So this Bi Visibility Day we decided to go the obvious root and about some visible bi-people.
There are plenty of great lists out there of current celebs talking about their bi status and refuting myths about bi sexuality. So for a slightly different angle, we’ve gone with some more historical characters. Obviously this is a very incomplete list but we’d love to hear your best additions in the comments.
Sound interesting? Great! Let’s get started:
People love to speculate about Shakespeare’s private life, because we know nothing and that makes it more fun. However, in his sonnets it seems pretty clear that he’s bixsexual. The first 126 sonnets are addressed to a young man; the last 28 to a woman. They are known, respectively, as the Fair Lord and the Dark Lady sequences. A nice example is Sonnet 20:
A woman’s face with Nature’s own hand painted
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion;
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue, all “hues” in his controlling,
Which steals men’s eyes and women’s souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick’d thee out for women’s pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love’s use their treasure.
There’s a little appalling sexism, but ignore that and it’s a nice love poem from one man to another.
Daphne Du Maurier
We said there might be a bit of a literary theme. Have you read Rebecca and Jamaica Inn? How about The Doll a rather gothic short story about a woman who becomes obsessed with a mechanical male sex doll?
Anyway, the point is that although she was married she appears to have had an affair with Gertrude Lawrence, an actress and singer about whom she said the following, ‘To be blatantly vulgar, anyone with a spice of imagination would prefer a divan with Gertrude to a double-bed with her.’ She was also said to be attracted to Ellen Doubleday the wife of her American publisher.
Greta Garbo never married and had relationships with men and women throughout her life. Her most famous relationship was with her co-star John Gilbert who asked her to marry him several times.
She was a friend and possible lover of the writer Mercedes de Acosta who was known for her out and proud sexuality. Additionally, the silent film actress Louise Brooks stated that she and Garbo had a brief liaison and there were several other rumored affairs.
1930 Garbo wrote to her friend Mimi Pollak, another actress, “We cannot help our nature, as God has created it. But I have always thought you and I belonged together” Darn if that isn’t a cute quote.
Is this surprising? Is this not surprising?
Though Byron was known in his time for being openly sexual and having many relationships with women that caused more or less scandal (one of his lovers, Lady Caroline Lamb, famously described him as ‘Mad, bad and dangerous to know’ and he was alleged to have had an affair with his half sister) his bisexuality was not understood and even now is often overlooked. He enjoyed relationships with young men at Harrow and Cambridge, he experienced a “violent, though pure, love and passion” for John Edleston, a choirboy at Trinity who was two years younger than him. During his travels he became attached to Nicolo Giraud, a young French-Greek man who had been a painters model and to whom he left £7000 in his will.
Hans Christen Anderson
Get ready for a real sad story here. You know how the Hans Christen Anderson version of The Little Mermaid ends with said mermaid jumping off the side of a ship after being spurned by her true love?
You didn’t? Well sorry, go watch the Disney version and try and pretend like we never told you that.
Those of you remaining, this story is about to get a bunch more depressing. That story was written in response to the marriage of Edvard Collin, the straight guy Hans Christen Andersen was in love with. He also had a habit of falling for unobtainable women and in his private writings he wrote about his refusal to have sexual relations. When he died a pouch containing a letter from his first (unrequited) love was found on his chest.
Life is not always a fairy tale :/
Let us end on a more cheerful note with some words from the wonderful Evan Rachel Wood. In an interview she stated that bixsexuality is, “a big part of who I am, and it always has been for as long as I can remember. …I’ve honestly fallen in love with a man and I’ve honestly fallen in love with a woman. …I don’t know how you label that, it’s just how it is.”