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Guest Post: Avoiding Bisexual Stereotypes, by Vance Bastian


We’re thrilled to have Vance Bastian contributing a post for our discussion today:

Bisexual characters bring a very dynamic element to a story. Writers who challenge themselves to go beyond the stereotype of wanton promiscuity, abuse, or mental disorders find their stories wrapping around this individual who is a living catalyst.

At their hearts, a bisexual character can be attracted to either gender. That does not mean the character wants to have sex with anything that moves. In fact, how open-hearted and rich is a bisexual character who wants a family, but sees the beauty in everyone? How complex is the character who has chosen a period of celibacy because it’s the only logical/harmonious/balanced choice in a cosmos of genders?

Some formative literary works include:

  • Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Woolfe)
  • Women in Love (D.H. Lawrence)
  • Claudine (Colette)
  • The Twyborn Affair (Patrick White)
  • Less Than Zero (Bret Easton Ellis )
  • The Rules of Attraction (Bret Easton Ellis)
    Some on-screen representations include:

  • Rocky Horror Picture Show (cast)
  • Chasing Amy (Alyssa Jones)
  • Brokeback Mountain (Jack Twist)
  • Xena: Warrior Princess (Athena)
  • Star Trek DS9: Jadzia Dax
  • Torchwood (Captain Jack Harkness)
  • Penny Dreadful (Ethan Chandler, Dorien Grey)
  • Orange is the New Black (Piper Chapman)

Today’s questions to start the discussion:

  1. Can you think of bisexual characters that aren’t stereotypes?
  2. Have you read any of these early works?
  3. Which of these help or harm how bisexual characters are viewed?
  4. Choose one you haven’t read/watched and do a quick Google search. What appeals to you about the story?
  5. Which of these books or movies do you find most interesting?

Please keep the discussion focused on bisexual characters only.

About Vance:

I’m a guy who likes guys.

I write fiction. I’m also a founding host of the 3 M/Musketeers podcast.

I love dogs. I’m allergic to cats, but find them endlessly fascinating. I love my gym time. As in, I actually love challenging myself to get stronger. Conversely, my inner introvert is terrified of locker rooms. FML. If I could be any supernatural archetype I’d be a… werewolf shaman, a wizard, or a mischievous sidhe. Can’t pick just one. Sorry.

I love D&D, Superhero RPGs, and video games based on those two genres. I also like guys. If you ever find a gay superheroes in D&D video game – hook me the mother-truckin’ hell up.

I swear in my fiction. I may eventually drop an f-bomb on this site. Until then, I’ll try to keep it a little clean. I’ll probably fail to keep it clean.

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1 thought on “Guest Post: Avoiding Bisexual Stereotypes, by Vance Bastian”

  1. I write a number of bisexual characters. Mine range from nearly asexual to “If it moves, I’m doing it.” (A cleaned up version of Errol Flynn’s preferred epitaph)

    It’s all in the characterization.


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