Yet almost unanimously, the students hated the film. Or perhaps it was more they hated how bisexuality is perceived and expressed by the people in the film...some of the visible cringes came from interviews with an out bi man who is very homophobic, a girl's stepdad who wished he could see his stepdaughter and her girlfriend make out, and a lesbian mocking bisexuals as just gay people with one foot in the closet.
I think part of what the bi students in attendance were reacting to was that they did see some of their experiences reflected in the film...and it hurt. Random American after random American were getting on their soapbox to pass judgment about bi people. It's an open secret that bisexuals have to deal with flak from both the queer and straight community, and it was telling that many of the bi students who attended the film screening had come to few or no other Rainbow Lounge events. Even we in the Lounge were not doing enough to explicitly welcome bi-identified students.
A big piece of our discussion after the screening was about the derth of bisexual men in the film, and the derth of bisexual men in any kind of media in general. One bi woman in the discussion admitted that she even made unconscious judgments about men who identify as bi, assuming that they were really just gay.
|Take a nice long look at this cover photo...|
Any Irving reader knows that he loves to create transvestite and cross-dressing characters, and this book is chock full of them. (Grandpa Harry and a certain former wrestler [no spoilers here!] are particularly lovely.) My only qualm is that it seems every gay and bi male in the book has their sexuality discovered because at one point or currently they liked to try on women's clothing. While that is true for many gay and bi guys, it diminishes their wholeness as characters because it's such an easy cultural stereotype to fall back on.
But these are small prices to pay to have a mainstream American author create a bi male protagonist who is confident, happy and complex. So John Irving, just let me know when you estimate the theatrical release and I will make sure it makes its way to the MIT Rainbow Lounge.