No Bisexuals

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But the television told me they don't exist...


"Oh, sometimes men love women,
and sometimes men love men.
Then there are bisexuals,

though some just say they're kidding themselves..."
—"The Bisexual Song", Friends
"Nobody's bi, that's just a gay guy who sometimes bangs a lady."

One surprising aspect of TV is the lack of bisexuals. Although some series don't address any sexuality specifically, even gay characters tend to be more numerous. One reason might be it's very hard to attach a gimmick to this character. Camp Gay can't apply consistently; the majority are female Lipstick Lesbians, coming off as transparent bids for ratings.

This trope seems to apply to the characters on TV (and sometimes other media) as well. Any character, male or female, in a same-sex relationship or professing a same-sex attraction is assumed by the others to be either gay or joking. If the existence of bisexuals is acknowledged, they're considered totally defined by sex, for better or for worse (an idea that often extends to the writers as well). A few characters do manage to use a version of Ambiguously Gay to avoid scrutiny (see Hide Your Lesbians). Perhaps one of the most distracting aspects of this trope is when a television character who has been heterosexual until this point falls for a member of their own sex, they jump the fence and become only interested in their own sex from that moment on; the possibility that they might be bisexual is never even brought up.

Ironically, this is nearly the polar opposite situation in some anime, especially Shojo and BL, where a unusual number of characters seem to be mildly bisexual. This is not often specifically addressed, either because it's impolite to discuss one's sex life or just to maximize the Shipping possibilities. In Web Comics, as well, it's not uncommon for one or more characters to be bisexual.

The reason for this trope, in general, may partly arise from confusion surrounding the behavior of real life bisexuals, who do not, as a rule, date males and females simultaneously. In addition, most bisexuals prefer one sex over another at any one time and some will only occasionally date those who are the opposite of their stated sexual preference. They may even deny being bisexual if one were to directly ask them, and given the wide spectrum of human sexual behavior—and modern societal pressures—it would be difficult to tell a true bisexual from someone who's deliberately trying to hide their own sexual preference by dating members of the opposing sex. Furthermore, most people in general are monogamous, and will eventually settle down with someone (usually) of one sex or the other; some will inevitably conclude from this that the person in question "wasn't really bi after all".

This can have to do with the particular times. The late Rock Hudson was reportedly bisexual, and from some reports was more interested in men than women, although for obvious reasons the climate of the time (1960s and 1970s) would have ruined his career if this was known to the public. It would probably been hard enough if he were reported as gay, or "turned" gay (this was a more-or-less open secret with Paul Lynde, but it still wasn't publicly stated he was gay until after he died). As being bisexual is considered by the general public as being "more weird" than being "merely" gay, would probably have destroyed Hudson's career, then. Today, the comic Andy Dick has publicly admitted he's bisexual, and apparently this has not hurt his career, although his career is mostly built around him being crazy. Megan Fox is also open about being bisexual and really hasn't hurt her at all. But since Girl-On-Girl Is Hot, a woman who admits to bisexuality always look hotter to the average male viewer, unlike a man who does the same. (Then again, Fox has already admitted to blatantly lying to the media to shield off her private life, which appears to be working out just fine thus far.)

This trope is, of course, not Truth in Television.

See also Suddenly Sexuality. Contrast Depraved Bisexual and Bi the Way. This can also lead to Unfortunate Implications, especially for bisexual men who have a harder time being accepted as bisexual. In Real Life, this phenomenon is occasionally called Bisexual Erasure. Also contrast But Not Too Bi, which is essentially this trope in reverse - a character who is established as bisexual yet only shows interest in one or the other sex.

Examples of No Bisexuals include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In the yuri manga Indigo Blue, the main character, Rutsu, is pretty clearly bisexual - though she prefers women, she admits to having had genuine feelings for her ex-boyfriend and to sometimes enjoying sex with men. However, her decision to accept her attraction to women and begin a same-sex relationship is consistently referred to as "becoming a lesbian" or "sinking into lesbianism," which not only avoids use of the term "bisexual," but implies it to be some kind of irreversible process (i.e. she can never go back to dating/sleeping with men now).
  • The fifth manga of Sailor Moon, called simply STARS, featured cross-dressing Sailor Senshi named the Sailor Starlights, and one of them, Sailor Star Fighter, has feelings of affection towards Sailor Moon. They are not a major part of the storyline, and Star Fighter only makes it clear in passing. But when this became a major part of the anime adaptation, Sailor Stars, Star Fighter and the other Starlights became physical males in their civilian forms to keep Usagi from being seen as a maybe bisexual. Naoko Takeuchi was not amused by this in the slightest, although she stopped short of disowning the anime. The anime itself only acknowledges this awkwardly in one scene where the Starlights' Princess asks Fighter "You take these forms on earth?" and Fighter nervously responds "To attract only women, this form was easiest".
  • This is the controversy among the fandom which the title character of Haruhi Suzumiya faces regarding her sexuality, even though she is clearly attracted to both Mikuru and Kyon, and actually spells it out in the first episode:

Haruhi: I don't care if it's a boy or a girl!

  • Minto from Tokyo Mew Mew is Ambiguously Bi - she expresses a rather excessive admiration for her Onee-Sama Zakuro (including a love confession that could go either way), but also seems interested in boys, most notably when Ichigo asks the Mews what they find attractive to and Minto thinks of a male dancer. For some reason, the 4Kids dub changed this, switching the image of a dancer into a picture of Zakuro, tremendously increasing the Les Yay. Given that 4Kids obviously isn't all that keen on queer characters in childrens' tv shows, the only sensible reason anyone's been able to come up with to explain this is that they were less willing to have a subtextually bi character than a subtextually gay character.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • John Constantine of Hellblazer. In issue 51 he mentions that he's had a few boyfriends, though it remains lip-service bisexuality until the "Ashes and Dust in the City of Angels" story arc, where he seduces and is shown (in very tasteful silhouettes) having sex with the guy he is conning at the time.
  • Though averted in X Factor, in which Rictor and Shatterstar (both men) have a same sex relationship even though Rictor was previously interested in a female teammate and Shatterstar is currently taking a leaf from Captain Jack Harkness, it is played painfully straight by many of the book's readers, who responded with confusion and dismay, not because of the same sex relationship (well, some because of that, but they're not relevant here) but because it was clearly blatant disregard for continuity (in their eyes) to show someone being interested in women in one issue and men in another.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comics, after Buffy and Satsu hook up, several good reasons are given why they can't stay together, but apparently the main reason is that the former is "not a dyke." But could she be bi? The possibility isn't so much as alluded to. Later, we get Kennedy saying "You're not the only fool to ever wrinkle the sheets with a straight girl," which is arguably fair, but the possibility that she's bisexual still isn't mentioned. Her straightness is treated as just obvious.


Fanfiction[edit | hide]

  • In-universe example in this Psych fanfic and its sequels. Lassiter has a gay acquaintance from his academy days, Russell Santos, who claims that there is no such thing as bisexuals, even though his own partner of fifteen years lived with a woman before they got together. The partner himself is quite adamant about the fact that she was not his beard, but that he was in love with her for real. Lassiter is understandably miffed when Russell tells him that his relationship with Shawn is doomed because they both identify as bisexual.
  • In slash fic, when a character previously known only to get involved with the opposite sex, reveals his having a same-sex attraction, it's quite common for another character to respond with something along the lines of "But you were married!"


Film[edit | hide]

  • Chasing Amy deals with this trope in "real" life, when the bisexual Alyssa identifies as a lesbian for the first half of the film; it's implied that she considered it easier to deny her attraction to men than to deal with the social ramifications of bisexuality.
  • I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is about a pair of straight men who enter into a fake gay marriage, and must pretend not to be attracted to women so that they won't be found out. There was no indication that it's possible for a man to be attracted to both sexes, and Adam's character's affairs with women in the past becomes a major plot point.
  • Brokeback Mountain averted this by having the main characters be (possibly) bisexual, but pandering to this trope has nevertheless led to the movie being marketed as a gay love story.
  • Subverted in Dodgeball, in which Christine Taylor's character, Kate, won't go out with Vince Vaughn's character, and can throw a mean dodgeball - leading to everyone thinking she's a lesbian. At the end, she kisses a girl, who she reveals is her girlfriend. Stephen Root's character then tells Vince that he knew she was a lesbian, to which she replies, "I'm not a lesbian... I'm bisexual!" and kisses him. You could call this a subversion, or say all sorts of things about what this means for her relationship with her girlfriend or her sexual mores in general, but the entire sequence this was part of is an intentionally ridiculous Deus Ex Machina.
    • A deleted scene reveals that the girlfriend is also apparently bisexual since she shows a liking to Vince and implies she has no objections whatsoever.
  • In Legally Blonde, when a witness is tricked into revealing that he has a boyfriend, this is considered proof he couldn't have had an affair with a woman; in addition, Elle says "gay men know designers, straight men don't". Apparently there are, you guessed it, no bisexuals.
    • The musical version addresses the issue (at least in part) by having the aforementioned boyfriend testify that the witness in question "never, ever, ever, ever swings the other way."
  • In The Kids Are All Right, which was directed and co-written by a lesbian, Jules has (and quite clearly enjoys) sex with a man, but has crappy sex with her wife. Nevertheless, she continues to call herself gay, not straight or bisexual. Needless to say, this has caused a lot of controversy and is often seen as having Unfortunate Implications along the lines of "lesbians secretly want men.".
    • Of course, sexuality being as complex as it is, it's possible that she loves women, but lusts after men. In other words, she couldn't have a fulfilling emotional connection with a man, but she can't have fulfilling (HAH!) sex without one. Alternatively, her wife is just crappy in bed.
    • Or that the thrill of the affair led to the passionate sex in response to the fact that her long-term relationship was in a bit of a sexual rut.
    • Then again, there's that thing with the gay male porn, which is (surprise!) a bit of Truth in Television.
  • In the film version of Queen of the Damned, Lestat's canonical male love interests from the novels are nowhere to be found in the film. Nicki's absence was especially jarring to book fans, considering his crucial importance to Lestat's backstory (in The Vampire Lestat, it was Nicki's Stradivarius that he played to wake Akasha). Rife with Unfortunate Implications when you consider one of the novel's female characters (who had no romantic or sexual interest in Lestat) was Promoted to Love Interest in the film to compensate for the removal of the other male characters.
  • In Eating Out, when Troy claims to be a bisexual, he is met with every character around him shouting, "THERE'S NO SUCH THING!!!"
  • Completely subverted in a deleted (now restored) scene in Spartacus. Crassus is shown in the film to be sexually attracted to both Men and Women, even hanging his own Lampshade; "My tastes include both snails, and oysters"


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar plays with the culture clash of sexuality mores: the Big Bad tries to mess up the Vorkosigans' marriage by revealing Lord Vorkosigan's bisexuality. On Barrayar, that's a taboo (as is pure homosexuality). Lady Vorkosigan, being from a planet where the only rules about sex are "it has to be consensual" and "having kids requires governmental approval," absently responds, "Was bisexual. Now monogamous," and has to see the other's reaction to realize this was an attempt to blow up the marriage.
    • In a later book, Lady Vorkosigan explains that her husband is bisexual, leaning toward soldiers; her own military background lets him have his cake and eat it too. (Brings more meaning to all the times he calls her "my Captain.")
  • Although Stranger in A Strange Land has the characters being generally very accepting of any sexual practices, bisexuals and camp gays are seen as being kind of weird and not people really worth being part of their group. It's not clear if this applies to all gays as well, though.
    • This is more a case of Everyone Is Bi with the group marriage.
    • The novel also states that people in the group often end up primarily with somebody other then whom they might have been married to when they started, and that they don't always end up with the opposite gender.
  • Briefly referenced in Brimstone. Early in the book, an officer points out that a murder victim had "perverse sexual tendencies". When Agent Pendergast asks what these are, the cop replies that he "liked men and women". Pendergast then matter-of-factly points out that thirty percent of all men have such tendencies, to which the cop replies: "Not in Southampton [the town where this is taking place] they don't!".
  • In Greg Egan's short story Reasons To Be Cheerful, the narrator, due to repaired brain damage, is given the ability to design his own likes and dislikes, starting from a blank slate of general approval. With regards to his sexuality, he starts off bisexual, but for rather unfortunate reasons decides that he must choose to be either gay or straight.

I didn't want to be bisexual. I was too old to experiment like a teenager; I wanted certainty, I wanted solid foundations. I wanted to be monogamous, and even if monogamy was rarely an effortless state for anyone, that was no reason to lumber myself with unnecessary obstacles.

  • Biting the Sun is a rare example of a work that uses this in conjunction with multiple gender benders and doesn't use The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body. If a guy's into girls, and he turns into a girl, he'll still only be into girls. In essence, it has no homosexuals either, since each character primarily identifies with a particular gender and is attracted to the opposite of that gender. (One guy in a girl's body enters a relationship with an otherwise heterosexual girl, but it's closer to If It's You It's Okay than true bisexuality.)
    • It's a little more complicated; up until that last one we mentioned, every relationship we see has the participants as opposite sexes (Meaning the bodies), but not necessarily opposite genders (Meaning the mind). Which is still basically No Bisexuals, unfortunately.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • House, despite having a bisexual on the character list in the form of Thirteen, invoked this in the episode "The Choice" - the choice for the patient being straight or gay. That there is a third option is brought up in passing a couple times, but not much is made of it; mainly because the character was entirely attracted to men until he decided to get "fixed" at one of those infamous camps, and became entirely "straight" as a result.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess is often thought to be lesbian because of her love for Gabrielle, despite seeming to enjoy sex and relationships with many men (Ares, Marcus, etc).
    • One might argue the same with Gabrielle, though it's also possible that one of her two relationships (with Perdicus or with Xena) is a case of If It's You It's Okay.
  • Kerry Weaver on ER. This was briefly addressed in one episode - Weaver was re-united with her birth mother, but the mother was appalled when she learned of Weaver's sexuality, asking her how she could "choose" to be that way. Weaver said in no blunt terms that she was "alone in her soul" before she realized she was gay.
    • Despite a couple of obviously passionate relationships she had had with men before that.
  • Nip Tuck seems rather biased against bisexuals at times. Lesbian characters demand for bi-curious women to "pick a side," seeming to think that you can only be one or the other. Many of the people who do show sexual attraction to both sexes seem to be psychotic and slightly dangerous. On the other hand, Female-Female-Male Threesomes aren't an uncommon feature of the show.
  • Two of the men (Justin and Max) who have slept with Edina of Absolutely Fabulous became gay, apparently as a direct result ("You sure know how to turn them"). There is no evidence that they were ever attracted to men before, or were at all attracted to women afterward. However, this is subverted in a episode featuring Whoopi Goldberg, who claims that everyone is at least a little bit gay.
  • Despite several seasons of being seen exclusively with men, Sex and the City's Samantha briefly became a lesbian during the show's fourth season... then returned to heterosexuality immediately after. (And lampshaded thereafter, "When I was a lesbian" becoming something of a catchphrase.) Although sometimes straight women do experiment (especially during sweeps week *eyeroll*)
    • On the other hand, Carrie did date a bisexual guy in one episode, but the way it was presented it kinda came off like "oh those young people, what with their wacky bisexuality!"
  • Rescue Me:

I thought you were gay?!
I dunno man, I miss pussy.

  • Susan from Seinfeld briefly becomes a lesbian, seeing at least two women. One of these women leaves Susan for Kramer until being turned off from men by a coat, and the other was an ex of George's who remained infatuated right up until meeting Susan. Susan herself eventually returns to George. Despite the fact that the orientations of these three change at the drop of a hat (or coat), each of them is identified by her immediate status at all times, never as bisexual.
  • The Todd from Scrubs appears to be bisexual, but the lines and actions that suggest this are just isolated enough that they could be in jest.
    • Until one episode features Carla and Eliot becoming convinced Todd's offensive sexual comments are over-compensation because he's a repressed homosexual, before deciding he isn't. The episode ends, however, with Todd making sexual comments to everyone. Thereafter, he's pretty much an openly bisexual hound-dog. One might suspect Unfortunate Implications, but it's generally treated as just being a result of his personality, not his sexual orientation.

Janitor: What the hell are you?
Todd: I'm The Todd!

    • Later averted when its revealed in the final series that Todd is bisexual and in a relationship with both of the Hendersons.
    • Turk and J.D. are completely in love with each other (J.D. showed up drunk at Carla's bridal shower crying and rambling about how she would never be as close to Turk as he is), but "in a totally non-sexual way". It's just guy-love between two guys.
  • At the end of season 1 of The L Word Jenny (who earlier in the season was torn between her long-time boyfriend/husband and the first woman she was attracted to) is involved at the same time with both a man and a woman. Both of them are aware of the other and it seems to be shaping up into an interesting poly relationship. However the writers seem to have decided not to pursue the the possibilities of this storyline and Season 2 begins with the guy breaking up with her because she's clearly more interested in women. (Later on, Jenny's sexuality gets complex again when she is dating someone in the process of transitioning from female to male.)
    • Also in the series was Alice, who identified as bisexual and dated both men and women up through season 2. After that the writers quietly dropped this and by the end of the series she was identifying as a lesbian.
  • An Arc on The Drew Carey Show focused on Carey's citizenship domestic partnership to Mr. Wick, and a running gag was the two of them being forced to explain away Playboys, or similar "no, we don't like girls" antics. Ironically, Drew himself could be seen, among other things, having sex dreams about George Clooney.
    • There was also an episode where Drew becomes interested in what he believes to be a bisexual woman, but who turns out to simply be a lesbian. Then he meets a woman who turns out to actually be bisexual. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In an episode of Cheers, one of Rebecca's ex-boyfriends comes to the bar, and she's thinking of taking him back. When, with Rebecca absent, an off-hand mention of an ex-boyfriend of his own makes Sam realize that winning him back is impossible (which, of course, it turns out to be), and starting off a plot of wondering whether to tell her. Note that he doesn't say he's gay until near the end of the episode (when Rebecca's trying to seduce him).
  • Men in the Noah's Arc universe are apparently only gay, straight, or closeted (e.g. gay). Even characters who have at least been implied to have had opposite sex relationships, such as Wade and Guy, are depicted as doing so solely to hide feelings for males or out of a poor understanding of their own sexuality.
  • A Shot At Love, a reality series based around the concept of having Tila Tequila dating (completely) straight men and (total) lesbians, to, as promos put it, "choose" whether to be straight or gay.
    • There have also been several hints that Amanda is bisexual, though it's been entirely for comedy.
  • In Soap, nominally "gay" Jodie (Billy Crystal) seems to have more girlfriends and have sex with more women than most of the straight male cast put together!
  • Original Law and Order episode "For the Defense". Bernard and Lupo are protecting a female witness who had a relationship with the victim. Rough quote:

* Lupo leaves the room*
Witness: Does he have a girlfriend?
Bernard: Didn't you have a girlfriend?

    • Obviously, he considers this fact and her question contradictory.
  • The episode "Lowdown" of Law and Order Special Victims Unit, where "down-low" (ebonic slang for "man on the side") is described by Ice-T Tutuola as "closeted black men who have sex 'on the down-low' then go back and pretend to be attracted to their wives." In the entire episode, no variant of the word "bisexual" is used once. Three egregious lines:

Dr. Huang: You're not the first woman who's slept with a closeted man. Sexuality is very complicated. Just because he was gay didn't mean he wasn't attracted to you.
Tutuola: Guess what? That [mansex] MEANS YOU'RE GAY!
Andy: I love you. That's why I couldn't admit who I was... couldn't leave my family... couldn't admit I was gay.

    • You think that was bad? Try "Weak." The prime suspect in the serial rape of a number of disabled and mentally ill women is discounted because he appears to be gay. And I don't mean as in, "Oh, he has a boyfriend, never mind," but the SVU detectives repeatedly saying, "How can he be the prime suspect? He's gay!"
      • To be honest, SVU seems to have a definition of sexuality as 'Straight and Psychotic Axe Murderer'. On the other hand, they don't treat straights much better.
      • Dr. Huang does try his best to remind everyone that sexuality is very complicated and it's not always so cut and dry... most of the time. Other times you can almost see B.D. Wong (who is openly gay) roll his eyes at some of the drivel he's forced to say on the matter.
    • "11x13", "P.C.", had a militant lesbian activist clear her boyfriend's name by coming out and admitting that she's bisexual. Of course, all the people at the meeting act like it's a personal betrayal.
      • Well... Not all. Several screams of "we still love you" came from the audience.
  • For whatever reason (or none at all), Queer as Folk never explored or even mentioned bisexuality. But everybody's gay - except for a few token straight characters. Though a brief intrigue gave the Unfortunate Implications that if you aren't either completely gay or totally straight, something's wrong with you.
  • The character of Callie Torres on Grey's Anatomy broadened her sexual horizons when she started a relationship with fellow surgeon Erica Hahn. After a spell of sexual confusion Callie affirmed that she enjoyed sleeping with both her girlfriend and her male friend Mark. She was written as a classic, equal-opportunity bisexual. Subsequently people started to refer to her as exclusively a lesbian, with her girlfriend Arizona going so far as to say that "You can't 'kind of' be a lesbian". However, they later acknowledged that she was bisexual.
    • Actually, Erica was the one who said that Callie can't "kind of" be a lesbian. Arizona recently acknowledged Callie's bisexuality as a legitimate sexual orientation.
    • Other characters still seem to have a problem getting it, though—when threatened by Callie's constant presence in Mark's life, Lexie asked her "How gay are you? On a scale from one to...gay."
  • Jane in Coupling seems to be a subversion of this trope, revealing herself to be bisexual in the very first episode (specifically to stop her lesbian-obsessed boyfriend breaking up with her) but then spending four seasons in relationships exclusively with men. Unfortunately, Jane is a shallow, self-centered attention-seeker, so it appears she just claims to be bisexual to make herself seem more interesting than she really is. Amusingly, the one on-screen exception is a girl-on-girl kiss between her and another (straight) cast member... and the straight girl initiates it, leaving Jane stunned and speechless.
    • In the last season "wacky, bisexual Jane" is exposed as an attention-seeking ploy by a male character when she discovers his porn lying around (when she tries to defend this, he shows her a page from one of his lad mags, and she turns away in shock.) He tells her something to the effect that he isn't taken in but that he likes her anyway and the two of them start a relationship.
  • Apparently Mary Beth Lacey was married off to avert initial audience reactions that Cagney and Lacey were a "couple of dykes".
  • In Criminal Minds the team must find a male serial killer who rapes and kills other men. It seems that they went with him out of their own free will, therefore they assume the victims are gay, however, the inquired father denies that his son was gay and says he had a girlfriend. The team jumps to the conclusion that the Serial Killer must have a female partner. The idea that this victim could be bi does not cross anyone's mind.
    • Granted, they don't seem sure of this theory until they get to the third victim, whose friend saw him leave the bar with a woman.
    • It gets weirder. It turns out it wasn't a killing team, it was one guy... whose alternate female personality was the one committing the rapes and murders.
  • Liz Lemon of Thirty Rock decrees on a talk show in "Kidney Now!" that "There's no such thing as bisexual. That's just something invented in the nineties so they could sell more hair products."
  • Karen from Will and Grace, though played by the openly bisexual Megan Mullally, was never explicitly described as bi, but she certainly expressed interest in men and women alike.
    • Another episode featured Matt Damon as a straight guy trying to pretend he's gay to join the gay men's chorus. When he checks out a woman, another character says,"Holy Anne Heche Laffoon, he's straight!," thus invoking the trope for a character and a real person.
  • An episode from the first season of Brothers and Sisters literally invoked this trope when Kevin was trying to figure out if a guy he was interested in, Chad, was gay or straight. When one of his siblings suggested that the guy might be bi, his answer was literally that no one is really bi, and that everyone has to "make a choice" eventually. A few episodes later, after they had been seeing each other for a while, Kevin decided that he was mistaken and that Chad was living proof that someone could really be bisexual.
  • During John-Paul and Craig's gay romance on Hollyoaks, the idea that Craig - who had been involved with several female characters before, seemed to enjoy said relationships, and wanted to stay with his girlfriend Sarah - might be bisexual was mentioned all of once, several weeks after the storyline ended. All that was said on the matter while it was ongoing was:

John Paul: You have sex with men, in my books that makes you gay.

    • The show has, however, averted this trope with several characters, most notably Kris.
  • They seem to be going this route on Desperate Housewives with Katherine recently finding herself attracted to, and eventually sleeping with, the attractive, female stripper Robin. Despite the fact that this would mean she was most likely bisexual than anything, everyone including her describes her as a lesbian. With the token gay couple flat out stating she can't have gay feelings for a woman because she is straight and there "isn't an on off switch". At no point is bisexuality ever even considered a concept.
    • A season later the show employed this trope again with a different character: Bree's son Andrew. Andrew who had been openly gay for many years returned to Bree's house having gotten engaged to a young women. Bree is flabberghasted and quickly suspects (correctly) he is marrying the woman for her money. Again at no point is the idea that Andrew might be bi even raised as a possibility - Andrew himself even tries to insist his homosexuality was a phase.
  • One of the two jokes used on Three's Company was Jack posing as a gay man so the conservative Mr. Roper (and, later, the moronic Mr. Furley) would allow him to share an apartment with two unmarried women. The possibility of him being a bisexual was brought up once ... with Jack taking the entire episode to figure out that that would get him kicked out just as quickly as being straight.
  • On the Tyra Show episode "The Gay Kingdom," which consisted of representatives of the GLBT community, guess which one of them is designated as the "Pauper" and later banished from the kingdom.
  • In the original Law and Order, there are a lot of gays married to the opposite sex and in the closet (they usually get dramatically outed), but no bisexuals, and nobody suggests it as a possibility.
  • Glee skirts this trope. The show had two characters that appeared to be bisexual, Brittany and Santana. Santana was subsequently revealed to be a lesbian, and with Brittany, the show uses the terms "fluid" and "bi-curious," rather than bisexual. In another episode, Kurt says that "bisexual is a term gay guys use in high school when they want to hold hands with girls and feel normal for a change" when Blaine, another (gay) character expresses doubt about his sexual orientation. Kurt is quickly called on the double-standard, although in the end Blaine does indeed turn out to be "100% gay" by the end of the episode. Furthermore, Ryan Murphy said that the decision to make Blaine gay instead of bisexual was that "the kids need to know he's one of them." 'Cause bisexual "kids" don't need characters who are "one of them"?
  • Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where some episodes suggest she still has feelings for Oz (and a continuing attraction to Xander and Giles, among other male characters), whereas in some she'll chirp "gay now!" at the very idea that she could be attracted to a boy, or react to a Love Potion-induced crush by trying to turn her target into a girl (though she only did so when someone else claimed that she couldn't be attracted to him if she's gay). This could be the character's own assumption that she's gay rather than bisexual, as one of Willow's defining traits is jumping headlong into her current role (of which magic and lesbianism are both big parts) in an effort to overcome her original Shrinking Violet background.
    • Also, a lot of those instances were when she was with her first girlfriend, who for a lot of that time was very insecure. This may have started as having to constantly reassuring Tara about her sexuality (as well as feelings) and become a habit.
    • Faith really likes men. She is also really into Buffy. When she is approached to infiltrate and assassinate a slayer Faith laughs off the notion of her being a lesbian, suggesting however she acts around other women it isn't carnal.
  • Played for Laughs on the Comedy Central roast of William Shatner, where the other comedians repeatedly and pointedly refer to Andy Dick as "gay," while the camera cuts to him getting steadily more indignant in the background.
  • MTV's The Real World: DC features Mike Manning, who is exploring his attraction to men. Despite dating and making out with other men, he still feels an attraction to women. This is hard for his housemates to understand (They think he's gay, but denying it) and even the guy he dates think he's in denial about being gay. In this article with After Elton, he comes out as fully bisexual and says he prefers men.
    • MTV themselves invoked this as well, by editing the episodes to almost exclusively include his interactions with men.
  • The Steve Wilkos show, while generally making a point of showcasing the scum of the earth regardless of sexual orientation, sometimes uses this as a way to further demonize some already skeevy people. A man accused of orally sodomizing his four-year-old niece supposedly admitted to a lie-detector test administrator that he'd had sexual relationships with men in the past, and that he preferred men to women. Despite being in a long-term sexual relationship with a woman at the time, everyone on the show condemned it as being a further element of his monstrosity. Even Steve chewed him out for not just admitting that he was gay and living an ordinary gay life, because "if you have sex with men, you're gay".
  • Roseanne had an interesting case with Nancy. She would frequently say things such as "Ugh, I'm sick of women, I'm going back to men this week," and being very blase about dating both men and women. All arrows point to her being bisexual, but when she came to Roseanne's house with a male date after coming out, Roseanne and her other friends were confused, asking things such as "Well, won't they kick you out of the club for that?" They were more confused than anything.
  • Possibly Sherlock. Whenever anyone assumes John and Sherlock are a couple, John always insists he's 'not gay', as though there's no other possibility. Then in A Scandal in Belgravia, Irene is apparently gay but attracted to Sherlock, and she seems to believe that, while John is straight, he is at least in love with him.
  • Degrassi almost escaped this, but then fell right back into it once Ladette Lesbian Alex was written off the show. When they started the plot, Paige's feelings for Alex had her confused, eventually coming to terms with not having labels attached. Having Paige openly date guys and Alex at the same time. Alex also said she was bi at the start of the arc, then revealed herself to be a lesbian by the middle of it. Paige stuck with bisexual up until Alex left the show, then it was a 'phase' and Alex was 'the only girl for her.' And while Degrassi has at least one gay or lesbian character (plus satellite romantic interest cast), the line is clearly defined each time.


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • In 9 Chickweed Lane, Seth spends a large chunk of time trying to coax Edda's uncle, Roger out of the closet, never once considering that Roger might be attracted to men AND love his wife. This is made even more egregious later on when Seth continued to assert his gayness after sleeping with diva ballerina, Fernanda. The latter is Handwaveed by an earlier revelation that Seth was attracted to "true artistry" and thus was seduced by Fernanda's dancing skills.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Somewhat a strange inversion in Bully, where the NPCs are either straight (all females and all but one male in each clique) or gay (one male in each clique), but due to some of the plot and cutscenes requiring you to engage on that level with some of the female characters, it's possible for the protagonist to be played as straight or bi, but not gay.
  • Persona 4 has the mildly (for a video game) controversial and definitely infamous matter of Kanji's sexuality, which was intentionally left ambiguous by the writers to allow the player to interpret the character as they like. Opinions on this range from "He's gay and insecure about his sexuality" to "He's straight and afraid of being rejected for his domestic hobbies" to "He's a teenager and still discovering himself", due to various lines of dialogue and events, but few, if any, of Kanji's scenes ever present the idea that he may just be attracted to both sexes; the fandom generally treats "He's bisexual" as a compromise to end arguments over the matter, rather than as a legitimate sexual orientation.
    • Then there's also the fact that he has a crush on Naoto...
  • BioWare usually averts this trope in most of their original settings, since at least one of the potential Love Interests in each game is usually bisexual. With Dragon Age 2, however, it's the fans that seem to be invoking the trope in the case of one particular character. A vocal group believes that Anders' sexual orientation is determined by the player character's gender, due to one early conversation. If Hawke is male, Anders reveals that Karl, the mage he was desperately trying to save from becoming Tranquil in his initial quest, was not only his lover, but his first. If Hawke is female, that part of the conversation never happens, and Karl's just assumed to be a good friend. Said fans have pointed to this as proof that Anders is gay if Hawke's male, and straight if Hawke's female, with bisexuality completely off the table as a possibility. This, despite despite Word of God that Everyone Is Bi, and Anders' own statements to the contrary to male!Hawke:

Anders: "I've always believed people fall in love with a whole person, not just a body. Why would you shy away from loving someone just because they're like you?"

    • In Jade Empire, two of three possible Love Interests are bisexual. Adding in the possibility of threesomes, there are eight possible romantic endings to the game.
    • In Mass Effect, Kaidan invokes No Bisexuals if Female Shepard reveals an interest in Liara, implying he believes her to be a Lesbian. Shepard can refute this by pointing out that while Liara is physically female, she's an Asari and actually monogendered, rendering any discussion on orientation a moot point. That being said, FemShep never actually denies being bisexual and can infact romance both men and women in the second game.
    • In Mass Effect 3, Kaidan's comments become Hilarious in Hindsight when its revealed that Kaidan is actually bisexual, making this particularly Hypocritical Humour.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • An episode of The Ricky Gervais Show has Karl telling Ricky and Stephen his idea for a movie plot, which involves a widow starting a sexual relationship with her dead husband's former mistress. Both Ricky and Stephen object to the fact that the mistress who use to be attracted to the husband is now attracted to the widow. No one mentions that she could just be bisexual.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Terinu has the title character kissing Gwen deeply at one point (as part of a "pirate oath") while in a flashback he's seen sick and being cuddled by Matt in a definite moment of Yo Hay. However he hasn't publicly come out.
  • El Goonish Shive triggered a massive TV Tropes Edit War over this trope that rages on to this day when two characters appeared to be renouncing their canon bisexuality.
    • To explain in a way that will hopefully not trigger a fan's fury: Ellen is bisexual, and Grace is effectively so. Some people feel, however, with Ellen choosing to sidestep her attraction to men and Grace's affection generally being limited to solely Tedd, the two characters are bisexual only in the most literal sense. Others, though, feel that the comic is not an example due to the TF Gun inducing bisexuality in most of its victims, as well as the fact that Ellen and Grace have been known to express their attraction to men and women respectively, just not often.
    • That, and a recent strip has Ellen admit to having some very confused feelings for/about Tedd. She's still bi after all.
      • That confusion has nothing to do with attraction - she's torn between her 16 years worth of Elliot's memories of their friendship and her anger at him for the role he played in creating her.
  • In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, once Jyrras realizes he's attracted to Abel... that's it, he's gay, no in-betweens allowed. This comes after several years of strips with no hints beforehand that he wasn't heterosexual. Kind of a kick to the head.
    • Just after which he figures his attraction for Lorenda was a way of attempting to deny his true sexuality. WTF?
    • In fact there are several strips that suggest he is straight. I think he has just decided he is gay, rather than him being 'officially' gay. Given the kind of character he is he will probably change his mind later.
    • Given that Jyrras is a quintessential geek (and thus somewhat socially repressed) it's entirely possible he still hasn't entirely figured-out his own sexuality. His scientific mindset and it's loathing for ambiguity probably had a hand in him "realizing" he was gay.
    • Keep in mind that Jyrras has had a crush on Dan for some time (and the first indication that he was gay was when Abel read his mind and found that out).
  • Somewhat averted by Jamie of Girls with Slingshots, an Above The Waist Lesbian, mostly fooled around with men and then had a same-sex encounter which she came away from ambivalent. She's now officially dating another woman and finally did the deed before she left for school, but still insists she's "not in the dictionary".
  • In Dominic Deegan, the bisexual Szark, formerly married (non-exclusively) to a woman, suddenly decides he's gay after his Heel Face Turn, which somehow frees him to be in love with Dominic. Yeah, that's right.
    • It was especially weird because he had a brief 'accepting his sexuality' arc...after, y'know, being introduced in the middle of a threesome with Amelia and Celesto that he was totally enjoying. Apparently they fit in a foursome that involved poor Bumper while he was brainwashed, too. Hopefully Ilario doesn't remember that, because it totally counts as rape. Some of the overtones after Szark came back were really strange.
  • Addressed in Friendly Hostility after Bootsie realizes that neither Fox nor Collin wants to "ravish" her because they're dating each other. Fox says that he doesn't do labels, and that calling Collin gay would overload everyone's irony sensors. It's a bit of a plot point when Collin, after dating Fox for years, realizes he is, in fact, gay.
  • The Lounge.
  • Maybe it doesn't exactly qualify as a web comic, but parodied in this ASCII Art Fart.
  • In Something*Positive, Monette came out as a "lesbian" early on but kept having (a lot) of sex with men, confusing her. It wasn't until after starting her long-term relationship with Lisa that she admitted to being bisexual. It's mentioned that many of Lisa's lesbian friends don't really believe in bisexuality, and the bisexual Vanessa once told Peejee about a female ex she'd dumped for saying she'd "get over it".
  • After Didi from Ménage à 3 realizes her bisexuality, she's quick to object when someone refers to a bisexual, or even a bisexual's gay activities, as "gay".
    • Jossed: After a failed attempt at lesbian sex with similarly curious Sandra, Sandra declares herself and Didi "two naked straight girls with poor boundary issues."
    • Appears in-universe, when Dillon is surprised to learn that his then-boyfriend Matt is bi, not gay. The comic also includes Gary, a nominally-straight man who is implied to have bisexual tendencies, Yuki, a nominal lesbian who may have bisexual tendencies which she represses as a result of, um, "tentacle-related childhood trauma", and, of course, Zii. The comic actually does a fairly decent job of acknowledging the fluidity of human sexuality without resorting to a polarised form of Everyone Is Bi.
  • Averted in Order of the Stick, where the part of Haley's personality that is attracted to women is referred to as "Haley's latent bisexuality".


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Stewie in Family Guy seems to flip/flop in terms of preference as the joke demands. True to the trope, the b-word is never used.
    • Word of God had him listed as gay, despite his obvious attraction to girls (more so then boys even). The writers had dropped more jokes than hints about Stewie's Ambiguously Gay nature, while simultaneously writing relationship arcs with female characters. Eventually, when Seth MacFarlane was asked about Stewie's sexuality on Jimmy Kimmel, he outright said that the character preferred "a little of both."
  • Stan from American Dad! has a literal gaydar with a needle from "gay" to "straight," with a tiny wedge in the center that says "curious". It should be noted though that this device doesn't actually work.
  • Played with in an episode of Archer where the title character's ludicrously attractive ex is threatening to have sex with the entire office to get back at him. Archer is shocked to find an openly gay colleague lining up with the rest of the men (and more than a few of the women), to which the gay man replies "Yes, but it's Lana. Nobody is that gay."


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Maybe the most important example would be Sappho, the greek poet from the island Lesbos from which the term "lesbian" is derived. Though she is most famous for the homoerotic subtext in some of her works, the connection of her with female homosexuality is an invention of the 19th century. There is no proof that she wasn't homosexual, but neither that she was.
  • Oscar Wilde tends to be thought of as gay, and that he only married a woman to cover this up. At least one biographer has suggested that Wilde may have actually been attracted to the woman as well as men.
  • Same sort of deal with speculation regarding William Shakespeare, mostly from his sonnets, which he spends most of talking to a young man with all kinds of implied sex going on, some more evident than others. Those who think men just used to speak to each other this way should consider that later editions, still within a few decades of the original printing, saw fit to change the gender of the young man (ineptly by merely switching he to she). Of course, the later sonnets featuring the dark lady are even more overtly sexual than those with the young man.
    • It's worth noting that while the metaphors can be pretty blatant in the section to a young man, it starts off by encouraging the man to go spread his seed among women. While the subtext clearly speaks to a lot of sexual tension, the speaker's role is relegated to writing about the youth rather than getting involved more directly. When it gets to the section written to the woman the sexual imagery goes into overdrive, becoming even more blatant, without any real suggestion of holding back. All this despite the woman being portrayed far more negatively than the man.
      • In short, the speaker seems to love the young man, but lust after the woman. Since the sonnet tradition is all about the purity and importance of unconsummated love, this implies his love of the young boy is the purer and more virtuous one, while his lust is base and evil. The fact that images of the psychomachia play the boy as his angel and the woman as his devil push this even further.
    • The sonnets themselves are often suspect, because we have no idea who published them, what changes that person may have made, or how they got it from Shakespeare in the first place. Some even question the authorship, though there is considerable contrary evidence.
    • Doesn't help that, unlike Wilde, we know almost nothing about Shakespeare's private life.
  • Biographies of Hollywood actors who are known to have had relationships with both men and women - in some cases quite publicly - tend to play up one or another preference, often with little reflection on their actual tendencies. Case of this have included:
    • Tallulah Bankhead (how can the statement "I've just had an affair with your husband - you're next" said to another woman be interpreted as implying anything but bisexuality?)
      • This is also the woman who, when questioned about her sexuality, cheerfully replied "I'm ambisextrous".
    • James Dean (Famously said "I'm not going through life with one hand tied behind my back," and his most famous role was the Ho Yay-loaded Rebel Without a Cause... but the first was to escape the draft, and the second was just a character, so there's not really enough evidence to say either way).
    • One biographer tried to publish his version of John Lennon's life in which he stated that Lennon had homosexual encounters with Brian Epstein and later Paul McCartney. It did not go well.
    • Rudolph Valentino, who is alternately portrayed as a homosexual who used his wife Natacha Rombova as a beard (along with however many other female lovers), or a naive straight guy deceived by the evil, really-a-lesbian Rombova - though these authors may be confusing her with his first wife, Jean Acker, who was a lesbian, and supposedly had married him in hopes of 'going straight' - she panicked and locked him out of their room on their wedding night when realized she couldn't go through with consummating the marriage.
    • Alec Guinness
    • Elvis Presley (though admittedly, The King Of Rock And Roll apparently didn't have any relationships with men after the early 1960s).
    • Marlon Brando (While he and Vivien Leigh were filming A Streetcar Named Desire, a cast member apparently walked out on the set to find Marlon and Laurence Olivier, who was married to Vivien Leigh at that time, kissing in the swimming pool on the set.)
    • Marlene Dietrich - her androgynous appeal made her popular with lesbians and straight men, and in later biographies, they've played a tug-of-war regarding which gender she was attracted to. Protip: she went both ways.
  • Dr. Ruth, not so long ago, was telling teenagers in her books to make up their minds as to whether to be gay or straight. She adopted a broader position some time later.
  • David Bowie is a somewhat peculiar example. In 1972, he came out as bisexual. However, in 1983, he stated that it was "The biggest mistake I ever made". In 1993, he stated that he had always been a closet heterosexual, simply interested in gay and bisexual culture. The current word, from 2002, is that he is bisexual, but when he had made his comments in the 80s and 90s, he'd simply wanted to be a musician, and felt that the American public looked at him more as a bisexual singer than as a person, and had wanted to distance himself from that headline.
  • James Tiptree Jr was married twice and had physical relationships with both men and women, stating at one point that she liked some men, but women from the start. Many articles about her boil her complex relationships with sexuality down to being a repressed lesbian, without so much as a mention of the idea of bisexuality.
  • Averted in Ancient China. Almost all major Chinese belief systems had no problem with same-sex attraction, unless it was exclusive. The most important thing in Chinese society was (and often is) having children, which wouldn't happen if gay people didn't at least experiment with bisexuality.
    • This is similar to ancient Greece. They were cool with you having sex with men as long as you had children at some point.
      • In Greek, and later Roman, culture this really only applied to male sexuality. Women were still expected to be straight by culture at large, Sappho be damned. This is somewhat the opposite of present day, where culture is more accepting of female experimentation than male.
      • What it basically comes down to is, the Greeks were fine with you and respected you if you were a "penetrator", whatever sex you chose to penetrate didn't matter. But if you were the "penetrated," you were looked down on. Men could be either penetrators or penetrated, but women could only ever be penetrated.
  • Freddie Mercury of Queen is often referred to as gay in popular culture. In real life he was actually bisexual.
  • There is the phenomenon known as bi erasure: Quite often, people assume a person is a certain orientation based on their current relationship. Two women dating are assumed to be lesbians, two men dating are both gay, and a man and a woman dating are both straight. On a larger scale, there is also the tendency to refer to same-sex marriage as "gay marriage" or the movement at large as the "gay rights" movement even though these both include bisexual people, and trans people too. Bisexual people tend to be ostracised, at times, by both straight and gay communities, ironically accused of faking it by both.
  • That infamous University of Toronto study led by J. Michael Bailey, especially as reported by the New York Times and again in a more recent context, has become a fair crevasse for Internet Backdraft. This study is often falsely said to be bisexual erasure based on quotes like "Straight, Gay or Lying" when in reality the study only showed that men who call themselves bisexual are more similar physiologically to homosexuals than expected, but not similar in experience. This was in context with some interesting secondary findings. It also didn't help the matter how his previous project turned out.
  • OKCupid did data analysis on people identifying themselves as bisexual on the service and found that a stunning 77% of them either exclusively messaged men or exclusively messaged women. Then again, they also found that people tend to list themselves as 2 inches taller than they are, inflate their income by over 50%, and post pictures where the newest (and the most attractive) is over five years old. It's worth mentioning that a lot of bisexuals have a preference one way or the other, and they also tend to find more people for heterosexual relationships offline (because there are 10x as many of them in the world), so when they get on a dating site it's expected that they go either for their preference or for what they can't get offline.
    • Many dating sites (including PlentyofFish and JDate) only allow people to select that they're interested in men or women, not both.
  • Whenever it is revealed that some evangelical Christian or anti-gay politician has had same-sex encounters, they are almost always depicted as being revealed as gay, rather than possibly being revealed as bisexual. At least one of these guys, Colorado evangelical preacher Ted Haggard, has officially come out as bi after trying to claim he defeated his homosexual urges. Whether or not the bisexual community actually wants to claim these guys is a whole other kettle of fish, of course.
  • Film reviewers often seem to hold this view. In his review of Casablanca Roger Ebert labeled Captain Renault "subtly homosexual" despite his habit of pulling The Scarpia Ultimatum on women. Likewise more than a few reviewers have labelled Colin Firth's character in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as being gay despite him explicitly stating he is involved in relationships with both men and women (at the same time.)
  • A blog/newspost by Penny Arcade author Tycho espouses a common misconception that all sexuality is simply a preference and bisexuality is nothing but an indecision among preferences.
    • As that blog post spends the rest of its time discussing quantum sex and sex between living planets, coupled with the recent revelation that Tycho actively pursues gay porn to get aroused, it's worth considering that his No Bisexuals moment might have been a joke.
  • Emilie Autumn is very forward with her sexual and romantic relationships with both sexes. Insists she's Asexual though.
  • Amber Heard is currently in a relationship with a woman. She has said she's attracted to people, not gender (which might be called bisexual or pansexual), but the media consistently refers to her as a lesbian.