly bisexual Desiree Akhavan.

The show is important, as Desiree tells The Independent: “Bisexuality feels like something that is taboo in both the queer and the straight world. It’s gauche, it’s in bad taste, it’s tacky.”

It’s almost a golden age for bisexual representation on TV, but between Courtney Act and Desiree Akhavan what we have is bisexual people standing up for bisexual visibility. Will our heterosexual and homosexual allies start to do the same?

Closer to home, Perth queer venue The Court have committed to updating their website and venue to be more inclusive and explicitly include bisexual people, and there are rumours that we could be in for a “Bisexual Bachelorette” TV show coming to Australia soon.

How true those particular rumours are, and how good such a show will be – even by reality TV standards – is not yet known.

Visibility and community is important. Join the Bisexual+ Community Perth in this year’s Pride parade on 24 November. Find us on Facebook!

Jay Chesters

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