Tom Robinson: It's My Story - Getting Bi
Editor's note: In this episode of It's My Story, Tom Robinson, assesses his own changing attitudes to bisexuality and asks if it's still a bit of a taboo in Britain today? Here on the blog the programme's producer Ashley Byrne writes about the process of getting it made -PM.
Credit is due to Radio 4 for commissioning Tom Robinson: It's My Story as it's taken us six years to convince a mainstream broadcaster in the UK to do a programme about bisexuality.
Some bisexual activists will be convinced there's a concerted media conspiracy to erase the subject from the airwaves but I put it down simply to innocent ignorance.
We did get TV people in particular wondering if it was a bit risqué. "I don't think we're ready yet for a big bisexual expose" was one retort.
And in more than one instance people would say "but the gay thing is passé now, it's nothing new. It's been done." When we said "but it's about bisexuality, not being gay", they'd just look at you with a rather confused expression.
For many people bisexuality just isn't on their radar because it's largely invisible. Unless someone tells you, how do you know they're bisexual? If a man and a woman walk hand in hand in the street, people will assume they're straight. If you see a same sex couple canoodling, then they're gay or lesbian. But as I discovered in making this programme, you really shouldn't assume anything.
Statistics on the prevalence of bisexuality are contradictory. Scientists disagree about its true existence and there are those who dismiss bisexuality as merely "trendy" or a phase on the way to being gay.
Whatever the academics or cynics think though, the fact remains that some people do not define their sexuality as 100% straight or gay. But where and how do they freely express those feelings in a society where, with the exception of John Barrowman's character in Torchwood, there are few media portrayals?
In 30 minutes you can only scratch the surface of a subject like bisexuality but I hope, if nothing else we have made people think before they rush to define their relatives, friends and acquaintances in the future.
Ashley Byrne is the Producer of Tom Robinson: It's My Story - Getting Bi
- Tom Robinson: It's My Story - Getting Bi is on Radio 4 at 8pm Monday, 19 September