Is the Fictional President Bisexual?


Its so hard to write about these Netflix TV shows because if you’ve binge-watched them, you’re ahead of the curve, and if you’re too late, nobody cares. But that’s why I was astonished when in season 2 of House of Cards, the ruthless senator-who-becomes-vice president quietly and without a word, invites both his wife and his hunky handsome Secret Service guy into his bedroom.

Whaaaaat??! I wanted to write about it right away, I wanted to call my friends, I wanted to show my partner just that episode (Episode 35) of that momentous occasion. But, nothing was ever said about it again in the second season. They didn’t even have longing winks or nods toward each other the next morning!

That is, until Season 3. In this season (sorry, spoiler alert if you’ve not binged yet), Frank Underwood (deliciously played by Kevin Spacey), holds long pauses and even holds hands and locks gazes with his very handsome biographer Thomas Yates (played by Paul Sparks.) Yates is telling the conservative Underwood, who is now President of the United States, about his days as a male hustler. Then, there’s some real touchy-feely homoerotic but creepy moments between Frank and his Chief of Staff Doug Stamper (played by Michael Kelly). And then there is his reunion with an old flame from his military academy days.

This has all led to recalling the surprise threesome of last season when Frank Underwood coaxes his beautiful wife Claire (played by Robin Wright) and the hunky Secret Service guy Edward Meechum (played by Nathan Darrow).

Interestingly, Darrow and Spacey crossed swords literally in the past when they met performing in Richard III at the Old Vic. They had an intense swordfight together, and Darrow’s character eventually kills Spacey’s character.

About that kiss and the threesome in House of Cards, Darrow told OUT Magazine, “Maybe Frank does actually have devotion and love for Meechum. His sexuality is clearly important to him. It’s a vulnerability. It’s dangerous for him. Say you found out Obama had a threesome last night with a Secret Service guy. What would happen? It’s not 1950 or even 1980. Today it’s more complicated. It wouldn’t necessarily be over. Its like, whose business is it?”

The House of Cards creator and show runner Beau Willimon was asked point blank if this fictional President of the United States is bisexual! (How refreshing that the mainstream press isn’t calling the dalliances with guys as a closeted gay man!)

“He’s a man with a large appetite, he’s a man who does not allow himself to be placed in any sort of milieu or with one definition,” Willimon said. “I think he’s incredibly guarded with who he lets get close to him, whether that’s platonic or whether that’s sexual.”

There were some mentions of Frank’s homosexual exploits in college, and his character is still ambiguous about BLGT rights and same-sex marriage.

Whether Frank Underwood as president is bisexual or not, he’s not a model character. He’s ruthless, murderous, manipulative, and not someone the bi community may emulate.

Hopefully, his bisexuality will not be used as an excuse for a flaw in his personality or his morals.

It’s obvious that Frank uses sex as power. He has a healthy appetite for heterosexual sex, as shown with both his wife and the late reporter Zoe Barnes.

And now, in real life, there’s an openly bisexual governor, but very few other out bisexual politicians. Certainly (so far), no one is running as a bisexual for president.

Ironically, a Pew Research poll last year showed that 66 percent of voters wouldn’t use a candidate’s sexual orientation to determine how they would vote. And 5 percent even said they would be more likely to support a gay or lesbian candidate.

The show’s creators are aware that the bisexual mystery with Frank Underwood is intriguing to their audiences. Willimon noted,“ People have asked me straight up, “Is Frank Underwood bisexual? Is he gay? I don’t think Frank Underwood really puts much stock in those sort of labels. As he says in the Sentinel episode [in Season 1], “When I’m attracted to someone, I’m attracted to them. Period.”

So, we shall see if this bisexual president does indeed get outed in Season 4.


About Author

Mike Szymanski

Mike Szymanski has written about bisexual issues since 1989 and has one of the longest-running regular bisexual columns as the National Bisexuality Examiner. He came out as bisexual in a cover story of Genre magazine, which resulted in more than 50 television appearances, including Ricki Lake, Phil Donahue Show and 20/20. Szymanski won the Lambda Literary Award in 2007 for co-authoring an informative humor book “The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips and Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways.”