Mara Wilson will forever be associated with her role as Matilda Wormwood in Matilda (although let's not forget that she was pretty amazing in Mrs. Doubtfire as well), but the child actress is now an author and activist. After last year's deadly shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Wilson decided to use her platform to publicly come out as bisexual.
"I think that if you’re in a place of security and privilege — which I can admit that I am — it’s important for you to [come out]," Wilson told Lambda Legal's Ariel Goldberg. "I don’t see myself as anybody’s saviour, but I’d rather it were me — who can afford therapy and afford this platform — getting harassed for being who I am than a young LGBTQ kid. I think it’s important."
Wilson's only regret is that she chose to come out in the wake of the Orlando shooting. Although most people understood that it was meant to be a gesture of solidarity with her community, others criticised Wilson for being an "attention-seeker."
"I got accused of taking advantage of a tragedy for personal attention," she recalled. "Now clearly I like attention, but I am not so callous as to make a tragedy about myself, my life and my story. That isn’t what I was going for."
Although every single member of the LGBTQ community faces discrimination, bisexual women and men are confronted with a unique stigma. Between 40 and 50 percent of the LGBTQ community identifies as bisexual, but they are frequently left out of the narrative — often because there's a misconception that they can "pass off" as straight.
"There’s definitely a stigma," Wilson said. "One of the reasons I didn’t come out for a very long time was because I grew up hearing that bisexual girls were 'crazy.' I heard that all the time. I heard that bisexual girls were crazy, they were greedy, they were selfish and they caused drama. They were the worst. They wanted attention."
"Biphobia," as Goldberg calls it, is closely linked with sexism, slut-shaming, ableism, and mental health stigma.
"When you think of bisexuals, you think of villainy. You think of people using their sexuality to get what they want, using other people and hurting other people," Wilson said. "Or just having a lot of sex, and […] if you are 'promiscuous,' that is seen as being inherently a bad thing."
Statistics show that Wilson and Goldberg are absolutely spot-on when it comes to bisexual discrimination, and the repercussions can be devastating. According to statistics gathered by the Human Rights Campaign, 46 percent of bisexual women have been raped (compared to 17 percent of heterosexual women and 13 percent of lesbians), which indicates that people take advantage of the misconception that bisexual women are "attention-seeking" and "promiscuous."