“Orange is the New Black” has been slowly revolutionizing female presence in the media, but I don’t think one of the writers of the show, Lauren Morelli, expected it to change her life so drastically.
Morelli realized she was gay in 2012, according to CNN, but it wasn’t until she worked on the show that she finally decided to come out and start dating Samira Wiley, the breakout actress of last season, whose role as Poussey stole the hearts of millions.
However, there is an important distinction to make. Morelli came out as gay. This was not a mislabeling, as many believed it was.
She is not a bisexual ?woman, and she should not be ?represented as such.
I’ve written about mislabeling sexuality before. It spreads misinformation about GLBT and other queer sexualities.
Bisexuality is different from homosexuality. This is a point lost on many, simply because it isn’t automatically apparent, or it doesn’t automatically make sense to them.
Gender restrictions require that people fall into categories without any sort of gray area.
Bisexuality, as well as pansexuality or other queer sexualities, are full of gray areas. Moreover, bisexuality often seems like homosexuality.
In 2005 the New York Times reported a study on the ?biology of sexual orientation.
They found that only 1.7 percent of men and women who identified as bisexual had tendencies and hormone patterns that were very clearly homo or heterosexually exclusive. It’s an incredibly small number.
However, there’s a reason people think bisexuality is just a phase, and that is because most who claimed they were bisexual entered long-term relationships with mostly the same sex. This means that bisexuality isn’t immediately ?obvious to the layman.
Because there are only two sexualities that we can see day-to-day, homosexuality and heterosexuality, people often miss or do not understand there is a spectrum.
It is imperative that we understand and correctly represent sexuality. If we continue to misrepresent and mislabel sexualities in the media, we propagate misrepresenting and mislabeling them in real life.
If we want to start understanding the complexities of sexuality and identity, we need to get our labels right first.