Why I’m Bi (and not gay) for Ruby Rose

6/18/15

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. Ruby Rose

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 What Else Quote3 copybut 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.”

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.




  • brianOO7

    Your confusion (and yes, I think many people are not surprisingly confused on this issue of labels) is in assuming that ‘gay’ means exclusively gay. While you could argue that ‘homosexual’ does mean that, being gay doesn’t necessarily exclude opposite-sex attraction. All it means is you enjoy having sex with a person of the same gender. If you enjoy gay sex, you are gay by definition, because a gay person is a person who enjoys gay sex. If that is in addition to opposite-sex interest or attraction, you could further define yourself as bisexual, if it matters to you or people you know, such as if you are in an opposite-sex relationship. Otherwise, there’s no need to be shy about adopting the gay label. Doing so demonstrates solidarity with other gay people who may or may not also be bisexual, and your willingness to be identified with the gay community that you are, after all, a part of.

    While I am technically bi, I use the term only to clarify, if needed, why I am in an opposite-sex relationship. Otherwise, I’m happy to call myself gay.

  • chuckdaly

    The “Gay for…” phrase is most commonly used within the sex industry, where people have sexual relations with people of the same sex solely for money. Be it prostitution or porn, its a common occurrence. Are those people Bi? I don’t know, but the terminology for Gay/Homosexual/Bi-sexual/Lesbian/etc are so loosely defined that no one should be getting upset over the context of their usage.

  • Garu Derota

    leave labels for food cans. we are human beings, the most complex lifeform on Earth. freedom is our greatest weapon and it includes the freedom to like whatever we want.