How To Get Away With Murder and Bi Representation

Now that season three of How To Get Away With Murder is in full swing, I think it’s time I talk about how much I love this show. It easily found itself amongst my favourites for many reasons: the suspense, its non-linear approach to plot progression, and representation of oppressed groups. Not only are there strong female characters, but strong black characters (many of whom are also female), strong Asian characters, strong gay and lesbian characters, and the list goes on. Initially, this show stole “favourite status” because the lead female character was—at least, as I believed—proudly bisexual. Yet the way the show has progressed proves that I was wrong.

Mainstream “media” (I put this in quotations because who knows what “the media” actually is) has largely been working towards diversifying and not simply portraying white/straight/cis characters because of the criticism that has been arising. As more gay/lesbian and characters of colour have been appearing, it has been—quite simply—nice. I’m not going to pretend like the majority of these representations don’t have a plethora of issues or don’t reinforce stereotypes, but put quite plainly: there has been representation. People can look at the screen and see an acknowledgement of their existence and can agree or disagree with what they see. Bisexuals do not see this at all, though, and have nothing to disagree with because they don’t see themselves on the screen.

It's important to note that lack of representation is not strictly an issue of bisexuals in the queer community, because if you aren’t homosexual there are instant issues of representation. I’m focusing specifically on bisexuals here because How To Get Away With Murder had multiple chances to acknowledge the existence of bisexuals, and didn’t really take it—rather, the show completely dismissed it.

If you look back to the first season of the show, Michaela and her fiancé got into a huge fight because he had slept with Connor when they were younger. Her issue was mainly centred around her fiancé sleeping with a man, and she continued to accuse him of being gay. Regardless of if this experience was simply experimentation or not, it was never even suggested that he could have been bisexual. Shocked, I tried to ignore this episode and continued watching, finding pride in Annalise’s past relationship with Anne because, at last, there was a bisexual main character of a hit TV show.

Then, while catching up on season two, Annalise explained that she ended things with Anne because she is “not gay.” My largest source of pride from the TV show was shattered, just like that. As obvious as it is that Annalise is bisexual, the refusal to call it what it is, to accept what it is, ruins it because she is no longer (seemingly) proud.

Season three might fix it. I mean, I seriously hope it fixes it. With what I’ve seen with her and Anne so far in this season, maybe they will. But it’s about time we have a bisexual—or pansexual—character who completely owns their identity, who will call it what it is, because it’s about time that bisexuality is no longer seen as a phase, a fetish, or an in between state while someone “makes up their mind.”