17 Bisexual Women TV Characters Who Thwarted Tropes and Won Your Hearts

We originally published this list with ten characters on Bi+ Week in 2017, but we’ve made some additions and think you might enjoy reading it again!

It’s a tricky business being a bisexual woman on teevee. There are so many lazy cliches and tropes writers are constantly forcing you to trip over, and oftentimes those hackneyed storylines perpetuate harmful stereotypes that actually harm bi women in real life. But sometimes, on a rare harvest moon when the mermaids sing and the unicorns take flight, we’re treated to really authentic, layered, swoon-worthy portrayals of bisexual women on our favorite shows. These are the best of them.

A note: Labels are hard, in real life and in fiction. Language isn’t science; it’s constantly evolving and everyone comes to the label table with different experiences. Some of these characters have used the word bisexual to describe themselves. Some of them have not labeled their sexuality in any way, but their storylines seem to indicate that they’re bisexual. We really just want to celebrate some really rad fictional characters who have found themselves attracted to other fictional characters of various genders.

Okay? Okay! Happy #BiWeek!

Kalinda Sharma, The Good Wife

by heather

Kalinda’s sexuality was a surprise! The Good Wife‘s writers never dangled the hope that she’d be bisexual in any interviews and CBS certainly didn’t tease it in any press releases. Then one night, out of the blue, she kissed a woman! (Supposedly; it happened behind a garage door and we only saw their feet.) But then she kissed more women and had sex with some of them and fell in love with at least one of them. She also had a very significant relationship with a man throughout the course of the show. None of it ever felt forced or like a ratings stunt. Kalinda was Kalinda. She never cared what anyone thought of her or felt compelled to explain herself. Her sexuality just made sense. She is also one of the very few South Asian queer characters in TV history, which, as Kayla Upadhyaya noted in our Best QTPOC TV and Movie Characters Roundtable, is a really big deal. Having someone as talented as Archie Panjabi — who was nominated for multiple Emmys during her time on The Good Wife — portraying such a complicated character was just icing on the cake.

Syd Feldman, Transparent

by riese

Transparent is a stand-out for its progressive portrayal of sexuality and gender on so many fronts and dancing on the outside of the dysfunctional Pferfferman clan was Syd Feldman, played by Carrie Brownstein. We know Syd is Ali’s best friend and then suddenly there she is sleeping with Josh (who is the worst) and then she’s in class with Ali, saying she slept with the female professor! And also she has a crush on Ali who she’s had a crush on since 8th grade. The ensuing arc feels real if also sad in that it ended in a Syd/Ali breakup (but anybody who was an angsty teen in the ’90s like me was probably just honored to witness any moments of Gaby Hoffman / Carrie Brownstein romance), but I think Syd deserves better. The bad thing about her character is that I guess she had to leave the show to find it.

Brenna Carver, Chasing Life

by heather

Brenna Carver is one of the few characters on this list who used the word “bisexual” every chance she got. She dated guys and liked them a lot, she dated girls and liked them a lot too. And when people tried label her as something else, she had no problem correcting them. She also spent a lot of time clearing up misconceptions about bi people. “I’m not attracted to everyone I walk by,” she snapped at a lesbian in her Gay-Straight Alliance who hinted that bi girls are indecisive cheating machines. “I’m not changing my mind; I’m attracted to the person for who they are, not the gender!” Brenna’s grandma got it, and she shipped Brenna and Greer hardcore.

Waverly Earp, Wynonna Earp

by heather

No one was more surprised than Waverly Earp when she fell for a literal hot cop in season one of Wynonna Earp. She’d been dating Champ, Purgatory’s rodeo jock for a while, when Nicole swaggered into town. She only fought her feelings for a minute; when she fell, she fell. One of the major questions the series has explored over the first two seasons is: Who is Waverly Earp? It’s something Waverly herself doesn’t really know; she’s constantly struggling to figure it out. But never once has her sexuality factored into her confusion. She knows who she loves. She knows why. She also makes out with her girlfriend with the lights on, a special gift on television, even in 2017.

Editor’s note: You’ll see some passionate comments about Waverly’s sexuality in the comments of this post from 2017; since then, at ClexaCon 2018, Dominique Provost-Chalkley labeled Waverly as bisexual. 

Annalise Keating, How to Get Away With Murder

by heather

I have written why Annalise Keating is one of the best bisexual character on TV so many times I don’t know what else to say! Annalise has loved some terrible men and some good men. And she’s loved at least one woman who makes her light up from the inside. Annalise is just unlike any other woman we’ve ever seen on TV. She’s brilliant and driven and broken and messy and glorious and in charge and out of control and holding the entire world together through the sheer power of her will. And she’s played by VIOLA DAVIS, one of the greatest actors on the face of the earth. I’m just going to quote Natalie’s feelings from the Best QTPOC TV and Movie Characters Roundtable: “It’s hard to divorce my love for Annalise Keating from the woman that plays her because so much of what makes me feel seen is that she’s portrayed by someone that looks like Viola Davis. Annalise Keating is a dark-skinned black woman, who isn’t a size zero and whose natural hair hides beneath impeccable wigs. Hollywood has a very narrow definition of what a beautiful black woman ought to look like —*cough* Halle Berry *cough* — and Viola Davis upends all of that.”

Delphine Cormier, Orphan Black

by heather

Delphine was very nearly all the bad bi tropes. She seemed duplicitous, conniving, unable to make up her mind, she even died! But it turns out she was really just Severus Snape, minus the casual torture of young witches and wizards and their pet frogs. By which I mean: She started out working for the bad guys, became a double-agent because of the woman she loved, and every single decision she made after that was to keep Cosima (and her sestras) safe. Also, she gave one of the best speeches about sexuality I’ve ever heard: “I have never thought about bisexuality. I mean, for myself, you know? But as a scientist, I know that sexuality is a spectrum. But, you know, social biases, they codifiy attraction. It’s contrary to the biological facts… you know?” Cosima did know. They immediately had sex and then ice cream.

Paige Michalchuck, Degrassi: The Next Generation

by riese

In 2005 and 2006, I was grappling with questions around my own sexual orientation while working doggedly on a non-fiction/memoir hybrid about bisexuality — which involved a lot of “research” and by “research” I mean “watching every bi storyline I could get my hands on.” Paige was the first bisexual character in the Degrassi franchise, and although as a character I find her insufferable (particularly for how she shamed Alex for working at a strip club), at the time of its airing, Paige’s portrayal was pretty revolutionary. Many passionate television watchers go bananas watching characters do cartwheels and circle dances all around the word “bisexual,” and Paige’s storyline starts out being an extended exercise in that particular art. She might be falling for Alex… but she’s not gay! She says this a lot, “I’m not gay!” “I can’t be gay!” Her brother is gay, you see, and she doesn’t think her parents can handle two gay kids. Guest Star Kevin Smith tells her to stop getting hung up on gender and just follow her heart, and she does, taking the plunge to openly date Alex. When she and Alex break up (they’re not a great match, let’s be real), her best friend Hazel laments, “I just got used to you being a lesbian,” and Paige reminds her that it’s not about her and also “I’m free to date whoever I want, boy or girl.” The Palex Storyline, Round One, leads to a pair of revelations: Pagie realizes she’s into boys and girls, Alex realizes she’s a lesbian. The two girls reunite a year later but Paige, having recently flunked out of college and thus disappointed her parents, is resistant to do anything that might ruffle their feathers: “Look you’re cool with being a lesbian, but I don’t know what I am.” Alex, “The word is bisexual, Paige, and it’s just a label. Who cares?” Paige gives it a think and soon enough it turns out that Paige in fact does not care. She wants to give it another go with Alex. Although Paige does fall into the “dates four boys and one girl” trope, it’s worth noting that she does date a girl twice, it just happens to be the same one. Back then, that didn’t happen much — the lesbian storyline served its purpose, then vanished into the ether. Degrassi gets points for not letting it go there, and for using the word “bisexual,” too.

Callie Torres, Grey’s Anatomy

by heather

Callie Torres is the longest running bisexual character in the history of television and she is played by real life bisexual Latina superhero Sara Ramirez. Over the course of her eleven seasons on Grey’s Anatomy, she was married to a man and a woman, both of whom she loved deeply. She never shied away from calling herself bisexual, whether as confrontation or as comfort. Callie’s journey to figuring out she was bisexual and ultimately falling in love with Arizona Robbins happened right on the heels of California’s Proposition 8 in 2008, one of the most devastating blows to the marriage equality movement in modern history. Her storyline happened at a crucial moment on one of the most-watched and most talked about shows in the country on broadcast network television. There’s really no way to overstate her impact. But she’s more than just what she accomplished. Callie was a joy to watch on TV. Smart and savvy and silly and relentlessly loyal to the people she loved. Perhaps one day the goddesses will smile upon us and she will return to Seattle Grace Mercy West and the open arms of her ex-wife.

Kat Sandoval, Madam Secretary 

by heather

Sara Ramriez set our hearts on fire when she released the first promo shot of Kat Sandoval from Madam Secretary. We hardly every get to see butch women on TV, and especially not bisexual butches, and especially not women of color. It was already revolutionary. It didn’t stop with style, though; Kat’s coming out — which coincided with a really important storyline about LGBTQ+ human rights violations — was breathtaking. “I shivered,” Carmen wrote about the episode. “I have never heard a television character — male, female, or non binary — use ‘queer’ in the way I use it in my daily life.”

Bo Dennis, Lost Girl

by riese

Lost Girl was the first time I saw a storyline in which a female protagonist was torn between a male and a female love interest and their gender was never summoned as a factor in her decision or situation. Nor did it seem that the writers were inherently biased towards the male love interest, as most stories I’d seen until then had been. There’s no coming out narrative, nobody has an issue with her bisexuality or relationships, her feelings for women are never seen as “less than” her relationships with men. Her sexual orientation was actually seen, more or less, as the norm, rather than the exception. I think this is part of why queers are so drawn to sci-fi narratives; because we can make our own worlds there, worlds without compulsory heterosexuality or traditional gender roles. It actually seemed like all the fae were bisexual. It was a magical world where nobody assumes anything about your sexual orientation just from looking at you. Girls kissed other girls so often that I stopped even noticing it!

Ashlie Davies, South of Nowhere

by heather

There were no characters like Ashley Davies when she arrived on the scene in 2005. Sure, we had two seasons of The L Word under our belts, but that was premium cable and, frankly, a cast of characters many (if not most) lesbians couldn’t relate to. Spencer and Ashley, though? They seemed universal. There’d been a handful of bi teens on TV before, but usually it was just a main character exploring her feelings for a woman for ratings for a few episodes, and then never mentioning it again. Not Ashley! She had significant relationships with guys and gals, and her angst-free openness about her sexuality was a welcome relief for both the audience and Spencer.

Sameen Shaw, Person of Interest

by heather

Shaw was the center of what was, in my opinion, one of the greatest episodes of queer TV ever, in Person of Interest‘s “6,741.” What makes her character so remarkable is she came on as a guest, with no plans to make her Root’s love interest, but their chemistry was so good the writers leaned into and then just gave themselves over to it. On CBS of all places! Shaw also isn’t like most of the other characters on this list. She’s not a squeaky clean good guy. In fact, she’s kind of a sociopath. Not in a way that’s damming, though; in a way that was so compelling even — to quote Natalie — the straights could see.

Sara Lance, Legends of Tomorrow

by heather

Sara Lance died and usually that would have been that, but it was not and how lucky we are! She came back to life, joined up with the Legends of Tomorrow team, and is now the captain of the entire group of heroes and the center of the show! She’s a badass with a lot of trauma and an enormous heart, which she used to great effect in season three: falling in love with Ava and fighting for her like she fights to save the world. It was always fun to watch Sara seduce her way through time and space, but it was also really rewarding to watch her settle down, despite all the odds.

Ilana Wexler, Broad City

by heather

Broad City has never made a big deal about Ilana’s sexuality, which is a big deal. She’s openly attracted to both men and women and desperately in love with her best friend, in an on-and-off relationship with a man we actually like, and openly non-monogamous. Riese loves Broad City and she loved Ilana and she will probably never forgive the people who didn’t vote for her in our Gay Emmys. “I love how nonchalant the show is about Ilana’s sexuality,” Riese wrote after her most recent queer hookup. “She’s just out to have a good time, yannow?”

Rosa Diaz, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

by heather

Speaking of the Gay Emmys, Stephanie Beatriz swept them — and rightly so! When Beatriz came out in real life, the shows writers came to her to help craft a coming out story for Rosa, and she did. For starters, she said the word “bisexual” to describe herself, right out loud on network TV, which hardly ever happens. And then she explained it in the simplest terms: “I was in seventh grade. I was watching Saved by the Bell and I thought, Zack Morris: hot. And then I thought, Lisa Turtle: also hot.” Her coming out to her friends was easy as anything, but things didn’t go well with her parents, who refused to even entertain the idea at first and then settled on accepting it because she’d “probably end up with a man anyway.” Her heart broke at their deliberate obtuseness, but her friends rallied around her and Captain Holt pep talked her in one of the sweetest scenes of the entire series. Even better: The show’s not done telling her story yet!

Petra Solano, Jane the Virgin

by heather

Fans of Jane the Virgin had been shipping Petra and Jane for years, and one day the writers decided, “Why not?” Not Jane-Jane, but Jane Ramos, Petra’s lawyer — played scorchingly hot by Rosario Dawson. Petra’s bisexual awakening was actually one of the easiest things in her life. No one was axe-murdered. No one was poisoned. No No one was body-swapped, kidnapped, or framed for a felony they didn’t commit. There was simply some chemistry, a sex dream, and then she went for it. Petra’s coming out was also as casual as can be. “We had sex,” she told Jane and Rafael about JR, after they mistakenly thought she had a crush on Jane. And that was that.

Kat Edison, The Bold Type

by heather

Kat came out in season one after some serious hand-wringing and one very intense SoulCycle class, but once she realized she’s bisexual, she never looked back. She made the huge gesture for Adena, leading an episode modeled after one of the most romantic movies of all time. And even though their relationship didn’t work out, she made a serious commitment (which she’d never been willing to do before), and hooked up with plenty of other girls in the process. Natalie and Kayla and Carmen talked about The Bold Type‘s struggle to get Kat’s identity as a woman of color right, which is always an important thing to add to any conversation about Kat. The show seems to be listening, though, and growing. Just like our beloved social media manager at Scarlet magazine. Her queer storyline was the romantic emotional anchor of season two, which was a revolutionary thing.

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  1. Cassandra Cillian, The Librarians

    When the most adorkable lady scientist since Dr. Isles came onto our screens, she instantly enchanted us. She was a scientist, a mathematician, and a redhead. Then our hearts were set aflame when TNT did a twist on normal faerytales by making her Prince Charming whom all of the women in town swooned over. “The Librarians” continued to leave little breadcrumbs of Cassandra’s bisexuality over the next few seasons culminating in an episode where she both asked a man on a date and kissed a beautiful Spanish vampiress. Furthermore, she’s never had to explain or excuse her sexuality. Cassandra, please return quickly.

  2. I have to give a shout out to Abby on LA Law in the 90s – aka one of the characters in the “lesbian kiss” episode. I’ve not watched it or the rest of her arc since it aired, and I’m sure it’s bad. But it meant a lot to baby queer me.

    It was pretty typical of the 90s – two women lawyers, CJ and Abby, kiss. And then CJ leaves the show and Abby dates a man. But. She tells him that she dates men and women first.

    I watched it when it first aired, as a baby bi, in one of the tv lounges in my dorm (the one the queer girls hung out in, “flaunting” our sexuality) and it made a big impression on me. It was the first time I saw bisexuality mentioned in series tv, or on any kind of tv. And it offered me a model for how to talk with future partners.

    All of this is a long way of saying that I’m glad better representation exists now, because it does matter.

  3. Sameen Shaw, Person of Interest is my favourite bisexual character. From her first episode she tells Root, who is going to torture her, that she kind of enjoys that sort of thing, the kinky references continue throughout the development of their relationship. She is openly attracted to men, obviously attracted to women and whilst she denies feelings for Root she openly refers to her as hot – her reservations are due to her not doing relationships, they are nothing to do with her sexuality.
    Shaw is a brilliant 3D character, she is neurodivergent and claims not to care about people but is a loyal team mate, tough, entertaining, queer woman of colour.

  4. I checked this list with the sole purpose to find one Miss Sameen Shaw on here, but was pleased to encounter a very charming Ms. Cormier.
    Still, though, Shaw!

  5. Kalinda and Callie changed my life. When I started watching the Good Wife, I still studiously ignored all the Kalinda/Alicia shipping so it wouldn’t seem like I endorsed it or anything. I supported K + dudes only. But by season 3 I was thinking about how happy she was with some Lana and (Sophia? Donna? one of them), and it was the first time I allowed myself to consider two girls together a happy ending.

    And then when I found Grey’s and Callie, she helped me consider girls a viable possibility for /me/, not just for other people, not just a thing to think about in secret.

  6. Callie Torres changed my life. Absolutely, positively, ground zero, changed it.

    You are dang right that her impact cannot be overstated.

  7. Speaking of Carrie Brownstein her character Carrie on Portlandia is also bi. Chloe Sevigny dates her & Fred at the same time. I think she also dated someone else also as Carrie on the show too, but she also date a hunk(I think the episode was titled Carrie Dates a Hunk).

  8. Ashley from South of Nowhere. Ashley and Spencer made me so aware of my identity as a bisexual person. Ashley as a person who did her own thing was so inspirational to me.

  9. I’m sure that Waverly is gay not bisexual. In S2 she once said, she was only with the douchebag in a relationship because she wanted to show people that she was “normal“. (And I think that Emily Andras said that in Twitter too but I’m not sure here)

    And btw, Delphine is a really great bisexual character. ^^
    Don’t EVER make her jealous!

  10. Yes, give kudos to Grey’s Anatomy for the long, legit Calzona relationship, but also, never forget the Parking Lot of No Return.

  11. Why did you decide Waverly is bisexual when at best it’s ambiguous (though she actually used the g word in reference to herself)? All women are bisexual by default?

  12. This is the second article that has said Waverly is bisexual based on a past relationship which is complete bullshit. Please do your homework & take her off the list. It has never been stated in the show that she is bisexual but has referred to herself as gay. Waverly is gay!!

  13. The idea that there is an actress of Viola Davis’ caliber–an Emmy, Oscar and Tony winner–that plays a bisexual pansexual character on television still excites me every time I think about it.

    I will love Kalinda Sharma forever…even aside from how unapologetically badass her character was, the fact that this woman of color came into this otherwise monochromatic show and was BELOVED by its audience still astounds. The success of that character made me a tad less cynical about the average CBS viewers’ capacity to embraced well written diverse characters.

  14. I love this list. So many characters who have meant so much to me. It’s still bonkers that we get to count Viola Davis among the list of actors who have played queer women — and in a role that is almost always worthy of her, too!

    I am especially fond of Kalinda Sharma, both because her bisexuality was such a surprise, and because my parents’ love for the show and her character in particular was a big thing that made me feel like I could come out to them. I just think about all the people who watched that show and couldn’t help but fall in love with that character!

  15. Sara Lance, Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow.

    When Sara first returned to Star(ling) City in season 2 of Arrow, she resumed the relationship she had with Oliver Queen before they were shipwrecked on Lian Yu. But later that season left town with Nyssa al Ghul, the woman who had saved her on Lian Yu and had a relationship with in the years before Sara’s return.

    In season 1 of Legends of Tomorrow, she was on the verge of a relationship with Leonard Snart (aka Captain Cold) until he sacrificed himself in the penultimate episode. She also almost had a relationship with a closeted nurse in 1950s Oregon, but her return from the dead was still messing with her head at that point.

    In season 2, she had more interest with women than men, first in 2×01 with the Queen of France and while stranded in time in Salem of the 17th century. And late in 2×17 with Guinevere (being the Lancelot for this particular Camelot while Arthur was interested in Stargirl (of the JSA) as his Merlin.

    They have said that Sara is to have another relationship in season 3, but no word on whether it’s with a man or a woman.

    • I loved how casually Sara was bisexual. like, with Nyssa the whole assassin thing took precedence over the girl thing, and that was such a nice thing to see on my tv.

  16. I get that you want to highlight bisexuality as often and as much as you can, but I think what’s being lost in the bisexual flag waving here is the simple fact of someone’s coming out process. There’s a difference between a woman who’s sexually and emotionally attracted to both males and females — and a woman who was with a boyfriend or husband before she admitted to herself that what she really craved was found only in the body and intellect of a female.

    Bo Dennis of Lost Girl represents the definition of a bisexual woman because not only did she never hesitate in her physical attraction for and enjoyment of both males and females, but when she fell in love with both a male and a female she loved them equally.

    Waverly Earp, on the other hand, is far from being a bisexual. She did have a boyfriend before she met Nicole but her relationship with him was more exasperation than amorousness. She did not seek the attention of males, did not respond to any overture from a male, and in a second season alternate-universe episode where she was engaged to a nice guy she avoided kissing him. In that same AU episode she tells her AU fiancee: “I think I’m gay.” (If the series’ straight but gay-friendly showrunner wasn’t so reluctant about the “L”, the word heard in that scene would have been “lesbian”). When Waverly met Nicole she came out … as a homosexual.

    • Ok. There actually isn’t just one definition of bisexual, and it certainly doesn’t *only* mean a person who dates/enjoys both men and women equally and has fallen in love with both men and women. There are bisexuals who have only dated one gender, or have only fallen in love with one gender, and they’re still bisexual! There are also lots of people who do have a preference (e.g. can be sexually attracted to men, but find the vast majority of them insufferable and don’t want to date them, or bisexual homoromantic, which is how I sometimes describe myself), which is fine! I would also love to see Waverly continue to define herself and use more words to describe what/how she identifies, but in the meantime I don’t think that just because she seems more (romantically) into Nicole than she was into Champ/her AU fiance, that that necessarily means she’s obviously gay. I also think that the throwaway line in the AU episode, which was played for laughs and I saw more of a Buffy reference than anything else, is necessarily the be-all end-all in terms of her identity. I think it’s fine for gay/lesbian people to claim her, but I also think it’s a little shitty for all the people in the comments to complain about others claiming Waverly as bi.

      • I’m honestly confused about your “more than one” definition of the term bisexual. I’m also not sure how that also pertains to Waverly. If she had never been with Champ, then there’s nothing for you to go on about her being bisexual & I guarantee you don’t add her to this list. Any list that has Waverly as bisexual is defining her sexuality by her past. You basically admitted by saying you hope she identifies herself more that you’re simply guessing at her bisexuality. I think that’s what people have a problem with. There’s a big difference between fans at home watching the show “claiming” her as bi/gay & her being added to some list like this that looks official. Fans look at a list like this that’s published & shared among the fandom & just assume it to be true & it leads to confusion. I also don’t see what’s shitty about people having concern over it. It’s a big deal. If a canon bisexual character was on a list of lesbian characters I’d feel the same way. So unless it’s been stated by the show/character, maybe keep these type of characters off the lists for now & maybe have another TBD list.

        • Hi @keebs! Sorry for the late reply. I was replying specifically to Mazz saying that Bo represents “the definition of a bisexual woman” because “not only did she never hesitate in her physical attraction for and enjoyment of both males and females, but when she fell in love with both a male and a female she loved them equally.” I was trying to clarify that, while that could very well be *the* definition of one person’s bisexuality, it’s not necessarily the case that all of those elements must be present in order for someone to be bisexual. Bisexual doesn’t always look like being equally attracted to men and women as well as falling in love (and loving equally) “a male and a female.” People define and describe their bisexuality in different ways, and it could be “sexually attracted to men and women but mostly falling in love with women,” for example. It could also be “sexually attracted to everyone, regardless of gender, and have only fallen in love with women and non-binary people in the past, but could conceivably fall in love with a man.” Does that make sense? I just wanted to counter the idea that there was exactly one way to embody or represent the definition of bisexuality, for fictional characters or for us real-live humans.

          The reason that I wanted to clarify that in terms of Waverly was that we don’t really know whether she was sexually attracted to Champ but didn’t love him (which would still make her bisexual), or whether she wasn’t attracted to him, didn’t love him, and was just dating him because of compulsory heterosexuality. Until she makes that specific element of her dating history clearer to us, we won’t really know whether she’s definitely bisexual or not. I personally lean towards thinking she might be bisexual and homoromantic, but I can totally also see someone thinking she’s gay. I just wanted to be sure that we weren’t using “bisexual” in a prescriptive or limited way.

          • Thanks for the reply. I personally think from what they’ve shown us from very early in S1, that Waverly was living a facade. They told us she was living the life she thought she was supposed to live. She conformed. From what I’ve seen, she never liked any physical contact from Champ. She almost looked annoyed & disgusted by it, she made it a point to tell Doc he was soooo not her type, she was quick to turn down Pete, & she couldn’t even kiss Perry on the lips. All that is very telling to me. This is just my opinion, but nothing the show has shown me has convinced me that Waverly is bisexual. Everything I’ve seen has actually convinced me otherwise. I think she’s gay & she’s still figuring it out. But since the show hasn’t made it 100% clear where it’s still confusing to a lot of fans, I don’t think she should be on specific lists like this. I really appreciate what Syfy did. For bi appreciation week, they gave her an honorable mention which is basically the idea I suggested. Mentioning her character, but not exactly labeling her.

      • I think it’s really not OK to shame people who call you guys out for appropriating Waverly as DEFO bisexual when at most it’s open ended, if we ignore her actually calling herself gay.

        It’s particularly infuriating considering how bisexual fandoms have long history of attacking people for declaring characters with no stated sexuality to be gay. Nice double standards here.

        The claim that Waverly is bi is based on one and only thing – in the past she dated a man. So according to that logic every woman who ever dated a man is bisexual if not straight, even apparently Heather who included Waverly for that reason here. Oh, and another argument from people dissatisfied with Wav’s gay remark – that “there are so few bisexuals on TV”. Per GLAAD reports, bisexual women have almost TWICE bigger representation than lesbians (30% vs 17% among all LGBT characters).

        If you wished Waverly to be bisexual I don’t have problem with that, assuming you would accept the show deciding otherwise. I have problem with lesbian erasure. The show didn’t confirm that she’s bisexual, it actually provided evidence to the contrary (Wav not only said she’s gay, she expressed that she felt really uneasy with her AU fiancee, and it wasn’t about Nicole since she didn’t have such problem with Rosita), and yet this article ignores it and authoritatively states she’s bisexual. That’s borderline lesbophobic.

        • “It’s particularly infuriating considering how bisexual fandoms have long history of attacking people for declaring characters with no stated sexuality to be gay. Nice double standards here.”

          Let’s unpack this. Do you mean to imply that this behaviour ought to be replicated? And would you, in fairness, leap to defend the bisexual identity of a character on a list of lesbian characters and assume the worst of the author’s intentions? Do you get mad at people for using the term ‘celesbian’ to describe explicitly bisexual celebrities? Did you accuse Autostraddle of perpetuating bisexual erasure for calling it the list of dead lesbian TV characters even after they explained their rationale? Do you get mad at people for referring to the ‘Bury your gays’ trope instead of ‘bury your gays and bisexuals’ trope? Is your outrage equal opportunity? I have my doubts.

          No one will fault a point of correction, especially when it is stated diplomatically and neutrally. All it takes is a ‘Not sure Waverly belongs on this list as her sexual identity hasn’t been explicitly confirmed as bisexual.’ Leave it at that. What doesn’t impress me much is the argument you’re making that this constitutes lesbian erasure or lesbophobia. When will we get tired/bored with this lesbian vs. bisexual territorial pissing? Perhaps, instead of doubling down and repeating the very same behaviour that frustrates us, we ought to break the cycle and accept that Autostraddle isn’t by any means contributing to the erasure of either bisexuals OR lesbians. I don’t know about you but I don’t want Riese to turn the car around, so I think we should cool it with the petty arguments in the back seat.

          • Answering your questions, of course I wouldn’t be OK with bisexual characters and celebrities being called gay. It benefits no one and muddles waters which is also damaging to lesbians because it could reinforce lesbophobic stereotypes about lesbians “not being real”, as in, only into women. So I must admit, it’s not entirely altruistic.
            The fact you assumed that a lesbian wouldn’t have any problem with bi-erasure says something, but not about me.

            As you could see, my original comment was more or less what you just described as desired behavior. The tone changed when angry responses from people who took personal offence in that started showing, suggesting we’re shitty people for questioning Waverly’s bisexuality, that our concerns don’t matter and that we’re basically biphobic for talking about it during bi-visibility week.

          • It’s not always cut and dry and there are reasons to believe she could be identified as either gay or bi. Let’s assume that Waverly is actually gay and not bisexual at all, which I do believe could absolutely be possible. That doesn’t mean that her inclusion in this list required a defensively worded call out.

            I don’t think this was a case of escalation by others, and I don’t think other people’s escalation would justify the accusations you put forth about lesbian erasure and lesbophobia in particular. Laura R. was diplomatic. Queer Girl wasn’t hostile. They just disagreed with you. Looking over the comments leaves me with the conclusion that you are the one who escalated the tone of this discussion. In your FIRST comment you write “All women are bisexual by default?” which struck me as relatively hyperbolic. You have extrapolated the potentially erroneous identification of this one gay character to mean that the list’s authors think ALL queer women are bisexual by default. That’s super defensive and unnecessary. And yes, it’s obnoxious to pick this battle during bi visibility week and to make it very much a battle. You are the one who has both accused Autostraddle and other commenters of lesbian erasure/lesbophobia AND assumed that they’re accusing you of biphobia in turn, but who called you biphobic? Given your comments about bi fandoms attacking people, I wonder if maybe you’ve carried over the energy from other fandom fights into a context where it doesn’t apply.

            I don’t assume that a lesbian wouldn’t have a problem with bi erasure because I myself am a lesbian who has a problem with bi erasure. But because you point the finger at bisexuals by singling out their fandoms for bad behaviour, that makes me wonder if you can point to comments you’ve made here in which you object to bi erasure as aggressively and dramatically as this alleged case of lesbian erasure. You are welcome to prove me wrong by providing screenshots of a time when say, someone used ‘lesbian’ to describe Evan Rachel Wood’s fashion sense and you were this indignant and defensive about bi erasure.

          • I and other people who called out the inclusion of Waverly on this list was literally called shitty by the person you describe as diplomatic, which was the point when I stopped being nice.
            Funny how you’re OK with that but demand from me an evidence of my good will, expecting I’ll spend hours looking for and making screenshots of my words and upload it to some server just so you would say it doesn’t matter anyway because you don’t see it as any proof. Just as being called “shitty” is “diplomatic behavior” in this alt-reality.

            And that’s what angers me the most about this situation. Gaslighting and double standards. Calling out listing as bisexual the character who’s very likely gay – as she even used the word to describe herself – is an attack on bisexual people now (that’s why I mentioned insinuation of biphobia by the way, but of course I bet you didn’t see it that way either just like name-calling is diplomatic) and we shouldn’t have any problem because “who’s harmed by that”. Then the explanation this is harmful because lesbian visibility is in very bad state of course leads to accusation that talking about lesbians is hi-jacking bi-visibility week. You really don’t see any problem in that?

            And one of the most disingenuous arguments, we try to forbid bi fans from seeing Wav as bi because an article on a renowned site focused at queer women is just the same as an opinion of a fan!
            Except it’s not. When people see it they’ll get an impression that it’s already official. Which in turn will result in huge pressure on the writers and showrunners to adhere to that even if it’s not what they planned, or they’ll face the fan wrath. And that’s really shitty.

          • Given the time you’re taking to argue that this isn’t a grudge carried over from a bi/lesbian fandom war but actually a neutral argument from someone who is fair to all, I think it’s more than fair for me to ask you to back up that claim. You don’t need a screenshot, just copy/paste something accusatory you’ve written re:bisexual erasure and link to the article it’s from.

            I’ll return to Laura R’s allegedly antagonistic line: “I think it’s fine for gay/lesbian people to claim her, but I also think it’s a little shitty for all the people in the comments to complain about others claiming Waverly as bi.”

            This comment accepts that lesbians have a right to claim Waverly, which strikes me as pretty diplomatic. She’s not arguing that lesbians shouldn’t claim her, just that bi women may also do so and that yes, it’s unnecessary to insistently refuse to accept that bi women may claim this character too. When understood within the context of the entire comment ‘a little shitty’ isn’t particularly confrontational or even mean. Even if I were to accept that ‘a little shitty’ is a shitty word choice, Laura R.’s comment came hours after your first comment about how calling Waverly bi means that all queer women are bisexual by default, so I think it’s disingenuous to pretend that your tone escalated in response to others when in fact it was accusatory from the get-go. How can I be gaslighting you when the time stamps from these comments are clearly visible?

            Again, the baseline argument that this character is actually gay and not bi, is itself not ‘a little shitty’. In reviewing the evidence presented, I’m inclined to agree with you that Waverly may not be bi. What IS shitty, is that you’ve twisted this into a case of lesbian erasure and the assumption that Heather thinks we’re all bisexual by default. There are other options that could explain the decision to include Waverly in this list:

            -it’s too soon to give her any label at all
            -Heather has a different interpretation that she can reasonably back up because the evidence doesn’t immediately point to a singular conclusion
            -Heather, a TV writer who may have access to promo materials from showrunners etc, has a document somewhere with a blurb in which Waverly is described as bisexual
            -Heather made a mistake because she is human, and may decide to remove Waverly from the list or describe her as a lesbian in the future

            You could choose to consider those options instead of concluding that Heather, who is a lesbian herself, supports lesbian erasure.

            I understand that Autostraddle writers’ opinions do carry more weight than that of a single fan. Still, the notion that the showrunners are going to base future decisions about Waverly’s characterization on the ‘official’ designation offered by Autostraddle is, again, a fairly hyperbolic claim. Heather was the most prominent lesbian reviewer of Pretty Little Liars and those show runners certainly didn’t base their decisions on her analysis. Wynona Earp’s writers obviously have a plan for this character and her love life (which probably just involves making that incredibly popular ship endgame) and aren’t going to say ‘we originally wanted to make her gay but we can’t go against Autostraddle’.

            I DO see a problem in using articles for bi visibility week as a place to claim that a lesbian who possibly mislabeled a gay woman as bisexual didn’t simply make a mistake but actively seeks to harm lesbians. I also see a problem with complaining about bisexual fandoms in this context, as the prior behaviour of bi fandoms has nothing to do with this article or the commenters here. I realize that lesbians don’t have a monopoly on behaviour like this either, and that bi people DO also leap to conclusions and even perpetuate lesbophobia/lesbian erasure, but that’s not what has happened here and this wasn’t the place for such escalation.

  17. I’m sorry, but who is being actively harmed by Waverly being on a list of bisexual tv characters? Her sexuality is unclear, she has dated at least one man and one woman, and also she’s fictional. If bisexual viewers of Wynonna Earp saw themselves in her, what’s the problem?

    • Nobody’s calling you privileged or entitled, and there is absolutely nothing stopping you from continuing to see yourself in her if you choose to interpret her as a gay character. What you, on the other hand, seem to be doing is insisting that bi viewers shouldn’t be allowed to do the same.

      • Didn’t know the article of a renowned site aimed at queer women and our representation, authoritatively stating Waverly is bisexual, counts as just interpretation of some fan.

        • Continuing the thought from my post above, like seriously people. This very article states Waverly is bi. Not that it’s “open to interpretation”. She’s mentioned as one of 10 best BISEXUAL female characters. And you tell me “nothing is stopping you from continuing to see Wav as gay” and you dare to accuse me that because I called it out I’m attacking bisexual viewers.

          I have no words. So much for “queer community”.

        • It does actually count as just the interpretation of some fans. The only authority it carries is whatever you give to it. You also don’t need these “authorities” to tell you what media is or isn’t open to interpretation. I’ll tell you myself – ALL of it is.

          This is Bi Visibility Week. Please stop hijacking a post written for the benefit of bi viewers with your misplaced outrage.

        • I think there’s room for both lesbians and bisexual people to see themselves in Waverly. I hope that as a community, we can move beyond this scarcity mindset for representation, and lift each other up. I certainly don’t think lesbians are “entitled and privileged,” or that lesbians as a monolith are *anything* negative.

        • Chandra – all I did was calling the WEBSITE out for potential lesbian erasure. I am convinced that if it was the other way around (a character like Waverly, after stating in a show that she’s ‘pretty sure she’s BISEXUAL’, being included in an article about LESBIAN characters), you wouldn’t like it, and rightly so.

          Imagine how would you feel if someone tried to silence you by telling you that if you don’t like it then take your misplaced outrage elsewhere, it’s Lesbian Visibility Day. All I expect from you guys is having the same standards for me as you have for yourselves.

          Speaking of Lesbian Visibility Day, it is a real thing, and judging from my google search, it has NEVER been celebrated or even mentioned on Autostraddle. Despite the fact that like I pointed out above, lesbian actually have less visibility (less TV characters, less out celebrities etc.).

          That speaks for itself.

        • You’re making a lot of false assumptions about both how I identify and how I would feel or respond in a given situation.

          This website is not a faceless singular entity. Different writers have different opinions about things that are expressed in different posts, and no, I would absolutely not be so irate about someone interpreting a TV character differently than I do that I would take it as a cue to tear them down along with the entire website.

          And no, if it were Lesbian Visibility Day (which I agree should be acknowledged) I would most certainly not take that as an occasion to barge into a thread celebrating it in order to complain about my views on bi erasure. If you can’t see how inappropriate that is, I’m not sure what else to say to you.

        • Like, the author of that section on Waverly identifies as a lesbian. The CEO of this website is a lesbian. At least half of the senior editors (if not more) identify as lesbians. It’s pretty unlikely that they’re taking part in some nefarious conspiracy to erase lesbian identity. Can we maybe not jump to immediately assuming ill intent over every little thing we disagree with?

        • “And no, if it were Lesbian Visibility Day (which I agree should be acknowledged) I would most certainly not take that as an occasion to barge into a thread celebrating it in order to complain about my views on bi erasure.”

          Please don’t say untruths insinuating that’s what I’ve done. Like numerous other readers I only pointed out it is not OK to list Waverly as bisexual character considering that she has never been confirmed as bisexual and actually her character says that she thinks she’s gay. You guys jumped on us for this with such responses:

          1. “it’s shitty to complain for Waverly being claimed as bi”

          2. “who’s being harmed by that?”

          3. “you’re doing that just to hijack bi-visibility week!!!!”

          You don’t see how all of these responses have nothing to do with the argument but either trivialize our concerns (point 2) or are straight-up personal attacks meant just to silence us by painting in the worst light our intentions without actually touching the argument itself? Which is particularly true for point 3, your own words. Only Laura R. attempted to have some real discussion here (argument that Waverly calling herself gay actually meant nothing), but still tried to shame us into agreeing with her by saying that it’s shitty to not want Waverly to be bi.

          I mentioned how bad the state of lesbian visibility is because I hoped it would help you guys understand why this is important for lesbians to not have their representation appropriated, and it was direct response to “who’s being harmed by that”. But by explaining my stance better I’m getting further personally attacked with thinly veiled accusation that I’m biphobic for talking about lesbians during bi week.

        • Those last words from my post above awoke some memories so I checked out my past discussions, turns out I already argued with Chandra 2 years ago.

          It was argument about bisexual women appropriating the dyke label. I said that since in popular perception dyke means lesbian (and every dictionary repeats that) I ask to at least make sure that no one would think you’re gay when you introduce yourself to people like that, since there are widespread homophobic stereotypes that lesbians unlike gay men are not real and can be ‘turned by the right man’ etc.

          She angrily attacked me and called me biphobic for that. The discussion was under “NSFW Lesbosexy Sunday Wants Her Face Between Your Legs” article if anyone wants to see it for themselves.

        • Oh, and speaking of the writers, you can’t really use that author’s self-identification to cover it up considering that she has really problematic history when it comes to her take on lesbian representation, which started back when she worked on AfterEllen.

          Long story short, she always defended to the point of praising every instance of “lesbian falling for a man/having sex with a guy and loving it” trope. Even unironically called a genius the showrunner of a show she liked, Skins US, in an interview where he said that “all lesbians want to sleep with men”.
          The interview was about an out and proud lesbian character in his show fall for a man and have sex with him numerous times on screen.
          She repeated it with many other shows, each time attacking and shaming anyone who dared to criticize anything for not understanding that “sexuality is fluid”.

        • Hi Amelia, I see that you thought that Waverly was gay. Thats cool. Someone else thought she was bi. Hell, she thought she was straight at the beginning of last series. Maybe we can just leave it at that for now and celebrate the multitude of queer representation we have atm.

        • All I wanted was not claiming Waverly as anything when nothing is confirmed since it’s disrespectful and damaging for numerous reasons, and it was directed at the writer who included her in the article. It would end at that, but then I got tagged in comment calling me and other people shitty for not wanting Wav to be bi, and it went downhill from there.

        • I’m really very confused as to what you think that past conversation has to do with this one. I remember it also and stand by what I said, though I would probably express myself differently these days because I’ve made a conscious decision to change the way I approach disagreements. Perhaps you should consider doing the same.

        • It’s the internet, things spiral. I’m glad you are enjoying Waverly’s storyline. Hope you’ve had a good Bi Visibility Week.

    • Speaking of Waverly being included as bi, I just want to point out articles like this don’t exist in vacuum. It’s not a tumblr blog or fan site. After AE fell to obscurity Autostraddle remains the main source of informations about the visibility and representation of queer women. When such source says that the character is of specific sexual orientation it is obvious it would make most people think it is official then. Which in turn will create a pressure on the writers and showrunner to adhere to this or they risk facing backlash for “backtracking”.

      That’s why Waverly being included here should never have happened. It’s not only not OK to either bi or gay fans who saw themselves in her, it is also not OK to writers and their work.

      I’ve read that Emily Andras based Waverly’s journey on her friend who used to date guys before she figured out she’s a lesbian. If that’s true, you’re basically forcing her to betray that story.
      You have great power being an editor for site like that. But remember it also comes with responsibility.

    • I think the problem is bisexual viewers identifying with Waverly and head-canoning her as bi, it’s that the intro to this article that asserts that “[all] their storylines seem to indicate that they’re bisexual” – in this case claiming that having one (main-textually unhappy and performative) relationship with a man means that her storyline is necessarily a bi one.

      Both bi women and lesbians have our sexual histories used by others as “proof” that we are/are not “actually” our orientation, and it is an unfortunate fact that many lesbians are coerced into relationships with men and then face having those past relationships used to deny us our agency in defining ourselves and experiences.

      The idea that a past relationship with a man (regardless of the substance of that relationship or anything that comes after) is inherently a “bi storyline” hits a nerve. Which is why Waverly seems to be the only one on this list that people had a problem with, despite containing many other characters who were also not explicitly identified as bi.

  18. I’ve said it all already, and smarter people than me have said it better (literally in this very article), but my love for Annalise Keating knows no bounds. And I’d like to start a trend of calling her Pannalise Keating. (Twitter didn’t like it much, but I did! Anyone? No?)

    Can I swap Waverly for Thirteen? *covers face*

    Also…is anyone watching The Good Place here? Kristen Bell is doing the lord’s work and is damn sure on the right track to have Eleanor bust right outta whatever closet TPTB have put her in.

  19. It’s animation, but I’ll say it because no one has. Korra. Ground breaking even today and one of my favorite shows. In fact, I may go watch it right now…

    • You should just watch Last Airbender because its delightful. But make sense no they do some basic how we got here world explaining at the top of the show. Fair warning thought the bi content in Korra is very very very subtextual until you hit the comics.

    • Whenever there’s a love triangle between two women and a man I always think the women should just get together instead, but never expect it to happen. Then it did happen on Korra!

  20. Speaking of Waverly being included as bi, I just want to point out articles like this don’t exist in vacuum. It’s not a tumblr blog or fan site. After AE fell to obscurity Autostraddle remains the main source of informations about the visibility and representation of queer women. When such source says that the character is of specific sexual orientation it is obvious it would make most people think it is official then. Which in turn will create a pressure on the writers and showrunner to adhere to this or they risk facing backlash for “backtracking”.

    That’s why Waverly being included here should never have happened. It’s not only not OK to either bi or gay fans who saw themselves in her, it is also not OK to writers and their work.

    I’ve read that Emily Andras based Waverly’s journey on her friend who used to date guys before she figured out she’s a lesbian. If that’s true, you’re basically forcing her to betray that story.
    You have great power being an editor for site like that. But remember it also comes with responsibility.

    • Amelia, I’m sorry if I offended you in my above comment (which I can’t seem to reply directly to). I absolutely did not say nor did I mean to imply that any of you were shitty *people*, merely that I felt it was an unnecessarily negative behavior to come into the comments attacking the article writers for their choice to include Waverly. Perhaps I could have called the behavior “rude” or “unnecessary” instead of “shitty.”

      I do think there’s a little (lot) bit of hyperbole going on in your comments here. I don’t think Autostraddle is perpetrating lesbophobia by including Waverly in this list. I think we can all agree that there is a little bit of uncertainty/room for debate in the actual text of the show, and clearly we are all reading that text in different ways. I don’t think that Autostraddle has any particular responsibility to, when discussing fictional characters, *only* write in terms of “facts” (Which, when it comes to fictional characters, don’t really exist in any meaningful way, anyway. We all interpret fiction in different ways, which is sort of the point!). I don’t think Emily Andras would hold them to that, nor do I think that she would feel any particular pressure to adhere to one list on this website. From everything that I’ve heard about her, it seems that she is very open to listening to and engaging with fan communities, but she certainly seems to have a strong sense of her own characters and own vision. I would be extremely surprised if she saw this list as “forcing her to betray” that vision in some way.

      All that said, if you see Waverly as gay/good gay representation/identify with her, obviously I would never take that away from you, and I am very happy that you feel that way about the character. I hope you feel the same way towards other fans!

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