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Rebel Wilson’s Forced Outing Is a Reminder of the Biphobia That Comes From Inside the LGBTQ Community

Rebel Wilson’s forced outing has been one of the most depressing stories in this very chaotic Pride month, from the 31 men arrested in Idaho, who are believed to be linked to a White nationalist group that had plans to riot at a weekend Pride event, to the continued destruction of trans rights that the GOP is willing playing into and comedians continuing to keep their boring careers relevant by attacking a vulnerable community.

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All of those things are powerful external forces. With what happened to Wilson, the call coming from inside the house. On Saturday, Sydney Morning Herald journalist Andrew Hornery published an article about Rebel Wilson being in a same-sex relationship with Ramona Agruma, complete with snarky comments about her age and how she had presented herself as straight previously.

“This is understood to be Wilson’s first same-sex relationships, at age 42 and in an era when same-sex marriage is legal in many parts of the world and — thanks to decades of battling for equality — sexual orientation is no longer something to be hidden, even in Hollywood,” Hornery wrote with quill in-hand. “Up to now, Wilson had identified publicly as a heterosexual woman. It is unlikely she would have experienced the sort of discrimination let alone homophobia – subconscious or overt – that sadly still affects so many gay, lesbian and non-hetero people.”

The article has been taken down, with Hornery issuing an “apology”, but screenshots have been taken, and this particular passage has been lingering in my mind: “It is unlikely she would have experienced the sort of discrimination let alone homophobia – subconscious or overt – that sadly still affects so many gay, lesbian and non-hetero people.” Hornery said in his apology, “As a gay man I’m well aware of how deeply discrimination hurts. The last thing I would ever want to do is inflict that pain on someone else.”

Yet, his piece is filled with assumptions that many bisexual, pansexual, and people on the ace spectrum face depending on who we openly partner with—that our sexuality is defined not by us, but by who shares our bed. Not only is it frustrating because it reduces us in such an inhumane way, but the fact that we can appear to be in “heteronormative” relationships is constantly used to dismiss that bisexual people face higher levels of domestic partner violence, according to the CDC.

Canada’s national statistical office collected similar data as the CDC in 2018, which found that bisexual people in Canada experienced more physical and sexual assault than gay and straight people. The way in which bisexual women are targeted by male and female partners, the way bisexual men are stigmatized, and the ways in which we are doubted has not improved despite how visible we are.

I am always saddened to see the same people who speak up against TERFs (trans exclusionary radical feminists), and their anti-trans women rhetoric, ignore that a lot of biphobia comes from fruit of the same poisonous tree. Bisexual transgender activist and scholar Jillian Todd Weiss wrote in “GL vs. BT: The Archaeology of Biphobia and Transphobia within the U.S. Gay and Lesbian Community”,

“While the reasons for bisexual and transgender exclusion from lesbian and gay communities during the ’ 70s and ’ 80s may be somewhat different , the rhetoric used to cast us away was eerily similar: We, in one way or another , were supposedly “ buying into ” and “ reinforcing ” heteronormativity. Transsexuals , transvestites , drag artists , butches and femmes were accused of aping heterosexist gender roles. Bisexuals were accused of purposefully seeking out heterosexual privilege and ( literally ) sleeping with the enemy.”

When Hornery brings up Wilson’s “assumed heterosexuality” and how that kept her from experiencing homophobia, it feels like the same thing Weiss brought up and something that actually pushes bi/pan people into heteronormativity—the idea that we don’t count.

Are there bi/pan people who actively choose to date cis-het men and only sleep with women and femme presenting people? I’m absolutely sure. But what does that have to do with biphobia? I have yet to meet, in the real world, a bi+ person who didn’t realize that they were perceived differently depending on their partner. Yet, we keep being told to look out for that privilege, while biphobic people feel comfortable going through our dating history to ensure that we “belong.”

The call is coming from inside the house.

(featured image: Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images)


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Author
Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.