Bisexual Erasure In Media Needs To Stop

Bisexual Erasure In Media Needs To Stop

Movies aren't black and white anymore, and neither is sexuality.
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During my first watch-through of the 90’s cult classic television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I found myself overjoyed at Willow’s romance with Tara, one of the first instances I had seen of a same-sex couple on television despite watching the series around 2012. I was so excited to see a strong female character not be defined by her sexuality or used solely as a stereotype character, having had relationships with both men and women.

As the series went on, though, something about the portrayal of Willow’s sexuality began to bother me. She never became a stereotype, but she began to identify as a lesbian with no interest in men. Even under a spell that attracts all women to a young man, she suggests using her Wicca mojo to turn him into a woman in order to be with him. Willow becomes repulsed at the idea of being with a man. While it is important to respect that some women may experience a change in their sexuality as they age and choose to identify as either gay or straight even if they have had meaningful relationships with multiple sexes, I see this as an instance of a bigger issue in the media: bisexual erasure.

Bisexual erasure occurs when sexuality is painted as being a black or white issue; everyone is assumed to be gay or straight without any identities in between. In the media, it is not as uncommon or taboo to see a homosexual character as it once was with a representation of queer characters overall on the rise and improving, but bisexual characters remain obscure. For instance, based on GLAAD’s 2014 Where We Are on TV report, only 4 percent of regular characters on broadcast television are LGBT, but of the 65 regular or recurring queer characters on broadcast networks, only 12 or 18 percent are bisexual. Based on the percentage of Americans self-identifying as bisexual in Center for Disease Control and Prevention poll from that same year, there is an order of magnitude difference in bisexual representation on television compared to the 0.7 percent Americans actively identifying as bisexual. Even shows that represent multiple sexualities can fall into the trap of bi erasure. We can see young men and women come into their sexual identities on Glee, but despite the seeing multiple characters experiment with both same-sex and heterosexual relationships, only one character choices to identify as bisexual.

While comic books tend to fare better in terms of diversity with new characters and changes to old ones, mainstream media still seems unaccepting of bisexual or omnisexual characters when comics are adapted for television or the big screen. Take, for instance, Constantine’s adaptation to both film and television. The character is openly bisexual in the comics, seen getting out of bed with men in some panels. However, in both the 2014 NBC adaptation and the earlier 2005 film version, the character is not portrayed as anything other than heterosexual with the issue of sexuality particularly downplayed by NBC. Even in the Deadpool movie which was hyped to have the first openly queer superhero, we do not see any indication that Wade Wilson is or has ever been attracted to men, letting the director’s promise of his pansexuality fall flat. Those not well versed in the comics would not be able to catch on to subtle hints that the protagonist is not heterosexual. Both of these characters being more openly bisexual in their film adaptations would have represented not only the bi community but also bisexual males that are depicted even less frequently than their female counterparts.

Erasing bisexual characters is leading to real life issues for adolescents that fall somewhere along the vast spectrum of sexualities. Seeing this strict dichotomy only serves to reinforce the idea that bisexuals lack a legitimate identity. They are left to feel too queer for the straight community and not queer enough for the LGBTQ+ community (despite literally having a letter in the initialism). Stereotypes that bisexuals are merely experimenting or testing their sexuality are reinforced when a television character, whether it be Willow on Buffy or Quinn or Santana on Glee, decides to ultimately stick to one end of the spectrum and dismiss any relations they had that do not fit with their current identity. Only seeing gay or straight characters in the media reinforces the idea that they need to “pick a side;” many may force themselves into using one label or the other with much discomfort and guilt in still finding attraction to multiple sexes even if they show a preference for one side or another. If Willow can pick a side, why can’t they?

The answer to this question is fairly obvious: they cannot pick a side because they do not belong to one side or another. Sexuality falls along a gradient of many shades, not just black or white. The sooner the media starts showing more fluidity in sexuality, the better it will be for those still forming their identities.

Cover Image Credit: Pride

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything
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They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.


Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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A Day In Immigration Court

"America is a nation founded by immigrants" could not be more true in this space.

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This past month, I started my summer internship with a local immigration attorney. Throughout the summer, I will be observing the day-to-day responsibilities of an immigration law office, which includes observing client appointments, compiling evidence and legal research for cases, and attending hearings at the federal immigration court in New York City. Immigration court is vastly different than anything I had ever experienced, and the harsh reality of the American immigration system manifests itself in the immigration courts themselves. Yet after only a couple of days witnessing various hearings in court, I want to look beyond the inefficiencies ingrained in our current immigration system and instead paint a picture so that you can understand the underlying effects of the American dream taking place.

There are two floors designated for the immigration courts in the federal building. After exiting the elevator, there is an overwhelming presence of individuals and family units awaiting their presence in court. One time I saw a woman holding a baby that was days old outside of the courtroom. Courtrooms are numbered and labeled with the last name of the immigration judge on the door, and individuals are expected to wait outside with either an attorney, accredited representation, or any other people accompanying the respondent before his or her trial.

Aside from the large conglomerate of immigrants on this floor, there are multiple signs taped to the walls contain directions in languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, etc. While on these floors, you cannot help but be surrounded by different people, languages, and cultures. In its essence, this is the presence of the American "melting pot" at its finest. There is something inherently beautiful about intersecting cultures and ways of life, and being in the presence of such different people can allow yourself to open your eyes to such different perspectives. Is that not what America is about?

The popular saying, "America is a nation founded by immigrants" could not be more true in this space.

Since my first time at immigration court, I have witnessed individuals win and individuals lose their case. However, a loss does not have to be the end for some individuals. There is an option to appeal the decision from the immigration judge to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) within thirty days. In cases where the individual receives legal status, it feels as though a large burden is placed off of the individual's shoulders. No longer do they have to struggle through the American immigration system after years of perseverance, and in some cases, individuals can move towards becoming an American citizen.

It is almost funny to think that my presence in a government building could spark an inspirational motivator. However, I think my experience in immigration court is more humbling than anything. It puts into perspective the lengths that individuals take to make their case in front of a judge. For them, America is worth fighting for. Although there are various inefficiencies within the current immigration system, I am not trying to romanticize the reality of immigration court. Most of the time, the lines are long, interpreters are unavailable, and cases are more difficult than ever to win. However, instead of focusing on these points, I think it is important to re-focus on the bigger picture behind the immigration courts, realizing the positives amidst all of the negatives.

Although this is only the beginning of my internship, I am excited to see where this opportunity will lead me. I am excited to hear the stories of others, which showcase their determination against hardship and persecution. And I am determined to not only witness but also initiate change first-hand, one case at a time.


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