Evan Rachel Wood on what people misunderstand about bisexuality

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Ever since Evan Rachel Wood came out as bisexual in 2011, she’s been very vocal about wanting to eliminate the misconceptions many people have about bisexuality. Last week, Wood wrote a series of really important and informative tweets, detailing the reality of the discrimination that people who are bisexual face daily. Her goal was to bring awareness and use social media to educate — and she succeeded big time.

This week, Wood talked to Nylon magazine about overcoming shame sometimes placed on those who identify as bisexual, as well as all the misunderstandings surrounding it.

When asked how she overcame her bi-shame, she said, “Years of trying to fit into a box I didn’t belong in. I realized I was happier when I just accepted myself. I stopped feeling like I had to prove my “queerness.” I knew who I was and that was enough. Also just noting that some people view the word queer as offensive. Some embrace it and identify with it. I always liked the word when it wasn’t being used in a derogatory way. So to be clear, I am using it in a non-derogatory sense.”

For those who may not know the difference, Wood explained how experimentation and actual bisexuality are very different. “Experimentation is just that,” she said. “Trying something out because you are curious. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I can only speak from my own experience and I wasn’t doing it for attention or because I was curious. It was like a fire in my soul that I had to let out or I would never be complete.”

Wood explained that for some people, bisexuality can be a transition into being gay, but that’s not the case for everyone.

“Some people go through more of a transition, for whatever reason they feel. But just because you once identified as bisexual and now you identify as gay, doesn’t mean every bisexual is just ‘afraid to come all the way out.’ Your experience is your experience. Period. I have a feminine side and a masculine side. I think I finally found a good marriage between the two. They have made peace with each other. When I am with a man, I am not straight. When I am with a woman, I am not gay. I am always bi. I am always me. I can’t ‘pick a side’ or ‘shut one down.’ One is not better than the other. They are just different. The only choice I make is the choice to be happy by letting go and just being myself.”

She went on to discuss how we can all be better allies for the bisexual community. “Try not to judge someone before you really know their story,” Wood said. “Be good to people who are good to you. And don’t let bad experiences with certain people taint your perception of an entire group of people. That’s how extreme points of view take over and bigotry is born.” Her advice holds true for being better allies to all people everywhere.

For many people trying to understand bisexuality, the misconceptions they may have don’t necessarily mean that they don’t approve of or support bisexuality — they may just now know enough facts. People may not view bisexuality it as a classification of sexuality, even though it absolutely is. But if they’ve been paying attention to Evan Rachel Wood, they certainly have a much better idea now. We are so happy that Wood’s voice is being heard, and hopefully her openness will help open the minds of everyone.

Check out the full Nylon interview here.