Sara Ramirez is Bisexual: “Grey’s Anatomy” Star Comes Out, Gets An Alternative Lifestyle Haircut

This morning, at the 40 to None Summit to benefit LGBT homelessness, the gorgeous and talented Sara Ramirez showed up to introduce us to her fantastic new buzz cut and her intersectional truth: she’s the multi-racial daughter of immigrants, and she’s bisexual.

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Anyone else just burst into tears? No? Just me?

Most of us know Sara as Grey’s Anatomy’s Callie Torres, half of Calzona, one of the longest running queer relationships on network television. Callie was the first person I ever heard use the word bisexual on the teevee. She made no apologies for her truth, and loved with abandon. She meant so much to me. She inspired me; she brought me comfort. The curve of Callie’s path as a bisexual woman helped me understand and embrace my own bisexuality, and I was gutted when she left the show. I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it since. But today, seeing the amazing woman who brought Callie so much passion stand up in her truth, embrace her intersections, and use her voice to bring awareness to the cause of LGBT homelessness, it’s almost more than my cold black heart can handle.

Shit is tough right now, you guys, but today, in this moment? Sara Ramirez is an out, queer, woman of color, and I for one couldn’t be more thrilled.

What a year for bisexual visibility!

UPDATE: The True Colors Fund has released a full video of Sara’s speech. (Get ready to cry again.)

Jenn is a yoga-loving, tea-drinking, music-obsessed bisexual writer who lives on the outskirts of Atlanta with her husband, her son, her retired greyhound Hops, and two identical white cats called Greatest and Leastie. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. Come and say hi! Bring cookies!

Jenn has written 13 articles for us.

101 Comments

  1. I’m literally on the phone with an old friend right now who opened up with a “Have you heard the good news of the day already?”
    “Carmilla is getting a movie?”
    “No!Sara Ramirez is Bi!”
    ????
    What’s next?
    World peace?
    Sarah Shahi?

  2. I’m in tears. When I was a baby gay/freshman in college, Callie & Erica became a thing (for a very limited time). Erica’s coming out monologue is still one of the most awkward moments in television, and I still have it memorized. Sara Ramirez started out in theatre (she won a Tony Award in 2005), and I really hope she comes back to her NYC theatre roots. I’m so happy for her coming out. Thank you, Sara.

  3. So I’m a huge Grey’s fan and somehow I didn’t even know she left the show. I’m not sure how I didn’t get that judging by last season’s finale, but this is very bittersweet for me now that I know she’s never coming back!! :((((((

  4. Perhaps it was projection, or hope, or hey maybe I DO have gaydar but I read the bit about her being bi and thought “Wait, this is new? I thought we knew this already?” I think every queer person into femmes had many crushy feels for Callie Torres

    • How do you read this site and yet you have never heard of the term “alternative lifestyle haircut”?

      Here’s just a small sampling of the MANY times this term has been used on this site by MANY different writers.

      http://www.autostraddle.com/?s=alternative+lifestyle+haircut

      Though I’m guessing you don’t come here that often, or you’d know that over at Autostraddle, we treat our writers with respect. You’re allowed to criticize, you’re allowed to call out them out when they make mistakes, but you shouldn’t do so in a way that attacks them personally or shuts down discussion.

    • Wtf?

      “Alternative lifestyle haircut” is an old joke that has been knocking around AS and the rest of the queer world for years. Jenn (the writer) is an awesome bisexual activist-type lady and YOU are a troll.

    • Autostraddle has been using the term “alternative lifestyle haircut” as an ironic joke for years, much the same as “gal pals”. I’m not going to tell you to “get off this site” because I prefer to foster a more welcoming atmosphere than that, but perhaps you could learn the history, lingo and inside jokes of this community before misguidedly insulting one of its writers.

  5. About ten years ago, Jenn and I were at Barnes and Noble waiting to see Jim Dale, the brilliant voice of the (American versions of the) Harry Potter audiobooks, perform. I hadn’t been out very long and I had these big dreams of becoming a writer, but I was scared of everything all the time. Jenn gave me the most important Talking To of my life that night in that Barnes and Noble, about truly accepting my sexuality and summoning the courage to be vulnerable in my writing. In fact, she was so focused on helping me embrace being a lesbian — literally holding my hand every time I came out to a new family member — that it took her several more years of distance and introspection to accept her own bisexuality. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to see the person who played my bisexual sister’s favorite bisexual character come out as bisexual in real life, and to get to read Jenn’s words about it on a website where I’m an editor. The Sara Ramirez news broke today when I was in a Barnes and Noble because life’s funny life that.

  6. I really hope that you guys don’t judge me for how emotional I am over this. I am just…. There is no version of my “coming out story” that doesn’t involved Callie Torres. Her time with Erica, Callie figuring out that her feelings for her friend was more than “just friendship” turned my life upside down. She was figuring herself out as I was, at the same time I was.

    That whole plot was my “leaves on trees” moment (to quote Erica Hahn). And I’ll admit to returning to those episodes, along with all of Calzona’s greatest hits, more than once- when I needed courage before my first ever date with a girl, when I needed comfort, when it was a rainy Sunday and I just wanted to have that familiar feeling. And so much more.

    Sara Ramirez is the first woman I ever publicly adored and became comfortavle expressing my feelings for. She is one of my biggest roots.

    And to hear that she came out… A shiver ran through me. I’m almost surprised by how moved I am right now. There aren’t words to describe it.

  7. On one hand I’m like okay cool, but then on the other hand I’m like, What?! Sara was so instrumental way back in season 4 to say “let Callie explore this side of herself” and was an advocate throughout but then for 6 seasons, 6 years she never thought to reveal this side of herself in real life. Do you get what I mean?

    • Cyclone, but doesn’t she have the right to choose when and how she feels comfortable and safe coming out as much as any other individual? Just because she is famous and plays a bi character doesn’t mean she owes us anything — she still gets to choose how she lives her life and tells her story. Maybe it took Callie exploring this part of her for Sara to explore this part of herself… Maybe she wasn’t ready to share this with you until she had figured out what it meant for herself… Maybe she just didn’t feel it was everyone’s business yet… You’re making an odd assumption to say she “never thought” to come out over the last several years. How on earth could you know what she ever thought?

    • Everyone comes out on their own time. No one owes us anything and it’s absolutely lovely that she was comfortable playing that person then, and that she is in a place where she wants to share this now.

    • And also, adding on to both @elza and @queergirl– Her advocacy work (both on screen and offscreen) doesn’t have lesser importance because she wasn’t “publicly out” yet. Sara’s long been in the trenches fighting, and I definitely feel like that’s what matters most.

      She still would have changed countless lives in her representation of Callie Torres and her advocacy for that character’s story. She still would have changed Countless, Countless, Countless more with her activism around LGBT homelessness and Latinx/immigrant labor rights.

      If you watch the arc of her celebrity and her career, every year she got more acute and focused on how to direct her energies towards the projects that meant the most to her. And then elevate those projects and give them voice whenever she could. At this point, especially the last few years- though before that as well- the level of advocacy she has accomplished while being a cast member of a prominent network TV series (and navigating “industry representational politics” that come with it) is pretty impressive, especially when compared to her similarly positioned peers.

      Sara actually being bisexual is just the cherry on top of the sundae. Even if we never had received this exciting bit of news, the sundae alone would have still been damn worth it.

      (Also, I’m really not here for policing when/if celebrities come out. For that matter, I’m really not here for policing if/when *anyone* comes out, but I feel those points were more well made by others ahead of me on this thread)

    • You all are right, it is/was Sara’s choice to come out whenever on her own terms but that’s not what my comment was about.
      It was more about her being out there and being proud to advocate for the LGBT community all these years but she didn’t think it was important enough to share this detail about herself. When you are giving speeches about “it gets better” (or what have you) the people you are speaking to want to know what makes you the expert. How do you know it gets better if you haven’t lived in my shoes. Her message was powerful even though she didn’t say she was bisexual but I think if she revealed this commonality she had with so many of the LGBT youth she spoke to her message could have been more powerful and relatable.

      • Cyclone, I think you may want to give our posts another re-read, because I think you are missing our greater point a bit.

        1. There is no way of knowing if/when Sara realized she was bisexual, because she hasn’t spoken about it. You are assuming she was keeping this “big” secret from her LGBTQ+ fans, which is… an odd assumption to make, and not one with any publicly known basis.

        2. You seem to be continuing to hold her as a celebrity to a higher standard/expectation about the responsibilities of coming out than any of us hold the people in our everyday life. That’s unfair. She’s a human being, and we are all vulnerable and insecure and take our time around these issues. Let’s try and leave space for her hummanity, you know? Humans are imperfect. Coming out doesn’t have a timeclock, even if you are a celebrity.

        3. She just did the exact thing you are asking her for! She came out in a speech to/about LGBTQ+ youth specifically, so that her message could be more powerful and relatable. Are you stuck because she didn’t do in a time that feels acceptable to you? It’s not like her career or popularity are past their peak, she literally just left Grey’s less than 5 months ago. Calzona and Sara are still immensly popular in queer women’s pop culture. I also maintain that her “coming out” doesn’t weigh in her activism, she has been a vocal and active supporter of queer and Latinx and immigrant causes for years. This is a “bonus” to her activism, but it shouldn’t superceded it (and also, for what it’s worth, I’ve followed Sara’s career pretty closly for the better part of the last decade, and I can’t remember off the top of my head her ever giving an “It Gets Better” speech. Which doesn’t mean that she doesn’t care about the issue, but it’s never been where she’s stamped her brand. So this “When you are giving speeches about ‘it gets better’ (or what have you) the people you are speaking to want to know what makes you the expert. How do you know it gets better if you haven’t lived in my shoes.”….. doesn’t really seem to apply here the way you are using it).

        You have your set opinion and you definitely have a right to it. I just am not certain that a post CELEBRATING her coming out and among an entire thread of people talking about how important this felt for them was the right time or place for this particular critique of yours. And as such, I’m going to stop engaging here and go back to celebration.

        Hope you have a great day!

      • Another thing to consider is that she’s married to a man, and up until very recently the prevailing response from the LGBTQ community when a celeb came out as bi while in a hetero relationship has been, shall we say, less than warmly welcoming. She may have quite understandably wanted to avoid that kind of backlash.

    • I think I jumped the gun when I wrote my second comment. I realized that there could be so many reasons as to why Sara didn’t come out all those years from not being ready to not knowing that part of herself yet and for me to project the ideals I had for her story was wrong.
      I apologize if I offended anyone with my comment and yes this is something to be celebrated.

  8. I have to admit, when I read this, my first reaction was OMFG!, shortly followed by diving into the comments to confirm that I wasn’t over-reacting – thanks everyone, I do feel a bit less silly.

    I’m a big Monty Python fan so when I heard about the musical Spamalot, I had to drop everything that I was doing and buy the soundtrack ASAP! Given I’m nowhere near the USA, it took a lot of energy to patiently wait for the disc to be delivered. When I got it, I played it everywhere, all the time – I had the CD in my car, my iPod when on public transport, my office at uni etc. I absolutely fell for the “Lady of the Lake” – the voice, the range and skills of the actress was amazing! Then her performance at the Tony’s when she was ill was jaw-dropping!

    I wasn’t much of a fan of Grey’s Anatomy, but I loved the story behind how she got the part and actually visually see her in action. I started watching on and off, then the whole Erica/leaves thing had me hooked.

    Naturally, when Spamalot made it to my home town I bought tickets ASAP. Still very much enjoyable, but I spent a lot of time wondering what it would have been like to see her on Broadway.

  9. Why am I so convinced Sara is and has been out for the longest time? Am I confusing her with Callie or is it because she’s been an ally for years? Either way, her support is appreciated and I can’t imagine my life without the Callie story line so I’ll forever be super grateful.

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