"How Do You Create A Bisexual Film Character?"
by Tyler Lewis
Earlier this week, when I watched the independent black gay film, Finding Me: Truth, (which can be streamed, along with the first Finding Me film, for about $4 on TLAvideo.com) I was struck by how director Roger S. Omeus constructed the Greg character – the protagonist’s bisexual best friend.
There are so few images of bisexual men in popular culture – and in black pop, culture bisexuality is usually constructed as the predatory, deceitful “DL” man – that it’s actually a pretty revolutionary occurrence for a bisexual black male character to be a prominent, fairly well-developed, character in a feature film.
Greg is pretty openly bisexual. All of his friends know he’s bisexual and he never once seems tortured or run down by his sexuality. But Greg is presented as greedy, as wanting to have too much, so he dates a man and sleeps with a woman on the side. It’s kinda lame and predictable that he isn’t honest with both of his partners or that the film wastes an opportunity to acknowledge or reference societal pressure. Greg’s just deceitful because that’s who he is. That feels too easy.
Ultimately, Greg’s story doesn’t really help us rethink our assumptions about what bisexuality is. And perhaps that’s because its fluidity is very hard to actually live in a day-to-day way. Do you construct a story where the character dates a man and a woman in succession in order to convey bisexuality? Or show a character dating men and women concurrently, but without lying to them?
I don’t know the answer, but it’ll be interesting to see how other filmmakers address this challenge.