This Lord Is The First Member Of The Royal Family To Come Out As Bisexual

Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images.
Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth's, became the first out member of the British Royal Family when he came out as bisexual last week. In an interview with the Daily Mail, published on Saturday, Lord Mountbatten says that he has known he was bisexual since he was a teen, but he "did not want to go there because there would have been so much grief."

The Lord says that his ex-wife, Penelope Thompson was aware of his sexuality before they got married. The two divorced in 2010, reportedly under amicable terms.

"I told her I was bisexual, that my attraction went both ways," he tells the Daily Mail. "She was understanding and I will always be grateful to her. We had a lot of fun, we have three fabulous daughters, and I don't regret any stage of my life."

The fact that Lord Mountbatten has decided to come out is a hugely meaningful. According to a 2015 survey, 1 in 2 young people in Britain identify as "not 100% heterosexual." For British youths to see a first cousin of the Queen embrace his identity is a milestone that will hopefully bring about greater queer visibility and acceptance.

Perhaps coincidentally, Lord Mountbatten's news comes during Bisexual Awareness Week, which calls for more acceptance of the bisexual community and seeks to promote bi visibility. However, a cursory Google search for his name would tell you that he is gay. Nearly every headline from major news publications, including the Daily Mail's, labels him as being gay, even though he referred to himself as bisexual several times in the interview.

To be fair, the Lord also referred to himself as gay, telling the Daily Mail that he is "still not 100 per cent comfortable with being gay," but the distinction of his using both labels seems to be missed in most of the coverage surrounding this news.

Unfortunately, bisexual erasure, in which the existence of a person's bisexual identity is questioned or even casually dismissed, happens all too often. Given that an increasing number of people identify as bisexual and the health disparities and vulnerabilities that bisexual people can face, it's time to stop contributing to the dangers of bi erasure.

For now, the good news is that Lord Mountbatten has just helped increase bi visibility from one of the most enduring British institutions. Let's hope the royals continue moving in a more progressive direction.
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