Friday, May 4, 2012

Anna Paquin Is Not Defending Her Bisexuality

'2011-03-18 19:39:22' photo (c) 2011, Kata Rina - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I had no idea who Anna Paquin was until I started watching HBO's True Blood.  Being a fan of the show, I have kept abreast of any news regarding the stars. In 2010, Paquin revealed to the world that she is bisexual, though at the time she was dating her future husband and fellow True Blood star Stephen Moyer.

Paquin participated in a PSA along with Elton John, Wanda Sykes, Cyndi Lauper and Whoopi Goldberg in which she came out and spoke out against GLBT hate crimes.

Paquin recently did an interview with Zooey magazine which was covered by the New York Post. Paquin spoke once again about her bisexuality.
"For me, it’s not really an issue because I’m someone who believes being bisexual is actually a thing. It’s not made up. It’s not a lack of decision. It’s not being greedy or numerous other ignorant things I’ve heard at this point. For a bisexual, it’s not about gender. That’s not the deciding factor for who they’re attracted to."
The New York Post decided to name their piece, "Anna Paquin defends bisexual label despite being married, pregnant."  Personally, I found the title of this piece extremely bi-phobic because it suggests that if one is in a heterosexual relationship, that one suddenly stops being bisexual. When it comes to sexuality, too often it is reduced to a binary of straight or gay. This often results in bisexual people being accused of being in denial.

What Paquin did was not in defense of her sexuality.  Why would she have to defend who she is? If anything, the Post's title speaks to how ingrained bi-phobia has become in our social discourse. What she made was an assertion of self, and at the same time addressed many of the false attributes associated with bisexuality.

As someone who is now in a heterosexual relationship, she may well be able to avoid many of the issues faced by out lesbians, but that in no way means that her life is oppression free based in her sexuality.  The fact that she has to continually assert her identity and the voyeuristic manner in which it has been publicly discussed illustrate this.

I think that it is great that Paquin is comfortable speaking out about her sexuality as well as decrying hate crimes, but in a perfect world none of this would even be open for discussion.  Honestly, unless you are climbing into Paquin's bed, this really isn't your business to speculate about.