Last week, it was teased that Amber Portwood was planning to come out.
She is bisexual, but had never shared this part of her identity on screen before.
Teen Mom OG viewers watches as she came out as bi to her mother.
She worries over how Gary will react. Did he really want her to stay closeted?
Amber Portwood first spoke to a producer about her sexuality on this week’s episode.
"People are probably gonna be a bit shocked that I am bisexual," she predicted.
Amber shared "That I have had a relationship with a woman for 8 months before."
Amber recalled that she was about 20 years old during that 8-month relationship.
Still, coming out is rarely easy, and sometimes time can make that harder.
Amber admitted: "I’m really scared right now."
Amber confirmed that her first baby daddy, Gary Shirley, already knew that she is bi.
That doesn’t mean that she expected him to be supportive of her coming out to the world.
"I don’t think he’ll be very open," Amber admitted.
"I think he’s gonna think it’s bad for Leah, things like that," Amber alarmingly predicted.
That would be shockingly awful of Gary if true.
Many things related to Amber are bad for Leah. Amber being bi, privately or publicly, does not make the list.
"He doesn’t even like the thought of going to therapy to help with our relationship," Amber complained.
(We’ll unpack that in a bit)
Amber speculated that "this is just another embarrassment to them."
Amber stressed that being a parent (sort of) helped to motivate her to come out publicly.
She said that Leah and James were a "really, really big factor."
"I don’t want them to ever think it’s bad," Amber explained.
"And," Amber continued, "I don’t want them to look at other people who are like this like that."
"Who am I to sit here and hide forever," she continued, admitting "which is what I was actually planning on doing anyways."
Amber confessed: "I was gonna go to the grave with this."
Part of what drove Amber to come out, here and now, on camera was that her sexuality is mentioned in her upcoming memoir.
She didn’t want her mom to find out from a book (or from a leaked report), so she called her mom.
"I was calling you for a reason," Amber told her mother. "I’m shaking right now, honestly."
Amber then told her mom that she is bi.
"I’m very attracted to men, but I’m also similarly very attracted to women as well, like both. Over the years," she said.
Amber explained not coming out earlier, as there had been "so much going on back then, that I didn’t want to put anymore stuff on the family."
"I think I was just ashamed at the time," Amber grimly expressed.
She explained that this is "because it wasn’t as open then."
"People were still using the F-word," she said, referring to a vicious anti-gay slur.
"My book that’s coming out, I don’t point blank say I’m bisexual," Amber clarified.
"But," she detailed, "I do say that I’ve been with women."
While not everyone needs, wants, or uses labels, they can be helpful, and the label bisexual is conspicuously underused — so it’s good that Amber felt comfortable with it.
Amber’s mother’s reaction was very affirming.
Meanwhile, Amber was more concerned about how Leah would take the news, but her mother reassured her on that, too.
However, we won’t get to see Gary and Leah’s reaction until next week.
We promised to go over Amber’s remark about therapy, because … it needs to be addressed.
Amber is perceived by fans to have this sort of fantasy that if she goes to mother-daughter counseling with Leah, they’ll patch things up.
To put it bluntly, it often feels like she wants a professional to trick Leah into forgiving and forgetting Amber’s countless failings as a mother and a human being.
We don’t think that Gary is "anti-therapy," but he is trying to protect Leah’s interests.
Leah is not interested in being forced to sit in a room and listen to her estranged mom cry about how she just wants to be loved or whatever.
There is no reason whatsoever for Leah to be in therapy with Amber unless Leah one day decides, on her own, to do that.
And yes, we mention Amber’s numerous failings because her being bi does not erase that.
Bisexuality does not change her past any more than any other revelation about her identity might.
Amber is still who she is, but even so, we’re pleased that so far her coming out was not met with hostility or cruelty.
Probably one of the most sinister things that someone can say when someone comes out as bi is to challenge them.
It’s the fear of that kind of response that keeps a lot of people in the closet.
Bi women are accused of being straight. Bi men are accused of being gay. That bigotry can sometimes come from within the LGBTQ+ community, too.
Some who travel in more bigoted social circles might argue that Amber and Gary and Kristina shouldn’t tell Leah about this at all.
But bisexuality isn’t any more or less appropriate than heterosexuality.
It’s fine for a 12-year-old, or a person of any age to hear about.
Honestly, Leah is in middle school — it’s very likely that she has friends and classmates who are openly LGBTQ+ to her, if not to their parents.
People seldom have to "come out" as straight (by the way, please don’t do this — looking at you, overly eager ally celebs).
But coming out is never the same as discussing your sex life.
Amber is not the sort of representation that anyone in the bi community (or any other) would have asked for.
She is a domestic abuser — and a repeat offender, at that. She’s neither a good parent nor a good person.
But we hope that her coming out receives a positive reception. Biphobic backlash would hurt all of the wrong people, not Amber.