"I think because we're usually erased, people just don t have the information," Evan Rachel Wood says in a new interview

By Stephanie Petit
Updated July 18, 2016 01:20 PM
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Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Evan Rachel Wood has stood up for others who identify as bisexual, but the actress still feels there’s a long way to go.

In an interview with Motto from the editors of Time, the True Blood alum says she feels that being bisexual comes with “many negative connotations.”

“I think because we’re usually erased, people just don’t have the information,” she told Motto. “There’s so many negative connotations with that label. I understand the argument about labels and the desire to do away with them altogether. I think that’s a great idea. But before that we have to give people a chance to identify with somebody or a group in some way. That helped me.”

Wood, 28, revealed she dated both men and women in a 2011 interview with Esquire. Despite receiving criticism for her sexuality and coping with “shame and depression” as a result, she’s set on giving bisexuality a voice.

“Erasure is causing people harm and diminishing self-esteem and putting people in harm’s way,” Wood said. “It’s a real need. I want people to know that it’s ok, [bisexuality] is valid, and their stories matter.”

The actress also came to the defense of her friend Amber Heard, who is openly bisexual, after news reports surfaced speculating whether Heard’s history of dating men and women was a factor in her divorce from Johnny Depp.

Wood quoted a tweet that read, “Amber Heard’s sexuality is only relevant in that bi women are at far greater risk of experiencing intimate partner violence,” adding the word “boom” in agreement.

“People associate [bisexuality] with deviant behavior and it somehow justifies someone not being worthy It’s bulls—!” Wood said. “And just there for headlines and it does not help the problem. Especially because when people refer to [Heard] they didn’t use that word until it was necessary.”

“It was an easy target and it was unfair,” she added.

Wood hopes for greater understanding and acceptance of bisexuality, and she’s happy to lead by example by speaking out.

“It’s time to be vulnerable and honest and to not be ashamed,” the actress shared. “For so long, I was ashamed. You’re dealing with the shame that the world has imposed upon you and then on top of that the shame of identifying that way. You’re totally looked down upon in and out of the LGBT community. A good way to combat that and the stereotypes is to be vocal.”

In the five years since she opened up about her sexuality, Wood says she’s encountered many others who related to her, and has been thankful for the support she’s received.

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“My experience [coming out] was such a self-esteem issue,” she recalled. “You’re made to feel so small I thought, ‘Am I crazy for wanting to put this out there?’ ”

“But the response has been amazing and people have been really kind and understanding,” she continued. “I’ve heard from so many people that identified as bi. I was really moved to see that so many could relate to what I said. It validates that it’s a universal feeling.”