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09/20/2016 03:09 pm ET

Andy Mientus Says He Wants To 'End Stigma' Around Bisexuality

Just because the actor is married to a man doesn't mean he's gay.

Broadway and TV actor Andy Mientus marked Bisexuality Awareness Week, which is from Sept. 19-26, with a heartfelt Instagram post in an effort to clarify some long-held misconceptions about what it means to identify as bi. 

Mientus, 29, married his husband, actor-director Michael Arden, in England last month. But as he explained on Instagram, that doesn’t mean he’s ready to “accept being lumped in as gay.” 

Mientus and Arden (right) were married Aug. 18. 
Bruce Glikas via Getty Images
Mientus and Arden (right) were married Aug. 18. 

“I try to be visible all the time just by being true to who I am openly, but I know many people struggle with this because of the stigma associated with bi-ness,” Mientus wrote. Adding that he didn’t want to position himself as “an activist or a role model,” he went on to note. “What I do know is that because of my platform as an actor, kids reach out to me almost daily confused about their sexuality and it breaks my heart to learn that they are denying their hearts, bodies, and souls just because of what other people will think of them.”

The star of “Smash” and Broadway’s “Les Misérables” then concluded, “If you think you could be bi, ask yourself what is holding you back from accepting it —is it your own developing feelings or your fear of society around you? Together, we can end that stigma.” 

Hey so it's #biweek- the week for the Bi kids to be visible. I try to be visible all the time just by being true to who I am openly, but I know many people struggle with this because of the stigma associated with bi-ness. I know that some of you, probably friends even, are reading this and rolling your eyes- "oh he's still holding on to that? Who is SHE kidding?"- and I don't blame you. Not many are open about it so we appear to be very rare creatures, maybe even mythical. I've definitely felt the pressure to just accept being lumped in as gay when I meet new people- correcting them feels super political and unnecessary in the moment but then later I realize that it's my own shame. I don't write this to position myself as an activist or a role model. I try to be the best person I can be always but I am just an actor, not a queer-studies professor, and I am learning along with everyone else. I have and will continue to put my foot in my mouth on issues so I won't pretend to know everything. What I do know is that because of my platform as an actor, kids reach out to me almost daily confused about their sexuality and it breaks my heart to learn that they are denying their hearts, bodies, and souls just because of what other people will think of them. We now talk about LGBT+ issues constantly but how often do we really consider the B in there? Have you ever doubted someone who tells you they are Bi- "Sure, Jan"- or debated the validity of that claim behind their back? Do you have a preconceived idea of what bi "really" looks like based on what TV and movies have told you? Do you think of it just as a sexual kink or as a true identity? When I encounter ignorance about my identity, I always try to approach it from a place of warmth and education, so this is not me lecturing the monosexuals out there. I'm inviting you this week to think about your own feelings towards bisexuals and ask yourself if there is any lingering doubt or prejudice there. If you think you could be bi, ask yourself what is holding you back from accepting it- is it your own developing feelings or your fear of society around you? Together, we can end that stigma. 🏳️‍🌈 📷: @lukefontana

A photo posted by @andymientus on

In a 2014 video interview with Broadway.com, Mientus explained how he and Arden, 33, began dating even though he had previously been in a relationship with a woman. 

“We were friends for years without any romance because I had a really serious girlfriend for about two years,” he said. “[That relationship] absolutely meant something to me... I never want any of my ex-girlfriends to think that they were being used, or that I was confused and not really into it.”  

Bravo, Andy, for living your truth and helping to educate others along the way!

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