BiMedia December 2007

BCN 88 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 88, Dec 2007.

My second BiMedia begins with some great news.  That doesn’t happen often. Via The Sun. That happens even less often.

A recent article in said rag (surely “high quality news journal?” – Ed) quotes a survey by the US Center For Disease Control and Prevention (so, no loaded issues there then) saying that female bisexuality is on the increase. (Yes, that’s what the headline says. I presume they mean more women are openly declaring their sexuality, as opposed to more women are deciding it on a whim after seeing those funky posters on the Tube advertising Bad Girls The Musical). According to the survey, 14 per cent of women aged between 18 and 30 have had at least one sexual encounter with another women in their lifetime.

They quote Kat Fowler, a 27-year-old-art student who dates both women and men, who perceptively says that women can be more honest about their sexual history: “There’s a certain higher level of discrimination for men. It’s a lot easier for women to have these kinds of experiences and be open about it because it’s more accepted,” she adds.

Elsewhere, the Guardian, bless its heart, has been recognised at the Stonewall Media Awards (insert a line about the stars being ‘out in force’ for the event) for its positive coverage of lesbian and gay issues. But not bisexual issues, I’m left to assume, because the award doesn’t say that. Just like I don’t assume that the Oscar for Best Film is an award for Best Film Soundtrack and Best Director as well.  Stonewall take note. Again.

Kudos to the Guardian, though, for its interview with Russell T. Davies in which he touches on the bi-positive aspects of Torchwood.

Russell T Davies was at a wedding recently when a guest complained about what he’d done to Doctor Who, an otherwise wholesome family drama.

“She told me she was shocked because Captain Jack is bisexual and wouldn’t let her children watch it,” says Davies. “I had such a go at her. I said: ‘You’re an unfit mother. You’re ignorant. Your children are cleverer than you.’ Then her husband came up and I thought there was going to be a fight, but they left. ….I didn’t make Captain Jack bisexual from any principle, but because I thought it would be more interesting for a narrative point of view. But, having created him, I’ll defend him to the hilt.”
From timelords to “time to change the channel”, a “sex crazed bisexual copper” is to join The Bill. (How is it that I know of actors who’ve played three characters in three different episodes, but I’ve never met anyone who’s watched one episode all the way through?)  Amber Johannsen, played by Myfanwy Waring, will debut on screen next month, and waste no time breaking male and female hearts.

A ‘show insider’ tells the Sun: “She’s self-obsessed and manipulative and will do anything to get whatever she wants, even flaunting her bisexuality.  She starts flirting with the boys straight away and several of them fall into her trap. Then at the Christmas party she snogs a sexy WPC in a really raunchy scene. She’s sure to set hearts racing at Sun Hill.” My spell checker suggests the word ‘yawn’ in place of ‘Myfanwy’, which I agree seems to sum it up nicely.

The Indy talks to Roseanne star and brassy comedienne Sandra Bernhard, who has just finished a tour of the UK. Headline “Bisexuality and Savage Wit” it is an intelligent look at the life of an outspoken woman who idolises Chrissie Hynde and Joni Mitchell and hates the shallow sexualisation of her generation embodied in Sex and The City (she turned down the role of Miranda). There’s just this one sentence that gets to me:

“A famous example was on the Letterman show in 1988, where Bernhard said that Madonna – appearing on the show with her – was much better than Sean Penn in bed, thus alluding to Bernhard’s then bisexual status and fuelling speculation about her relationship with the singer.”

Bernhard’s then bisexual status? Right. Because we all know that bisexuals cease to be bisexual the moment they are in a monogamous relationship. They get official letters from the government. “Dear X, We write to inform you that in the light of your relationship with Y, you are no longer bisexual but gay/straight. All the relevant media outlets have been informed.” (I bet if the government did issue ‘Official Statement of Bisexual Cessation’ letters, Heat would print Angelina Jolie’s, by the way).

In the last BiMedia, I reported that Denise Van Outen would be starring as bisexual vamp Maureen in Rent. I can’t actually think of a West End musical that’s opened to poorer reviews since the Queen-inspired clap-along We Will Rock You which is…now in its sixth year because people who like musicals don’t give a stuff if some old duffer from the Daily Telegraph thinks it’s a plebby pile of toss.  Ahem.  Alas, right now is even less of a good time to be an L/Bi lady in the West End, with Bad Girls The Musical also announcing early closing notices for November 17th following a run of just three months at London’s Garrick Theatre.

Perhaps those posters on the Tube aren’t increasing bisexuality among the nation’s 18-30 year-old women after all.