Some Disney Star Came Out as Bisexual. Who Cares?
Every time a celebrity (major or minor) comes out as bisexual, there is an immediate refrain of people asking, “Who cares.” This casually expressed sentiment is of course meant to imply that nobody cares or at least that nobody worth mentioning cares. This week, Bella Thorne came out as bisexual in the chillest way possible, causing an outpouring of love on Twitter. Sadly the naysayers also came out asking, “who cares?”
It turns out a lot of people care. Yes, there is some silly celebrity gossip mongering, yes I know a lot of very terrible things are happening in the news, but does this mean we shouldn’t celebrate someone being honest about who they are?
Coming out is, ultimately, about no longer hiding. It’s about being real, honest, genuine. Sexual orientation isn’t just private “bedroom stuff.” It affects our romantic and social lives a great deal. Our attraction patterns determine whom we date, marry, with whom have children, a family, etc. It’s about weddings and birthdays, walks in the park holding hands, dinner out with friends and loved ones. It’s about not being ashamed of our partner (or partners) in front of our friends and family. If someone doesn’t care about all that, that’s sad.
In the case of bisexuality, it is especially important. For whatever reason, there is a lot of stigma around bisexuality. This stigma is especially evident when we see the number of celebrities not coming out as bisexual. A celebrity will say they are attracted to both men and women, or that they aren’t exclusively attracted to men or women. They go on to talk about people they’ve dated or had relations with, and then end the whole conversation by saying, “but I’m not bi.” I understand that identity is complicated, but bisexuality is simple. Bisexuality simply means that a person’s attraction isn’t limited to one gender.
I’m not saying that you have to identify as bi or that you have to identify exclusively as bi. I’m not saying that there is no such thing as sexual fluidity, nor am I denying that sometimes it’s simply more convenient to not identify. It does seem odd, though, when celebrities like Ricky Martin, Gillian Anderson, or Kristen Stewart come out and say, “Yes, I am sexually attracted to men and women. No, I’m not bi.” Seriously, why are you bothering?
When we repeatedly see so many people with so many advantages participate in bi-ersure it makes it harder for bi folks everywhere. It means that even with the glamour, the looks, the money and the fame, coming out as bi is still too difficult. If a celebrity can only tap dance around the issue, how can a normal person ever hope to find the courage and support to come out?
So this week, when Bella Thorne was asked a very simple question on Twitter, I was thrilled to see that she gave a very simple answer. She did not do an elaborate tap dance going over the list of everyone she’s ever kissed and explaining how it might look like she’s bi, but really she’s a woodland nymph. Someone asked, “are you bisexual?” and she answered, “Yes.”
Yup, that was her answer. “Yes.”
Yay for Bella Thorne! I admit, I have never watched the Disney Channel, because as a child my parents didn’t “believe” in TV. And even if I had watched the channel, I am much too old to have seen the show that made you famous, Bella. In fact, I only have the vaguest idea of who you are, but thank you so very much for giving such a simple and beautiful answer. Thank you for letting all of your fans and the world know that sometimes it is as simple as saying yes.
So in answer to the question, “who cares?”