news

Bisexual Broadway star Andy Mientus speaks out about being 'lumped in as gay'

2016-09-20
Broadway actor Andy Mientus has opened up about the stigma he faces as a bisexual person as part of bisexual awareness week. The Spring Awakening star, who recently married theatre director Michael Arden, admitted that correcting people who assume he is gay feels "unnecessary in the moment," but acknowledged that this was down to "my own shame," in an Instagram post shared on Monday (September 19). "I try to be visible all the time just by being true to who I am openly, but I know many people struggle with this because of the stigma associated with bi-ness," he wrote. "I know that some of you, probably friends even, are reading this and rolling your eyes- 'oh he’s still holding on to that? Who is SHE kidding?'- and I don’t blame you." A survey of 515 bisexual people last year found that 66% of bisexuals felt that they had to pass as exclusively straight, while 42% felt that they had to pass as exclusively gay or lesbian - and Mientus touched on the invisibility of bi people in the heartfelt post. "Not many are open about it so we appear to be very rare creatures, maybe even mythical," the 29-ear-old wrote. "I’ve definitely felt the pressure to just accept being lumped in as gay when I meet new people- correcting them feels super political and unnecessary in the moment but then later I realize that it’s my own shame. "I try to be the best person I can be always but I am just an actor, not a queer-studies professor, and I am learning along with everyone else. I have and will continue to put my foot in my mouth on issues so I won’t pretend to know everything."

Hey so it's #biweek- the week for the Bi kids to be visible. I try to be visible all the time just by being true to who I am openly, but I know many people struggle with this because of the stigma associated with bi-ness. I know that some of you, probably friends even, are reading this and rolling your eyes- "oh he's still holding on to that? Who is SHE kidding?"- and I don't blame you. Not many are open about it so we appear to be very rare creatures, maybe even mythical. I've definitely felt the pressure to just accept being lumped in as gay when I meet new people- correcting them feels super political and unnecessary in the moment but then later I realize that it's my own shame. I don't write this to position myself as an activist or a role model. I try to be the best person I can be always but I am just an actor, not a queer-studies professor, and I am learning along with everyone else. I have and will continue to put my foot in my mouth on issues so I won't pretend to know everything. What I do know is that because of my platform as an actor, kids reach out to me almost daily confused about their sexuality and it breaks my heart to learn that they are denying their hearts, bodies, and souls just because of what other people will think of them. We now talk about LGBT+ issues constantly but how often do we really consider the B in there? Have you ever doubted someone who tells you they are Bi- "Sure, Jan"- or debated the validity of that claim behind their back? Do you have a preconceived idea of what bi "really" looks like based on what TV and movies have told you? Do you think of it just as a sexual kink or as a true identity? When I encounter ignorance about my identity, I always try to approach it from a place of warmth and education, so this is not me lecturing the monosexuals out there. I'm inviting you this week to think about your own feelings towards bisexuals and ask yourself if there is any lingering doubt or prejudice there. If you think you could be bi, ask yourself what is holding you back from accepting it- is it your own developing feelings or your fear of society around you? Together, we can end that stigma. ️‍ : @lukefontana

A photo posted by @andymientus on

The star also noted that younger generations are feeling the same pressure he feels to conform to monosexuality: "Because of my platform as an actor, kids reach out to me almost daily confused about their sexuality and it breaks my heart to learn that they are denying their hearts, bodies, and souls just because of what other people will think of them." Biphobia is commonplace, even within the LGBT community. High profile cases, such as Christopher Biggins suggesting that bisexuals just don't want "to admit they're gay" in this year's Celebrity Big Brother, are reflective of a wider, everyday problem. But Mientus wants to tackle hate with love, and ignorance with patience. "We now talk about LGBT+ issues constantly but how often do we really consider the B in there? Have you ever doubted someone who tells you they are Bi- "Sure, Jan"- or debated the validity of that claim behind their back? Do you have a preconceived idea of what bi "really" looks like based on what TV and movies have told you? "When I encounter ignorance about my identity, I always try to approach it from a place of warmth and education, so this is not me lecturing the monosexuals out there," he explained. "If you think you could be bi, ask yourself what is holding you back from accepting it- is it your own developing feelings or your fear of society around you? Together, we can end that stigma." More stories: 9 reasons RuPaul’s Drag Race wouldn’t be the same without Michelle Visage Man leaves TripAdvisor review complaining about the amount of gay couples in Gran Canaria