While in recent years representation of LGBT people as a whole in media has been on the rise, this hasn’t been true for every letter of that acronym. In particular, bi and trans people have been mostly left out. Very few characters are actually referred to as bisexual even if they are shown to have relationships with people of different genders. They are often depicted as being promiscuous and having no interest in serious or monogamous relationships. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with either of those things, but obviously not every bisexual person wants the same thing. Bisexual women in relationships with other women are usually seen as going through a phase, being wild, or “turning into a lesbian.” Bisexual men on screen are almost non-existent. Even while coming up with this list, I found it hard to find characters who say in canon that they are bisexual and are shown in relationships with people of different genders. However, there are a few bright spots of positive representation. Here are some of the best bisexual heroes in TV, Movies, and Comics.
Dr. Remy “Thirteen” Hadley from House, MD: First introduced in season four and known only as “Thirteen”, this badass doctor (played by Olivia Wilde) was known for her secretive nature and sharp wit. While at first she was shown to be wild and promiscuous, this was later shown to be a result of having a terminal illness. When she later comes to terms with her diagnosis, she is shown to be perfectly capable of engaging in serious relationships with both men and women. Strong and confident, Thirteen refuses to let any one box her in and makes a point of identifying herself as bisexual, not as straight or gay.
Korra and Asami Sato from Avatar: The Legend of Korra: This show, like its predecessor Avatar: The Last Airbender was nothing short of groundbreaking during its run, particularly considering the fact that it was an animated series largely meant for kids. Dealing with heavy topics like discrimination, sexism, war, and trauma, both shows could always be counted on to tackle sensitive issues with nuance and grace, without ever losing their humor. In the last episode of The Legend of Korra, Korra and Asami were seen entering a spiritual dimension called the spirit world together while holding hands and looking fondly at each other. The scene was later interpreted by fans and confirmed by show co-creator Bryan Konietzko to mean that the two characters who had only been shown with male partners had fallen in love and were beginning a relationship.
Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire: A prominent character for the fourth season of Game of Thrones and in the third book, A Storm of Swords, this bisexual badass (played by Pedro Pascal) was also known as the Viper and was explicitly shown to have interest in both men and women, and was in a committed polyamorous relationship with his lover Ellaria Sand (Indria Varma), who also happened to be bisexual. Swaggering and hell-bent on revenge for his family, Oberyn was (spoiler alert) taken from us in a particularly brutish death. RIP Oberyn, we hardly knew ye.
Rachel from Imagine Me and You: There are very few romantic comedies for queer people as media tends to either avoid queerness altogether or write depressing stories of death and discrimination. Luckily, Imagine Me and You avoids both these pitfalls and provides us with protagonist Rachel (played by Piper Perabo), who begins the film with her wedding to Hector (played by Matthew Goode) but falls in love with her florist, Luce (played by Lena Headey). Rachel’s love for Luce is never portrayed as a strange deviation nor is her love for Hector ever dismissed or diminished in this sweet, funny film.
Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood: played by John Barrowman, the good captain was first introduced as a sexy futuristic con man who was, to quote The Doctor (at the time, played by Christopher Eccelston), “a bit more flexible when it comes to dancing.” While Jack was shown to enjoy flirting with people of multiple genders in both shows, Jack eventually began a serious relationship in Torchwood with Ianto Jones, who was also shown to be bisexual. The two went from being more or less friends with benefits to eventually embarking on a full-fledged, loving, supportive relationship.
Kelly from Black Mirror: While pretty much every episode of this British anthology series is depressing, creepy, and generally pretty down on technology and humanity, the episode ‘San Junipero’ is the lovely, heartwarming exception. One of the main characters of this episode is Kelly (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who enters a relationship with Yorkie (played by Mackenzie Davis). Kelly tells Yorkie that she is bisexual and used to be married to a man who later died. San Junipero is generally considered one of the most poignant and beautiful episodes of Black Mirror, and it’s not hard to see why.
Lorraine Broughton from Atomic Blonde: Honestly, Lorraine (played by Charlize Theron) being bisexual is probably the least exciting thing about her. She is badass, sneaky, and a damn good spy. The film makes a point of noting in the beginning that a deceased male agent was her former lover, and shows her engaging in a brief love affair with fellow secret agent Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella). But like I said, the movie is so full of twists and turns and Lorraine beating up bad guys that you don’t have that much time to even revel in how easily the movie gives us a bi heroine.
Ilana from Broad City: Played by and based on a loose version of the show’s co-creator Ilana Glazer, Ilana is a fun-loving, hedonistic, pot-smoking young Jewish woman in her twenties roaming around New York with her best friend Abbi (played by series co-creator Abbi Jacobson). In season two, Ilana sees her doppelganger Adele (played by Alia Shawkat), and the two begin a sexual relationship where Ilana tells her, “I have sex with people different from me. Different colors, different shapes, different sizes. People who are hotter, people who are uglier. More smart; not more smart. Innies, outies. I don’t know, a Catholic person.”