Glee Meta: Kurt doesn’t deserve being called biphobic
To start this off, I’d like to say that I am not talking about any other scenes except this one ( X ) which is the most talked about when it comes to the discussion. It is a scene from the episode 2.14 “Blame It On The Alcohol”. Other scenes/episodes are discussed and sourced as we go, though.
Another fact. I am a bisexual person. That is the sexual identity that I relate to/with the most and the label that I use for myself. The word means a lot of different things to a lot of people, and I am comfortable with my own definition of the word. That is all I will talk about on the subject of the sexuality itself. We’re here for my opinion on Kurt anyways.
TL;DR: I personally don’t think that Kurt was biphobic in the episode and he has his words twisted by most people, but I understand how it is easy to think this way about the scene.
Now, to jump right into it. This isn’t a “he was hurt and confused so he lashed out” argument. I am not justifying bad behavior here; I just don’t see it as bad behavior. That being said (and this might sound contradictory), I don’t think he didn’t say anything bad. He definitely had some lines in these scenes that had me cringing.
Let me explain.
In the first scene, I think the worst thing that comes from Kurt is the following quote,
[1:20-1:25] “Bisexual’s a term that gay guys in high school use when they want to hold hands with girls and feel like a normal person for a change.”
Just plucking the quote out like so, you can clearly see how this is biphobic. This is bisexual erasure. This quote is invalidating the existence of bisexuality as a sexuality.
Had it just been anyone, I would agree with the vast majority of you and put the label of “biphobic” on Kurt. However, it wasn’t just anyone. Us, as viewers of the show, got to see more into his character and his backstory. We know more about Kurt than if he had just been some random character or person saying such a thing.
An honorable mention for the boldness behind this quote is the time; it’s 2010. This isn’t my only excuse, but I still felt it important enough to mention. Now, I can’t go into too much detail about it because I was merely eight years old for majority of the year, so this is why it is only getting a mention and no further elaboration from me (if anyone would like to add on to this point, feel free). I just know that it does factor in because, like the majority of Glee’s harsh comments and rough edges, it is due to the time which they were created that lead to their passing under everyone’s noses. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Glee would have never survived in 2021.
Another mention about bisexual erasure (albeit a little off topic), I think Rachel’s comment in the later of the two scenes also dabbles in the subject as well. Her quote is as follows,
[0:38-0:49] “Look… Blaine is obviously conflicted, and if he turns out not to be gay, well, then I guess I will have done you a favor.”*
*there is some that I cut from the quote, hence the ellipses, but they were relevant to the conversation her and Kurt were having, but not the point that I am trying to make
In a way, this (in my opinion) sounds like bisexual erasure as well. This is Rachel saying “if he likes me then he is straight” and not even entertaining the idea that there is another option; that it is one or the other; gay or straight. This confirms the already proven point that the writers of the show were fond of putting these double-sided comments about invalidating this sexuality. However, I’ve never seen anyone slap the “biphobic” sticker on Rachel’s head. But this isn’t about her right now; it’s about Kurt, so back to him.
Why do I not think the already stated quote is biphobic? Because I believe he was reflecting his own story instead of trying to erase others’.
Sam, what the hell are you talking about? Well, let’s take you back to season one… episode 1.18 “Laryngitis” to be exact. Do you remember when Kurt (a gay guy in high school) held hands with Brittany (a girl) to feel normal because he felt like that was a way he could impress his father? Sound familiar?
I don’t think he was invalidating bisexuality at all. I think he was remembering and reflecting on the only experience thus far with the idea of bisexuality that he had as the only out kid at that school (which was made clear, and he stated multiple times before this episode that he was the only kid out of the closet). And yes, you may think it is a stretch, but I do not think that Kurt saying to Brittany, “Can I ask you something? What do boys’ lips taste like?” [0:19-0:25] was Kurt avoiding this attraction to men during this time. He’d obviously had both on his mind during this episode.
So, going back to the quote: “Bisexual’s a term that gay guys in high school use when they want to hold hands with girls and feel like a normal person for a change.” I do not think it was biphobic coming from Kurt while knowing what he’s been through like we do. Another example is this quote from the very conversation from Kurt as well,
[1:31-1:35] “I know what it’s like to be in the closet, and here you are about to tiptoe back in.”
Which is exactly what he’d forced himself to do when he started kissing girls. He forced himself to like Brittany, he forced himself to change even though we could all see how miserable he was. He just doesn’t want to see it happen to the person steadfastly becoming his best friend. Having the mindset that you have to change, or that you can’t be yourself (that I wholeheartedly believe that he had in 1.18 “Laryngitis” when he was going through his changes) is extremely, horrendously toxic to oneself. And it is something that he carried all by himself. He just doesn’t want to watch it all happen to Blaine.
Does this mean that Kurt is an absolute saint in either of the scenes from the [2.14 “Blame It On The Alcohol] episode? No. He did have an attitude and wasn’t as thoughtful or open about his friend’s sexual identity crisis as he should have been, however, I don’t think that is deserving of the title “biphobic.” His snark to both Blaine and Rachel in the episode can be credited to the “he was hurt and lashing out” excuse because those bad behaviors (in my opinion) can be excused because no one, especially teenagers who don’t yet know how to navigate themselves, much less the world, and no one is perfect.
Just to be clear, I am not using that excuse to justify his accused biphobia, but only his moodiness and general unkindness to both Rachel and Blaine through out the episode. Also, like, come on… if you saw one of your good friends make out and then try to date your crush, wouldn’t you be a tad upset? I feel like all of that drama made season one’s bitchy!Kurt come back a little and I love it, lmao.
One last thing. I’ve said my piece, I’m made my points; you’re either going to agree with me or not and that is completely okay. As long as you remain respectful, I will as well. The last thing that I’d like to say is that I completely understand why people are so quick to jump on Kurt for this scene, because it was written to be taken like that.
Mostly it’s Blaine’s (entirely inappropriate) reaction that seals the deal.
The rest of the conversation is transcribed as follows,
“Yeah… I’ve had a lot of luck, Blaine. I was really lucky to be chased out of high school by a bully who threatened to kill me.”
“And why did he do that?”
“Because he didn’t like who I was.”
“Sort of exactly what you’re saying to me right now. Isn’t it?” (pause) “I am searching, okay? I am honestly just trying to figure out who I am. And for you, of all people, to get down on me for that, I didn’t think that’s who you were.” (then he walks away)
Blaine takes offense to what Kurt said so quickly because he doesn’t know about Kurt’s past like we do. He wasn’t there. That being said, I still think him bringing up Kurt’s obvious and still very current trauma because he got hurt was very inappropriate (much less equating one conversation to literal years of horrific trauma) but that is a whole other conversation for a different time. The point that I’m trying to make is that the scene was framed around the idea of Kurt being biphobic, but I find it very hard to be able to put that label on him.
Mostly because I just can’t see Kurt “I was bullied for most of my life for who I like” Hummel to hate on anyone else for who they like. Even if he were undereducated and moody at the time. So yes, I took my own person fondness and opinions about the character and found a way to defend his actions, but not in a “I am choosing to ignore his bad” way. When I first watched the episode, I was a little sus of Kurt for a while if I were being honest. As a bisexual person, it hurt to hear him say these things because I had initially reacted the way most people (and Blaine) had; but after some thought and character digging (as I love to do with Mr. Kurt Hummel), I found an explanation that I liked and that wasn’t just excusing away the bad parts.
Kurt isn’t perfect, he most definitely had moments that had me damn near flinching away because of how godawful he really was. Just because he’s my favorite character doesn’t mean he’s perfect. However, I just don’t see this scene or episode as one of his faults.
If you agree or disagree and would like to maintain a civil discussion, comment or reblog and I will try to respond when I can. Thanks for reading!