"Nobody's bi, that's just a gay guy who sometimes bangs a lady."The aspect of works of fiction where there is a lack of bisexual characters despite the definite existence of bisexual people In Real Life (1.8% of US population), and often don't even acknowledge their existence. Although some series don't address any sexuality specifically, even gay characters tend to be more numerous. Almost any character in a same-gender relationship or professing a same-gender attraction is assumed by the others to be either gay or joking. If the existence of bisexuals is acknowledged, they're usually depicted as very promiscuous and totally defined by sex, and sometimes even as predatory (mirroring prejudices leveled against real life bisexuals). A few characters do manage to use a version of Ambiguously Gay to avoid scrutiny (see Hide Your Lesbians). A function of this is when a character who has been seemingly heterosexual until this point falls for a member of their own gender, they jump the fence and become only interested in their own gender from that moment on; the possibility that they might be bisexual is never even brought up. The trope especially purports that there are no bisexual men, particularly in Western productions. Some female characters, due to the Girl-on-Girl Is Hot and Sweeps Week Lesbian Kiss rules, can explore all sides of their sexuality as much as they want, especially if they're identified as promiscuous or plain evil. However, such characters will rarely call themselves bisexual; they may insist they're straight, or just leave it up in the air. Meanwhile, since male characters often act as the Audience Surrogate, their sexuality has to be strictly heterosexual, lest the show be forced into the Minority Show Ghetto. This trope is, of course, not Truth in Television in the sense that bisexuals exist. It is Truth in Television in the sense that bisexuals have often been faced with disbelief from hetero- and homosexuals alike on the grounds they "have to be" one or the other. In Real Life, this phenomenon is occasionally called Bisexual Erasure. See also Suddenly Sexuality and A Threesome Is Hot. Compare If Its You Its Ok, where an otherwise gay/straight character expresses interest in someone outside their usual target zone with nary a mention of the B word. Contrast Bi the Way and Depraved Bisexual. Also contrast But Not Too Bi, which is essentially this trope in reverse—a character who is established as bisexual yet only shows interest in one gender. The polar opposite of Everyone Is Bi, where either an unusually high number of characters seem to be at least mildly bisexual or sexuality is never presented as an issue.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- The title character of Haruhi Suzumiya faces much controversy in the fandom regarding her sexuality, even though she spells it out in the first episode: "I don't care if it's a boy or a girl!" Being Haruhi, her main point was that she doesn't care about gender because she's a space-aliens-and-supernatural-beings-sexual. Kyon is probably a normal human, and Mikuru is not, but as far as Haruhi knows they're both muggles; yet she behaves like a tsundere towards Kyon and a Clingy Jealous Girl towards Mikuru. It's a confusing situation.
- In the yuri manga Indigo Blue the main character, Rutsu, is pretty clearly bisexual—though she prefers women, she admits to having had genuine feelings for her ex-boyfriend and to sometimes enjoying sex with men. However, her decision to accept her attraction to women and begin a same-gender relationship is consistently referred to as "becoming a lesbian" or "sinking into lesbianism", which not only avoids use of the term "bisexual," but implies it to be some kind of irreversible process (i.e. she can never go back to dating/sleeping with men now).
- The fifth Sailor Moon manga, called simply STARS, featured cross-dressing Sailor Senshi named the Sailor Starlights, and one of them, Sailor Star Fighter, has feelings of affection towards Sailor Moon. They are not a major part of the storyline, and Star Fighter only makes it clear in passing. But when this became a major part of the anime adaptation, Sailor Stars, Star Fighter and the other Starlights became physical males in their civilian forms to keep Usagi from being seen as a maybe bisexual. Naoko Takeuchi was not amused by this in the slightest, although she stopped short of disowning the anime. The anime itself only acknowledges this awkwardly in one scene where the Starlights' Princess asks Fighter "You take these forms on earth?" and Fighter nervously responds "To attract only women, this form was easiest".
- Despite the tendency for Yaoi Genre manga to have an Everyone Is Bi trend, many or most don't say that the characters like men and women and tend to go more for the trend of "Straight, just dating/in love with a man." Despite having a clear interest in men/a man, bisexuality often isn't even considered in-universe and these characters either automatically come to the conclusion that they're gay (or "gay now") or spend their time insisting that their current partner is as exception.
- Minto from Tokyo Mew Mew is Ambiguously Bi—she expresses a rather excessive admiration for her Oneesama Zakuro (including a love confession that could go either way), but also seems interested in boys, most notably when Ichigo asks the Mews what they find attractive to and Minto thinks of a male dancer. For some reason, the 4Kids dub changed this, switching the image of a dancer into a picture of Zakuro, tremendously increasing the Les Yay. Given that 4Kids obviously isn't all that keen on queer characters in childrens' TV shows, the only sensible reason anyone's been able to come up with to explain this is that they were less willing to have a subtextually bi character than a subtextually gay character.
- In the Adventure Time comic Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens it is quite obvious that Marceline and Princess Bubblegum are experiencing sexual tension in their relationship. This is evident in Marceline's clear jealousy of Bubblegum's feelings for fellow bandmate, Guy, and Bubblegum's reaction to Marceline admitting to said jealousy. However, many fans argue that Bubblegum's attraction to Guy means that she could not possibly have an intimate relationship with Marceline.
- John Constantine of Hellblazer. In issue 51 he mentions that he's had a few boyfriends, though it remains lip-service bisexuality until the "Ashes and Dust in the City of Angels" story arc, where he seduces and is shown (in very tasteful silhouettes) having sex with the guy he is conning at the time.
- Though averted in X-Factor, in which Rictor and Shatterstar (both men) have a relationship even though Rictor was previously interested in a female teammate and Shatterstar is taking a leaf from Captain Jack Harkness, it is played painfully straight by many of the book's readers, who responded with confusion and dismay, not because of the relationship (well, some because of that, but they're not relevant here) but because it was clearly blatant disregard for continuity (in their eyes) to show someone being interested in women in one issue and men in another. It's also played (somewhat) straight in the comic itself: while Shatterstar is happily and enthusiastically bisexual, Rictor is gay, and always has been, deep down.
- In the pages of X-Men, it's revealed that the time-displaced, younger version of Iceman learned he was gay. Since his older version has been known to have girlfriends in the past, he questions if he's actually bi-sexual. The young version of Jean Grey more or less tells him there's no such thing as bisexuals and that the older version of Iceman simply chose to stop being gay since being a mutant was already hard enough.
- In Sunstonenote , when Ally realizes that she is in love with Lisa and not just Friends with Benefits, she declares to her friend Alan that she is gay, even though she had had relationships with men, including Alan, in the past, as had Lisa. Given, however, just how quickly and deeply Ally and Lisa fall for each other, it is quite possible that they really were both gay and in denial about it.
- In Slash Fic, when a character previously known only to get involved with a different gender, reveals his having a same-gender attraction, it's quite common for another character to respond with something along the lines of "But you were married!". It's also quite common for characters previously known only to get involved with a different gender to have an attraction to or hook up with someone of the same gender and suddenly realize that they're gay. It would make a lot more sense in most cases for them to be bisexual.
- In the Psych fanfic Lassiter Learns How to Bend and its sequels, Lassiter has a gay acquaintance from his academy days, Russell Santos, who claims that there is no such thing as bisexuals, even though his own partner of fifteen years lived with a woman before they got together. The partner himself is quite adamant about the fact that she was not his beard, but that he was in love with her for real. Lassiter is understandably miffed when Russell tells him that his relationship with Shawn is doomed because they both identify as bisexual.
- Willow tries to claim this in Links Broken, Bonds Forged when Faith mentions she's bi, because Willow's mother wrote a paper about how bisexuality doesn't exist.
Faith: "All I know is that I like a big slab of sausage most days, but occasionally I get bored with that and feel like having a taco.”
- Brokeback Mountain averted this by having the main characters be bisexual, but pandering to this trope nevertheless led to the movie being marketed as a gay love story.
- Chasing Amy deals with this trope in-universe, when the bisexual Alyssa identifies as a lesbian for the first half of the film; it's implied that she considered it easier to deny her attraction to men than to deal with the social ramifications of bisexuality.
- In Eating Out, when Troy claims to be a bisexual, he is met with every character around him shouting, "THERE'S NO SUCH THING!!!"
- I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is about a pair of straight men who enter into a fake gay marriage, and must pretend not to be attracted to women so that they won't be found out. While the movie pays lip-service to bisexuality with Captain Tucker's closing speech, there was no indication that it's possible for a man to be attracted to more than one gender, and Adam's character's affairs with women in the past becomes a major plot point. The entire "conflict" could have been ended if Chuck just said he was bisexual and in an open relationship with Larry.
- In The Kids Are All Right, which was directed and co-written by a lesbian, Jules has (and quite clearly enjoys) sex with a man, but has crappy sex with her wife. Nevertheless, she continues to call herself gay, not straight or bisexual. Needless to say, this has caused a lot of controversy and is often seen as perpetuating a message along the lines of "lesbians secretly want men".
- In Legally Blonde, when a witness is tricked into revealing that he has a boyfriend, this is considered proof he couldn't have had an affair with a woman; in addition, Elle says "gay men know designers, straight men don't". Apparently there are, you guessed it, no bisexuals. The musical version addresses the issue (at least in part) by having the aforementioned boyfriend testify that the witness in question "never, ever, ever, ever swings the other way."
- Surprisingly justified in this case; the point of this interrogation wasn't so much to prove that he liked guys as it was to prove that he didn't like women (and thus couldn't have had an affair with the suspect). The witness himself, meanwhile, was trying his hardest to not make it apparent that he's attracted to men, hence why he didn't claim to be bi. The musical adds a scene where Elle does the "bend and snap" in front of him and he's completely unaffected, which only cements to her that he's not interested in women.
- In the film version of Queen of the Damned, Lestat's canonical male love interests from the novels are nowhere to be found in the film. Nicki's absence was especially jarring to book fans, considering his crucial importance to Lestat's backstory (in The Vampire Lestat, it was Nicki's Stradivarius that he played to wake Akasha). One of the novel's female characters (who had no romantic or sexual interest in Lestat) was Promoted to Love Interest in the film to compensate for the removal of the other male characters.
- In Skyfall, James Bond makes a (possibly joking/bluffing) comment to a villain, who is threatening him with rape, about having slept with a man before. This led to talk about whether James Bond—who's had, and clearly enjoyed, more sex with women than just about any non-pornographic movie character—was gay. No bisexuals indeed!
- Clay from Less Than Zero, who was bi in the book is only seen sleeping with a woman in the movie.
- Ricki and the Flash one of Ricki's children comes out as gay. She says she thought he was bisexual and he claims "that was just my cover story in college."
- An early example is the 1968 crime drama The Detective, where a gay character states that bisexuals are just "homosexuals without conviction." Of course, the character in question's a murderer and the movie's attitude towards gays isn't much better.
- In the dystopian setting of The Lobster, adults are forcibly paired up through a dating service. When David tries to sign up as a bisexual, he is informed that the option "no longer exists". After a long pause, he decides to sign up as straight.
- Briefly referenced in Brimstone. Early in the book, an officer points out that a murder victim had "perverse sexual tendencies". When Agent Pendergast asks what these are, the cop replies that he "liked men and women". Pendergast then matter-of-factly points out that thirty percent of all men have such tendencies, to which the cop replies: "Not in Southampton [the town where this is taking place] they don't!".
- Sexual orientation in Gone is pretty much always discussed in terms of gay/straight, with no indication that someone could be in between, although there is a lot of controversy involving a certain Zil Sperry.
- There is an argument IN the Harry Potter fandom as to whether the subtext suggests Remus Lupin and Sirius Black are romantically attracted to one another. Tonks/Remus shippers argue that Remus's marriage to a woman disproves this and that the poster on teenage Sirius's wall of girls in bikinis disproves it also. Of course, they could both be bisexual.
- In Greg Egan's short story Reasons To Be Cheerful, the narrator, due to repaired brain damage, is given the ability to design his own likes and dislikes, starting from a blank slate of general approval. With regards to his sexuality, he starts off bisexual, but decides that he must choose to be either gay or straight, justifying the decision using nearly every stereotype about bisexuality there is.
"I didn't want to be bisexual. I was too old to experiment like a teenager; I wanted certainty, I wanted solid foundations. I wanted to be monogamous, and even if monogamy was rarely an effortless state for anyone, that was no reason to lumber myself with unnecessary obstacles."
- In Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult, one of the main characters, Zoe, becomes involved with a woman after her divorce. However, she calls herself a lesbian despite the fact that she admits being attracted to and in love with men. Her partner, Vanessa, is a school counselor and frequently counsels LGBT teens, but never mentions any bisexuals.
- Appears in-story in Stephen King's The Stand. When Stu Redman (who comes from a small town in Texas) hears that Dayna Jurgens is bi, he doesn't even understand the term first. Later, when Dayna flirts with him and kisses him "for good luck" before she goes on a mission, he wonders how she could be a lesbian.
- Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar plays with the culture clash of sexuality mores: the Big Bad tries to mess up the Vorkosigans' marriage by revealing Lord Vorkosigan's bisexuality. On Barrayar, that's a taboo (as is pure homosexuality). Lady Vorkosigan, being from a planet where the only rules about sex are "it has to be consensual" and "having kids requires governmental approval", absently responds, "Was bisexual. Now monogamous," and has to see the other's reaction to realize this was an attempt to blow up the marriage. In a later book, Lady Vorkosigan explains that her husband is bisexual, leaning toward soldiers; her own military background lets him have his cake and eat it too. (Brings more meaning to all the times he calls her "my Captain.")
- Anne Frank was bisexual, and wrote quite a bit about her attraction to girls and women. Many versions of The Diary of a Young Girl edited these versions out, and their inclusion has often been a factor in having the book banned from schools. (That, and her father's input.)
- Averted in the Ahriman Trilogy, with Caitlin Reid, who is quite open about her sexuality.
- There are several main characters in the Village Tales series who are bisexual. This trope appears only In-Universe when Edmond, early on (he is swiftly educated out of his view), who is himself gay and in a lasting relationship with the pansexual Teddy, dismisses one of his friends' assertion of bisexuality as mere pretense: "HP. The never-never. 'Bi now, gay later' – really, there's no such thing [as bisexuality]." It doesn't go over well, and he apologizes and reforms his views.
- Liz Lemon of 30 Rock decrees on a talk show in "Kidney Now!" that "There's no such thing as bisexual. That's just something invented in the nineties so they could sell more hair products." However, it should be noted that it's made obvious Liz is not qualified to give relationship advice.
- Two of the men (Justin and Max) who have slept with Edina of Absolutely Fabulous became gay, apparently as a direct result ("You sure know how to turn them"). There is no evidence that they were ever attracted to men before, or were at all attracted to women afterward. However, in a episode featuring Whoopi Goldberg she claims that everyone is at least a little bit gay.
- An episode from the first season of Brothers and Sisters invoked this trope when Kevin was trying to figure out if a guy he was interested in, Chad, was gay or straight. When one of his siblings suggested that the guy might be bi, his answer was that no one is really bi, and that everyone has to "make a choice" eventually. A few episodes later, after they had been seeing each other for a while, Kevin decided that he was mistaken and that Chad was living proof that someone could really be bisexual.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In the first few seasons, Willow is portrayed as straight: she has a crush on Xander, and has a relationship with Oz. However, once Tara enters the pictures, she's just "gay now". The idea that she might be attracted to both men and women is never brought up, which is especially jarring considering the episode where she realises her feelings for Tara makes it abundantly clear that she has lingering feelings for Oz at the same time.
- Likewise when vampire!Willow shows up again in "Doppelgangland", Willow refers to her as "kind of gay" after she attempts to seduce her. This is ignoring that vampire!Willow was clearly in a relationship with vampire!Xander in "The Wish" - but of course Willow didn't know this.
- After Buffy and Satsu hook up in the season 8 comics, several good reasons are given why they can't stay together, but apparently the main reason is that the former is "not a dyke". But could she be bi? The possibility isn't so much as alluded to. Later, we get Kennedy saying "You're not the only fool to ever wrinkle the sheets with a straight girl", which is arguably fair, but the possibility that she's bisexual still isn't mentioned. Her straightness is treated as just obvious. Even Xander gets in on it: when Buffy admits her attraction to him, he says that he is on the list as a potential romantic interest "right after gay. I rate almost as good as trying to change your sexual orientation. You went through gay to me."
- For most of his appearances, Andrew is portrayed as Ambiguously Gay and his obliviousness about it is often played for laughs. He is implied to have a crush on Warren, shares a bed with Jonathan, fantasizes about actors Scott Bakula, Patrick Swayze and Viggo Mortensen, and sings along to Lady Gaga's Born This Way. On the other hand, he gets upset when Warren refuses to make him a robot copy of Christina Ricci, says Scully from The X-Files "wants [him] so bad", and lectures both Spike and Angel about dating and women before leaving with two attractive women (which Joss Whedon later stated was intended to be a mixed-gender group). However, after kissing a man in season 10 he almost immediately comes out as gay, with various characters commenting on how completely obvious it always was. Bisexuality seems to be a non-existing concept in the Buffyverse.
- Apparently Mary Beth Lacey was married off to avert initial audience reactions that Cagney & Lacey were a "couple of dykes".
- Gimme Gimme Gimme has a TV presenter named Vic Cheesecloth, who spends his entire episode acting camp and "flirting" with openly gay Tom, who has come to appear in one of his sofa commercials. When Tom eventually develops feelings for him, he asks him whether he could move in to his mansion, to which Vic roars with laughter and states that his wife would be annoyed, making Tom freak out because they had shared a bed in the hotel. Vic excuses this by saying that he's a "straight man that sleeps with men." Considering the sitcom has mentioned bisexuality before, this trope might be being parodied, but there hasn't been an openly bisexual character (unless you count Linda having a one night stand with a female taxi driver), so this is debatable.
- In an episode of Cheers, one of Rebecca's ex-boyfriends comes to the bar, and she's thinking of taking him back. When, with Rebecca absent, an off-hand mention of an ex-boyfriend of his own makes Sam realize that winning him back is impossible (which, of course, it turns out to be), and starting off a plot of wondering whether to tell her. Note that he doesn't say he's gay until near the end of the episode (when Rebecca's trying to seduce him).
- Subverted in the Cold Case episode "Triple Threat". Chelsea comments that the murder victim, Elena, was a dating a man in high school, and she later saw him in a gay bar. She seems to think that he's gay, but if Elena found out, he would be willing to kill her to keep it hidden. When the detectives question him he openly states that he's bisexual. The detectives take him seriously, and he's quickly (and accurately) dismissed as a suspect.
- Played for Laughs on the Comedy Central roast of William Shatner, where the other comedians repeatedly and pointedly refer to Andy Dick as "gay," while the camera cuts to him getting steadily more indignant in the background.
- Coronation Street:
- Todd realised he was gay after being in a loving and committed relationship with Sarah for nearly three years. Even after coming out he admitted he still loved Sarah and enjoyed being in a relationship with her but he never entertains the possibility he has an attraction to multiple genders (he previously also dated Candice) and he's only had relationships with men since.
- Occurs again with Marcus and Maria's relationship. Marcus identifies as a gay man who fell in love with a woman. Maria insists that he calls himself straight. Maybe bisexual is the word they are both looking for?
- The trope was finally averted when Amber suddenly made a pass at Sophie, after having an attraction to men for years. She was referred to by the media as 'bisexual'.
- Degrassi almost escaped this, but then fell right back into it once The Lad-ette Lesbian Alex was written off the show. When they started the plot, Paige's feelings for Alex had her confused, eventually coming to terms with not having labels attached. Having Paige openly date guys and Alex at the same time. Alex also said she was bi at the start of the arc, then revealed herself to be a lesbian by the middle of it. Paige stuck with bisexual up until Alex left the show, then it was a 'phase' and Alex was 'the only girl for her.' And while Degrassi usually has at least one gay or lesbian character (plus satellite romantic interest cast), the line is clearly defined each time.
- In one episode of Designing Women, Suzanne mentions that she told some guy's parents that he was bisexual because, "I don't believe in bisexuals. I figure the rest of us have to choose, so why shouldn't they?"
- Desperate Housewives:
- Katherine found herself attracted to, and eventually slept with, the attractive, female stripper Robin. This would mean she was most likely bisexual than anything, but everyone, including her, describes her as a lesbian, with the token gay couple flat out stating she can't have gay feelings for a woman because she is straight and there "isn't an on off switch". At no point is bisexuality ever considered, even as a concept.
- Bree's son Andrew, who had been openly gay for many years, returned to Bree's house having gotten engaged to a young woman. Bree is flabbergasted and quickly suspects (correctly) he is marrying the woman for her money. Again at no point is the idea that Andrew might be bi even raised as a possibility—Andrew himself even tries to insist his homosexuality was a phase. Which is strange, because he alludes at being bisexual right after coming out ("I love vanilla ice cream, but once in a while I will be in mood for chocolate). Everyone, including himself, continues using the term gay for the next few seasons, though.
- A Story Arc on The Drew Carey Show focused on Carey's citizenship domestic partnership to Mr. Wick, and a running gag was the two of them being forced to explain away Playboys, or similar "no, we don't like girls" antics. Admittedly, another attempt to prove they were gay was "owning a bread machine", so it may just be down to the characters being dumb. Ironically, Drew himself could be seen, among other things, having sex dreams about George Clooney.
- On Dynasty, Steven. Depending on what season and how it was written, Steven (who openly admitted he was gay in the show's first season) may or may not have had some genuine attraction to Claudia and Sammy Jo. Not that it ever lasted. By the reunion mini-series he had settled down permanently with Bart Fallmont, a love interest from a previous season. Never was the word "bisexual" ever brought up.
- Kerry Weaver on ER. This was briefly addressed in one episode — Weaver was re-united with her birth mother, but the mother was appalled when she learned of Weaver's sexuality, asking her how she could "choose" to be that way. Weaver said in no blunt terms that she was "alone in her soul" before she realized she was gay, despite a couple of obviously passionate relationships she had had with men before that.
- In Friends, prior to the start of the series, Ross's wife Carol comes out as a lesbian after seven years of marriage to a man - which is perhaps not in itself unusual, particularly in a less than gay-friendly early '90s context (especially since it's later made clear that her parents are at least vaguely homophobic since they refused to come to her and Susan's wedding). However, it's clear that she and Ross still enjoyed a sexual relationship together for a while after she got involved with Susan - not only does he explicitly bring up on one occasion how they had "some good times before she became a lesbian...and a few afterwards, as well," but a flashback to exactly one year before the pilot episode reveals that their son Ben must have been conceived at least three months after she admitted to seeing Susan. However, bisexuality is never brought up, and everyone accepts that she's exclusively gay.
- In one episode Joey refers to Ross as a guy who "married a woman who was nearly a lesbian, and then pushed her over the edge." Granted, it's intended as an insult and it's said by Joey, but Carol being bisexual would make a lot more sense.
- It might be that Carol is portrayed as gay to make her more sympathetic. An openly bisexual woman cheating on her husband, whether with a woman or man, and eventually leaving him for her new lover just wouldn't be as likeable (and may have a few Unfortunate Implications) as a repressed lesbian who's dealing with her sexual awakening and the breakdown of her marriage in the best way she can.
- Also, Phoebe is shown to be attracted to women on occasion, and seems to be seriously considering asking out Ross and Monica's ridiculously beautiful cousin Cassie (although it could be argued that this is more a case of Even the Girls Want Her / If Its You Its OK). She is, however, openly admiring of attractive women on a number of occasions. Despite this, she's only ever shown dating men.
- Glee skirts this trope.
- The show had two female high school students that appeared to be bisexual, cheerleaders Brittany and Santana. Santana was subsequently revealed to be a lesbian, and ditzy Brittany identified herself as "fluid" and "bi-curious".
- Blaine, a gay exchange student, becomes confused over his orientation in one episode and is convinced that he is bisexual. His friend Kurt dismisses this and claims that gay teenagers call themselves that "when they want to hold hands with [the opposite sex] and feel normal for a change", to which Blaine calls that a double-standard. Despite that, Blaine turns out to be "100% gay" at the end of the episode, which slightly backfires on the entire anvil drop.
- One of the three series' creators, Ryan Murphy, was reported to have apparently stated that the decision to make Blaine gay instead of bisexual was because "the [homosexual] kids need to know he's one of them." So, bisexual viewers don't need representation too?
- Quinn gets drunk at a wedding and has drunken sex with Santana in a nearby hotel. The two of them never speak of it again afterwards and it spreads around their circle of friends. Possibly because of Quinn appearing less and less in the series, there's not one point whether she questions her sexuality (considering she's dated two boys in her grade, one in the grade below and a 30-something university teacher).
- The character of Callie Torres on Grey's Anatomy broadened her sexual horizons when she started a relationship with fellow surgeon Erica Hahn. After a spell of sexual confusion Callie affirmed that she enjoyed sleeping with both her girlfriend and her male friend Mark. She was written as a classic, equal-opportunity bisexual. Subsequently people started to refer to her as exclusively a lesbian, with Erica going so far as to say that "You can't 'kind of' be a lesbian". They later acknowledged that she was bisexual, but other characters still have a problem getting it—when threatened by Callie's constant presence in Mark's life, Lexie asked her "How gay are you? On a scale from one to... gay."
- Subverted in Happy Endings It's stated outright that Jane dated girls in college, but it's portrayed as though she was going through a phase. When an ex-girlfriend comes to visit, husband Brad is over the moon because Girl-on-Girl Is Hot. When its revealed that Jane was actually in love and in a serious relationship with her, it becomes clear that it was more than a phase and Brad becomes insanely jealous.
- While Hollyoaks averted this trope with several characters, most notably Kris, during John-Paul and Craig's romance the idea that Craig—who had been involved with several female characters before, seemed to enjoy said relationships, and wanted to stay with his girlfriend Sarah—might be bisexual was mentioned all of once, several weeks after the storyline ended. All that was said on the matter while it was ongoing was:
John Paul: You have sex with men, in my books that makes you gay.
- House, despite having a bisexual on the character list in the form of Thirteen, invoked this in the episode "The Choice"—the choice for the patient being straight or gay. That there is a third option is brought up in passing a couple times, but not much is made of it; mainly because the character was entirely attracted to men until he decided to get "fixed" at one of those infamous camps, and claims to have become entirely "straight" as a result, although the other characters mostly don't believe him when he says this.
- The L Word:
- At the end of season 1 Jenny (who earlier in the season was torn between her long-time boyfriend/husband and the first woman she was attracted to) is involved at the same time with both a man and a woman. Both of them are aware of the other and it seems to be shaping up into an interesting poly relationship. However the writers seem to have decided not to pursue the the possibilities of this storyline and Season 2 begins with the guy breaking up with her because she's clearly more interested in women. (Later on, Jenny's sexuality gets complex again when she is dating a Transsexual man in the process of transitioning.)
- Alice identified as bisexual and dated both men and women up through season 2. After that the writers quietly dropped this and by the end of the series she was identifying as a lesbian.
- Original Law & Order episode "For the Defense". Bernard and Lupo are protecting a female witness who had a relationship with the victim. Rough quote:
*Lupo leaves the room*
Witness: Does he have a girlfriend?
Bernard: Didn't you have a girlfriend?
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
Dr. Huang: You're not the first woman who's slept with a closeted man. Sexuality is very complicated. Just because he was gay didn't mean he wasn't attracted to you.
- The episode "Lowdown", where "down-low" (ebonic slang for "man on the side") is described by Tutuola as "closeted black men who have sex 'on the down-low' then go back and pretend to be attracted to their wives." In the entire episode, no variant of the word "bisexual" is used once. Three egregious lines:
Tutuola: Guess what? That [mansex] MEANS YOU'RE GAY!
Andy: I love you. That's why I couldn't admit who I was... couldn't leave my family... couldn't admit I was gay.
- "Weak". The prime suspect in the serial rape of a number of disabled and mentally ill women is discounted because he appears to be gay. And not as in, "Oh, he has a boyfriend, never mind," but the SVU detectives repeatedly saying, "How can he be the prime suspect? He's gay!"
- "11x13", "P.C.", had a militant lesbian activist clear her boyfriend's name by coming out and admitting that she's bisexual. Of course, all the people at the meeting act like it's a personal betrayal.
- MTV's The Real World: DC features Mike Manning, who is exploring his attraction to men. Despite dating and making out with other men, he still feels an attraction to women. This is hard for his housemates to understand (they think he's gay, but denying it) and even the guy he dates think he's in denial about being gay. MTV themselves invoked this as well, by editing the episodes to almost exclusively include his interactions with men. In this article with After Elton, he comes out as fully bisexual and says he prefers men.
- Michael in My Family came out as gay after nine seasons of being straight. Bisexuality is never even mentioned.
- Nip/Tuck seems rather biased against bisexuals at times. Lesbian characters demand for bi-curious women to "pick a side", seeming to think that you can only be one or the other. Many of the people who do show sexual attraction to multiple genders seem to be psychotic and slightly dangerous. On the other hand, Female-Female-Male Threesomes aren't an uncommon feature of the show.
- Men in Noah's Arc are apparently only gay, straight, or closeted (e.g. gay). Even characters who have at least been implied to have had different gender relationships, such as Wade and Guy, are depicted as doing so solely to hide feelings for men or out of a poor understanding of their own sexuality.
- For whatever reason (or none at all), Queer as Folk never explored or even mentioned bisexuality. But everybody's gay—except for a few token straight characters. A brief intrigue concluded that if you aren't either completely gay or totally straight, something's wrong with you.
- On Rescue Me:
"I thought you were gay?!
"I dunno man, I miss pussy."
- Roseanne had an interesting case with Nancy. She would frequently say things like, "Ugh, I'm sick of women, I'm going back to men this week," and be very blasé about dating both men and women. All arrows point to her being bisexual, but when she came to Roseanne's house with a male date after coming out, Roseanne and her other friends were confused, asking things such as "Well, won't they kick you out of the club for that?" They were more confused than anything.
- In Scrubs Turk and J.D. are completely in love with each other (J.D. showed up drunk at Carla's bridal shower crying and rambling about how she would never be as close to Turk as he is), but "in a totally non-sexual way". It's just guy-love between two guys.
- Susan from Seinfeld briefly becomes a lesbian, seeing at least two women. One of these women leaves Susan for Kramer until being turned off from men by a coat, and the other was an ex of George's who remained infatuated right up until meeting Susan. Susan herself eventually returns to George. Despite the fact that the orientations of these three change at the drop of a hat (or coat), each of them is identified by her immediate status at all times, never as bisexual.
- Despite several seasons of being seen exclusively with men, Sex and the City's Samantha briefly became a lesbian during the show's fourth season...then returned to heterosexuality immediately after. (And lampshaded thereafter, "When I was a lesbian" becoming something of a catchphrase.) Although sometimes straight women do experiment (especially during sweeps week *eyeroll*). On the other hand, Carrie did date a bisexual guy in one episode, but the way it was presented it kinda came off like "oh those young people, what with their wacky bisexuality!".
- Irene Adler, a professional dominatrix who has both female and male clients but, upon acknowledging her feelings for Sherlock, was quick to clarify that she is, in fact, a lesbian. Where Sherlock is concerned, she merely suffers from a case of If It's You, It's Okay.
- It's Played for Laughs, and we're never given any real cause to believe that he's anything other than heterosexual, but John's response every time someone implies that he and his best friend Sherlock are a couple is: "I'm not gay!" Considering that creator Mark Gatiss once said, "I think a lot of people who say they are bisexual aren't," this is likely intentional.
- A Shot at Love, a reality series based around the concept of having Tila Tequila dating (completely) straight men and (total) lesbians, to, as promos put it, "choose" whether to be straight or gay. There have been several hints that Amanda is bisexual, though it's been entirely for comedy.
- In Soap, nominally "gay" Jodie (Billy Crystal) seems to have more girlfriends and have sex with more women than most of the straight male cast put together!
- The Steve Wilkos Show, while generally making a point of showcasing the scum of the earth regardless of sexual orientation, sometimes uses this as a way to further demonize some already-skeevy people. A man accused of orally sodomizing his four-year-old niece supposedly admitted to a lie-detector test administrator that he'd had sexual relationships with men in the past, and that he preferred men to women. Despite being in a long-term sexual relationship with a woman at the time, everyone on the show condemned it as being a further element of his monstrosity. Even Steve chewed him out for not just admitting that he was gay and living an ordinary gay life, because "if you have sex with men, you're gay".
- One of the two jokes used on Three's Company was Jack posing as a gay man so the conservative Mr. Roper (and, later, the moronic Mr. Furley) would allow him to share an apartment with two unmarried women. The possibility of him being bisexual was brought up once...with Jack taking the entire episode to figure out that that would get him kicked out just as quickly as being straight.
- Will & Grace: though there are a number of bisexual characters that make appearances throughout the show, this trope is brought in dialogue a few times. Will at one point says "Pansexual? Isn't that just a rest stop on the highway to homo?". In the first season, Will and Grace are both attracted to a new tenant in their apartment building, who seems to be potentially interested in them both. They argue over whether he's straight or gay; the possibility of his being bi is never raised. In the second season, the produce guy gives Grace his number, and everyone assumes that this means he never sleeps with guys.
- The title character of Xena: Warrior Princess is often thought to be lesbian because of her love for Gabrielle, despite seeming to enjoy sex and relationships with many men (Ares, Marcus, etc). One might argue the same with Gabrielle.
- In Girls, Hannah's ex Elijah Krantz is generally portrayed as "having always been gay" despite his attraction to women in the past. He tries to "prove" he is bisexual, and him not enjoying the sex is seen as objective evidence for his homosexuality, ignoring what he identifies as.
- Castle, more than once. In Kill The Messenger a male suspect is revealed to have been having sex with a man at one point, and this is treated as unassailable proof that he could not have had sex with a woman.
- Invoked in True Blood when Jessica catches her then-boyfriend James having an affair with Lafayette. She tells Jason about it who instantly assumes he's gay, even though James was clearly in love with Jess and enjoyed having sex with her. She thinks he's "confused" even though he's at least 70 years old (having been turned into a vampire as a young man in the 1960's) and would most likely have a grip on his sexuality by now. She was conveniently blind to the fact that she was a shitty girlfriend, and that is why he cheated on her; his bisexuality simply made Lafayette a viable option.
- In one episode of How I Met Your Mother, Ted states that he hates a man named Gary Blauman because they were in competition for a girl. Later, Barney's gay brother James reveals he also hates Gary because he cheated on his husband with him and blames him for his divorce. Ted immediately (and correctly) deduces that Gary is gay and that the latter was actually fighting with the girl for him. Nobody suggests that having an affair with a man and flirting with a girl are not incompatible.
- Downplayed by Orange Is the New Black. Piper clearly is bisexual, having an ongoing interest in both her fiancé Larry and her old flame Alex. But not a single character on the entire show seems to consider describing her as bisexual—not even herself, until Larry asks his father if she's technically bi. Perhaps tellingly, most of the characters who call her "straight" are gay, while most of the characters who call her "gay" or "lesbian" are straight. The few people who consider the possibility seem to prefer avoiding labels entirely, except again, Larry who uses the word once.
- NCIS: New Orleans: "Rock-a-Bye Baby": The husband of a (male) Navy Commander, Marlin, had an affair with a Chinese spy, whom he describes as "helping him come out" after having previously been living "on the DL" (slang for closeted gay black men). He describes his subsequent life as a "gay father". The idea that he might be bi is not considered.
- Dance Academy has Sammy, who has a girlfriend for a while. Due to the fact that his friends dislike Abigail, he tries not to like her either, but fails. He's not talking himself into liking her, he really does. Then he gets a crush on his roommate Christian, which causes him to question his sexuality. Then he gets a boyfriend, then kisses Abigail again, then dies. And nowhere is the word "bi" so much as mentioned.
- In the Red Dwarf episode, Duct Soup, Kochansky tries to get Lister's mind off his claustrophobia by talking to him. The conversation eventually steers to her claiming that Lister's friend Todhunter was gay in her dimension. Lister is incredulous, since Todhunter in his dimension was a married man with kids and mistresses. Kochansky says that didn't matter. The fact that Todhunter could have been bisexual wasn't brought up, though the whole thing was almost certainly a fabrication to distract Lister.
- Orphan Black is an odd example: neither Cosima nor Delphine have ever expressed any interest in men, so it would have been perfectly easy to portray them both as lesbians when they became a couple. However, when Delphine first kissed Cosima she said that she had 'never considered bisexuality', and Word of God stated that Cosima just happened to be bi, making it a cool, rare example of a realationship between two bisexuals. But then in season three, Cosima referred to herself as a lesbian, and Word of God stated that Delphine actually wasn't bi as they had implied but straight with a case of If It's You, It's Okay.
- The Netflix series Grace and Frankie opens with two couples getting together for brunch and a big announcement, only it's not the retirement announcement the wives are expecting, it's the announcement that the two men are gay and want to get married to each other. For the rest of the series, they and everyone else refer to them as gay. Bisexuality is never brought up despite 40 years of marriage and 20 years of adultery in each case, plus multiple children in each marriage (albeit with at least one adoption).
- Leonardo da Vinci is generally believed to have been, if not flat-out homosexual, at least bisexual. Da Vinci's Demons portrays him as aggressively heterosexual. His one (off-screen) dalliance with a man is dismissed as "experimentation" and in contrast with his explicit sexual acts with many women, his one kiss with another man is a chaste kiss good-bye.
- John Constantine is at least nominally bisexual in the source comics. The television adaptation gave no indication of the source bisexuality, with executive producer Daniel Cerone suggesting that the series might deal with Constantine's bisexuality in season 20 of the series. Executive producer David S. Goyer, when asked if Constantine would be bisexual, laughed and wondered why he was always asked that question about his series. Goyer was the creator of Da Vinci's Demons, which also straightwashed its protagonist.
- The Secret Life Of Us has Richie Blake. He starts the series in a relationship with Miranda, but after discovering he's attracted to men, sleeping with Simon and later Brad, he's only ever identified as gay.
- Thankfully, this is completely and utterly averted in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, where Darryl, Rebecca's boss, becomes attracted to a guy (White Josh) and temporarily panics (Darryl has an ex-wife and daughter). After an enlightening yoga session however (where he looks at both male and female butts), he realizes that he is a "both-sexual." Then, because Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a musical, he sings a song called "Getting Bi" which actually addresses bisexual erasure.
- Zigzagged with Sara Lance in the Arrowverse. On Arrow, Sara and Oliver were lovers, and was on the Queen's Gambit when the ship went down. Sara went on to join the League of Assassins, she became the lover of Nyssa, daughter of Ras Al' Ghul. When Sara returned to Star (then Starling) City, she and Oliver became physical for a time before breaking up for good. On Legends of Tomorrow except for a Ship Tease moment with Captain Cold, she's only been with women.
- In 9 Chickweed Lane, Seth spends a large chunk of time trying to coax Edda's uncle, Roger out of the closet, never once considering that Roger might be attracted to men AND love his wife—nope, he's just an extreme closet case who managed to conceive eleven children (after the second set of twins he was basically stuck). This is made even more egregious later on when Seth continued to assert his gayness after sleeping with diva ballerina, Fernanda. The latter is Handwaveed by an earlier revelation that Seth was attracted to "true artistry" and thus was seduced by Fernanda's dancing skills. And after Edda revealed that, aside from her childhood friend Amos, Seth was the only man she ever loved, he seemed to be really fighting the urge to sleep with her.
- In If/Then, Liz says "I don't believe in independents. It's like bisexuals. Pick a side." Subverted in that Lucas is unambiguously bisexual, ending up with a woman in one timeline and a man in another.
- BioWare usually averts this trope in most of their original settings, since at least one of the potential Love Interests in each game is usually bisexual. With Dragon Age II, however, it's the fans that seem to be invoking the trope in the case of one particular character. A vocal group believes that Anders' sexual orientation is determined by the player character's gender, due to one early conversation. If Hawke is male, Anders reveals that Karl, the mage he was desperately trying to save from becoming Tranquil in his initial quest, was not only his lover, but his first. If Hawke is female, that part of the conversation never happens, and Karl's just assumed to be a good friend. Said fans have pointed to this as proof that Anders is gay if Hawke's male, and straight if Hawke's female, with bisexuality completely off the table as a possibility. This, despite despite Word of God that Everyone Is Bi, and Anders' own statements to the contrary to male!Hawke:
Anders: I've always believed people fall in love with a whole person, not just a body. Why would you shy away from loving someone just because they're like you?
- A strange meta example happens in the Fire Emblem Tellius continuity and its male protagonist, Ike. Throughout the first game, he gets a lot of Ship Tease with Princess Elincia and some with his strategist, Soren. In the sequel, the Ike x Elincia subtext is really watered down to make room for more Ike x Soren subtext. Then Fire Emblem Awakening revealed a character named Priam who refers to himself as Ike's descendant. Cue a Broken Base and a shitload of people on the straight and gay sides of the fence trying to "prove" Ike's sexuality one way or the other. Somehow, the prospect of him being bisexual never figured into anybody's head.
- Persona 4 has the mildly (for a video game) controversial and definitely infamous matter of Kanji's sexuality, which was intentionally left ambiguous by the writers to allow the player to interpret the character as they like. Opinions on this range from "He's gay and insecure about his sexuality" to "He's straight and afraid of being rejected for his domestic hobbies" to "He's a teenager and still discovering himself", due to various lines of dialogue and events, but few, if any, of Kanji's scenes ever present the idea that he may just be bi; the fandom generally treats "He's bisexual" as a compromise to end arguments over the matter, rather than as a legitimate sexual orientation. This is muddled further by the fact that he has a crush on Naoto, both before and after the revelation of her gender.
- Parodied in Mister Sharp's cartoon "The Bizarre World of the Bisexual", one of a series of fake PSAs done in old-timey style:
"But fear not! Because despite all this evidence, bisexuality does not exist! And any suggestion that it does is met with outrage by gay and lesbian groups, who are naturally repulsed by the idea of free expression of sexuality, and attack suspected bisexuals with erasers."
- Parodied in this ASCII Art Fart.
IF YOU WILLINGLY TOUCH A DICK THEN YOU ARE GAY
- In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures , once Jyrras realizes he's attracted to Abel... that's it, he's gay, no in-betweens allowed, despite previously having had subtext with Lorenda. Granted, Jyrras has shown a tendency towards a binary "Right Answer/Wrong Answer" view of the world and a shaky grasp of relationships in general, so he may think there's only the two options.
- In Dominic Deegan, the bisexual Szark, formerly married (non-exclusively) to a woman, suddenly decides he's gay after his Heel–Face Turn, which somehow frees him to be in love with Dominic.
- El Goonish Shive triggered a massive TV Tropes Edit War over this trope that rages on to this day when two characters appeared to be renouncing their canon bisexuality. Ellen is bisexual, and Grace is effectively so. Some people feel, however, with Ellen choosing to sidestep her attraction to men and Grace's affection generally being limited solely to Tedd, the two characters are bisexual only in the most literal sense. Others, though, feel that the comic is not an example due to the TF Gun inducing bisexuality in most of its victims, as well as the fact that Ellen and Grace have been known to express their attraction to men and women respectively, just not often. Ellen currently identifies as a bisexual homoromantic, and The Rant under that strip talks a bit about the situation, with the point that different people have different ideas of what bisexual actually means.
- Addressed in Friendly Hostility after Bootsie realizes that neither Fox nor Collin wants to "ravish" her because they're dating each other. Fox says that he doesn't do labels, and that calling Collin gay would overload everyone's irony sensors. It's a bit of a plot point when Collin, after dating Fox for years, realizes he is, in fact, gay.
- Ménage à 3:
- DiDi was originally portrayed as coming to realize her bisexuality, and was quick to object when someone refers to a bisexual as "gay". However, after a failed attempt at sex with similarly curious Sandra, Sandra declares herself and DiDi "two naked straight girls with poor boundary issues". Later on, DiDi simply becomes desperate for an orgasm and isn't really particular about who gets her there.
- Appears in-universe, when Dillon is surprised to learn that his then-boyfriend Matt is bi, not gay. The comic also includes Gary, a nominally-straight man who is implied to have bisexual tendencies, and Yuki, a nominal lesbian who may have bisexual tendencies which she represses as a result of, um, "tentacle-related childhood trauma". The comic does a fairly decent job of acknowledging the fluidity of human sexuality without resorting to a polarised form of Everyone Is Bi.
- Discussed in Something*Positive. Monette came out as a "lesbian" early on but kept having (a lot) of sex with men, confusing her. It wasn't until after starting her long-term relationship with Lisa that she admitted to being bisexual. It's mentioned that many of Lisa's lesbian friends don't really believe in bisexuality, and the bisexual Vanessa once told Peejee about a female ex she'd dumped for saying she'd "get over it".
- Averted in Niels, in which numerous characters are bisexual. In-universe, however, Duncan believed this as a youth, assumed that his attraction to men meant that he was gay and that his attraction to women was invalid.
- Parodied in the webcomic Loserz, with the openly bisexual Jodie. One strip showed her switching between men and women depending on which gender she was mad at at the moment, meaning she was either straight or gay depending on her mood.
- Needs More Gay: Rantasmo talks about it with his Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, calling the trope by its real life name Bisexual-Erasure.
- An episode of The Ricky Gervais Show has Karl telling Ricky and Stephen his idea for a movie plot, which involves a widow starting a sexual relationship with her dead husband's former mistress. Both Ricky and Stephen object to the fact that the mistress who use to be attracted to the husband is now attracted to the widow. No one mentions that she could just be bisexual.
- Stan from American Dad! has a literal Gaydar (seen above) with a needle from "gay" to "straight," with a tiny wedge in the center that says "curious". It should be noted, however, that this device doesn't actually work.
- Played with in an episode of Archer where Cyril's ludicrously attractive ex-girlfriend Lana is threatening to have sex with the entire office to get back at him. Cyril is shocked to find Ray, his openly gay colleague, lining up with the rest of the men (and more than a few of the women), to which Ray replies "Girl, please. Nobody's that gay."
- Archer subverts this to near the point of Everyone Is Bi. Pam is blatantly open about her equal attraction to both genders, Cheryl/Carol cares more about her choking kink than the gender of the person choking her, Archer has admitted to gay fantasies about Joe Frasier (not to mention kissing Ramon), Lana and Malory have both slept with Pam, and Krieger is...Krieger. Cyril may be the only heterosexual member of the main cast.
- Stewie in Family Guy seems to flip/flop in terms of preference as the joke demands. True to the trope, the b-word is never used. Word of God had him listed as gay, despite his obvious attraction to girls (more so than boys even). The writers had dropped more jokes than hints about Stewie's Ambiguously Gay nature, while simultaneously writing relationship arcs with female characters. Eventually, when Seth MacFarlane was asked about Stewie's sexuality, he outright said that the character preferred "a little of both."
- In Futurama, Fry's grandfather (whose apparent no-exceptions homosexuality temporally threatens Fry's existence) turns a calendar page away from this month's sexy woman so he can peek at next month's sexy man. In the DVD commentary, Matt Groening asks "Exactly who is this calendar for?", a reference to Fridge Logic that's more fridgy if No Bisexuals are assumed. (Of course, the fact that the event takes place in 1947 does make the calendar's existence strange.)
- In South Park, Mr./Ms. Garrison becomes a lesbian for one episode. S/he never considers the possibility of being bisexual. But then, Garrison just has generally twisted ideas about sexuality. Matt and Trey state on their FAQ, when asked what happened after Garrison's lesbianism and second sex change, Garrison "likes everybody".
- While The Legend of Korra averts this with Korra and Asami, becoming an Official Couple at the end of the Grand Finale after both were previously in a relationship with a man, segments of the fandom played this straight, some declaring that such a relationship is impossible because they're straight, some insisting that they're lesbian. Eventually, this was shut down by a blog post by one of the show's co-creators, confirming their relationship and referencing the trope.
Bryan Konietzko: Despite what you might have heard, bisexual people are real!