This week — which is Bisexual Awareness Week — writer and Matilda star Mara Wilson opened up about publicly coming out as bisexual and dealing with biphobia in a frank interview with Ariel Goldberg, the deputy digital director of civil rights organization Lambda Legal.

Wilson, who came out last summer after the Pulse Nightclub shooting, told Goldberg she decided to do so in large part because she realized she had a platform to speak up as part of the LGBTQ+ community. “I think that if you’re in a place of security and privilege  —  which I can admit that I am  —  it’s important for you to [come out],” she said. “I don’t see myself as anybody’s savior, but I’d rather it were me  —  who can afford therapy and afford this platform  —  getting harassed for being who I am than a young LGBTQ kid. I think it’s important.”

She added that while she doesn’t regret coming out, at the time she didn’t realize the optics of making her announcement on the heels of a national tragedy. “I often wish that I hadn’t done it then because I got accused of taking advantage of a tragedy for personal attention,” she said. “Now clearly I like attention, but I am not so callous as to make a tragedy about myself, my life and my story. That isn’t what I was going for.”

Wilson went on to discuss the rampant biphobia that she says delayed her coming out. “There’s definitely a stigma,” she said of bisexuality. “One of the reasons I didn’t come out for a very long time was because I grew up hearing that bisexual girls were ‘crazy.’ I heard that all the time. I heard that bisexual girls were ‘crazy,’ they were greedy, they were selfish and they caused drama. They were the worst. They wanted attention.”

She also mentioned the importance of people reflecting on why they’re so uncomfortable with members of the LGBTQ+ community speaking up about their identities. “Is it making somebody happy? Is it improving their life? Is it something that they enjoy? Is it a part of who they are? Yes? Then respect it,” she urged. “You don’t need to understand something completely to be okay with it.”

Wilson’s words highlight that biphobia and bi erasure — a phenomenon in which the legitimacy and even existence of bisexual identities are challenged — are ongoing problems. (While she says she now prefers the descriptor “queer,” she has no problems with being called “bi,” either.) Given that research suggests bi women continue to face high rates of mental health problems, physical health issues, and sexual violence, it’s especially important that their voices are heard and respected. Read Wilson’s full interview here.

More on bisexuality:

  • 26 Celebrities Who Identify as Bisexual, Pansexual, or Totally Label-Free
  • Aaron Carter Just Came Out As Bisexual In This Emotional Post
  • Lauren Jauregui Says Coming Out “Made Me More Confident and Vibrant”

Watch this: