Keeley Hawes: still delectable, but not bisexual

on

Late last year, I wrote a blog post talking about my longstanding admiration

for Tipping the Velvet actress Keeley Hawes. In the

post, I mentioned a teasingly brief quote that had been attributed to

her by the British lesbian magazine Diva, whom she spoke to while

promoting Tipping. Of the Sarah Waters adaptation, she

had said that:

“It’s true to the book.

Except for a slight change at the end. And I completely related to Kitty

[her character]. Well not completely, because I’m not a lesbian. I’m

bi.”

Even at the time, I was a bit

suspicious about this statement — which apparently was not followed

up by the interviewer. If Hawes seriously identified as bisexual, then

didn’t it seem a bit surprising that she wouldn’t want to elaborate

at all to a lesbian magazine — while promoting a lesbian project —

about what that meant to her?

Well, a new interview was out

with Hawes in last week’s edition of the Radio Times (the British

equivalent of TV Guide) — and unfortunately, it seems like my

suspicions were justified. In the article, titled “Keeley on the Couch,”

which promotes her new show Ashes to Ashes, reporter Andrew Duncan

asks Hawes to clarify the bisexual comment:

When she made Tipping

the Velvet
, as a male impersonator, she’s reported as saying she

was bisexual. [Said Hawes,] “Maybe what I meant is that everyone is a little bit

bisexual. I’ve been married twice, both times to men.”

Aaaaaaahhhh. Can I

just send a note to Hawes — and to Megan Mullally and Nelly Furtado, who are also women in the public

eye who have claimed they are bisexual only to take it back later (two

weeks later, in Furtado’s case)? While I’m reasonably sure that

you mean well — there are some of us out here for whom the words “I’m

bisexual” actually mean “I might want to date women.” If you don’t

want to date women, could you maybe consider not using the words “I’m

bisexual”?

Or at least — if you have

a very broad definition of bisexuality that includes “wanting to hold

my straight female friend’s hand platonically while we’re shopping

and talking about men” — could you maybe consider specifying that

at the time that you make your statement? Because otherwise, people

who don’t define bisexuality the same way you do might start to get

ever so slightly confused.

I appreciate that human sexuality

is complex. I appreciate that labels don’t always capture that complexity.

But the eventual retractions from Hawes, Mullally and Furtado don’t

really make me feel like they are sexually ambiguous women struggling

to find a way to define their complex feelings. They make me feel (to

put a charitable interpretation on it) like they are straight women

who were trying to show their support for the queer community, and got

carried away.

As a bisexual woman, there’s

really just one thing I want to say to them: Don’t. Please don’t.

Seriously, we have enough trouble as it is trying to convince the lesbians

that we aren’t all out to toy with their hearts before inevitably

dumping them for a man. And we have enough trouble as it is trying to

convince both the lesbian and the straight communities that we aren’t

just confused, indecisive idiots who don’t really know who or what

we want.

If you’re a straight woman

and you want to make a contribution to the queer community, try sending

some money to a gay rights charity. Meanwhile, I’ll remain grateful

for out bisexual celebrities like Kristanna Loken, who show that bisexuality can actually

be a genuine, stable orientation that you maintain — irrespective

of whether you wind up with a man or a woman.

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