ABC Freeform’s Black-ish spinoff, Grown-ish, addressed biphobia within the LGBT community in its latest episode, and called out the double standards for men and women who identify as bi.
In Wednesday’s episode, “Starboy,” bisexual character Nomi (Emily Arlook) is on a date with a lesbian at her college’s local sports bar when a man offers to buy her a drink.
After she explains that she’s on a date, he offers to buy them both a drink as an apology for the misunderstanding, prompting Nomi’s date to ream him out and tell him they’re not looking for a threesome.
“I just hate straight guys with the whole lesbian-fantasy thing,” says the unnamed date after he leaves. “It’s so cliché.”
Nomi agrees, but shares that she’s bisexual, at which point her date announces she’s not interested in being an “experiment” and tells her to call her when she’s done with her “bi phase.”
“Wait, did you just say ’phase’?” Nomi asks indignantly, “She just said ’phase,’ you guys. I heard it!” As her date storms off, Nomi yells across the crowded bar, “You know, it’s LG-B-TQ. Respect the letter, bitch!”
That’s quite a bisexual rallying cry.
Later in the episode it’s revealed that Nomi has a hard time respecting the letter sometimes, too.
When she and her friends wind up hanging out with the dude who offered to buy her a drink, he commiserates with her situation. It’s just like how the fact he has “messed with guys,” doesn’t make him gay.
Nomi asks uncomfortably whether it was “just a one-time thing,” to which he responds, “No. I’m bisexual, just like you,” which elicits raised eyebrows from everyone at the table—including Nomi.
“Totally,” she says half-heartedly. “Just… like… me.”
— grown-ish (@grownish) January 18, 2018
The moment calls out how bisexual men are often portrayed as suspicious in popular culture, just hiding before they come out as fully gay. Nearly half of all Americans say they wouldn’t date a bisexual person of any gender.
Nomi’s unease is also a reminder that internalized biphobia is a real thing. Here’s hoping the show keeps delivering when it comes to bi visibility across the gender spectrum.