Last week, when launching her Happy Hippie Foundation campaign to help homeless LGBT youth, Miley Cyrus told the Associated Press that not all her relationships have been “straight or heterosexual”, but no B word in play.
Raven-Symoné is also another women who does not want to be labelled. When asked by Oprah if was gay, Raven gave a very careful answer. “I don’t want to be labelled ‘gay,'” Raven says. “I want to be labelled ‘a human who loves humans.'”
Then there is also Gillian Anderson who also came out as having had a relationship with another woman after the death of an ex-lover. She told the Times newspaper she that she is “aware of the need for being open about fluid sexuality” but has not yet called herself bisexual.
The Oscar-nominated Maria Bello came out in a New York Times op-ed she titled Coming Out as a Modern Family. She openly wrote about falling in love and beginning a relationship with her best female friend, but refrained from using the ‘B’ word and instead called herself a, “whatever.”
Later she told the Huffington Post,
Things shift and change and it’s fluid, and I think the younger generation is knowing that more and [is] excited about it. It’s not static — life just isn’t — and we have to create better labels to embrace the beauty of who we are.”
In 2014 the ex-Spice Girl, Mel B, told the Guardian newspaper:
People call me lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual, but I know who’s in my bed and that’s it. I have a huge libido and a great sex life… Well, I did have a four-year relationship with a woman. But I’ve been very happily married for seven years to a penis. Ha ha! An amazing guy.”
So why are so many women opting to call themselves Bisexual? Is it that they are simply pansexual, and not limiting their sexual choice to biological sex, gender, or gender identity? Or is it that labels are simply too oppressive?
I am from a generation where stating who I am and who I am dating was about pride. I am proud to call myself a gay woman – a lesbian. And my friends will equally address themselves as such – be it bisexual, queer or gay.
So why the uncomfortable shift to not label? We have seen many celebrities be burnt with announcing they’re bisexual, but ending up with a man – Jessie J managed to cause so much offence when she stated she was no longer bisexual.
The Sex and the City star, Cynthia Nixon, once told the Daily Beast…
I don’t pull out the ‘bisexual’ word because nobody likes the bisexuals. Everybody likes to dump on the bisexuals.”
Then there are others who champion their bisexuality. Anna Paquin went to town on Larry King when questioned her about her sexuality during an interview.
“Are you a non-practicing bisexual,” King asked her.
“Well, I am married to my husband [Stephen Moyer], and we are happily monogamously married,” she replied.
“But you were bisexual?” King asked.
“Well, I don’t think it’s a past tense thing,” she continued. “Are you still straight if you are with somebody?
“If you were to break up with them or if they were to die, it doesn’t prevent your sexuality from existing. It doesn’t really work like that.”
So does refusing to adopt the bisexual label contributed further to bi invisibility?
No stranger to the label debate is Australian actress and founder of feminist website herself.com, Caitlin Stasey. When interviewed last year, she stated she recently decided to steer clear of labelling her sexuality.
Because if I say I’m bisexual, people say it doesn’t exist, and if I say I’m gay, people say I’m belittling the plight of all other women who consider themselves gay. I found a word that I identified with, I was told I couldn’t have it, and now I just think fuck it. I’m attracted to whom I’m attracted to.”
Some of us live in a countries where same-sex relationships are still not legally recognised – where being a part of the LGBT community is still considered “other”.
So in one sense the coverage is good – it sparks conversations that hopefully help people realise sexuality lies on a spectrum, and where you fall is your place to label if you feel the need to do so.
Maybe one day bisexuality will be the norm. Or perhaps we’re slowly but surely entering an age, led by the politically correct Tumblr generation, in which we recognise, accept, and are no longer fearful of sexuality.
And beyond the labelling? Maybe one day we’ll wake to the news of a famous actress admitting she’s had relationships with many people, no mention of gender.