Channing Nicole Tells Us About Her #StillBisexual Video

6/15/2018

Channing Nicole #StillBisexual

“Yea, I’ll be the first one to do it.”

Cards in hand at a recent Still Bisexual filming day, Channing Nicole sat down in front of the camera. The video she made would quickly become the organization’s “most successful video in 24 hours ever,” according to Still Bisexual founder Nicole Kristal. It reached 1,000 Facebook views overnight and within a week those numbers, combined with Twitter views, would climb to 10K, making it the most successful Still Bisexual video since the launch of the organization in 2015.

In it, Channing tells of being a teen in love with a girl—and of being sent to a conversion camp when her mother found out. I had a chance to speak with Channing about why she chose to do a video for Still Bisexual, and what she’s hoping the impact might be.

SB Swartz: Thanks again for taking the time to talk to me about this today. Your video is really taking off!

Channing Nicole: I was like, oh, I did not expect it to go like this! I’m glad that it’s getting some traction, mostly for the organization. But it was just weird. I was like, I don’t know how to handle this! But I’m glad that it’s getting out there, especially this month. I think it’s a good time to talk about these things.

So what got you involved with Still Bisexual?

Honestly just something simple. I saw somebody ‘like’ the organization, saw they were local and asked if I can help.

Why did you choose to do the video?

I’ve been volunteering for Still Bisexual for a while. [Campaign founder] Nicole asked me if I wanted to share my story. And I was like, okay, I’m not shy about it, I’ve been telling people my story for a long time. So I just figured why not.

What did you hope the impact of the video would be? And then when you saw it start to take off, has that hope for the impact changed in any way?

It did shift. My hope for the video initially was just to get more traction for the organization. And still I think my goal is just to encourage other people to tell their own stories because everybody has one. Not all of them are maybe as dramatic as others to them, but to everybody [coming out is] a pivotal moment in their life and so no matter how they got to that point it’s important. The more that we have these conversations, the more things are going to get done. So I just think having that conversation is important.

So at first you hoped the impact would just be to get that conversation started and to support the organization and now it’s kind of evolved to continuing the momentum with these important conversations.

Yeah. And initially when I was telling my story, I would say a lot of people think that these types of things don’t actually happen. It’s just something that people use in movies and TV to make it more dramatic. But no, these things are real and they exist and I know because I’ve lived through it. I think the truth is important. And so as much as it might be horrible, I think that it’s important for people to know the truth.

How did you find bisexual as an identity?

I identify as bisexual now. It took me a longer time that I’d like to admit to get to that point. It was only till about four years ago I started identifying as bisexual because at that point I had dated more women than men and I just seem to prefer women. So I just always considered myself to be gay and then I’ll be straight for this one guy. And then it was, oh, or this one or this one, oh yea David Duchovny too…

Yea, X-Files is a very good show [laughs].

Yea I’m in love with both [Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny]. So, I guess I came to that realization when I started dating a man. Because before I was always, no, I know I’m going to end up with a woman. That’s why I identify as lesbian and I just think female relationships are better for me.

But then once I started dating a man and realized I could have this, I mean, it’s different feelings when you’re in different relationships, but I just was like, no, I can see this too. And then I was like, okay, maybe I am bisexual. And I was almost afraid to say that because I felt it wasn’t as accepted as saying I’m straight or gay. It was hard enough for me to be like, I’m a lesbian, but then once I saw how ostracized the bisexual community was, it was like I don’t want to be ostracized even more. I mean, it took me a while, but now I’m comfortable with it.

And now I’m trying to kind of correct the misconceptions that people have about bisexuals. And I think that it’s important for people like me who are afraid to say or identify as one way because of how they’ll be accepted. I don’t want people to feel how I felt. Anything I can do to prevent other people from going through the same things I do because I’m the type of person that has to learn by experience. And so now I’m just like, learn by my experience, trust me, just let people know it’s okay to identify that way even though they might be scared. I understand the fear, but it’s okay. I want people to be less afraid.

So four years ago, you started to identify as bi.

Yea I was 24, 25. I said it to one of my friends who’d known me for a long time and she said, oh, I think that’s the first time that I’ve ever heard you use the word bisexual. And I’m like, yeah, but I think that’s really what I am, I just haven’t said it. And she was like, well that’s good, because she was too. She was like I’m glad that you’re coming around to that. And then we would have that conversation about how she would try to pass for straight and I was trying to pass for gay and then we’re like, why, why are we doing that? Let’s full stop that.

Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you would like to add?

 

[CN: Suicide]

 

I just lost a trans bisexual friend to suicide in November. So my biggest thing is, no matter how bad things get, it will, it does, it will get better. It’s not hopeless. There’s always people looking to help you. You’re never alone. No matter how lonely you may feel or what your situation is, there’s people out there that will help you. I don’t want people to feel alone.

If I can reflect what I’m hearing you say, you want people to know that they’re not alone and though we see much more for the gay and lesbian communities, the bi community is here. And we’re here for each other and there’s always someone that will help you. It just takes us a little longer to find each other.

Yeah. I think it does take us longer to find each other, but I’m hoping that that time gets cut down.

And then, because this is something that is important that came up in your video: who is your favorite cat and why?

My favorite cat is such a mom cat answer, but it’s my cat. I just found them on the side of the road one day when he was a kitten and rescued him and he’s been clinging to my side ever since. He’s so affectionate and not like other cats. He definitely needs attention. I’m pretty sure he loves my boyfriend more than me because my boyfriend will sit down and then he’ll start panicking if he can’t sit on his lap right away. And I’m like, cool, thanks.

That’s really sweet. So you guys found each other.

Yeah.

That’s lovely. I’m really happy for you. Thank you so much for talking to me today.

In her video, Channing recounts being told the conversion camps and shock therapy were all an effort to “fix” her. With a confidence built from the fortitude it took to get here, she holds up her next card. “I wasn’t broken. I was bisexual.”

 

This interview has been edited and condensed. Still Bisexual is an education and advocacy organization focused on empowering those who are attracted to more than one sex and/or gender.

See SB’s Still Bisexual video from 2015 here

Remember: It’s ok to not be ok. Resources:

The Trevor Project (LGBT Youth): 1-866-488-7386

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860

National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN): 1-800-656-4673

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

SB Swartz
SB Swartz is an author covering inclusive wellness, queer family, and reflections of our world as seen on tv. As a contributing writer for bi.org, SB created the Step Bi Step series for bi parents and originated the This Bi Life series showcasing bi community stories.

SB would very much like to talk to you about your pets, her pets, and the way you view the world. She's her favorite somebody's mama. And yes, she's #StillBisexual.

Find SB Swartz @sbswrites on Twitter and read more of her latest @sbswartz on Medium.