Who are our pop culture role models? Short answers:

May 31, 2022 | 2022 Summer - Pop Culture

At nine, I discovered my bisexuality, but like many children, I didn’t have the words for it. I knew zero other queer people. A few years later, an exciting sci-fi show called Babylon 5 aired. I had an immediate crush on Susan Ivanova (played by bi+ actor Claudia Christian), and I soon noticed that she was like me. The show pushed Susan’s queer romances as far as possible for early 1990s network TV. As an adult, I met Christian and thanked her for this representation that meant everything to a younger me. She was incredibly kind and gracious.

—Erica McGillivray (they/them), email

It’s been such a joy over the last year to see Hacks take off as a mainstay of pop culture, with bi character Ava Daniels—played by bi actress Hannah Einbinder—front and center along the powerhouse that is Jean Smart. Ava is a complicated and nuanced character who I relate to in a lot of ways, including—perhaps especially—in ways that I don’t particularly love but am able to embrace a bit through her. Hannah Einbinder’s absolute joy in playing this role and the intentionality with which she (and the largely queer cast and creative team) works to bring authenticity, humor, and compassion to Ava is palpable and apparent in every scene.

—Avery Friend, email

Margaret Cho inspires me, because she has been adamantly out and proud as bi (while also being funny about it) since long before it was any kind of safe. A couple of decades now!

—Francesca Maria, FB

All the vampire characters on What We Do in the Shadows are pansexual. The show’s joyful queerness has been a huge inspiration to me in my own journey. I especially appreciate the character Nadja, who is married to a man and still matter-of-factly honors her queer identity.

—chelsnerd, Insta

I cried when I watched Rosa Diaz’s coming out scene in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. At the time I was not out to my family, and I was so scared they would reject me like her parents initially did. Seeing an actual bi actor play a bi character made it feel so authentic and was such positive representation for me. I wish I’d had that when I was a teenager.

—hannahmacc93, Insta

I would say Stephanie Beatriz because she is a badass Latina, bisexual working mom who is happily married to a man and she is EXACTLY the kind of representation our community needs! And she’s funny AF, and a Disney character—what more do we all need?!

—Kelly Kahler, LinkedIn

I absolutely love the show Good Trouble (a continuation of the show The Fosters—also highly recommended!), especially the character Malika Williams. Malika is a former foster child who has grown up to be a driven community activist who comes to understand herself as queer and polyamorous. Her story is one of love for herself as a queer, Black woman who is navigating relationships and larger community building. Her story is beautifully represented in the context of the weaving together of many stories of friends who become each other’s chosen family as part of an intentional community.

—Lindsey Thomson, Ontario, Canada, email

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Editor’s Note

Dear Reader, The theme of this issue is “Pop Culture.” We received submissions covering a wide range of related topics, reflecting the expansive terrain covered by this theme: music, television and streaming shows, zines, films and actors, books, social media, gaming,...

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