Person of the Year: The Finalists

Person of the Year Finalists: We limited ourselves to selecting the 10 who were most influential on LGBT lives this year, and the resulting list of consequential figures represents the best of 2013.

BY Advocate.com Editors

December 16 2013 2:24 PM ET

FINALIST: THE BISEXUALS 
You’d be hard-pressed to name a year in American history in which bisexuals were more embraced by the public than 2013 — that despite the fact that many people who we might label bisexual (or who at least participate in bisexual activities or attractions) may prefer not to use that word at all.

This year, one of Hollywood’s hottest young actresses, Zoe Saldana, told Allure she had been with women, could end up with a woman, married raising little Saldana babies. Prime Suspect star Maria Bello wrote a moving essay in The New York Times about being in a relationship with another woman, while Tom Daley did a YouTube video about being in love with another man — both of them forging a bisexual public identity but without saying the word.

When former American Idol star Crystal Bowersox released a song of LGBT support, she did use the word, proudly coming out as bi. Same thing for 81-year-old music producer Clive Davis. "Bisexuality is misunderstood; the adage is that you're either straight or gay or lying, but that's not my experience," he wrote in a memoir released this year. "To call me anything other than bisexual would be inaccurate."

What all these folks are doing, though, is forging a new path where they don’t feel compelled either to identify with the acceptable label, nor will they be forced (as their older counterparts felt they were) to “choose” between gay and straight identity (as clearly many others in history did, and some pundits still encourage). This year's group wasn’t the first, clearly (Anna Paquin, Evan Rachel Wood, and a host of Beat poets and second-wave feminists like Holly Near beat them to it), but they reflect what we hope is and what will go down in history as a watershed moment. Their “bi any name” identities reflect not just their own modern lives but a growing pop-cultural landscape in which talking about or even casually mentioning your bisexuality (see: Two Broke Girls, Dracula, Two and a Half Men) isn’t a scary thing, nor is refusing to rewrite your previous history as either gay or straight (as Elton John did, but Bill DiBlasio’s wife won’t) to fit a new one. More power to them.
—Diane Anderson-Minshall

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