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The Actress Who Plays Barb on ‘Stranger Things’ Came Out as Bisexual

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Shannon Purser, who played Barb on Netflix sci-fi hit series Stranger Things and plays Ethel Muggs on Riverdale, has come out as bisexual.

The Announcement

Attitude reports that the admission came in an unexpected place: a Twitter flame war with some “Beronica shippers,” or Riverdale fans who really want to see a romance between the characters Betty and Veronica.

When fans got mad at Purser for dismissing Beronica shippers, she posted a screenshotted statement saying that she is bisexual.

“I’ve only just recently come out as bisexual to my family and friends,” she wrote. “It’s something I am still processing and trying to understand and I don’t like talking about it too much.”

Barb Is All of Us

Purser’s character Barb turned out to be an unexpected fan favorite on Stranger Things. The role is unremarkable: Barb is the pretty teen heroine Nancy’s frumpy, chunky best friend who (spoiler alert) gets kidnapped by a monster. Her disappearance is dismissed with shocking callousness by the town’s authority figures, who simply shrug it off.

Barb doesn’t get much screen time, but she won over audiences anyway. She is, sadly, relatable to many of us: dorky, awkward and lonely, not cool enough to shotgun a beer, sitting by herself with a bleeding hand while her hot friend runs off with a cute boy. The internet was flooded with Barb tributes:

Barb became a bit of a queer icon as well. Purser told Paper:

I think there really is an inherent feeling of isolation in the LGBT community, because often times, they can’t really fit in the way they’d like. I’m so thankful that LGBT people have related to the character. If I can help anybody with my character, or feel loved or less alone, that is the best feeling.

The show’s producers have confirmed that Barb will play a role in Season 2 of Stranger Things, but unfortunately it looks like it’s going to be a passive one.