Call Me Bi Your Name

By Paige Stewart

The 2017 movie adaptation of André Aciman’s novel, Call Me By Your Name, WILL change your perspective on love, acceptance and bisexuality. 

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The story starts with Elio, a teenage boy living somewhere in Italy with his family in the mid eighties. Oliver, a student from America, comes to stay with them for 6 weeks during summer holiday in order to work alongside Elio’s father. 

Without giving too much away, Elio and Oliver develop a romance that takes my breath away. They are so in love, so open and so passionate - you forget what society has indoctrinated you to believe all your life; which is that bisexuality is a “phase” or that it doesn’t make sense. 

Bisexuality is when a person is attracted to both genders, this can be in any ratio and is not a phase or “confusion” of some sort. 

“I think people are born bisexual, and it’s just that our parents and society veer us off into this feeling of “oh I can’t”. They say it’s taboo. It’s ingrained in our heads that it’s bad, when it’s not bad at all. It’s a very beautiful thing.” - Billie Joe Armstrong. 

In the younger years of my life, the years of playing with barbies and pretend weddings - I would picture myself always marrying a man and my 20 Barbie dolls would share one Ken. Later in my life, I automatically gravitated towards boys, not because I didn’t like girls in a sexual way, but because no one did that - girls who kissed girls were “weird” or “lesbian” (I know, so what?) but nevertheless, I did not open my mind until much later. 

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I used to think, “I’m straight, but if the right girl comes along, I’d date her”. I thought that until a few months ago when I did some research and found a study which challenged the heteronormative values long held by western society, finding that women and men were aroused by both straight and gay adult films. 

Besides the fact that men and women can become aroused by members of the same sex, there is a completely different aspect to it as well. Many people I’ve spoken to about bisexuality say “women just don’t do it for me - I like men” and I received a similar response when I spoke to men. But we fail to understand that men and women have different feelings attached to them. Sex with a man might feel differently (emotionally as well as the obvious physical differences) to sex with a woman, but that doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or that you can’t enjoy both. It all depends on you and what you’re into in that moment. The emotions you experience in each situation (be it with a man or woman) will be different, and you will grow from it. There is nothing wrong with exploring your sexuality. There is nothing wrong with loving. 

The reason why CMBYN touched me and all its viewers, was because it wasn’t some tragic romance ending in death or judgement. It was a beautiful and erotic story in which two people fell in love and explored it - what’s wrong with that?

I urge everyone to read the book and watch the movie, open your minds and see these relationships and people for what and who they are - carriers of love, knowledge and acceptance. It is a crippling realisation that there are people in this world who are killed and shamed for loving.