Questions & Answers

Is coming out different for bisexuals?

Coming out is different for bisexuals than it is for gays and lesbians in several ways.  Most importantly, the coming out process never really ends for a bisexual.  Typically, a bisexual must come out to each and every person he or she dates. If a bisexual gets serious with someone from the straight community he or she must come out to that person. If a bisexual gets serious with someone from the gay or lesbian community, he or she must come out to that person too.  Of course this process can be simplified by coming out before the first date.  Still, that is a level of disclosure that is not expected of straight, gay or lesbian people.  Unfortunately, biphobic reactions are far too common and almost every bisexual has horror stories to share about dating or courting a straight, gay, or lesbian person for whom bisexuality was a deal-breaker.  That additional risk of romantic rejection, rejection because of one’s sexual identity, is not a hurdle faced by straights, gays, or lesbians.


I would imagine that coming out as a bisexual comes with the same challenges as dealing with any 'truth' that pushes the boundaries of the social norms. I think it's important to come out to yourself and accept who you are before you come out to others. No one should be forced. We all have our own timeline.


My sexual attraction to women surfaced before my sexual attraction to men, so I attempted to come out as a lesbian first. Then, four years later, I had to come out all over again because I fell in love with a man. One of the only people I came out to was my mom, and she treated it like two separate occurrences. First I "thought" I was a lesbian, then I fell in love with a man, which was the "truth". When I was growing up, people talked about being gay or lesbian, but not being bisexual. I didn't know I could be. That made it impossible to come out as bisexual! I couldn't claim to be something I didn't know existed.

So I think coming out is different for bisexual people because we can easily "come out" on one side or the other without realizing the second attraction (to men or women, whichever showed itself second). Then when we get a crush on a different gender than the one we "picked", people get confused and think that we aren't attracted to the first one anymore.

Bisexuals, to me, run an increased risk of people not believing them.


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