From Jolie to Bowie, there are lots of bis out there. And they don’t all have names ending in -ie.
So let’s hear from people on bisexuality…
Rock legend David Bowie came out as bisexual and later went back in again, causing some to question whether it was a publicity stunt or for real. But his 1976 statement that “I am a bisexual […] I suppose it’s the best thing that ever happened to me” helped a lot of bis find their way out of the closet.
Dusty Springfield came out even earlier, explaining in 1970 that “I’m perfectly as capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy. More and more people feel that way and I don’t see why I shouldn’t.”
True Blood star Anna Paquin came out in 2009, saying “For me, it’s not really an issue because I’m someone who believes being bisexual is actually a thing. It’s not made up. It’s not a lack of decision.”
Evan Rachel Wood has become a champion of bi representation after tweeting in 2012 that “I myself am bisexual”. Just four words and it’s out there.
Drew Barrymore came out back in 2003, saying, “Do I like women sexually? Yeah, I do. Totally. I have always considered myself bisexual.”
Amy Winehouse said that “There is something about being with a woman that is very satisfying. I don’t care what people think about me being bi — I do what feels good.”
“I love who I love…. I just feel like everyone’s always looking for a headline and they always want their magazine or TV show or whatever to be the one to break what my sexuality is.” – Demi Lovato in 2017 on the angst of being out as a celeb and being forever tagged with one side of who you are.
“I really like the term bisexual, and I fall somewhere under the umbrella that is bisexuality. I use the word bisexual because people have fought for so long for this word and the fact that it even exists in part of the LGBTI-etc is just a beautiful thing, and I’m not gonna be the person to take, like, fluidity or emotional fluidity or pansexual. I’m comfortable somewhere under the bisexual label, and I’m proud of it.” – Nico Tortorella pushing back against bi-erasure.
Sleater-Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein observed in 2012 that people think she’s gay but “no one’s actually ever asked me. People just always assume, like, you’re this or that. It’s like, ‘OK. I’m bisexual.’”
Megan Mullally explained her belief in almost everyone being bisexual, saying “…everybody is innately bisexual. I think there are different levels of awareness attached to that, so I may believe that everybody is innately bisexual, but somebody who is very homophobic may not see that quality in themselves in any way, shape or form. That’s on a very philosophical or even metaphysical level, you know what I mean? It’s not something that I think people are ready for yet. I think if you ask the average guy on the street if he was innately bisexual, he’d be like, ‘What the fuck are you talking about?’ and then he’d punch you in the face. So, we’re not quite there.”
REM singer Michael Stipe reflected his on coming out, saying, “I decided to publicly announce my sexuality. I said simply that I had enjoyed sex with men and women my entire adult life. It was a simple fact, and I’m happy I announced it.”
Sophie B Hawkins prefers the label omnisexual – one of many in the bi umbrella – and explains that for her it means “I absolutely can fall in love with any gender if I love the person’s mind, heart and soul.”
“I think I’ve always been bisexual. I mean, it’s something that I’ve always been interested in. I think everybody kind of fantasizes about the same sex. I think people are born bisexual, and it’s just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of ‘Oh, I can’t.’ They say it’s taboo. It’s ingrained in our heads that it’s bad, when it’s not bad at all. It’s a very beautiful thing.” – Billie Joe Armstrong, singer with Green Day, in 1995.
Country star Vanessa Carlton came out at Nashville Pride in 2010, declaring from the stage that “I’ve never said this before, but I am a proud bisexual woman”. Not every coming out has the benefit of being to a crowd of 18,000 queers and allies.
Ke$ha came out in 2011, dodging the B word but making it plain enough: “I wouldn’t say I’m gay or straight -– I don’t like labeling things anyway. I just like people.”
Rapper Azealia Banks explained, “I’m bisexual, so it makes sense. But I don’t want to be that girl who says all gays necessarily hang out together, of course! I have people say to me, ‘Oh wow, my friend is gay, too,’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, so?'”
“I think people are born bisexual and then make subconscious choices based on the pressures of society. I have no question in my mind about being bisexual. But I’m also a hypocrite: I would never date a girl who was bisexual, because that means they also sleep with men, and men are so dirty that I’d never want to sleep with a girl who had slept with a man.” – Megan Fox interviewed in 2001. A little internalised biphobia there?
Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame protested about biphobia when coming out, explaining “I don’t pull out the ‘bisexual’ word because nobody likes the bisexuals. Everybody likes to dump on the bisexuals. We get no respect.”
Record producer Clive Davis came out in his autobiography, “The Soundtrack of My Life”, writing: After my second marriage failed, I met a man who was also grounded in music. Having only had loving relationships and sexual intimacy with women, I opened myself up to the possibility that I could have that with a male, and found that I could.” It’s never too late!
Riverdale and Stranger Things star Shannon Purser talked in 2018 about the importance of being out for others: “I just always think about what would I have needed as a kid, what would have meant a lot to me? If somebody can see me and feel less alone and more understood, than that’s it.”
Lady Gaga is often described as an ally in the press. But at a Q&A session at the Berghain Club in Berlin in 2013 she railed against this: “You know what? It’s not a lie that I am bisexual and I like women, and anyone that wants to twist this into ‘she says she’s bisexual for marketing,’ this is a fucking lie. This is who I am and who I have always been.”