How Many Times Does Shay Mitchell Have to Say She’s Bisexual???

Photo of Shay Mitchell, who recently did a bisexual TikTok meme,  by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Harper’s BAZAAR

Okay I’m going to let you in on a little secret: When a person plays gay three or more times, our TV team puts them onto a little mental watchlist called GAYBE? Because with the exception of, like, Lucy Lawless, basically everyone who has played gay three or more times eventually comes out as gay. It’s not a science, but it’s also not just a hunch. And so of course Shay Mitchell — known to you as Emily Fields of Pretty Little Liars, Peach Salinger of Hashtag You on Lifetime, and Stella Cole of Dollface; ALL GAY! — is a person who would be on that list. IF SHE HADN’T ALREADY SAID SHE’S NOT STRAIGHT A THOUSAND TIMES.

Which I am bringing up this very morning because of a TikTok which shows Shay falling gracefully onto her very own green velvet couch stitched together with someone saying “Green velvet couches are for bisexuals.” (Our evidence shows green velvet couches are for ALL gays, but we’re not here to quibble with that.)

Peep it for your own self!

@shaymitchell #duet with @keepitspooky #Stitch ♬ original sound – Kayla :)

This whole thing started back in 2016 when Shay Mitchell told Cosmopolitan that she was dating a man at the moment, but who’s to say who’d she be dating in three years, could be a woman, who knows, she had no plans to cut herself off from love in any direction. Then, in 2017, she told Maxim, “I fall in love with the spirit of somebody. Love is love.” Then, last year, she made gingerbread cookies with PLL costar Ian Harding and when he asked when she was last attracted to a woman, she said, “Wow, every day??” and reiterated that she was never looking for a boyfriend or a husband or whatever; she was looking for a person who fit the qualities she wanted in a partner.

THESE ARE NOT THE WORDS OF A STRAIGHT PERSON!

It is baffling to me why no one believes her! And I know they don’t because every time she says what she already said, people are like “OMG is she coming out?” NO. SHE ALREADY CAME OUT! Is it because she’s so femme? Or because she’s never been in a public relationship with another woman? (Kind of up for debate tbh.) The only acceptable answer here is that you saw what happened any time literally anyone fell for Emily Fields (kidnapped, buried alive, stabbed by fake cousin, kidnapped and duct taped inside a closet, stalked, re-stalked, teeth necklace, kidnapped and drugged up inside a psychiatric hospital, impregnated with stolen ovarian eggs, etc.) and you’re scared of it happening to you to if you acknowledge your feelings for Shay Mitchell who has Emily Fields’ face as her own face.

Also, for your information, she’s in the new Mindy Kaling-helmed Velma series and the rumor on the fandom streets is Shay is playing Velma’s love interest. Which honestly means she’s… never played a straight character?

So. Let’s celebrate Shay Mitchell continuing to be queer on this beautiful autumn day.


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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1493 articles for us.

20 Comments

  1. I think it’s biphobia mixed with fandom racism, like how Megan Thee Stallion is bi but is never mentioned in any list of queer artists.

    (Also this isn’t remotely the point but I’m gonna need Troian Bellisario to come out as queer at some point to confirm my suspicion that Lucy Hale was in fact the only straight Liar all along)

    • You think Lucy Hale is straight? Lucy Hale, who is currently playing a lesbian on Ragdoll and who did this interview with The Advocate?

      “I always view it as character and I’ve never really talked about my personal life and what my sexuality is. I prefer not to talk about that because I like to keep my life very private,” she says “But I think that … Edmunds, the character, sort of represents a generation. They talk about sexuality in a way that I really admire — that you can be fluid and you can be attracted to people as people. And that’s always been my mindset. I just like human beings.” Hale says.

  2. Honestly I think it’s largely because she hasn’t been explicit in her comments, and because there are a lot of (seemingly genuinely) straight women out there (perhaps not entirely straight but who identify as such) who are open to the idea of being with a woman or non-binary person, but who haven’t actually found themselves to be attracted to any. Or occasionally straight women will use the term ‘attracted to’ when they mean they find a woman attractive to look at, for example. I think the kind of language straight women can use around these topics can be quite nebulous, so it’s not too surprising to me that people aren’t 100% sure how Shay feels personally.

    It’s also likely that because she hadn’t made a more clear statement, news outlets haven’t picked up on any of this and so people simply aren’t aware she’s said these things in the first place.

    I don’t mean any of this to sound invalidating though – I agree that when you put everything she’s said together, it certainly sounds like she is bisexual and makes sense to assume that’s the case! I just wanted to say why I think people are unsure. (And yes, her femme presentation likely plays a part too.)

    • For some reason the TikTok video didn’t play properly for me earlier – having seen it properly now, that’s of course a very clear confirmation that she’s bisexual and identifies as such!

  3. I honestly believe it’s because she’s so femme in her presentation and because she has the type of beauty that Hollywood calls pretty and so society can’t grok that she could be even partly lesbian or bisexual because they simply can not understand the difference between sexual orientation and gender presentation and they have a very distorted idea of attractiveness and beauty.
    For example: I am a tomboy femme bisexual dyke with now long hair but when I was growing up and until my mid 20’s very very short hair. My face is what Hollywood would call “girl next door pretty” because I have dark hair and eyes and I get very tan, and so I’m not leading lady pretty. And so when I came out to someone one time, her first words were, “But you’re so pretty!”

    I swear to god that’s what she almost shouted. And I got that kind of reaction a lot and so did other femmes I knew back then.
    Straights have also said things to me like, “But you like WOMEN women, right? Not those (whatever offensive words they used for my type, which are masc-of-center and/or butch women), RIGHT?!”

    Seriously, straights really can’t wrap their heads around femme lesbian desire at all.

    Unless it’s two femmes together and then they sort of get it but I think they actually think neither one is a ‘real’ lesbian and will go back to men the second the whatever is over.

    I believe that if a masc-of-center woman comes out straights are like, oh, ok. And then they might still be homophobic but they believe it.

    Again, they can’t separate gender expression or identity from sexual orientation. To this day. SMH.

    • Oh, and I’ve also heard straights say that the femme member of a butch-femme couple is not a real lesbian but the butch member of the couple is the real lesbian. They expect the femme member of that couple to be secretly into men or to be able to be “fixed” by sex with a man. My best friend’s ex actually believed that my husband turned me straight , but he still didn’t feel comfortable at our wedding and left early. Probably because there were 18 lesbians there plus the lesbian officiant, and two gay men. That was out of 80 people, so probably hard to avoid. Btw, my queer friends’ favorite game since then is to tease me that he did. Best way to get actual steam to come out of my ears!

      • Not technically, no. But that’s not my point. She’s been in a committed relationship with a man she has two kids with for 6-7 years now so I imagine the average straight person who consumes media probably assumes she’s straight based on that knowledge. Her two pregnancies were covered very publicly. The fact her making a TikTok about being bisexual is making news NOW despite her talking about it previous(I mean who reads Maxim) tells me that this wasn’t common knowledge to a lot of people.

  4. It seems clear that she identifies as bi now, but I’ll admit that when she first made those statements in 2016/2017 I was not sure if she actually identified as queer or just was teasing sexual fluidity to cater to her large queer fan base; her words felt carefully chosen to be deliberately vague and allow people to read what they wanted to into it. I’m glad to see her officially joining the bi meme culture haha.

  5. Sounds like someone needs a “Still Bisexual After All These Years” T-Shirt! Or rather, other people somehow still need that reminder. Glad to have Shay continue to be in our queer family–now please excuse me, I am off to get that green velvet couch…

  6. So many of these comments are like “well maybe people don’t believe her because of…xyz” and it’s actually so simple: Biphobia, Bi erasure and the very pervasive idea that someone’s relationship directly determines their sexual identity which is, again, *ding ding* biphobia & bi erasure. It’s not that mysterious and seeing people do mental//linguistic gymnastics around calling it what it is is frustrating.

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