By Eliel Cruz
Originally published on Advocate.com August 28 2014 3:24 PM ET
Slate’s advice columnist Emily Yoffe, who writes the advice column, “Dear Prudence,” came under fire this week after she told a bisexual married woman she should stay in the closet. After Yoffe published her problematic response in which she conflated bisexuality with an erotic interest in stuffed animals, GLAAD swiftly responded in a blog post condemning the advice.
“It is disappointing that a well-known and renowned advice column such as Dear Prudence is perpetuating the unhealthy invalidations that create social, emotional, and political hurdles for the bi community,” GLAAD’s Media Strategist Alexandra Bolles said. “People who are bisexual experience higher rates of anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and tobacco use compared to gay, lesbian, and straight folks. Bi erasure like what Yoffe perpetuated this morning is thought to be strongly tied with these health disparities. Stereotypes that mock or invalidate bisexuality are also often invoked in times of interpersonal violence, which people who are bi face at an alarming rate. Indeed, sometimes invalidating a person's identity simply because they are not in a same-sex relationship can have life-threatening consequences.”
Bisexual activists have been extremely critical of Slate’s running of the post, though there has been no formal response from Slate despite “multiple inquiries” and the only response GLAAD received was from Prudence herself thanking GLAAD for their note.
“The bisexual community is often criticized for not coming out enough, and here we have an advice columnist trying to keep this reader in her closet,” Ellyn Ruthstrom President of the Bisexual Resource Center told The Advocate. “I often witness that bisexual people who come out find a new sense of themselves, especially when they connect with a community of people who understand them. This kind of freedom saves lives within our community and "Prudie's" advice is actually quite dangerous when we consider the high incidence of depression, anxiety and suicidality within the bi community.”
This wasn’t the first time Yoffe gave damaging advice to bisexuals on her column. In March of this year, a bisexual college student asked if she should come out to a perspective partner. Yoffe responded, again, saying she should stay in the closet and calling her bisexuality “psychological exploration.”
"Closets are for shoes, not bisexual women,” Sarah Kate Ellis GLAAD’s CEO and President told The Advocate. “Emily Yoffe's irresponsible commentary as 'Dear Prudence' is antiquated, alienating, and insulting to Slate's LGBT readers. Instead of ignoring concerned readers, Slate and Yoffe should sit down with people in the bisexual community and acknowledge the grave danger of telling bi women to stay in the closet.'"