WWAC Chats: Bicons For Bisexual Awareness Month

Korra and Asami first kiss from Turf Wars by Irene Koh via comicbook.com

Oh hey—it’s that time again! That day—September 23rd—or week, or heck, that whole MONTH where we remember that bisexuals exist and have our own unique styles, struggles, and memes. We have a LOT of memes, y’all.

https://gallusrostromegalus.tumblr.com/post/166314618898/are-you-a-finger-guns-bisexual-or-an-awkward

 

We also have a lot of disaster bisexuals, including me—your humble zine-loving bisexual who really meant to pull this article together sooner. To my community: I’m not even gonna apologize, ’cause I know you get me. I want to thank you for all your love, support, and understanding, so I asked some fellow bisexuals here at WWAC to help me create a list of our favorite Bicons. (That’s Bisexual Icons, not some weird misspelling of bitcoin.) As this month of visibility passes and we fall back into obscurity, let us fall softly into the arms of these super hotties.

Alenka Figa

Margaret Wise Brown: Margaret Wise Brown revolutionized the children’s book industry with her creative, often interactive books, and doesn’t receive enough credit for her work. Amy Gary’s 2017 biography, In the Great Green Room, meditates on this fact but also reveals that Brown was bisexual! She had a great but often unhealthy relationship with the poet Blanche Oelrichs, who was primarily known Michael Strange. When Brown passed away, she was engaged to a (male) Rockefeller! Gary’s book made me really love and appreciate this children’s book author who, in the 40s, lived her best bisexual life. A children’s book called The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown was released by Balzer+Bray in May 2019. Written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Sarah Jacoby, this gorgeous book contains the lines, “Did she ever fall in love?/Yes, with a woman called Michael and a man called Pebble.”

In the Great Green Room Cover via Flatiron Books

Alana Bloom (Hannibal): To pivot drastically, let’s talk about the Hannibal TV show’s Alana Bloom! Also if you have been waiting all this time to watch Hannibal and wow, still haven’t gotten to it, big spoiler warning for you! During the first two seasons, Alana flirts cautiously with Will but shuts down any possible romantic partnership so that she can attend to him as a friend and psychiatrist. In the second season, Alana hooks up with Hannibal Lecter, who later has the surprisingly not dead Abigail Hobbs push Alana out of a window. Devastatingly injured both physically and emotionally, Alana spends the first few episodes of the third season recovering, and eventually trades in her flowy, femme floral dresses for some hot as fuck suits and a cane.

Alana Bloom photo via Brooke Palmer/NBC

Alana goes on to hook up with Margot Verger, and have what is one of the most healthy relationships on a show which, to be honest, is a low bar. They’re all real unhealthy! However, the pair raise a child together—a Verger heir and uh, they way they get the sperm for the baby is real gross—and stay together!! As far as Hannibal relationship rules go, the couple that commits horrible crimes and murders together stays together, so not bad. Alana turning into a super hot, literally suited-up player in the game Hannibal creates is such good bonkers fun. How is that not iconic?

Bob (Bob’s Burgers): I was thinking about writing about Bob, but then Lisa A.C. Ryan did it for me over at Autostraddle.

https://cosantiago.tumblr.com/post/174030134701/you-are-you-a-hoodie-plaid-or-leather-jacket

Ariel Godwin

Korra and Asami Sato (Legend of Korra): Since Asami’s first appearance in season one of Legend of Korra, she stole the show as a moped-driving, cosmopolitan lipstick femme set up in contrast to Korra’s countrified, athletic soft butch. That they ended up getting together after originally being rivals for Mako’s affection was the perfect conclusion to a well-developed relationship. Their complementary natures made them a perfect couple, and one I honestly never expected to happen given their initial (somewhat cliché) conflict. Korra and Asami, who decided they were better with each other than with the mediocre guy they both used to like, are iconic both in terms of representation (a canonical same-sex relationship? On children’s television?? Hell yes) and because they’re such unique badasses. Whether you’re more into Korra’s hot-headed super-powered martial arts mastery or Asami’s cool, understated engineering savvy (with kickass driving outfits to boot), the couple gives me warm fuzzies whenever I think about them. If you haven’t read the Turf Wars comics, which expand on their relationship, check out WWAC’s review of the first volume!

Lisbeth Salander (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo): Is it not enough to be a tough goth hacker with a sick mohawk, dope motorcycle, and eidetic memory? For Lisbeth Salander, apparently not, because she’s also bi, pairing off with both cute girls from the club and investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist. I love how Lisbeth gets to be a strong character in her own right without her sexuality taking center stage (or worse, being written off as a symptom of her past trauma). Her relationship with Mikael is heartwarming (and heart-wrenching), especially so in the 2011 movie—prickly and guarded by nature, she lets herself be vulnerable with him, without giving up anything that makes her unique. Lisbeth is a reminder that being different isn’t a bad thing. She defies any attempt at narrow definition, and that includes boxing in her attraction to both men and women.

Eleanor Shellstrop (The Good Place): It’s refreshing to see a TV show that portrays messy, flawed female characters without having them cross over into plain evil. Eleanor Shellstrop is a great example: she’s selfish, cynical, and overall kind of a dumbass. She’s also unapologetically into hotties of all shapes and sizes. When The Good Place had her dropping throwaway lines about her gorgeous friend Tahani, I expected it to be queer-baiting for the sake of comedy. But then the latest season had her actively trying to mack on a lady (when she’d previously only kissed guys), and actress Kristen Bell confirmed that her character is bi. Now Eleanor Shellstrop is my inspiration—not because of how cool she is, but how cool she’s not. She’s a bicon for the rest of us, in all our sweatpants-wearing, shrimp-loving glory.

Dr. Frank N. Furter (Rocky Horror Picture Show): Okay, so, Tim Curry’s “sweet transvestite” might seem like a pretty backwards example of bi representation, but hear me out. Is Frank N. Furter problematic? Yes, without question. But the first time I watched the corseted, lipsticked, glam-as-hell Frank seduce both Janet and Brad (using the same lines, even!) it was like something clicked in my brain: oh, you can have both? Cool. So for all the baggage that comes along with Rocky Horror Picture Show, I still credit Frank N. Furter for introducing me to the idea that you can be queer, weird, and sexy as fuck not in spite of but because of it. Problematic for sure, but definitely iconic.

Brenda Howard (the “Mother of Pride”): One of the hard things about being bisexual is feeling disconnected from LGBTQ history because so many queer legends tend to focus on gay historical figures to the exclusion of all else. (Trans and lesbian history gets similar treatment as well.) That’s why it was so heartening for me to learn about Brenda Howard, a bi activist who was crucial to the formation of the first LGBT Pride march, one year after Stonewall. Brenda packed so much activism into her too-short life that it’s astounding I never learned about her until after college. She was involved in numerous LGBTQ organizations, in addition to being a poly, kinky, Jewish feminist, a total badass, and unrepentantly bi. Her quote “I’m not greedy, I know what I want,” on top of all her important community work throughout her life, makes her an indisputable bicon and inspiration.

Brenda Howard image by Efrain Gonzalez via glaad.org
Brenda Howard, photographed by Efrain Gonzalez

Anna Paquin: Remember how Anna Paquin was interviewed by Larry King, got asked about her sexuality, and proceeded to school him hard about how she hasn’t stopped being bi just because she’s married to a man? That was awesome. Props to her for owning her bisexuality and not being afraid to speak truth to some of the oldest and most pernicious stereotypes about being bi.

Kate Tanski

Stella Gibson (The Fall): The Fall gave me Gillian Anderson playing a bisexual police detective while looking incredible and speaking with a British accent and it was everything I didn’t know I needed. But more than that, having Stella Gibson as a bisexual woman functioned as a narrative counterpoint that underscored the misogynistic serial killer and sexualized violence towards women.

Captain Flint (Black Sails): Bisexual. Man. In. A. Period. Drama. Black Sails had a lot of good bisexual things going for it, but one of the best things was the story of James McGraw, who became lovers with Thomas and Miranda Hamilton. It wasn’t tawdry. It treated bisexuality as historical fact, and had two polyamorous bisexual “thruples.” That’s pretty radical for television, even if it there was a lot more time spent on the sex scenes between women than between men. There was a lot to be disappointed about in the finale, except for James and Thomas being reunited and Long John Silver being the one to make it happen.

Prodigy (Marvel Comics): What I love about David is that he absorbs all the knowledge in the universe and then comes to the conclusion of bisexuality. It was the first time I’d seen an intellectual argument for being bisexual. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie used one page for David’s coming out story and it’s the most relatable representation of a bisexual awakening that I’ve ever read. It was the bisexual representation I needed at a time I needed it.

Prodigy from Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie via Comicosity

LITERALLY EVERY CHARACTER ON TORCHWOOD: This series was a bisexual bonanza and I loved every moment of the first two seasons. And since there were so many bisexual (and pansexual) characters, we got a range of bisexual experiences. Owen was the sexy threesome bisexual. Tosh was the demisexual bisexual. And then there was my precious Ianto Jones, who infiltrated Torchwood to help his girlfriend, and ended up falling in love with Jack Harkness. I haven’t so many bisexuals in any media since then, film, television, or even comics, and it’s been 10 years. It’s mind boggling.

Evan Rachel Wood (actor, Westworld): What I admire most about her is that she argues so fiercely against the “bi now,” narrative that people like to place on bis who have had biological children with their previous partners. She also is a loud and proud advocate for bisexual history and even tweeted about Mother Pride on Bisexual Awareness day. Truly an icon.

Alan Cumming (actor): I love Alan because he represents the opposite of Wood’s experience—many people try to label him as a gay man because he often has male partners, plays gay characters, and generally presents himself in a way that people associate as being “gay” or “effeminate.” And it’s important for everyone to listen to what he says and not how he acts as being determinate of his identity.

Lisa Fernandes

Rosa Diaz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine): I have to confess that when I watched her coming out episode, I cried. Rosa is the best rep I’ve had yet—the first time I’ve been able to look at a character and go yep, this is my experience, this is what I’ve felt, this reminds me of people in my community. It gave me a million feelings then, and it gives me a million feelings now!

 

This list is nowhere near comprehensive! Help us keep collecting Bicons by sharing your favorites in the comments, or send us your best bisexual memes, please!

Alenka Figa

Alenka Figa

Alenka Figa is a queer librarian and intense cat mom. She spends her days reading zines and indie comics, and twittering about D&D podcasts at @alenkafiga.

One thought on “WWAC Chats: Bicons For Bisexual Awareness Month

  1. The speech Captain Holt gives Rosa after she’s come out to her family makes me cry every single time.

    Every
    Single
    Time

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