Bi in the Public Eye
It was a big night for bisexual depiction on screen at the Oscars, as Rami Malek won best actor for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Olivia Colman won best actress for “The Favourite” where she starred as Queen Anne.
Bohemian Rhapsody also took the awards for film editing and sound editing as well as sound mixing, adding to a line of awards the film garnered at the Golden Globes, and making it the biggest success on the night with four Oscars.
And we had at least one bi winner – Lady Gaga shared the Oscar for best original song from the soundtrack to A Star Is Born.
Frustratingly, for us at BCN, in his acceptance speech Rami cited Freddie as gay. We read his life differently from that – and indeed the obviously biromantic character portrayed in the film.
Dolly v Miley
Miley Cyrus has been talking about gender and sexuality – and “what it looks like for someone that’s a queer person like myself to be in a hetero relationship”. So has their godmother, Dolly Parton.
As part of an interview in Vanity Fair Miley wrote,
“Being someone who takes such pride in individuality and freedom, and being a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve been inspired by redefining again what a relationship in this generation looks like. Sexuality and gender identity are completely separate from partnership. I wore a dress on my wedding day because I felt like it, I straightened my hair because I felt like it, but that doesn’t make me become some instantly “polite hetero lady.” (PS: Straight women are badass, too.)”
Miley adds, “The “gold stars” I receive for being “pretty” and for following the rules are really discouraging and uninspiring, but that also fuels me.”
Lots of readers will probably relate very well to the challenges of looking to some of the world like a regular, white-picket-fence, cis straight couple… while the life experiences in your past and present may have a very different story. It’s something we often talk about in BCN magazine as the ‘bisexual burden’ of having to keep coming out over and over, but it’s also a nonbinary / genderqueer challenge: a society that wants to put people into a small set of simple boxes with clear-cut labels on them struggles with the box-breaking that bisexuality and gender diversity brings.
I’m not sure I entirely agree with Miley’s further exposition that “partnerships in a new generation—I don’t think they have so much to do with sexuality or gender. Sex is actually a small part, and gender is a very small, almost irrelevant part of relationships,” as for a great many people, especially gay and straight folks, those things seem to still be very important. But for lots of us – perhaps a very common bi experience but not a universal one – they really are just that, minor concerns compared to how right the person feels to us, and it’s great to see that being given voice.
Especially as so much mainstream media has reported the comments adding that Miley used to be pansexual but is married to a man now. Like that ever stopped anyone.
And so to Miley’s godmother, Dolly Parton, who has helpfully chipped in – telling The Dan Wootton Interview podcast that “Miley, she does a lot of stuff for effect.”
Though perhaps Dolly could reflect more on her other remark on the topic of the growing visibility of gender and sexuality diversity including Miley’s story: “I think they just want to be part of that whole movement to make people think that they’re so free and all that. But I don’t really know how they feel inside.”
No, Dolly, you don’t. Perhaps you’d be best off taking their word for it.