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Alex Strangelove portrays bisexuality ‘simply as a stepping stone’

Written by gaytourism

Sidney feels Alex Strangelove missed the mark when it comes to biphobia | Photo: Alex Strangelove trailer Youtube

2018 has certainly been turning out to be a big year for gay representation.

With movies like Call Me By Your Name, Love, Simon, and, now recently added to Netflix, Alex Strangelove. However all these movies have something in common.

All their main characters are gay, cis, white, skinny, boys.

Hay representation is amazing and there is so much need for it. But there is more diversity in the LGBT+ community.

Specifically and in this case, bisexuality.

Spoilers Ahead

The movie Alex Strangelove is a warm hearted, comedic, coming of age movie.

It tells the story of Alex Truelove and his experience when he wants to lose his virginity to his girlfriend. His plans are derailed when he meets another boy who causes him to question his sexuality.

After I watched this movie I found myself disappointed when the main character turned out to be gay. I believed the movie played him out to be bisexual!

The problem I had was bi-erasure. This comes out in the movie when Alex begins to think he may be bisexual. However by the end realizes he is gay.

‘The movie was set up perfectly as a bisexual love story’

This portrays bisexuality as simply a stepping stone for people who are gay, lesbian, or straight. This only reinforces the stereotype that people who identify as bisexual are just confused or even lying.

Of course if the character is gay, they are gay. No one can change that. But a popular complaint online comes from people who believe the movie was set up perfectly as a bisexual love story.

Alex Strangelove hit on important topics such as biphobia. But when it came to educating people about it, I think the movie missed the mark.

For example when Alex’s best friend Dell completely dismisses Alex when he comes out as bisexual. He convinces Alex he is just straight with a ‘man crush’ on a boy who just happens to be gay.

This is unfortunately a popular belief with not only straight people but from within the LGBT+ community as well. That kind of exclusion is unhealthy coming from anywhere. This is why the media needs to help change the views society has on bisexuality and it’s movies like this that could have started it.

The movie could have played out in a way that Alex could have learnt more about himself and taught his friends about his bisexuality and it’s validity.

However, ultimately it was dismissed once Alex comes out as gay in the end. The idea of bisexuality is never brought up again.

‘It’s important that everyone has someone they can look up to’

In the end the movie played out in a similar way that most teen romances do. The main character ends up at the dance with who they were meant to be with all along – A story ending we have seen countless times.

While it did touch on the troubles of internalized homophobia and a judge full environment, the story line is not all that unique.

I can’t think of a single romance movie with a bisexual main character. And I think it is important that there are more bisexual or pansexual leads in Hollywood to educate people about all the groups in LGBT+.

Sexuality is a large part of a persons identity and with a new age of children growing up in a more open environment, it’s important that everyone has someone they can look up to.

So with the coming tide of change in Hollywood. So maybe the movie Alex Strangelove is not the bisexual representation some were looking for. It was still good movie, and it taught many lessons while giving a honest glimpse into the life of a modern gay teen.

There is a lot to learn from Alex Strangelove and the movie leaves me hoping that movies continue to grow more diverse.

Read more

Alex Strangelove director on complicated gay characters: ‘We are dirty, messy people’

Netflix’s edgy gay teen sex comedy is delightful but unbalanced

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