the actress who played barb is now out, proud, and combatting queer baiting
Famous for her role as fan favorite Barb in Stranger Things, actress Shannon Purser took to Twitter to publicly come out as bisexual yesterday. The actress chose a simple and straight-forward approach — turning to the Notes app in her iPhone to type a heartfelt letter about coming to terms with her sexuality and learning her place within the LGBT community. Given the fact that Purser is only 19, it makes plenty of sense that our precious "Barb" is still figuring some things out about herself and the world. We've all been there.
Purser also took the opportunity to vehemently deny ever intentionally taking part in queerbaiting (a term for when a show develops unfulfilled homoerotic tensions between two characters simply to draw in and tease its queer fans). The criticism is directed towards Purser's role in The CW show Riverdale, in which Purser's wallflower character Beth and her unlikely cheerleader friend Veronica share a seemingly random kiss in one episode.
"I have never heard the term "queerbaiting" in my life until today," Purser wrote. "That being said, I have never ever wanted to alienate anyone[…]"
Purser was met with an outpouring of praise, acceptance, and personal stories about coming out from her fans. "What a charming outing," one fan tweeted, "also the acknowledgment that #queerbaiting is serious business."
Several celebrities have been vocal about their bisexuality this week. Just yesterday, Cynthia Nixon condemned those who view bisexuals as "confused." It's great to see bisexuality as a distinct and unique experience being represented and talked about more, as the community is often overlooked and/or unrightly forced to choose between "gay" or "straight" identities.
We're here for you, Barb!
Text André-Naquian Wheeler
Still from YouTube