Bromance Bisexual Tease on ‘Bachelorette’ Faces Criticism

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 10.23.14 AMNot many BLGT activists appreciated the tease of the bisexual bromance that went on for “The Bachelorette” this week, and many criticized the network for gay baiting in the worst way.

It was obvious from TMZ reports that ABC was teasing the two male hunks getting together and one of them saying that it never occurred that he ould get together with a guy.

But it wasn’t funny for everyone.

“Viewers were treated to two-hours in which…much of the action depended on the tired, offensive notion that bisexual people are villainous tricksters out to mislead and hurt poor monosexual innocents,” J. Bryan Lowder wrote for Slate. Lowder is the associate editor of the Internet magazine who covers BLGT issues.

“After all, when you lock 25 men with soap-star looks together in a closed, sexually charged space that’s more wet-bar than house, the statistical probability for such a match, however fleeting, is on your side,” Lowder writes.

The same-sex titillation between two guys was a first for The Bachelorette—and this time it seemed that the bachelorette named Kaitlyn has two guys who may be more into each other than they are into her. The “Brokeback Bachelor” promo teaser between Clint Arlis and J.J. Lane had Clint coo: “I never thought that I’d meet somebody like that … Falling in love with a man never crossed my mind.”

Other activists thought the gay storyline was invented and contrived.

“It was downright offensive for Clint and JJ to act like being gay is some hilarious joke. Is heterosexual masculinity really so fragile that close male friendships have to be laughed off as being ‘gay’? It’s 2015 – how is gay panic still a thing?” Amana Michelle Steiner said in People. “Two women acting in the same way would not have raised any eyebrows, and you can bet they wouldn’t have felt the need to make jokes about their sexuality.”

Time‘s Daniel D’Addario said that ABC really took two steps back after airing Diane Sawyer’s interview with Bruce Jenner in April about trans issues.

 Lowder was surprised that not even a kiss occurred, and that it may have added to the “offensive notion that bisexual people are villainous tricksters out to mislead and hurt poor monosexual innocents.” Clint was characterized most strongly as a bisexual deceiver. Fairly early in the episode, he admits that Kaitlyn is probably not the girl for him, but confesses that JJ is holding his attentions because “he’s a sweetheart” and has a beautiful jawline.
It looks like Clink is pursuing J.J. who seems f;ushered, and at one point Clint says after beating him in a game:
“You own me now … I will be your bitch.”
Then there’s a joke about oral sex that J.J. makes and says, “That’s not going to happen, not on camera.”
Clint adds, “I love JJ. I feel like I’ve connected with JJ more than Kaitlyn.”

Then, the Slate criticism goes: “At the end of the evening, it appeared that Kaitlyn was poised to excuse Clint from the house on the advice of the other men. If that happens next week, The Bachelorette can check another classic trope off its list—after the queer has been revealed for the snake he is, he must be banished. Only then can ‘true’ love bloom.”

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Mike Szymanski
Mike Szymanski has written about bisexual issues since 1989 and has one of the longest-running regular bisexual columns as the National Bisexuality Examiner. He came out as bisexual in a cover story of Genre magazine, which resulted in more than 50 television appearances, including Ricki Lake, Phil Donahue Show and 20/20. Szymanski won the Lambda Literary Award in 2007 for co-authoring an informative humor book “The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips and Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways.” Write him at [email protected]