By Erin Caine

Lifestyle Editor

As we say our farewells to 2018, and to what pop singer Hayley Kiyoko famously referred to as “20gayteen” in a viral New Year’s tweet, we embrace the new year—the one many are now calling “20biteen.”

In other words, this is the year to encourage conversations about bisexual visibility, representation, and empowerment.

In honor of the new internet meme and LGBTQ mantra, here are a few buzzworthy 20biteen moments that have already happened:

1. The first openly bisexual U.S. senator, Kyrsten Sinema, was officially sworn into office on Jan. 3.

Ann Friedman of Elle said that Sinema—only 36 years old with a master’s degree, a Ph.D., and a law degree, never married, bisexual, non-religious—indeed seems to have an “idiosyncratic bio for a national politician.”

Sinema, who survived a period of poverty and homelessness as a child, says that the experience helped motivate her to become a social worker and, later, a politician.

In 2005, when reporters asked her to explain her use of “we” in a pro-LGBTQ speech, her response was simply: “Duh, I’m bisexual.”

The very next year, she helped defeat Proposition 107 in Arizona, which would have banned the recognition of same-sex marriage in the state.

2. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is up for five Academy Awards.

Though the ceremony isn’t until later in February, the fact that a film centering on a bisexual person of color is receiving this kind of recognition is remarkable on its own.

Of course, the film has been the subject lately of some pretty polarizing opinions from viewers and critics alike, but it’s undeniable that the film has managed to spark new discussions about Freddie Mercury’s impact and legacy.

According to Out’s Mathew Rodriguez, this is the “first year ever” where half of the Best Picture nominees are “either LGBTQ inclusive or deal with LGBTQ themes in some way.”

Hopefully, the 2018 film will open the door for future depictions and celebrations of influential bisexual figures.

3. Between the second season of “Killing Eve” and the sixth season of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” bisexual characters are getting some diverse representation on the small screen this year.

Though “Killing Eve” treats the subject of its characters’ sexualities with some ambiguity, Eve and Villanelle’s mutual fascination and dangerous attraction to each other is something fans find particularly thrilling to watch.

And, of course, fans of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” were relieved to find out that the show had been saved from cancellation and brought over to NBC to air its sixth season.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” features Rosa Diaz (played by Stephanie Beatriz), a smart, tough detective with a deadpan sense of humor, who came out as bisexual in Season 4.

Producer Dan Goor told Variety that this reveal “was definitely generated” by the real life fact that Beatriz had herself come out recently as bisexual.

The show sets an exciting precedent for future shows to also have LGBTQ actors play LGBTQ parts.

4. Actress Tessa Thompson, who came out as bisexual last year, has been gaining a lot of traction lately.

And she doesn’t seem to be slowing down, either. Wenlei Ma of news.com.au described Thompson as the “hottest movie star right now.”

Last year was a busy year for her as Charlotte Hale in the Emmy-winning “Westworld,” Janelle Monáe’s co-star in “Dirty Computer,” and Valkyrie in “Thor: Ragnarok” (to name a few.)

This year, she’ll star alongside Chris Hemsworth both in the “Men in Black” reboot and in the upcoming Marvel film, “Avengers: Endgame.” Not to mention, she’ll also be the voice of Lady in Disney’s upcoming “Lady and the Tramp” remake.

The dearth of positive bisexual representation—in politics, entertainment, and elsewhere—is far from answered, but lately we’ve been seeing some pretty encouraging signs of change.

And, best of all, 20biteen is only just getting started.

The Elm

One thought on “It’s official: We’re now living in the year of “20-bi-teen”

  1. My name is Robyn Ochs. I’ve identified as bi for 42 years and I’ve been advocating for bisexual people for 36 of those years. We still have a long way to go until we are fully understood, well-represented, and respected, but here’s the good news: In all the years I’ve been doing this work, I’ve never seen so much progress. There are finally a few shows that show bi+ people as — regular, people who fight fires (Brooklyn 99), treat patients (Grays Anatomy) and work for the Secretary of State (Madame Secretary) And more people are identifying as bi. A 2017 CDC study found that 8% of high-school-aged youth identify as bi. We are indeed in 20BiTeen!

    By Robyn Ochs Feb 02,2019 @ 2:20 pm

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