BiMedia September 2007

BCN 85 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 85, Spring 2007

The Sun kicks off our bi stories in the press with a nod to the fine traditional bi in the media, on February 6th:

A BISEXUAL lodger is facing jail after being found guilty yesterday of poisoning his pregnant landlady – because he fancied HER boyfriend. Robert Tonks, 20, put bleach in Stephanie Force’s tea every day for a week after moving into the home she shared with Craig Thomas.  Her baby was stillborn three months later.

Over at the Mail On Sunday Drew Barrymore was swapping labels five days later:

She was famously quoted saying that she’s sexually attracted to
women and enjoyed affairs with women in her younger days. More
recently, she stated that she is now a non-practising bisexual. So
what’s the truth of it?  Filling our wine glasses to the brim, she replies, ‘I guess I love women so much that I can understand why men do, too. I’m one of those women who doesn’t necessarily get it together with women but observes them with admiration and awe, in the way that a man probably does.’

Any pop wannabe saying that kind of thing would get instant scorn for trying to tantalise the gay and bi market.

The People on March 25th had one of those great newspaper exposes that show what a debauched nation we are and thus provide editors with an excuse to print “sex” in big letters to boost sales.  Their “probing on-line questionnaire […] was sent to thousands of people across the UK” so the findings should be treated with the large pinch of salt that an opt-in poll implies, and while they tell us they sent out thousands they don’t mention how many people responded.  But while we’re suspending our disbelief…

Six out of ten people aged 18-25 have had affairs and 85 per cent of bisexuals have played away.

13 per cent of men and one in 20 women claim to have had 50 or
more lovers, including six per cent of 18-25 year olds!  Gay and
lesbian people have had the most partners though – with 43 per cent notching up more than 50 partners.

6% of respondents said they’d had sex with more than one partner at a time and 3% had had gay sex.

The Times had done something similar a month earlier.  On February 6, psychotherapist Brett Kahr offered a puff piece for his new book which seems to be derived from a YouGov survey of our sex lives.

…Just over 90 per cent of the country defines itself as
heterosexual, and 3 per cent defines itself as homo-sexual, less than a third of the figure usually reported for homosexuality. Of course, if one includes the self-defined “bisexual” individuals, as well as that small but still marked percentage of people who would regard themselves as “undecided”, then we have a somewhat higher percentage for whom homosexuality may be a serious option: 8 per cent rather than 3 per cent.

Is it just my maths, or does that suggest 4 to 5 per cent of his respondents identifying as bisexual?
The Observer sports pages on April 15 returned to the question of why Premiership football still lacks out players.  Portsmouth goalkeeper David James, donating his writer’s fee to Stonewall, reflected that in 18 years in the business not one player had come out to him.  He argued the first step has to be a high-profile player coming out; any 17 year old newcomer would lack the protective layer of past success:

A senior executive in football said to me he wished all the gay
footballers would come out so we could just get on with it. I find
that view refreshing. In marketing terms they could make a fortune.  Just imagine, football’s first gay couple playing for rival teams

Jaci Stephen in the Daily Mail on March 10th seemed to be doing this column’s job for us.

Soap bisexuals are like buses, it seems: you wait for ages for one to come along and then three arrive together. It’s no longer any big deal to be gay; that would be far too easy. Now there is the added complication of men sharing the company of both sexes, and what a mess they are creating.

Emmerdale’s Grayson has been driving his wife, Perdy, mad over his gay past, because she thinks that he fancies everything in trousers. Their most recent fight took place following a dinner party, where the farrier Jonny was the centre of attention and ended up dating Paul.

Hollyoaks’ cross-dressing bisexual Kris was panic-stricken when he slept with Jessica, after his supposed friend Will tricked him into believing he was HIV positive. Luckily, he was fine, although he did have to ensure a period of being a very cross dresser indeed before discovering the truth.

Coronation Street is trying to convince us that Sonny is bisexual, enjoying the delights of both Sean and Michelle, yet the man barely seems to have enough energy to clean his teeth, let alone climb two sets of stairs a day.

What the vibrant, funny Sean saw in him the first time round, let alone the second, is anybody’s guess, and a man with a disposition less like his name would be hard to find. Talk about a bad advert for bisexuality – these characters are definitely it.

Saves us commenting doesn’t it?  Though I’m sure in their defence the writers of Emmerdale, Corrie and Hollyoaks would say that their gay and straight characters are rarely great adverts for either of those options.

Torchwood star Captain Jack (John Barrowman) was splashed all over BCN a year ago but the first spin-off Dr Who show Torchwood seemed to fall a little flat with many viewers despite having a core cast of five bi characters.  (We’d love someone to write up the first season of Torchwood – Ed)  As this BCN goes to press Jack’s about to return to Dr Who, which may help restore his reputation as one of our favourite bisexuals.