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How "The Bold Type" Helps Me Embrace My Queerness

Kat of The Bold Type is a normalizing, refreshing bisexual character.

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I have a confession: I’m queer. Except up until recently, as recently as a few months ago, I truly believed I was “totally hetero” as Kat of The Bold Type so eloquently said.

The Bold Type is so much more than I expected it to be. It’s witty, sharp, and empowering. And it finally gives representation to an important character: the blooming bisexual.

Television has been getting better about queer representation, but there’s still a long way to go. Shows like Orange is the New Black give lesbians a space and voice they didn’t have before. And sure, there’s been the occasional bisexual character on various shows like Tina from The L Word, but Kat is a new kind of voice. Why? Because unlike other gay characters we see on shows, Kat’s coming out story is a little different. Perfectly different.

When Ellen came out on Ellen, the sitcom focused its lens on her sexuality. Her coming out was a HUGE deal, and rightly so! Ellen’s coming out was a big step in the 90’s and paved the way for future gay characters.

Kat’s coming out story is different because it’s not a spectacle. It’s refreshing and normalizing. Her friends welcome her attraction to Adena, and don’t ever ask her questions like, “Does this mean you’re gay now?”

Kat is still Kat, and while The Bold Type’s storyline gives plenty of attention to her and Adena’s budding relationship, it doesn’t make it the sole focus of the show. Why? Because being queer is TOTALLY NORMAL!

Not only is there this incredible normalization surrounding Kat’s attraction to Adena, but there’s also an amazing honesty to Kat’s “coming out” or rather, lack thereof. When Kat realizes she likes Adena, she still claims to be “totally hetero”. She admits that she’s skeeved out by the thought of going “down there” on a lady. Here’s where Kat really spoke to me.

My senior year of college, I went through a horrible breakup. I met this beautiful, charming, wonderful woman. We’ll call her “Ali.” The minute I met Ali, my heart acted differently than it did when I met any other girl. She was a genuine soul, and she made me laugh. She had obvious compassion. At a party one night, we sat next to each other on a table (it’s a college party, don’t judge) and I felt incredible butterflies anytime we touched. Just like Kat’s friends in The Bold Type, my friends that I confided in about my feelings were “shipping” us.

The more and more I fell for Ali, the more nervous I got. Just like Kat, I had been identifying as heterosexual up until that point. I had had celebrity crushes on women before, but I never really pursued anything. And also just like Kat, I couldn’t picture going “down there”. Ali gave me intense butterflies, heart palpitations, and made me smile like I hadn’t in a long time. But I asked myself, “Could I really date a woman?”

My doubts overwhelmed me. Ali and I finally admitted our feelings to each other one night at a party and we kissed. I wasn’t sure what I was feeling and told her I was confused, and not over my ex (which was also the truth, the guy was a jerk). I felt horrible for letting her down.

This is a fear amongst many people who are just realizing they’re queer. What if they’re just “confused”? What if disappoint somebody?

A few months after Ali, I started dating my now- fiancé. It wasn’t until I analyzed my relationship with him, and why I was choosing forever with him, that I realized why things with Ali didn’t work out.

I needed to be taken care of. Ali, being four years younger, still had a lot of growing to do. And three more years of school. I wasn’t ready to “wait” for her because I admit it: I like being the submissive one. And that’s okay! I’ve realized that I often need to be comforted and nurtured, which is why I chose my dominant, wonderful, caring fiancé.

But maybe, just maybe, if a character like Kat had been around earlier, I would have stopped doubting myself for the attraction I felt to Ali. The attraction, the feelings, the butterflies: all real. While I wasn’t ready to pursue a relationship with her, I was 100% totally, queer-ly, into her. And since this realization, I’ve been able to admit my attraction to same sex. Mostly celebrities. (Natasha Lyonne, please join my marriage). The best part about it is that my fiancé is 100% supportive. He understands that I can be “queer” while also loving him, marrying him, and remaining faithful to him. Thanks, bud.

Because of Kat, I was only just able to come to terms with all of this. I finally feel like it’s okay for me say “I’m getting married to a man but I’m totally queer!” Kat’s questioning, doubt, and love for Adena made me realize there is no “right” way to be queer. It’s okay if you don’t always think about genitalia on either side. It’s okay if you never had a crush on the same sex growing up. Let yourself love who you love, and be attracted to who you’re attracted to. Sexuality is fluid, and your sexuality is all yours.

Seriously, watch The Bold Type.

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