United States

Hi, I‘m Ian. I am Bisexual.

I am an architectural designer and live in a suburb of Los Angeles with my Brazilian husband in our 1905 bungalow. My hobbies include traveling, eating good food, hiking, and photography. I have a great passion for languages and am currently working on Portuguese. A lot of my free time goes into running amBi, a bi social community for Greater L.A. My husband identifies as gay, but he is very supportive of my involvement in the bi community, even if he does make a lot of jokes! I have two young nieces and am a doting uncle with a fondness for giving raspberries and "eating" bellybuttons (which are dispensed and taste like Pez candy, in case you didn't know). I would absolutely love to have kids of my own someday. I'm a 4th-generation Angeleno on my Dad's side yet hold two passports because of my foreign Mom - even my nationality is bi!

What being bisexual means to me

To me, bisexuality means freedom - freedom to love people regardless of gender.

What I would like the world to know about bisexuals

I would like the world to know that we are a large and diverse community. I would like the world to know that we come in all shades and varieties, from all walks of life and from every corner of the world. I would like the gay and lesbian community to know that we are their greatest allies and would like to see many more bridges built between our communities. I would like everyone to know that even though only about 25% of people who are bisexual by behavior choose to identify themselves as bisexual, there are STILL more bisexuals then there are gays and lesbians COMBINED.

What was your path to a bisexual identity?

When you're bisexual, but the culture around you frames everything in black/white straight/gay, it can get confusing. Growing up, I realized that I was attracted to both girls and guys, but since I didn't have any bisexual role models (not even negative ones) it didn't even occur to me that I could be bisexual. I had great relationships with wonderful women, so I thought that maybe I was just imagining my same-sex attractions. When those feelings never went away, I decided I'd better figure them out. My girlfriend and I at the time had been together for over 2 years and she had lots of gay friends. Still, when I tried to express to her what I was feeling, she would have nothing of it. Simply put, she didn't believe bisexuals existed and felt that if I explored that part of myself it would mean I was gay. She wanted me to lock that part of myself away, but I did not feel I could do that and live with integrity. When I saw that her mind was made up, I felt I had no choice and broke up with her. She immediately spread word to all our friends that I was gay. I figured she must be right so I started identifying as gay myself. At that point, I also dove head-first into a second degree in visual arts and soon had lots of queer friends. I started going to "gay" clubs, but didn't connect with any guys and continued dating women exclusively. A couple years later, I was traveling in South Africa and met my first boyfriend. Lucky for me, he was bisexual - the first one I ever knowingly met! That helped me finally adopt a label that accurately described me, which was a great relief. There's something very empowering about having a word that encapsulates such an important part of your identity.

What is the toughest thing about being bisexual?

The toughest thing is our lack of visibility as a community. It causes people to forget or even doubt that bisexuality exists - even though bis are the largest community under the LGBT umbrella. The disparity between public perception and reality can mess with your mind - it's like some kind of crazy mass delusion!

What is the best thing about being bisexual?

The best thing is that the theoretical range of relationship experiences available to you is wider and more varied than that of monosexuals (straight, gay/lesbian people).

How have other people in your life reacted to your bisexuality?

I've certainly had a few negative reactions (primarily from acquaintances and strangers) along the way and have heard all the ignorant stereotypes regurgitated countless times. Fortunately, I don't take that personally. Someone else's limitations, biases, or lack of insight is their problem - not mine.

My friends have all been supportive, even if some of them didn't quite understand what bisexual means at first. My family took a while to understand that bi is not the same as gay, but they've been good overall. I always made it a point to connect with bisexual community, so I always felt grounded and strong in my identity. That has made all the difference.

What advice do you have for someone who thinks they may be bi or who is in the process of coming out as bi?

From my experience, the very best thing you can do is to find a local bi community or at least connect with other bi people online. A lot of monosexuals (non-bis) have misconceptions about bisexuality and are going to say and do things that may be less than supportive or helpful. Rather than take that to heart or burden yourself trying to argue with misguided people, look for folks who will help you have positive, affirming experiences as a bi person.