I’m a bi woman dating a man which means… I’m still bi

Brooke Blurton’s season of the Bachelorette raises important questions about biphobia, bi-erasure and queerness in Australia.

I usually roll my eyes when I see the glossy promo’s of a new reality TV dating show. But seeing Noongar-Yamatji woman, Brooke Blurton take the reins as Australia’s first Indigenous and bi/pan sexual Bachelorette… my little bi eyes were wide open!

We’ve been demanding a more diverse, inclusive and authentic representation of young Australian’s on Australian TV and damn did Channel 10 finally deliver. While yes, there’s no denying I’m a little tired of the overproduced formula of a show like the Bachelor, showcasing the strong, confident and gorgeous voice of Brooke Blurton was a viewing experience like no other.

The consultation with First Nation’s people and queer advocates was evident. From the beautiful Welcome to Country that opened the season that left tears dotted in eyes across the country, to the respect and acceptance of queerness among contestants, to conversations about the majority of Australia’s ignorance when it comes to Indigenous issues, this season covered a lot of important issues.

As a bisexual woman, I was equally excited and scared for Brooke. I couldn’t help but think, she’s damned if she chooses a man at the end, and damned if she doesn’t, and many bi women will empathise with.

Many bisexual and pansexual people have experienced biphobia and bi erasure in their lives, and seeing it play out in the media and in the comments section of social media, was a sad reminder and reflection on the long way to go before genuine respect and understanding are built in Australia.

Biphobia is generally born out of harmful stereotypes including ‘being a halfway house’ or ‘being greedy.’ Bi erasure often stems from the insecurities of people, including those within the LGBTQIA+ community. Again, based on harmful stereotypes that ‘it’s a phase,’ or ‘they’re not really queer,’ these messages degrade and undermine the experience of what it means to be bisexual.

It can also mean that people are mislabelled, further erasing their identity as a bi person. I am currently dating a man and people assume that I am straight and in a heterosexual relationship. This heteronormative narrative permeates society, which means I’ve had to come out as bisexual more times than I would have ever thought.

The same thing applied when I dated a woman. It doesn’t inherently mean I’m gay or a lesbian. I’m just Adelaide navigating the tricky world of dating, love, and relationships.

I am deeply passionate about this topic because biphobia and bi erasure can lead to severe outcomes. Bisexual people often experience higher rates of depression and anxiety, along with health disparities.

Bi people often describe not feeling safe or accepted in LGBTQIA+ spaces as they don’t appear ‘queer enough.’ People may talk it down as ‘not as hard, or not as important as “real” LGBTQIA+ issues,’ but this is real issue that affects all bisexual and pansexual people around the world.

It’s about being seen, heard, respected and valued.

Being bisexual doesn’t change who I am because it’s just part of who I am.

Of course, watching this season, I found myself wanting Brooke to end up with Holly, because um hello Holly was an absolute gem! But also because we hadn’t seen it before, it was new, fresh and real which just shows how lacking we have been in getting adequate representation (give us more please!). And as we now know, Darvid won Brooke’s heart and their connection was so beautiful (and damn are they not just the most gorgeous couple?!). Upon reflection, it’s unrealistic to expect that Brooke has to show the world and represent the full complexities of what it means to be bi. Just let the woman love who she wants.

Ultimately, coming out and being your true authentic self means that you feel safe and free to be YOU. You shouldn’t have to be you for anyone else, to prove a point, or make a mark. When we allow and respect bi people to be their true, authentic self, maybe then we will see more inclusivity and diversity on our screens.

Before I wrap up, I wanted to touch on labels. While bisexual is often criticised for being discriminatory against those who are non-binary, gender fluid or transgender, the name emerged during a period of time that gave people a name and label to identify with.

There’s a fabulous episode of The Cut called ‘Why do I feel weird calling myself bisexual?’ which illuminates some of the issues people have with this label.

Pansexual is another label that is used to describe people that are attracted to people not because of their gender, but for who they are. Commentators of Brooke’s season of the Bachelor often used the label bisexual, however was sometimes labeled as pansexual. Some people may feel comfortable switching between the two labels as Brooke told the ABC here.

To wrap up, I’ll leave you with this quote,

“Sexuality is so fluid, like why do we have to define ourselves by the people that we’re attracted to? Or why do we have to label ourselves by people that we’re sleeping with?”

Labels can be freeing and liberating to some, and isolating and restrictive to others. Ultimately, as many things in life, we should let people take the lead and set the tone of how they would like to be referred to.

Thank you Brooke for being such an incredible role model for many young queer people across Australia. I’m in absolute awe.

My Love/Hate Relationship With The Bachelor And The Bachelorette

My heart skips a beat when I see an advert for The Bachelor. You’ve got women in stunning dresses, men in gorgeous suits and of course, Andrew G (Osher will never catch on, it’ll always be Andrew G!). But as this season’s Bachelorette draws to a close, with the finale this week, I can’t help but reflect on my love/hate relationship with the TV show.

The 'contestants' on The Bachelor. Source
The ‘contestants’ on The Bachelor. Source

So I feel like I don’t have to go into too much detail as to why I love this show. It’s dramatic, it’s easy watching, it’s funny, awkward and entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely aware that it’s created by producers, it’s not natural and it’s all for entertainment purposes, but sometimes my moral brain kicks in and asks ‘why are you watching this shit?’ So here comes the hateful side of this relationship… and it ain’t pretty.

There’s just something so morally wrong about fighting others for the affection, attention and eternal love of Sam (just in case you’ve been living under a rock, both the Bachelor and the Bachelorette’s names are Sam, so I’ll be referring to ‘Sam’ as both the bachelor and bachelorette). Why should we be competing for someone’s attention? It only encourages insecurity and doubt whilst fuelling bitchiness and the breach of the ‘brocode.’ Just think of it locally, on a small scale… imaging you and your three best friends all had a crush on the same guy. You wouldn’t spend the next few months flirting with him and going on weird group dates. In fact, you and your girlfriends would probably just settle on going out for dates with one another. The whole concept is just wrong!

It’s ridiculously white washed and clone-ish. As in, all the girls are attractive, tall, thin girls… and the guys are attractive, tall, muscley, blokey fellas. Has Channel Ten heard of diversity? It’s extremely misrepresentative of Australia and the men and women who live here.

Nice group of average height, toned, white clones, I mean men.... source
Nice group of average height, toned, white clones, I mean men…. source

Love isn’t a game. The amount of times the phrase ‘i’m looking for true love,’ is mentioned is enough that my friends and I managed to turn it into a drinking game. While yes you may be looking for true love, would you like some high resolution glasses because I think you’re looking in the wrong place. Literally. Think about it. For one minute. Imagine all of the millions of people we’ve passed in our lives, subconsciously thinking ‘they could be the one,’ and then being put in a mansion with 12 people and apparently, one of them is your ONE! Nope, nuh uh, don’t buy it.

How does living in a beautiful mansion and wearing dazzling dressed and suits allow you to get to know anyone personally? Wand to get to know people for who they really are? Take them camping for 3 months to the middle of a forest or dessert. I’m pretty sure that dealing with real life situations and not dates where you get a private helicopter tour is a much more efficient way to get to know someone. Also, it’s kind of setting the whole relationship up for failure. Unless the Sam’s can actually afford the frequent helicopter ride or bridge climb or snow trip or insert over the top romantic date here date… then they’re going to be disappointed when their weekends consist of movie nights in a dominos pizza.

However, we do learn some very valuable lessons…

Guys can be emotional.

A sequined dress doesn’t guarantee true love.

A kiss over 4 minutes long on top of the harbour bridge is just awkward!

Ritchie is the cutest human alive and shouldn’t marry Sam… hello Ritchie… I’m single.

And… the bro code should NEVER be broken… isn’t that right David?

Don't break the brocode David. Source
Don’t break the brocode David. Source

What do you think? Do you love it or hate it? Let me know in the comments below!