It’s 2017, and television is more inclusive than ever, even when the President isn’t. The L Word revival is nigh on Showtime. Sex goddess Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) is bedding (and vaginally swallowing) men and women alike on American Gods. And even broadcast’s biggest hit in years, This Is Us, gave viewers a bisexual elderly Black man in William Hill (Ron Cephas Jones), which may be one of the rarest character types of all. But, there’s always more room for responsible queer inclusion, and The Bold Type is bringing that in a big way through Kat Edison’s (Aisha Dee) budding bi-curiosity. Tuesday night’s episode, "If You Can't Do It With Feeling," finally allowed Kat to explore her feelings by kissing her longtime crush, lesbian artist Adena El-Amin (Nikohl Boosheri), and the entire lead up to the big Kadena moment couldn’t feel more important.
Usually, rising queer feelings on TV shows create tension for either the person experiencing them or their loved ones around them — this isn’t so on The Bold Type. From the second Kat meets her artsy love interest Adena, sparks are flying. She recognizes as much and is more confused about her feelings than upset about them after a lifetime of only being attracted to men. Her friends Jane Sloane (Katie Stevens) and Sutton Brady (Meghann Fahy) are supportive, never questioning or criticizing their pal’s possible new sexual horizons. In fact, by the time second episode, "O Hell No" rolls around, both women are more annoyed Kat’s burgeoning bi-curiosity is taking away from their own dilemmas — a visit to a sexologist and a huge career decision, for Jane and Sutton, respectively — than the fact their friend might be into girls. It’s clear Kat feels comfortable admitting to that aforementioned sexologist, right in front of Jane, "I am having some sexual identity issues. I’ve always been into dudes, but, then I met this girl and she’s awesome, and I just saw her for the first time in a while." Jane only cuts Kat off since they’re actually in the doctor’s office to discuss her own problem with orgasms. Jane couldn’t care less about the gender identity of the person her friend is crushing on.
Despite the fact Kat keeps allowing her own romantic confusion to eclipse her friend’s personal problems, it’s encouraging to see everyone be so, well, encouraging. As Kat goes back and forth on whether she’s really interested in dating a woman or not, at times attempting to "shrink" herself after growing up with two psychologist parents, her friends are just trying to guide her. When Kat first admits to having a sex dream about Adena, Sutton couldn’t be more excited to "unpack" what that means. Despite Kat’s continuous back-and-forth on where she falls on the Kinsey Scale, asking Jane, "I’m not about the ladies. I’m hetero. Totally hetero. I’m hetero, right?" no one tells her to shut up and figure it out already. Instead, the other women of Scarlet constantly urge Kat to to talk to Adena, whether that’s at the artist’s photography show or when the Kat is spiraling about her feelings in latest installment "If You Can’t." Jane and Sutton are clearly telling their friend it’s fine she doesn’t know how she feels, and she doesn’t need to choose some restrictive label right this moment. Everyone just wants Kat to make this pretty big personal decision at her own pace.
The support for Kat’s Bold Type journey so far is what makes her end-of-episode kiss with Adena all the more special. It’s not something she’s been made to unnecessarily fear. Instead, we can all imagine how happy Kat will be to give her friends the exciting news, and how happy they’ll be to hear it. The promo for next week’s "No Feminism In The Champagne Room" proves this prediction is correct, as Sutton and Jane literally jump up and down screaming with joy when Kat confirms she kissed a girl “and she liked it." In this situation, her biggest problem is admitting to hooking up with someone in a relationship — not someone of the same gender. It feels good to see a show where endorsing infidelity is a bigger problem than falling somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum.
While all of this makes for good TV, it’s also great for The Bold Types viewers to see they don’t need to have their sexuality all figured out by the time they’re 26. Plus, if a friend has joined the Q portion of LGBTQ, which stands for questioning or queer, there’s no reason to freak out. It’s a well-known fact the series’ home network, Freeform, is mainly targeted at young women. It’s likely viewers themselves are experiencing "sexual identity issues," as Kat put it, and this storyline is proof there’s no need to worry about the unexpected questions you may have at any age. You can be all about men for decades of your life, meet exactly the right woman, and your entire sexual world could be flipped upside down; it’s possible. But, there’s nothing to worry about here, Bold Type promises, this happens.
Going forward, it would be appreciated if more shows treated possible queerness as something as something to be celebrated and explored. Maybe then no one will even call it an "issue" in the first place.
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