Bisexual Erasure: It’s A Thing

If you’re not doing this yet, please take my advice and go watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s my favorite TV show currently running, with hardly any competition (okay, Westworld is pretty great, but Crazy Ex-GF is more my jam) and a new episode is added to Netflix every week.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend chronicles the tale of Rebecca Bunch, a hot-shot New York lawyer who moves to West Covina, California, essentially to stalk her teenage sweetheart. I hear you thinking it already: that’s not an innovative plot. Furthermore, there’s something sexist about having your main character move cross-country for a man. That doesn’t sound like a cool show at all.

But hear me out. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show that debunks stereotypes at a heart-stopping rate. Even within the intro, the sexist nature of the show’s title is called out. Rachel Bloom, the writer, songwriter, producer and leading lady of the show, is incredibly self-aware, self-reflexive, funny and politically aware.

Each and every episode debunks some kind of cultural or social stereotype and it does it in a brightly colored, up-beat way, which includes musical theatre. What more could you want from modern television?

So I’m using Bloom’s spot-on writing to raise awareness for an issue today that I fear is often overlooked. Because her writing is such a treasure trove of political messages embedded in musical numbers, I might do a series of posts: Issues Raised By Rachel Bloom, or something.

Today: Bisexual Erasure

Wikipedia:  Bisexual erasure or bisexual invisibility is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, news mediaand other primary sources.[1][2][3] In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include denying that bisexuality exists.[1][3] It is often a manifestation of biphobia, although it does not necessarily involve overt antagonism.

Glee, a TV show that aired between 2009 and 2015 and was widely praised for messages of tolerance and for diverse representation, has a striking example of bisexual erasure when one of the characters, who is gay himself, says:

Kurt Hummel (Glee): ‘Bisexual is a term gay guys use in high school when they want to hold hands with girls and feel normal for a change.’

The blatant denial of bisexuality as an identity is incredibly harmful. At its worst, bisexual erasure describes bisexuals as greedy, slutty, or indecisive. Rachel Bloom has something to say to the haters:

 

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