Some Disney Star Came Out as Bisexual. Who Cares?

bella thorneEvery 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.

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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.”

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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?”

I do.

Talia Squires
Talia Squires is the editor in chief for bi.org. Talia has a degree in German Literature from Bryn Mawr College and a Master's in Critical Studies from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. She's obsessed with good food, fantastic wine, and trashy television. She lives in LA with her husband and fluffy Lhasa Apso.




  • No Not Telling So Suck It

    Right on!

  • bi, bi, miss american pie
    drive your chevy to the levee with who ever walks bi
    and if some nut complains you just spit in their eye
    cause it’s great to say just “yes” to “You’re bi?”

  • Della C.

    Who cares that you care?

  • Defenestrae

    Seriously… nobody cares. We don’t live in that America anymore. Coming out isn’t brave, or courageous. It’s at a minimum the contrite act of an attention whore.

  • Kelli

    I have to disagree with you.. Coming out is one of the hardest things some people have to do.. They worry if family,work,church etc is going to accpte their choice.. A lot people that have come out have lost a lot.. I think you are alittle upset that your name wasn’t on the top of this article and you weren’t the attention whore but on the flip side you got my attention whore.!!!

  • Kelli

    You cared enough to read the article and take your time out to type something..

  • EmmaPeelWannabe

    You’re calling her an attention whore because she answered a question truthfully. I bet if she had danced around the question for fear of this sort of reaction, you would have called her the same thing.

    And if she had lied and said “No,” then been spotted with a girlfriend, the tabloids would have been screaming about that, too.
    Coming out will be brave as long as there are people who will treat an LGBTQ person negatively for being so. And coming out isn’t a one-time thing. You have to do it over and over, when you’re asked if your same-gender partner is your sibling (happens to me so often) or your friend, and you have about three seconds to decide if the environment is safe enough that answering truthfully isn’t going to instantly make your life harder.
    People who grow up knowing literally no one who is openly LGBTQ care. It’s incredibly isolating not knowing anyone like you when it comes to something with such an impact as this. When a celebrity comes out, that’s someone in the public eye living their life and being okay with their sexuality, and you cannot underestimate how important that is for some people – especially young people living in an environment where they can be thrown out by their parents for being LGBTQ. Contrary to what you may believe, that still happens. A lot.

  • Della C.

    Curiosity of the motives or thoughts of others is not caring. I am bisexual but I disagree with the notion that it is not a private bedroom thing for most. People should be allowed to live and play without pressure. Especially those subject to public scrutiny and those with public careers.

  • Leishu

    Yeah – It’s not like people were massacred for their sexuality two months ago or anything.

    … idiot.

  • Marshal Ironsides

    Guess what? I don’t care. I don’t have to care. All the labels you can slap on me won’t come within a thousand miles of making me care. Don’t have a nice day.

  • Defenestrae

    Yes, I agree, we should so something about Islamic Extremism. But then again, a large number of those victims weren’t even gay. They were the “A” in LGBTQA.

  • Defenestrae

    Oh please… there was a time in this country where coming out meant more than a bit of disapproval – it means you were beaten and murdered. Honestly, if your biggest struggle is that you might have to find a new church, you need to suck it up, buttercup.

  • Defenestrae

    “You’re calling her an attention whore…” No I’m not. Learn to read.

  • Eric Wegner Vanderboom

    Actually, you may as well have with your “It’s at a minimum the contrite act of an attention whore” comment about her coming out. Learn what meaning your words have.
    While you’re at it, you might also want to take your own advice and read what she actually said. If the first line’s all you got out of that, then you really missed the point, didn’t you?

  • Defenestrae

    My comments were in the context of refuting the (gutlessly anonymous) author’s assertion that coming out is somehow a big deal. It’s not. I didn’t address Bella Thorne on a specific basis, not by name or by inference. I don’t care what she has to say. I’m absolutely not interested in the vapid world of celebrity worship, and I’d rather draw moral lessons from more authoritative sources than a niche thespian.

    I will point out that that you and the rest of the somnambulant masses are entirely too easily impressed. Nobody who is coming out in this day and age is doing anything more significant than putting their personal life out in front. It diminishes any accomplishment they may have made as an artist, athlete, leader or other occupation. It reduces them to a archetype. More and more, celebrities who “come out” are doing it to as a targeted PR effort to keep their name in headlines. It’s pathetic and cynical. The kindest thing I can say about about any of these children is that they’re being attention whores. The worst thing I can say is that – at a time in their lives where they least understand the constitution of their sexuality, they are flagrantly exploiting it for a minimum amount of personal gain. (At least whores know their value.)