The “B” in LGBTQ+ has long been a subject of the Queer community often stuck between a rock and a hard place. Being bi has often brought out tired labels and stereotypes such as it being “just a phase,” a moment of confusion between deciding to be straight or gay or for more promiscuous types. Not here. We're going to celebrate its community through some of the most iconic bisexual television characters who represent being out and proudly bi.
Throughout the years, a number of great TV shows have included great bisexual characters. Let’s get to these seminal examples:
Willow Rosenberg (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
From 1997 to 2003, Alyson Hannigan played Buffy’s best friend Willow. She assists Buffy in her vampire hunting before realizing she’s a witch with powers she must learn to control. In the early seasons, Willow has two major relationships with men, including Seth Green’s Oz and Nicholas Brendon’s Xander, but the series really broke some ground for the queer community when she finds a love story with Amber Benson’s Tara Maclay. And we cannot forget the “Dark Willow” plot line, which was Willow from an alternate universe who gives off super bi vampire energy.
Callie Torres (Grey’s Anatomy)
Grey’s Anatomy is one of the most beloved (and longest running) medical dramas of all time. In the second season, Sara Ramirez’s Callie came on board the show as a love interest to T.R. Knight’s George O’Malley. Callie and George have a memorable romance that spawns into marriage until it falls apart later. Following their breakup, Callie starts to explore and become comfortable with her bisexuality, later marrying Arizona Robbins. Callie is the longest running LGBTQ+ character in TV history to this day!
Captain Jack Harkness (Doctor Who/Torchwood)
The Doctor Who franchise is a legendary British series and when John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness, it allowed the series to bring its first openly queer character to television. The companion to Doctor Who first appeared in 2005 and then got his own spinoff series Torchwood in 2006, which allowed Jack to have a number of notable relationships. Between his tragic love story with Ianto Jones and flames with Gwen, Jack is a great bi character, who is not also not solely defined by it. However, no thanks to the actor's flashing allegations, we're likely not to see Harkness again.
Oberyn Martell (Game Of Thrones)
Before Pedro Pascal was The Mandalorian, the actor portrayed the Red Viper of Dorne, Oberyn Martell, in HBO’s Game of Thrones. In the monumentous series, Pascal’s character is a badass in combat and also openly and overtly bisexual. To quote him: “The Red Viper enjoys life. He does not discriminate in his pleasures. This is the way he understands life, to live it to its fullest”. What a time it was to see a male bisexual character in a fantasy world being proudly bi!
Avatar Korra (The Legend of Korra)
Nickelodeon made history in the world of animation when its leading character Korra became part of the LGBTQ+ community. Korra is the next Avatar in line after Aang in the original series and a badass bi character that brought some representation to a wider audience. Early in the series, Korra has feelings for her teammate Mako. Later on in the series, Korra and Asami become pairing after a sweet storyline between them and had the community in heart-eyes over their happy ending.
Annalise Keating (How To Get Away With Murder)
From 2014 to 2019, Viola Davis portrayed Annalise Keating on the ABC thriller, How To Get Away With Murder. The leading character’s key relationships are with Tom Verica’s Sam, who begins as her therapist and Famke Janssen’s Eve, who she has a long-term relationship with before Sam. Later in the series, Annalise and Eve rekindle their love along with Davis’ character also becoming entangled with Billy Brown’s Detective Nate Lahey. Love to see a major LGBTQ+ lead on network TV.
Darryl Whitefeather (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Of all the iconic bisexual characters to celebrate, only one has a super catchy theme song: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Darryl Whitefeather. One supporting character in the CW comedy memorably had a musical number called “Gettin’ Bi” that deserves a place on this list:
Darryl is a newly divorced dad who comes into his bisexuality early on in the show when he gets a crush on David Hull’s Josh Wilson. Throughout the show, Darryl and Josh’s relationship is super stable and cute and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend took a fun approach to bi representation with this character.
Clarke Griffin (The 100)
Eliza Taylor’s Clarke Griffin became the first LGBTQ+ leading character on a CW series in 2015 when her and Lexa’s romantic tension was confirmed with a kiss. The science fiction series about teens being sent down to Earth after a nuclear apocalypse brought up the typical questions bisexuals often deal with after the kiss, with some believing Lexa initiated the kiss and Eliza was heterosexual, but the show continued to explore their relationship further… that is until Lexa is killed off, which caused an uproar from fans over the show’s decision.
Ilana Wexler (Broad City)
Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson brought something completely different to TV with their comedy, based on a web series, Broad City. If the misadventures of two best friends living in NYC wasn’t fun enough, there’s the character of Ilana Wexler, a proud bi woman who easily switches between being super into her boyfriend (Hannibal Buress’ Lincoln for much of the series) and admiring her hot BFF and other good-looking women around her. Ilana is a contemporary queen of the bi experience.
Rosa Diaz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
As this list comes to an end, there’s of course characters we missed. The Good Place’s Eleanor Shellstrop and Schitt’s Creek’s David Rose are a couple more solid ones in the comedy genre, but over them, we’re going to have to go with Detective Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Stephanie Beatriz’s character starts off cold as ice, but is one of the best characters on the comedy, especially when it comes to the show unfolding her experiences as a bi woman.
Many of these bi TV characters broke ground for representation, moving forward with new TV shows to come, we’d be excited for them to make room for more LGBTQ+ representation across the board.
YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.
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