“I’m bisexual. So what? It’s a thing and it’s real. I mean, it’s called LGBTQ for a reason. There’s a B in there, and it doesn’t mean badass… Okay, it kinda does, but it also means bi.”
– Callie Torres, Grey’s Anatomy
Finding decent music can be a challenge… Even more so if you don’t consider yourself straight.
We tend to listen to music we can relate to, and for people who identify as bisexual, that mix can be incredibly difficult to find. Just about every romantic song on the radio is strictly about a woman and a man. Even if you search through every single station, the likelihood of finding someone singing about a relationship involving two people of the same sex is incredibly unlikely.
As someone who identifies as bisexual, it’s frustrating. A lot of people discredit our existence (trust me, we’re out there, and there’s more of us than you think), and because of that, the media tends to shy away from us. There’s barely any content out specifically for bisexuals, despite more and more people coming out and identifying that way.
As pushy as it may sound, even when the media does decide to put two people of the same gender together, it’s not enough. In a way, it just furthers the idea that there are only two types of sexuality; straight or gay. A lot of people say we should just be happy that we’re getting that, considering where we were a few years ago. Except… that’s not really fair, is it? Yes, bisexuals may date someone of the same gender. However, many of them date the opposite gender as well. That’s why it’s called bisexual; it means two. Many of us have preferences towards one or the other, but we’re into girls and boys. Not making that clear erases the idea of bisexuality from people’s minds, and when only straight and gay couples are depicted, that’s exactly what happens.
Then, of course, when we do finally get content directed towards us, a lot of times we’re portrayed incorrectly (no, we don’t want to date every single man or woman that comes near us, and no, we don’t become straight if we marry someone of the opposite sex, nor do we become gay if we marry someone of the same sex). Instead of it being something we can relate to and enjoy, it ends up being offensive and offsetting.
It feels like the world doesn’t want to count bisexuality as valid, and in simplest terms, it’s just not right. We just want to go and live our lives like everyone else, but we can’t without criticism from close-minded people who aren’t willing to take the steps to understand.
But to my surprise, very recently, an artist decided to bring out the content I was looking for… Her name is Halsey, and she just released her second album, hopeless fountain kingdom.
In the beginning, I wasn’t sure of what to expect from the album. In her music video for “Ghost”, a song off her first album entitled BADLANDS, Halsey featured her and another woman, which was and is absolutely phenomenal. This was actually the first time I saw a music video centered around a same-sex relationship. Halsey also posted music videos for BADLANDS with heterosexual relationships as well. Alone that means close to nothing, but paired with her “Ghost” music video? She was pictured with women and men. Catch my drift?
I was hoping for the same sort of thing from hopeless fountain kingdom. Of course, I was excited for whatever Halsey had to share, but her music videos had stuck with me. They gave me hope that maybe the media wouldn’t keep us out forever.
“Now or Never” and “Eyes Closed” surfaced, and I can’t say I didn’t like them. I think almost every Halsey fan did. “Now or Never” was paired with a stellar music video, and “Eyes Closed” is intense and the right kind of emotional.
Then Halsey decided to release “Strangers”, and that was a game changer. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting from her and Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui, but it definitely wasn’t what I got… and I’m glad.
“Strangers” is a song about two people sharing a sexual relationship, and feeling differently about it. One is starting to develop feelings, but the other is only there for the sex.
It’s not just two people, though. It’s about two women.
Of course, that’s not the only thing that makes the song fantastic. Like always, Halsey’s lyrics are beautifully written, and both her and Lauren perform them with flawlessly passionate vocals. But the fact that it’s about a lesbian couple shouldn’t be thrown to the side. Not at all.
Remember when I said it was rare to find mainstream content relating to non-heterosexual relationships? Well, to my surprise, Halsey and Lauren have performed it at a few major shows. That’s a big deal. It’s one thing to include a song like that on an album, but it’s a whole other story when it actually is pulled into the public’s eye.
That made me feel good about hopeless fountain kingdom. Halsey has always been a big role model for me. She isn’t afraid to release music that may not be connectable for mainstream listeners.
When the album finally came out, I immediately went and listened to it. It doesn’t matter who you are; it’s good. In my opinion, it might even top BADLANDS. The whole thing is killer.
I was so into every single one of her tracks, that I almost missed what I was hoping to find.
After listening to a bunch of incredible songs, I got to “Bad at Love”.
Just from the title, I knew I’d love it. When Halsey began with using male pronouns, I figured that was what the song would be about, but I didn’t mind. It was still a jam. However, after the first chorus, it changed over to female pronouns.
The gears started turning in my head. It took me a moment to realize that Halsey was referring to both a male lover, as well as a female lover… in the same song.
It wasn’t two different projects, like “Ghost” and “Colors”. It was one. There was no speculation to be made. Halsey had created a heartbreakingly emotional song that involves someone who is into both men and women.
I was stunned. I mean, bisexuals are barely recognized at all, and now Halsey is releasing music showcasing bisexuality in a kind and meaningful way.
And yes, I know Halsey herself is bisexual. It makes sense. Quality and meaningful bisexual content almost never come from someone who doesn’t identify that way. Many homosexual men and women can’t even wrap their heads around the idea of liking both men and women (come on!).
To me, “Bad at Love” has the power to start the conversation. It’s a song anyone can easily enjoy, but when those pronouns are mentioned, it becomes so much bigger. It dives into what bisexuality is; liking men and women.
Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Strangely enough, bisexuality is about as complicated as “Bad at Love” is. People just make it out to seem like it’s some type of unsolvable phenomenon. There isn’t much to understand.
Not only does “Bad at Love” make a gentle statement, but it’s the kind of content a lot of us bisexuals are looking for. It isn’t just featuring a relationship between a woman and a man, nor is it just about one involving two women. It’s about both, and that’s what our lives tend to consist of.
To many people, “Bad at Love” is just another Halsey song, but to me, it is so much more. For once, I feel like someone in the music industry actually understands. In a way, I even feel represented. For now, it’s the closest mainstream thing there is to a bisexual anthem (unless you count the gem “Gettin’ Bi” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which really does sum bisexuality up).
It’s 2017, and like so many others, I’m waiting for the media to go past just heterosexual and homosexual relationships. There’s so much more to it than that. Ignoring and attempting to erase bisexuality doesn’t make it go away. It’s not some item that can be forgotten; it’s a group of men and women who deserve to have a place in the media and to have their rights respected.
Halsey’s musical work is a step in the right direction. The bisexuality in her lyrics is subtle, but that doesn’t diminish its importance. A song doesn’t have to be centered around bisexuality to count as content, and honestly, that’s what a lot of us want. We’re not looking for anything crazy and over the top. We just want the kind of media typical men and women relationships get, and is that really too much to ask for?