#12: Reclaiming Bisexual Celebrities…Except Anne Heche

24 08 2008

“A bisexual is a person who reaches down the front of somebody’s pants and is satisfied with whatever they find.”– Dana Carvey as The Church Lady, Saturday Night Live.

The Gay Book of Days: An Evocatively Illustrated Who’s Who of Who Is, Was, May Have Been, Probably Was, and Almost Certainly Seems to Have Been Gay is not only on sale for 45 cents at Amazon, but is a kind of gay history lesson, recounting sexual affairs of famous folks from Shakespeare to Ma Rainey to whomever the hell Henri de Montherlant is. The problem is that a lot of the people he is outing as gay are actually bisexual. Whoops! Don’t tell Oprah or you’ll end up like that James Frey guy.

“‘We must identify the obvious, reclaim our writers, poets, painters and activists,’ say bisexual authors Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu, who list Anais Nin, Colette, Frida Kahlo, Walt Whitman, D.H. Lawrence, Langston Hughes, W. Somerset Maugham, and Tallulah Bankhead among those who have loved both men and women” (Marjorie Garber, Vice Versa)

Other bisexuals who are commonly mistaken or purposefully misconstrued as card-carrying homos and heteros are: Sappho (yes, the Greek poster-dyke), Kurt Cobain, James Dean, Ani DiFranco (more on this to come), Eleanor Roosevelt, Alexander the Great, Tchaikovsky, Michael Stipe, Lord Byron, Emily Dickinson, Andy Dick (while we’re on the “Dicks”), Herman Melville (Moby Dick. What?), Eve Ensler, Judy Garland, Georgia O’Keeffe (who was Frida’s lover for a time), Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, Billie Holiday, Angelina Jolie (obvs), Janis Joplin, David Bowie (#4) Jack Kerouac, Kristanna Loken (from Terminator 3 and the one who burned Shane’s house down in season 4 of The L Word), Madonna, Elton John, Amanda Palmer (from the Dresden Dolls), Cole Porter, Anthony Rapp (Rent), Virginia Woolf, Patti Smith, Mick Jagger and on and on. To see a more complete list of bi celebs, go here.

Bis love to correct people about celebrities’ sexual proclivities, not only to provide some cultural visibility to the switch-hitters but because we need role models too. Like any minority group that is discriminated against, we need champions that can inspire us and make us feel smart at dinner parties. Which is why, dear lesbians, I’m sorry but Ani DiFranco is OURS. You can have Melissa Etheridge and Elton John (who used to identify as bi – to justify his wearing of purple fuzzy top hats?) but Shakespeare is totally our pinch-hitter. A rose bi any other name would NOT smell as sweet.

Of course, one reason that reclaiming bisexual celebrities is problematic is because it polarizes groups in arguments over sexual politics – pitting us versus them and making polite conversation into a kind of custody battle. We here at SBL are not out to further create rifts among alternate sexualities or genders, but we are pretty happy about Amanda Palmer playing for both teams. (call us!) The second reason it’s problematic is because then we also have to claim celebrities we don’t really like much at all, like Anne Heche , who proclaimed herself to be the second coming, or Tom Cruise or Tila Tequila (#3). So, while we promote Lindsay Lohan’s recent lezification, we’re not entirely sure what to do about some of the unpleasant bi products that have occurred during the most recent bout of bisexual chic, which started around the time that Madonna kissed Britney Spears at the VMA awards. Until Google (#2) comes up with a solution for that, consider Bai Ling an unfortunate, but necessary benchwarmer, for our all-inclusive team.

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5 responses

28 08 2008
mar

Add Rudolph Nuryev to that list (yep). And bunch of dancers I went to art school with šŸ™‚

31 08 2008
pulleywhipped

dancers! that should be the next entry..or theatre majors.

18 06 2009
Dating

Nice photo!

5 09 2009
tila fan87

nice pose

15 05 2011
Bi4Life

Don’t forget Anna Paquin!

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