Tuesday on ABC’s The View, the panel talked with a self-identified “polyamorous” bisexual actor Nico Tortorella and a group of “sexually fluid” teens, to help educate them about the broad and confusing world of their community. While the panel called on the media to give more positive representations of “sexually fluid” people, the hosts themselves admitted they didn’t even understand what the terms meant. In an unintentionally comical segment, the panel grew visibly more confused and frustrated while scrambling to understand the rules and norms of their more “sexually progressive” young guests.
“It’s clear the younger generation is rejecting old labels, even when it comes to sexuality,” host Sara Haines eagerly introduced the video segment. In the subsequent interview, Haines sat down with bisexual Younger actor Nico Tortorella and a group of teens to ask them about their gender identities and how society could understand them better.
Tortorella blamed the media for not having “positive” representations of people like himself:
“I use the term bisexual because there really has been no positive bisexual representation anywhere in the media ever since like the beginning of time,” he lamented. Haines jumped in to add that bisexuals were pre-judged as “promiscuous.”
“I think one stereotype that comes to mind which is also probably been perpetuated in the media is that if you're bisexual, you're promiscuous,” she stated.
But the confusion began after one girl tried to explain that she identified as “pansexual” and was “sexually” attracted to men but “romantically” attracted to women. Haines had the girl explain this repeatedly to try to understand. Afterwards, the teens and Tortorella teased Haines for being “conservative” or straight-laced, which she took offense at. “I’m not conservative!” she exclaimed. Haines then asked the group how they could “tell” that she wasn’t a member of the LGBT community.
The aforementioned “pansexual” girl explained that their community could identify “their kind” by physical markers.
“I think when you're queer, it almost becomes like a second nature to spot who is safe and who is not. Because when I walk down the street and see other feminine people with shaved heads, we make eye contact and I’m like, ‘I know exactly what is up with you. I got you if anything happens, I’m right behind you,” she answered.
Afterwards, Haines praised the “really eye opening discussion” before the panel came back with Tortorella to discuss further. Right off the bat, hosts Sunny Hostin and Whoopi Goldberg expressed frustration and confusion with the numerous labels.
HOSTIN: I'm very confused. I don't understand the woman that said I -- I'm bisexual so I like to -- no, I'm pansexual --
HAINES: She's not a ‘woman’. She is ‘they.’ She actually doesn't identify with a gender.
BEHAR: Or a pronoun. No pronouns.
HOSTIN: But she talked about men and women in those terms though.
HAINES: That's the only way she can explain her sexual attraction.
HAINES: The only way ‘they’ --
TORTORELLA [laughs]: It's confusing.
HOSTIN: I'm so confused!
Whoopi offered to the young guests that they needed to “chill out” and wait for society to “catch up to all the changes” they were asking of them.
WHOOPI: People have to -- people need time to catch up to all the changes. Everybody has to just chill out. These are -- these are really different times for lots of people, lots of folks, and they're discovering stuff and talking about stuff. So everybody has to understand, we're not going to get it right away. We're not going to get it right away.
SUNNY HOSTIN: It's not a judgment thing.
WHOOPI: It's not judgment. It's just trying to catch up.
“It sometimes is very much so a judgement thing,” Tortorella scolded.
HOSTIN: And I don't want to offend anyone because I don't get it, like I don't want to offend anyone, but I don't understand --
BEHAR: Which part don't you get?
HOSTIN: I don't really get any of it.
Host Joy Behar then expressed her confusion about binary-less gender:
JOY BEHAR: Have you ever asked the questions like, If you had a gun to your head and you had to pick one, which one would you pick, anybody ever ask you that?
TORTORELLA: Yes. I don't like at gender as binary, as one or the other. I see the whole universe of gender.
BEHAR: Always, when you were a kid too?
TORTORELLA: No. Look, I'm not an expert on any of this. I'm learning this as I'm going. I'm like a student of the world right now and I just think it's so fascinating.
HOSTIN: But is there more than male and female?
TORTORELLA: Yes, absolutely, yes. I mean, if you're talking about intersex people, 1 in 2,000 babies are born --
HOSTIN: Like a hermaphrodite.
TORTORELLA: The new word is intersex.
WHOOPI: We need a list. I need a list.
“You know, you can look all these things up on your phones very easily,” Tortorella snarked.
After Whoopi and Hostin stated they wanted to be “allies” but didn’t understand how to keep up with the ever changing language of the LGBT community, host Joy Behar tried to explain it was like sexual “evolution.”
Think of it like, you know, people have evolved physically from, you know, caveman, prehistoric, et cetera. Now people are evolving sexually. That seems to be what's going on, that there's an evolution going on.
But Haines blamed religion for the reticence for society to get on board:
In some ways we squashed it and didn't allow it to exist because so many people couch it in “sin.” So it was also something that was held back. It's been here forever.
Host Jedediah Bila then argued that love comes from being attracted to someone’s soul, not their gender. Tortorella agreed, seemingly arguing that those with his belief system had a higher moral superiority than the rest of us.
“It doesn’t matter what’s between somebody’s legs,” Tortorella scolded.