Mulder's Bisexuality: An Interpretation of His Band of Gold

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Title: Mulder's Bisexuality: An Interpretation of His Band of Gold
Creator: Sonya Schryer better known as 'Scooter'
Date(s): May 1, 1998
Medium: online
Fandom: slash, X-Files
External Links: archived copy at X-Files University; WebCite
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Mulder's Bisexuality: An Interpretation of His Band of Gold was written by Sonya Schryer as part of X-Files University and "School of Slashology/Gay Studies, College of Interdisciplinary Studies" where fans wrote articles and essays devoted to examining the fandom surrounding the TV show X-Files.


Twice since the X-Files's 5th Season we have been presented with flashback episodes during which Agent Fox Mulder has unmistakably been wearing a wedding band. While fans initially bantered about possible meanings for the ring including a stunt by the actor, David Duchovny, to show off his recent marriage to Tea Leoni and a pre-Scully FBI partner/wife thrown in by writer/producer Chris Carter despite the dozens of continuity errors it would create, no one theory has not been presented which logically places the ring in a believable context. Until now.

There is one theory which neatly answers all the questions: Mulder is bisexual and the ring was a symbol for a marriage to another man.

Before one can examine this idea, however, one must be willing to accept even the possibility that Mulder is not strictly heterosexual. Unfortunately, most people's automatic assumption is that *any* person not conclusively labeled gay, lesbian or bisexual from the moment they appear as a character is "innocent" until proven "guilty" -- in other words, "straight." In addition, many heterosexual female fans have developed "crushes" on Mulder and resent any indication that he may not be totally available for their fantasy lives, or that their own sexual attraction to him may change if it becomes known that he also is sexually attracted to men. In addition, many "straight" male viewers enjoy Mulder's character a great deal, perhaps even identify with him, and too often heterosexual individuals feel threatened by the notion that someone with whom they closely associate themselves, even television characters, might not share their same sexual orientation. Fears can develop that their devotion to this character might cause others in the real world to doubt any previously asserted sexual orientation on behalf of the fan, simply because of this association. It's complicated, but prejudice is often complicated. While reading this essay I ask that you suspend any previously held assumptions about Mulder's sexual orientation.

I would like to begin with the first problem created by the existence of this ring: Mulder is, and has always been, listed as "single" by his employer, the FBI. This provided me with the initial framework for this essay. Which people who wear wedding bands are consistently listed as single by practically every institution they'll ever run into contact with, particularly the U.S. government, and more than likely their employers as well, *especially* when their employer is the U.S. government? That's right: men and women engaged in same-sex domestic partnerships. Married, divorced, widowed, none of those states will be recognized, even if the initial ceremony was performed by a Catholic priest. Although same-sex domestic partnership is slowly being recognized by various corporations (among them Apple Computers and Microsoft where the obvious benefits include health care and family leave), progress is extremely slow in the courts on both federal and state levels (See <<Virtual Equality>> by Urvashi Vaid, Doubleday, 1995). This would explain why Mulder has consistently listed himself as "single" and why the "marriage" has not ever been commented on in any bureaucratic fashion at any time.

As many have and will point out, Mulder has not overtly self-identified as bisexual. But he has not overtly self-identified as "straight," either. It is my considered opinion that he is most probably bisexual, and what we have to back that up is subtle and not-so-subtle evidence which does originate with Mulder himself.

Obviously, Mulder is not a manly-man (see his own definition in "Darkness Falls"), and the lack of the usual liters of testosterone doused liberally on male leads in current prime-time television does stand out. Figuring that in with his reticence to kill people in most situations (see "Young at Heart" as a prime example of his struggle in this area), various scenes throughout the five seasons which show the range of his emotional states including suicidal remorse and defeat ("Gethsemane"), sobs ("One Breath") and tender-hearted vulnerability ("Redux"/"Redux II" among others), we as viewers are shown a man with great depth of feeling. This is not typical of prime-time male leads, and it is particularly atypical to see it as a recurring and consistent means of character development in any man on television. It does not serve to drive home a stake of heterosexual prowess or a standard of heterosexuality as has been established by the culture at large. Mulder is drawn to extreme possibilities of the supernatural sort, why would he not also be open to various possibilities for the expression of his sexuality?

There's no reason *not* to believe Mulder is bisexual.

A man famous for his study of (particularly) male sexuality, Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey, developed a scale by which to measure one's level of sexual attraction to other people (Kinsey's findings were published in his work <<Sexual Behavior in the Human Male,>> Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey, Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1948. Since his breakthrough work, a center for the study of sexuality has been opened bearing his name and one of their recent publications, <<The Kinsey Data,>> by Paul H. Gebhard, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998, bases itself on Kinsey's data, includes statistics, and expands the scope of Kinsey's original work). A score of 1 puts you on the far heterosexual side of the spectrum and a 5 on the far homosexual side. Kinsey found this spectrum, rather than categories of absolutes, to more aptly describes our personal sexual tastes. I would place Mulder at a 4, considering the most substantial, long-term relationship in his life was with another man.

Chris Carter would impress me mightily if he were to reveal something akin to this theory as historical X-Files fact (Heck, compared to Virgin Births this ain't nothin' [or maybe it is].). Although I don't expect it to develop this way due to common American sentiment and Fox editing, it's a theory I personally hold true for Mulder's character, and I find him a richer, fuller person for it. Let us never forget to Believe.