‘I had to alter how I approached being in public. It opened my life up and I’m so much happier’
Bisexual people are unfairly stigmatized because many people don’t believe their orientation is legitimate. They are often criticized by both homosexuals and heterosexuals for being “confused” or “experimental.” “Bisexual men and women face prejudice, stigma and discrimination from both heterosexual and homosexual people,” Dr. Mackey Friedman said. “This can cause feelings of isolation and marginalization, which prior research has shown leads to higher substance use, depression and risky sexual behavior,” Friedman said. This stigma is why actress Kristen Stewart’s recent comments about her sexuality are so important.
Recently, Stewart told Elle that she’s not “ashamed and I’m not confused” about her relationship with visual effects producer Alicia Cargile. Stewart’s recent decision to open up about her girlfriend is a stark comparison to how she handled her four-year relationship with her Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson. “When I was dating a guy I was hiding everything that I did because everything personal felt like it was immediately trivialized, so I didn’t like it,” she said. “But then it changed when I started dating a girl,” she continued. “I was like, ‘Actually, to hide this provides the implication that I’m not down with it or I’m ashamed of it,’ so I had to alter how I approached being in public. It opened my life up and I’m so much happier.”
Stewart’s decision to embrace her bisexuality sends an important message those struggling to be open about their oft-misunderstood orientation. She also has a great philosophy on why she doesn’t feel the need to explain herself. “If you feel like you really want to define yourself, and you have the ability to articulate those parameters and that in itself defines you, then do it,” she told Nylon magazine. “But I am an actress, man. I live in the f***ing ambiguity of this life and I love it.”