Good Bi Love: A Bi Perspective on Kevin Spacey

11/6/2017

 

I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to write about Kevin Spacey — specifically his apology which doubled as coming out as “gay.” In talking about his sexuality, I don’t want to steer the attention away from his multiple acts of sexual assault to minors and those decades younger than him. That should be the focus here. His sexuality is not a scandal. Being queer isn’t a scandal. There’s nothing wrong with being queer. There is, of course, something very wrong with sexually assaulting and taking advantage of younger boys.

Additionally, I don’t want to in anyway conflate sexuality with sexual assault. It took years to dispel the notion of the “gay pedophile” —that all gay/bi men want to lure minors into private places to sexually molest them. Spacey came out in a manner that reinforced this disgusting and malicious trope. The truth is gay men can be sexual predators. So can straight men and bi men.

As bi activist and actor Evan Rachel Wood tweeted on October 30th, right after the news of Spacey broke, “I am Bi, have been to parties with minors while intoxicated & I have never assaulted anyone because being bi doesn’t make u a predator.”

The commonality of all these predators isn’t their sexuality, but rather, their gender. Sexual predators are significantly more likely to be men than women. Particularly, men in positions of power. If we are so desperate to bring up gender and sexuality into the conversation, this is where we should begin. Men, by and large, are the problem here. Not being gay or bi.

Now briefly diverting attention away from the real issue at hand, Spacey’s acts of sexual assault, I would like to analyze the manner in which Spacey came out — more specifically, the language he chose. I think it is indicative of how society views sexual fluidity as well as bisexuality. Because of this, I think there is something beneficial in discussing it.

After his half-assed apology towards actor Anthony Rapp, Spacey tweeted, “This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are other stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy. As those closest to me know, in my life I have had romantic relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior.”

(Bold and italics added by me for effect.)

Looking at what is in bold here, it seems clear that Spacey, regardless of how he identifies, is clearly bi. Throughout his life, he has not only had sexual, but as he states, romantic relationships with men and women. He has not only dated men, but actually loved men, too.

God knows he’s the last person right now I want to claim as bi. Frankly, I’m ashamed and embarrassed that he’s a member of our community. But if we’re taking what he tweeted at face value, then the unsavory truth is right in front of us: Spacey is most likely bi.

Now, however, he is “choosing” to live life as a gay man. “I choose now to live as a gay man.” Those were his exact words.

It’s his notion of choice that I find so worrisome. I worry that gay people who condemn Spacey for saying he “chooses” to be gay will then turn around and tell bi folks to just “choose a side” already. Multiple folks have made jokes that Spacey’s “gay card” has been declined. Meaning that since Spacey “chose” to be gay, they’re rejecting him from the gay community. He wanted to be gay, he chose it, and the higher up gay powers said, “Absolutely not.”

But being gay (just like being bi) is not a choice. Sexuality is not a choice. I’ll repeat that again: You do not choose your sexual orientation. That’s why it’s not only infuriating but also ignorant when bi folks are told to “pick a side” and “choose.” But given how often bi folks hear this, it makes sense that Spacey would use the “choosing” language he did. He doesn’t realize that he doesn’t have to choose.

So while Spacey may claim he now chooses to be gay, he is, alas, still bi. Now he is going forward with the intent of dating, having sex with, and being intimate with men (and I do pray to god men, and not boys).

Yes, there is a choice in where we put our effort in terms of dating. For example, at the moment, I’m only on dating apps that are exclusive to men (Grindr and Hornet). I also frequent more gay bars than straight. Because of this, I am much more likely to date a man seriously as opposed to a woman. This is because I put myself in settings surrounded by other queer men. I would argue there is a choice in where we put our effort in terms of finding love. Nevertheless, our bisexuality — our attractions to multiple genders — stays intact.

So while Spacey may “choose” to pursue more men at the moment, he has not chosen his sexuality. That was never a choice. I don’t want Spacey’s statement to in any way hurt the bi community or to further the misconception that bi individuals need to “pick a side.”

Zachary Zane

Zachary Zane a Brooklyn-based freelance writer, speaker, YouTuber, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, identity politics, relationships, and culture. He’s a contributing editor at The Advocate Magazine, a columnist at Bi.org, and currently writes for The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Out Magazine, and PRIDE.