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Why this young bi woman has an issue with Netflix’s Alex Strangelove

Written by gaytourism

Alex first believed he might be bisexual | Photo: Alex Strangelove trailer YouTube

Netflix Original rom-coms have never been my thing. I think they’re too predictable and cliche ridden for my taste.

However, after reading the summary of one of Netflix’s most recent additions, Alex Strangelove, I found myself compelled by its seemingly LGBT+ friendly plot and decided to give it a go.

The first mention of bisexuality took place in the first half of the movie.

Main character Alex started questioning his sexuality. I was pleasantly surprised to see bisexuality as one of the options.

After the questioning scene, though, things started going downhill.

‘Do you listen to Panic! at the Disco while jerking off to pictures of vampires?’

‘What? No.’

‘Then you’re not bisexual.’

Not the best description of bisexuality. But, I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t find this piece of dialogue funny. I started listening to Panic! at the Disco back when I was in Middle School a bit after I had got over my crush on Alice Cullen.

That exchange was harmless and not worth any bitterness, but the dissing on bisexuality didn’t stop there.

I’m not suggesting that all characters should have politically correct opinions. You have every right to write a biphobic best friend for your main.

This is just one in a series of opinion pieces on GSN about Alex Strangelove. Read more below.

‘Stop thinking of oppression as a competition’

Dell’s monologues on sexuality lacked empathy and basic knowledge of LGBT identities, though the context in which they were delivered didn’t mean to highlight the character’s ignorance.

He remained Alex’s best friend after publicly showing him his genitals in an attempt to prove that Alex is not bi. When Dell says the following line, no one bats an eyelash: ‘I don’t care if (…) you’re bisexual, pansexual, asexual or if you join fucking NAMBLA.’ Side note: stop linking the LGBT community with pedophilia.

Bisexuality is neither a stepping stone for homosexuality nor a cover name for promiscuity.

You’d think that by 2018 people would’ve got over such stereotypes, but how could they if that’s the only way bisexuals are portrayed in the media? Treating other sexualities as a punchline in your gay stories doesn’t make you progressive, you’re just an asshole.

It might seem like I’m reading too much into it. Besides ‘bisexuals have it easier than lesbians/gays,’ right?

Wrong — and stop thinking of oppression as a competition. When my friend told her parents she’s bi, they just laughed it off.

‘Bisexuality doesn’t exist,’ they said.

Another friend of mine had a huge fight with her mother after coming out. Their relationship is ruined to this day.

When I first thought I might be bi, I started googling articles on it and most of them told me that I might be going through a phase. When I came out to my ex-boyfriend, he was so shocked he needed time to process it alone. He thought I would cheat on him more easily.

We’ve heard so much shit that even we doubt ourselves.

‘Don’t belittle us on Pride month’

Proper bi representation is important, even in 2018. You often see characters going in sexual relationships with both men and women but there are only a few instances where bisexuality is truly represented. No one has the guts to say the ‘b’ word and when they do, stereotypes are often attached to it. And don’t get me started on the ‘I don’t do labels’ line.

Having said that, I’m glad to have some of my favorite fictional characters represent my sexuality.

Rosa Diaz, a brilliant detective from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, recently came out as bisexual in a very realistic yet respectful way. This brought bi fans around the world to tears.

Korra and Asami Sato from the Legend of Korra are a bisexual couple that was treated wonderfully for a kids show. Clarke Griffin from the 100 and Eleanor Guthrie from Black Sails were open and unapologetic about their sexuality yet their character wasn’t diminished to the label.

To get back to my initial point, Alex Strangelove came out on Pride month as a gift to the LGBT community, but it just made me feel ‘less than.’

Don’t belittle us on Pride month — yes, it’s our month as well. We do exist and honestly Netflix, you can do way better than that.

Read more from our Alex Strangelove opinion series:

Alex Strangelove portrays bisexuality ‘simply as a stepping stone’

Alex Strangelove ‘follows confused and confusing teenagers’

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