September 23, 2020 is Celebrate Bisexuality Day. I wrote the piece below for National Coming Out Day in 2018. A lot has changed in my life in the past two years, but I am proud of this piece of writing and think it still encapsulates how I feel about my bisexuality.
Being bi was always there.
I was bi in my eight grade social studies class, when I always hoped Mrs. B would assign me to work with the girl who sat diagonal from me. Every time she didn’t assign us to work together, I was disappointed. Every time she did, I wanted to impress. When I was switched into another class, I was devastated. But I didn’t totally understand why.
I was bi in high school when I made it a point to participate in every Day of Silence. I was bi when I wrote a paper arguing for marriage equality. I was bi when I called myself an ally, and I believed that was all I was.
I was bi as I watched the theater kids, the only openly queer kids at my high school, from a distance. I attended every show.
I was bi when marriage equality for LGBTQ+ people was legalized, and I felt so much joy and relief. In time I realized that my joy wasn’t just for others, it was also for me. It affirmed me.
I was bi when I began to withdraw from friendships under the excuse “I’m so busy.” Really, I feared intimate connections with any of my friends. I didn’t want to be judged for getting too close, so I backed away.
I was bi when I had no examples of openly queer women.
I was bi when I had no word for my identity.
I was bi when I thought the only possibilities were gay or straight, but I didn’t feel like either.
I was bi when a member of my church who taught Sunday School casually told me their student had come out as bi, but the teacher didn’t think being bi was “a real thing.” The words stung, but I couldn’t express why or stand up for myself yet.
I was bi when one day during my first semester of college, I landed on a video in which a YouTuber similar to my age came out as bisexual. It just clicked. That was me. It just made sense. It was instinct. It was comforting. There was a word for how I felt.
I’m not sure if I was naive or fearless when I came out. Maybe a little of both. I was excited and comforted by my discovery, and I wanted to share it with the people I loved. So I came out. I didn’t slow down to examine the impact it would have on my life or the loss I would face. I didn’t give myself time to become secure in my identity before it got attacked.
Coming out complicated my relationships and mental health. I was physically safe, but mentally and emotionally I became exhausted. I was constantly questioned and challenged. I turned to religious spaces for comfort, but got a lot of bad advice and began to fear I was unacceptable to God. I was unprepared to deal with the internalized biphobia and shame that had been socialized into me throughout my life.
Spaces and faces I used to trust became harmful and untrustworthy. I was unprepared for a life of constantly being on the defensive, screening spaces to make sure they are affirming before entering, and paying attention to where I can and cannot talk about my identity. I didn’t realize I would have to come out over and over again, and I didn’t realize how exhausting that would be.
On one hand, I sometimes wish I had waited to come out, but it was also the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Now, I see my bisexuality as a gift and a strength.
For me, bisexuality isn’t just about being attracted to people romantically or sexually, but it’s about carrying all of this love and admiration for other human beings, It’s about community and solidarity and care for others.
I am able to empathize more deeply with people and witness them because I know what it feels like to feel unseen and unheard. I also know how much joy I feel when people and spaces allow me to express my full identity, and I try to create those spaces and be that person for others.
Being bi has expanded my point of view beyond binaries. I don’t see issues as black and white because I don’t experience life that way. I’m “messy.” I don’t fit into a box, not even within the bi+ community.
Being bi has radicalized me to think outside of the systems I have been socialized into. It makes the impossible seem possible. I’m not supposed to be bi and Christian. I’m not supposed to love my bisexuality. I’m not even supposed to exist, but I do, so what else is possible?