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Washington Post’s Petrow Discusses Confusion around Bisexuality

Washington PostIn this week’s advice column for The Washington PostSteven Petrow took on a question about True Blood star Ana Paquin’s sexual orientation.

An anonymous reader wrote: Recently I was watching Larry King interview Anna Paquin, who’s said repeatedly that she’s bisexual, and wondered what you thought of it. Now that she’s married to a man (“happily, monogamously,” she added), King asked if that means she’s a “non-practicing bisexual.” She answered, “I don’t think it’s a past-tense thing.” I’m a straight married guy and I think pretty broad-minded about this stuff, but I’m confused because I thought the definition of bisexual was someone who slept with partners of either sex. So what does that even mean, to be a monogamous, married bisexual? If she’s married to a man and never sleeps with women, doesn’t that make her straight? – Confused straight man.

Petrow immediately responds with no, this does not make Paquin straight. “The actress’s acknowledgment that she’s bisexual is about how she defines herself, not whom she shares her heart or bed with,” Petrow explains.

Petrow quotes Paquin in the Larry King interview where she said, “I’m someone who believes being bisexual is actually a thing. It’s not made up. It’s not a lack of decision. It’s not being greedy or numerous other ignorant things I’ve heard at this point.”

After googling Anna Paquin, Petrow confirms that the reader is not the only one confused. From the autofill results Petrow found disquieting results such as, “Anna Paquin bisexual but married” and “Anna Paquin bisexuality made up.”

Petrow concludes that there is confusion and a lack of understanding around the term ‘bisexual.’ He also references a 2013 Pew Research report  poll that found that, “bisexuals remain far more closeted than gays or lesbians.”

Continue to read Petrow’s column, Civilities, on The Washington Post.

Do you live in the Washington, D.C. area and enjoy reading Steven Petrow’s weekly column? If so, HRC invites you to an evening with Steven Petrow: Interview, Q&A and Reception. For more info and to RSVP, click here.

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