Riverdale's Lili Reinhart Shares Why She Feels It's So Important To Include Bisexual Characters On TV

betty cooper riverdale season 4
(Image credit: the cw press)

For so many years, the vast majority of TV characters were portrayed as heterosexual, and whenever LGBTQ characters did get introduced, stereotypes were plentiful and not always comfortable. Thankfully, the robustness of what is now considered television allows for storytelling that embraces anyone and everyone. That includes the teens from Riverdale, which has obviously delivered a very different take on the Archie Comics bunch. Star Lili Reinhart, who plays the affable (and sometimes super-sexual) Betty Cooper, came out in June as being bisexual, and recently talked about the importance of seeing bisexual characters on TV.

Conversations about bisexual TV characters were recently sparked by an unexpected source: Disney Channel's awesome animated series The Owl House, which features a burgeoning romance between its central witch-in-training Luz (Sarah-Nicole Robles) and her rival-turned-friend Amity (Mae Whitman), something I'm sure One Million Moms is hyped about. Speaking with the BBC, Lili Reinhart gave props to Disney for introducing its first bisexual animated character, and said this about bringing more of those characters to light:

I think it's important to make it more normal, as I feel in cinema and TV, the characters are usually gay or straight, there's not a lot of bisexual characters - but it should be normalized. There are a lot of bisexual people, including me. Before, I felt that people were going to invalidate what I was saying by telling me I was going through a phase.

To that end, Lili Reinhart said that others have questioned and dismissed her bisexuality, telling her that she will "grow out of it" at some point. But that obviously isn't the case, and that kind of comment is absolutely insulting to hear, as if being bisexual is akin to liking a certain kind of music or food items.

For anyone out there who still hasn't been able to share or live their truths, Lili Reinhart wants you to know that there is always someone out there willing to listen, even when it doesn't seem that way. In her words:

Times are changing, and at school, there was one gay kid who was out and comfortable with it, but some people were hiding their sexuality because they were afraid to come out. I hope people know they have outlets and communities who are now so willing to support young people facing decisions about this. There's a lot of open arms out there.

Lili Reinhart's latest project is the Amazon film Chemical Hearts, which released to streaming audiences on August 21. In the film, she plays a teen named Grace who changes up the life of Austin Abrams' Henry Page, a hopeless romantic who doesn't know the first thing about being in an actual romantic relationship. When the two are paired together to edit the school newspaper, sparks fly. Reinhart says she took on the role because it wasn't just another teen romance movie, and that it flipped things up by centering on the male character and his struggles.

Here's hoping Lili Reinhart can join the cast of The Owl House at some point to voice another bisexual character, though not one that would get in the way of Luz and Amity, though, because nope, nope, nope. Considering a major stereotype that plagues bisexual characters is rampant amoral sexualizing, I'm sure Reinhart wouldn't want to make that happen anyway.

Riverdale is set to follow up on that bonkers cliffhanger with Season 5 in 2021, after filming is allowed to start back up again in a safe manner. While waiting to hear more about what to expect, check out our Fall TV 2020 premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.