Why I’m Bi (and not gay) for Ruby Rose
Ever since the release of Season 3 of Orange Is the New Black on Monday morning, Twitter has been aflutter with the hashtag #GayForRubyRose. Many women who aren’t generally into other women apparently have fallen in love with Ruby Rose, otherwise known as Stella on OITNB.
I fully admit it, I’m one of them. I’d be gay for Ruby Rose. I’d also be a can of baked beans for Ruby Rose. I’d be anything she asked of me. Unfortunately that isn’t really an option. I can no more suddenly turn gay than turn into a can of baked beans.
“Gay for…” This is a phrase I’ve heard many times and been guilty of using once or twice myself. Then I saw this BuzzFeed piece and it got me thinking. Saying I’d be gay for someone is saying the only reason I’m straight is because I haven’t met the right girl yet. When someone says, “I’d be gay for…” what they’re really saying is that they mostly (or exclusively) have relations with the opposite sex, but they are occasionally attracted to the same sex.
What else could you call a woman who is mostly attracted to men and occasionally attracted to women? There actually is a word for it and that word is Bi. So why are all of these woman who are mostly attracted to men but sometimes attracted to women identifying as the much more complicated “straight except for when I’m gay” instead of identifying as bi?
Somewhere along the way, “bisexual” has picked up an incredibly specific meaning in the minds of many people. After discarding the insulting ideas of experimentation, titillation, and sexual promiscuity, even many a pro-bi person has a limiting idea of bisexuality. They think it must mean that you are equally attracted to men and women; that you want the exact same things from men and women; and that you must at all times act on these equally strong desires.
Is someone who is celibate asexual? Not necessarily, they could simply not be acting on their attractions. Similarly bisexuality doesn’t require that you have the same attractions or act in the same way towards men and women. There are many reasons not to act on an attraction: fear, strength of the attraction, societal pressure, respect for your partner, or just lack of opportunity. That doesn’t mean the attraction is any less real, nor is it any less a part of your sexuality. Next time you’re tempted to say that “I’d be gay for the newest OITNB character” maybe you should consider saying “I’m totally bi for Ruby Rose.”