Primetime television needs to officially up its game. Last week General Hospital achieved something that none of my other TV shows have done: acknowledged bisexuality. Regardless what you may think of the genre, this is a pretty big deal.
It sounds so simple, and yet…. Well, look at the evidence. Prior to this, I could only name one show where a character flat out identified as bisexual, and it wasn’t in a positive manner.
The very short-lived That ’80s Show had a bisexual woman as a gag. All of her behavior was predicated upon wanting to sleep with people. Glee, a progressive–but still problematic–musical series on FOX had several queer characters. But the only time “bisexual” was used as a full word was when Kurt shot down Blaine’s self-questioning after a drunken kiss with a girl. Although Brittany Pierce (Heather Morris) displayed definitive attraction to two genders, she only ever got as far as calling herself “bi-curious” and later, “a bi-corn.”
Even the glorious works of Shonda Rhimes are guilty of the No Bisexuals trope: How to Get Away with Murder continues to rock primetime with its diverse and representative cast, but when season two gave clear-cut evidence of Annalise Keating’s bisexuality, the word never came up. Bisexual erasure is a thing, both in and out of fiction, and I’m completely fed up with it.
Which is why this General Hospital thing matters to me so much. The seeds of the storyline were planted back in December when Kristina Corinthos-Davis (Lexi Ainsworth) returned from college for winter break. She engaged in some particularly sneaky maneuvers to prevent her parents from finding out she’s been suspended from school. After repeated prodding, she confesses only to her sisters: in a last-ditch effort to save herself from failing, Kristina propositioned one of her professors. Kristina thought Professor Parker Forsyth would accept based upon “a vibe [she]’d been getting all semester,” but instead they reported her.
I had the feeling this Parker character would somehow make their way to Port Charles and cause trouble, but I didn’t really care about the storyline. That is until Parker turned up on Kristina’s doorstep. Surprise, surprise–Parker is a woman. When her half-sister Molly finds out about Parker, Kristina tries to deny and deflect the subject. Last week Kristina’s balancing act fell apart when her father forced an emotional confrontation about school. She confessed to the details of the suspension but played the Pronoun Game and let her parents assume Parker is male.
Which brings us to the March 18th episode.
Kristina admits her feelings for Parker are beyond a simple crush, but she’s confused because all her past relationships have been men. In previous conversations with Molly, she staunchly refused to identify as gay. Now she admits she simply doesn’t know.
Missing from the above clip (curse you ABC) are few more important moments. The word “bisexual” is actually used more than once. *Gasp!* Then, as if I couldn’t be more in love with these scenes, Molly says Kristina could be polysexual (attracted to multiple genders).
BOOM. Not only does GH start normalizing the presence of bisexuality, it takes it a step further by moving away from gender binarism. And Kristina doesn’t even question the existence of multiple genders. She’s not much older than Molly; she knows some, if not all, the terms her sister is bringing up. She’s just never had to think about them in relation to herself.