Bisexuality and Fandom

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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)bi
Related tropes/genresbisexuality
See alsoMspec Fandom, Queer Fandom, Disaster Bi
Related articles on Fanlore.


Bisexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person feels sexual attraction to more than one gender/sex of people.[1][2][3]

Bisexual Characters

Books

  • Animorphs: Marco was hinted to be bisexual, and coauthor Michael Grant confirmed they had feared that publishers or networks would not allow an explicitly bi character at the time the series was coming out.[4][5]
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Aral Vorkosigan is explicitly established as bisexual in the series' first book, which was published in 1986. The treatment of his bisexuality evolves throughout the series.
  • Warrior Cats: Jake is implied to be bisexual. He has fathered children with two different female cats, and co-author Kate Cary has stated that she views Jake’s relationship with Tallstar as romantic, although the series’s publisher considers them simply good friends.[6]

Film

TV

Video Games

  • Assassin's Creed: Syndicate: Jacob Frye is bisexual. After much fan discourse over Jacob's interactions with Maxwell Roth, the official Assassin's Creed Tumblr account posted that "Jacob Frye is bisexual. This is canon. The end." Many fans ship Jacob with Maxwell, who was confirmed as canonically gay.
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey: Kassandra and Alexios are functionally bisexual, being able to romance/sleep with men and women. However the developers have not stated a canon sexuality for them, as the game design emphasizes player choice.[12]
  • Assassin's Creed: Valhalla: The same as above goes for Eivor.
  • Dishonored: Billie Lurk - In Dishonored 2, the player can find an audiograph recorded by Billie which states "I've loved a number of women and even a couple of men".
  • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade: Legault flirts with men and women alike, though his only paired ending is a tragic one with the paladin Isadora.
    • Lyn is considered bisexual due to having both paired endings with men and one with a woman—her best friend, Florina, whose own behavior suggests she has a crush on Lyn. Florina can also marry Hector, one of Lyn's potential husbands.
  • Fire Emblem Fates has the player avatar Corrin, the spellcaster Rhajat, and the outlaw Niles. The latter two can marry the former no matter what their gender.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has several bisexual characters:
    • Byleth, the player avatar
    • Edelgard von Hresvelg, Dorothea Aranult, and Linhardt von Hevring of the Black Eagles
    • Mercedes von Martriz of the Blue Lions
    • Lady Rhea (though she can only be romanced on the Silver Snow route)
    • Jeritza von Hrym (Crimson Flower exclusive)
    • Yuri Leclerc of the Ashen Wolves
    • Characters such as Felix Hugo Fraldarius and Constance von Nuvelle can only be romanced by a Byleth of the opposite sex, but have multiple same-sex endings (Dimitri and Sylvain for Felix; Hapi, Edelgard, and Mercedes for Constance, for example).
    • Shamir Nevrand is confirmed bisexual in the AU spinoff Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.
  • Romance is downplayed in Fire Emblem Engage, with the game focusing more on friendship and family, but a few of the game's Pact Ring conversations are explicitly romantic and can be with either gender of Alear, the player character:
    • Prince Alfred of Firene is implied to have a crush on Alear either way.
    • Princess Ivy of Elusia, who worships Alear as a deity, outright says she loves them.
    • Goldmary, retainer to Princess Hortensia, says she's fallen in love with Alear.
    • Kagetsu, retainer to Ivy, says he loves Alear in his confession CG.
    • Prince Diamant does not give an outright love confession, but he will give Alear a ring in return for the Pact Ring.
    • The DLC character, Nel, was explicitly in love with the alternate Elyos's Alear.
  • The Life is Strange franchise has Max Caulfield from the original game, Rachel Amber from the original game and prequel game Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Sean Diaz from Life is Strange 2 and Alex Chen from Life is Strange: True Colors. Max, Sean and Alex are all player-controlled protagonists with one man and one woman romance option each, and Rachel is a romance option for Chloe Price in the prequel and is implied to have dated at least one man in the gap between the prequel and the main game. Some fans also consider Chloe to be bisexual; her voice actress Ashly Burch has referred to her as “sexually fluid” and says she doesn’t think Chloe likes to label herself any particular way.[13]
  • The Dragon Age series includes numerous love interests who can be romanced by a player character of either gender.
  • Zagreus of the 2019 roguelike Hades.[14]
  • Rune Factory 5: Every single marriageable character is bisexual, able to marry the player no matter what gender they choose.

History of the Genre

Discourse and Meta

Controversies

Video Games and Playersexuality

Playersexuality is the phenomenon wherein video game NPCs can be romanced by a protagonist regardless of the protagonist character's gender. Playersexuality has been criticized as poor representation.[15][16] The BioWare franchises Dragon Age and Mass Effect, for example, contain numerous NPCs who can be romanced whether the player character is male or female, but in almost all cases any reference to these characters' bisexuality is omitted from the game if the player does not choose to pursue a same-sex romance with them. A player could therefore easily play a game like Dragon Age II, which has four playersexual love interests, without ever becoming aware that these NPCs are anything but heterosexual. (A rare BioWare counter-example is the Iron Bull, a romanceable NPC from Dragon Age: Inquisition who may take up a sexual relationship with the gay love interest Dorian if the player does not pursue a romance with either character.)

Unambiguous, non-playersexual bisexual representation is rarer in video games, and non-biphobic examples are especially rare. Those few examples that do exist are often attributable to out bisexual game writers or developers.[17]

Biphobia in Fandom

Posts that headcanon characters as bi will sometimes receive comments insisting that the character is a different identity. This tends to be in the form of people arguing that the character’s canon opposite-sex relationships are proof that they are definitively heterosexual, but is not always the case[18].

Many fans who are hostile toward queer readings of a character will use the existence of an opposite-sex love interest in canon as proof that the character is heterosexual, treating the character’s attraction to someone of the opposite sex as mutually exclusive from attraction to the same sex.

The essay Bisexuality, Visibility, and Fanfic Labels, or, Being the Blue M&M has an in-depth discussion of biphobia in fandom, with links to other essays on the subject.

Other meta:

Bisexuals in Fandom

Queer folk will often portray m/f pairings as queer in some way, whether as bi or trans etc.

[despazito]
Need it to be understood that whenever I have m/f ships I ship them in an explicitly bisexual manner[19]

Further reblogs of this post elaborate further on the impact that a fan's bisexuality, or other queer identity, has on that fan's fandom activity, and the lens' with which they navigate their fandoms:

[flootzavut]
I think some people in the notes are really not getting that it's not just "I consider these characters to be bi" (though that in itself is completely valid, we have very little rep, there's absolutely nothing wrong with queering characters), but also "the way I write this pairing is steeped in queerness even though they look like a straight couple to a casual observer" and even "I don't write them queer on purpose it just happens."

Like I wrote a lot of original fiction and a metric shit ton of fanfic before I figured out I'm bi, but still when reading stuff from fifteen years ago, back when I was completely convinced I was cishet, I go "... wow, that's gay." Sometimes I'm deliberately queering characters because I love them and I relate to them so it's another way to relate to them, AND THAT'S OKAY, but sometimes I'm literally just writing stories while being a queer person and they end up coming out a bit bi and/or a bit genderweird or somewhat poly, because I'm bi and genderweird and vaguely poly and that affects how I write these characters.

Yes absolutely some people are shipping a superficially straight pairing and going "you know what though, they aren't straight because I say so, that's why" and THAT IS FINE BY THE WAY, the whole "I'm not like other bis I don't do that" thing can sod off; it's absolutely fine to do that, this is fanfic, stop acting like you're better if you don't ffs. But also I know that from a reading and a writing and a just-quietly-shipping-it POV, our own lives and sexualities are the lenses through which we perceive the characters. When I say I ship something in a queer way, I'm just saying I'm queer and it affects how I view these characters, and that is absolutely okay.

Honestly, if you're queer and you're not allowing yourself to do this at least some of the time, you're missing out. There's something beautiful in it. It's not virtuous not to do it. That kind of bizarre purity culture nonsense doesn't suddenly become progressive just because you're not straight, it's still nonsense.

And everyone out there who's shipping pairings in queer ways, whatever that means to you; you're doing wonderful, sweetie. Carry right on! 🥰🥰🥰

Example Fanworks

Zines

Recs

Fanart

Communities & Resources

References

  1. ^ "The Bisexuality Report: Bisexual inclusion in LGBT equality and diversity" (PDF). Centre for Citizenship, Identity and Governance, The Open University. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-06-15. Retrieved 8 January 2020. Bisexuality generally refers to having attraction to more than one gender.
  2. ^ Flanders, Corey E. (March 15, 2017). "Under the Bisexual Umbrella: Diversity of Identity and Experience". Journal of Bisexuality. Archived from the original on 2022-06-08. Retrieved 8 January 2020. Bisexuality as a single identity encompasses so many different meanings and attractions and behaviors for people who explicitly identify as bisexual. The general identity definition most commonly used, attraction to more than one gender, then leaves room for the multitudinous expressions of that identity.
  3. ^ "What is Bisexuality?". Full Read. Archived from the original on 2022-06-22. Retrieved 8 January 2020. Bisexuality is a dynamic spectrum that includes all sexuality that isn't limited to one sex.
  4. ^ https://twitter.com/MichaelGrantBks/status/667531031130411010?s=20
  5. ^ https://twitter.com/MichaelGrantBks/status/662056455348948992?s=20
  6. ^ Cary, Kate (29 July, 2015). “Inside my head, they are a couple. Inside the publisher’s head they are Just Good Friends. Inside your head they can be whatever you want them to be. That’s the great thing about having your own head. 😀”. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  7. ^ Jordan Mendoza, "Tom Hiddleston's Loki confirmed as Marvel's first bisexual lead character", USA Today, June 24, 2021
  8. ^ Shannon Lewis, "The DCEU's Harley Quinn Is Bisexual - Is She In The Comics?", Screenrant, February 22, 2020
  9. ^ Jackman, Josh (1 October 2018). "The Good Place star reveals that Eleanor is 'super bisexual'". PinkNews. Archived from the original on 2022-04-26. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  10. ^ u/yokartikdahaneler (22 July 2017). "On Korra's (and Asami's) sexual orientation". r/korrasami. Archived from the original on 2021-01-05. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  11. ^ Philip Sledge, "The Owl House's Luz Noceda: The Story Behind Disney's First Bisexual Lead Character", CinemaBlend, September 26, 2020
  12. ^ Wright, Steve (14 June 2018). "Assassin's Creed Odyssey gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, asexual relationships are possible". Stevivor. Archived from the original on 2022-04-21. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  13. ^ “Hella talk: an interview with Ashly Burch on Chloe Price, queerness & ‘Life is Strange’”. Femhype. Published 27 October 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  14. ^ Jasmine Henry, "Supergiant Games Roguelike 'Hades' Has a Bisexual Protagonist, J Station X, March 27, 2019
  15. ^ Cole, Alayna (27 September 2017). "Avoiding the avoidable: Why 'optional' queer content isn't solving the diversity problem (and how to fix this)". Gamasutra.com. Archived from the original on 2021-08-25. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  16. ^ Solar, By Arin (3 March 2021). "Are Player-Based Romances in RPGs Representation?". Game Rant. Archived from the original on 2021-03-12. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  17. ^ Verity Ritchie, "How Bisexuality Changed Video Games" (Sep 3, 2021). Video essay on YouTube.
  18. ^ a response to the "Sora is bisexual" tweet saying that all Kingdom Hearts characters are actually asexual and panromantic
  19. ^ Tumblr post


Related Concepts, Fandoms, Terms, Fanworks
See also List of fictional bisexual charactersMedia portrayals of bisexuality