Anonymous asked: hey, it's the anon from livelaughawesome's ask... still staying anon because reasons. >< I wondered if you could tell me when/how you first realized you were bi, and how people close to you reacted. I've been reading up on biphobia, and it sounds exactly like what I've already dealt with even being in the closet. If the subject has ever come up, my mom says "I don't believe that's even possible. I mean, pick a side, right?" how do I respond to that sdfghjklhsio
Well, ok sure.
WARNING: THIS IS A LONG ASS POST.
I didn’t really start to realize I was bi until I was around 14. I had this friend I made freshman year of high school, and at the time, she was my exact opposite. I was quiet and serious and bookish and downright proper, actually. The first thing I did that made me feel like I was weird was, I went to a dance that year with her and a couple of friends. I don’t actually remember anyone else I went with, I was only really paying attention to her. I kept watching how she danced, and she had a dress that tied in the back. She had joked earlier about how she had knotted it so that she was sure no one would untie it, but later I jokingly pulled on it. The look she gave me when she saw it was me who tugged on it was playful and made my heart jump and hands shake. After that, I realized, I looked at a lot of girls like that. Girls in my classes, girls on tv shows.
We finally had gotten internet at my house around that time, and I started trying to sort out my feelings by looking it up. I remember typing “I like both guys and girls is that even possible?” in the search bar, terrified my grandma or grandpa would walk by. It didn’t take long to find the term bisexual, but most of what I was finding was things that didn’t feel true to me. Stuff like “it’s just a phase” or “you can’t know unless you’ve done it” or “just pick one”. I ended up just deciding those people didn’t get it, because I’m that kind of stubborn person, and identified as bisexual. The comments I had seen got under my skin, even though I tried to ignore them. I was raised religious, and sexual thoughts were bad enough. What if I really was just slutty? I felt I was being sinful by accepting the term for my feelings.
The first person I came out to was my little brother (I was still 14 at the time, so he was around 10), in the middle of Bring It On. I had talked to him about girls since I had noticed it, but never said anything about what it meant. He just shrugged and said ok, and asked to watch the movie again.
The summer after my freshman year, I came out the the second person I would ever come out to, the first time I felt legitimately scared by it. I had made a friend during summer camp, and on the swing set one day, I told her I was bi. Funny point, I am her coming out story, because on that same swing set, she tried to act like she accepted my sexuality but didn’t “get it” which I was like lol please you totally like girls.
Don’t do that to people btw, it’s mean. >.>;;
The third person I came out to was a girl I had made friends with totally by accident. She had bothered me in the middle of reading at some point before homeroom one morning bc she thought I was someone else, but when she saw I wasn’t that person, actually just decided to befriend me. I came out to her my sophomore year after that summer, she said “Ok, but don’t like hit on me or anything because that’s gross.” At the time, I stumbled over my response of no, of course not, I wouldn’t why would you think…
But it really hurt.
And because sometimes I can be a spiteful ass, I made it a point to flirt with her fairly constantly. It became a kind of staple of our friendship, and in fact my friendships with most women. My friendship with her stayed basically the same, but for a long time she would get uncomfortable when I said certain things. The sort of things that shouldn’t make someone uncomfortable. If I complimented her appearance at all, it was as if I was making some kind of vulgar comment. It hurt being friends with her, but as I came out to more and more people, and joined GSA, it just started to seem normal. Most people took it in stride, but a lot of people seemed to assume I was just joking. I felt like some mix between a joke and a threat. Nobody believed I was a virgin when the topic of sex came up.
Sometime during all of that, I lost my faith entirely. I had become angry and bitter at God for making me inherently sinful. It wasn’t fair. It was a pretty immature way to become an atheist, but it probably isn’t uncommon. I can’t really talk about my sexuality without mentioning my faith, so sorry if this feels unnecessary for you.
Around the end of sophomore year or the beginning of junior year, my friends formed a GSA. When I joined, the only “gayness” involved at the time was me and a gay guy, who constantly asked me to choose a side, to which I countered with the argument that I was a literal gay-straight-alliance in a single person, so the club needed me as a link. Needless to say, we never got along, but I couldn’t help but feel left out. All of the girls, you see, seemed to like him better. I attributed this, as I did many things, to my sexuality.
After losing my virginity, for a brief period, about a year, I identified as a lesbian. This part of the story is a bit more complicated and personal. But eventually, I realized I wasn’t gay. I’m just not. I like both.
When I got to college, I came out as basically the second sentence out of my mouth. I realized, with my experience in High School, that my sexuality is a huge part of me. I’m just a really sexual person, and I am attracted to a lot of different kinds of people. Not being able to talk about that with people even on a surface level would be hiding something essential about me. If I can’t trust someone with accepting my bisexuality, how could I trust them with a genuine friendship? College was generally better, until I joined FLAG (Friends of Lesbians and gays). To my knowledge, I was the only “out” bisexual. The majority of the club was straight women and gay men. There was one “out” lesbian, that I knew of. I don’t think there were any trans* identified people.
Most of the club centered around gay men’s issues, which was obvious since all of the board was gay men. There was one meeting that was devoted to asking and answering questions posed by the members themselves. About three questions in, the question was “What is it with bisexuality anyway?”
I cannot even begin to explain the rage I felt as people in the club, gay men, and straight women, began to justify the same comments I had been forced to look at when I was 14 and hated myself for feeling the way I did. I had tried to pick a side. I had tried to suppress my sexual feelings entirely. I had had experiences with both males and females. And yet, here I was in a room full of people who knew I was the only out bisexual in the room, discussing my identity as if it was shameful, a stepping stone, a fake, just being a slut.
I totally lost it at one chick, who immediately before had been justifying the idea that bisexuals are just trying to figure out that they’re gay. I don’t remember what I said exactly, I just remember an overwhelming feeling of disgust at the hypocrisy I had experienced that night, from a club that was supposed to be accepting and a sanctuary for people like me, for people even way different than me. I ended up making the girl cry and storming out.
It was pretty awesome.
I never came out to my grandparents, though my grandma found out because a girl I had worked with had told my bosses I was being vulgar at her at work (I hadn’t, she only even knew I was bi because I was out at school.) She told me she still loved me, and frankly that’s all I needed from her. We haven’t ever spoken about it beyond that conversation, and I never make comments about women in front of her. I think she assumes I’m “straight now”, because I’m engaged to a man. I did come out to my mother, but that was kind of gross, because apparently one of my “aunts” was not in fact my aunt, but was actually her girlfriend. And then she tried to bond with me over hot girls. Not exactly what I had intended to result from that experience. My older brother knows, and apparently is too, but I don’t talk to him ever, so there’s that.
Now, I pretty much am out to anyone I consider a friend. I live in Missouri, so being out to my coworkers and bosses feels like a threatening experience. This isn’t as accepting of a place as NJ was, and since every part of this story until this paragraph took place in NJ… well.
Being out is always going to be scary in a world where people try to erase you, or call you greedy, or act like you’re a threat. I’m “out” here, but less “out” than I was in NJ. I am still not entirely comfortable saying I’m bisexual to people, bc there’s always the potential insults, the potential erasure (esp since now I can “pass” as straight). But the thing is, I had to realize at some point that a deeper relationship where someone could not accept a core aspect of me, was in fact, not worth having. Cuz I wouldn’t be me. I have reached a point in my life where I’ve been forced to realize that some relationships are always going to be surface ones, and I’ve had to decide whether that surface relationship was threatened by the revelation of my sexuality, and whether that was worth it. With my job, it usually isn’t. With my fiance’s family members that I’m just getting to know, it usually isn’t. Hopefully one day that will change, not just for me, but for everyone. For now, whenever I make friends with someone and they “accept” me, I try my best to relate my experiences to them as a bisexual, to make sure that acceptance is or becomes complete. I rant about how things make me feel, when I feel erased or oppressed or shamed. I make sure not to direct my anger or hatred of those comments at them. Despite that, sometimes I get shot down, and it hurts an incredible amount to have a friend shoot you down like that, to deny you your identity.
But some friends open up and their point of veiw widens, and some of them, partly because of my openness and honesty, have come to acknowledge their own bisexuality. And they have their own struggles attached with that, and I do my best to help them through them because it’s rough. It’s rough, but I’m not alone. My straight friends, and gay friends, and bi friends all help each other out. “Be the Change” and all of that, you know?
You’ll find people who will accept you, in your entirety. You will. That’s not a promise, it’s a fact. People are better than we give them credit for — they’re better than they even know they’re capable of. So if you start to feel comfortable with someone, and think they might accept you, go ahead and make the leap. It can be one person at a time. That’s how mine usually goes. Sometimes not so well, sometimes fine. Just know that, you don’t have to justify yourself to other people. If they don’t even want to try and accept you, than don’t assume they’ll be worth the effort. They probably won’t be. The real friends, for anything, are the ones that are always interesting in trying to accept or help you. And if they don’t have that basic mindset down when it comes to sexuality, then forget those assholes.
I suppose that’s all there is to say for now.