Coming Out Bi: My Story
Every gay person has their coming out story. For a bi person, the experience is different. There is an assumption that bi people are confused and untrustworthy. We are on our way to coming out ‘fully gay,’ or going ‘back to straight.’ Our sexuality is deemed a phase or erased. Sadly, this means coming out is often just the beginning for us: the beginning of a lifetime of coming out over and over again to people who just don’t understand bisexuality.
This is my story of coming out: first as “queer” and then, later, finally accepting my bisexuality.
It didn’t happen at the right time. It happened when it had to happen. I was engaged to my male best friend, just months before the wedding. I fell in love with a woman for the first time.
It was like coming undone. Everything I believed in was no longer true, yet everything started to make sense.
I had to tell someone. I told my mother and my brother. My mother reacted as any small town mother would. Since she had only known me to be with men, she thought I was ‘going through a phase.’ She didn’t know I had kissed girls growing up in Nova Scotia. It was something I never took seriously, until it was serious.
My brother is gay. He would understand. He didn’t. He found my story funny. He took a light hearted approach, thinking I was experimenting. I would ‘go back to men.’ He was proud of me though. It took courage to defy family and societal pressures by calling off a wedding.
The woman who opened me up, and tore me open, was there in the beginning, but not for long. She gave me time to be alone, to figure things out.
Everyone had their theory about my life. People wanted proof that I was trustworthy. I was deemed promiscuous and on the fence.
I stepped out of my comfort zone. I met gay women. Most were suspicious of me. Why had I never been in a long term relationship with a woman before? Was I still interested in men? What was I looking for exactly?
A lot of the prejudice directed my way was based upon one or another assumption: ‘There is only straight or gay,’ and anyone claiming to be attracted to women as well as men ‘cannot be trusted.’ Bi people will go ‘back to dating someone of the opposite sex.’ They are ‘only experimenting.’ Every time I confronted one of these unfair assumptions, it felt personal. Why don’t people trust me? I knew I was bisexual, but given the biphobia I was getting even from the gay community, using the word “queer” seemed safer. I was scared to come out as bi.
When I dated my first female partner, I came out as queer in a big way. She was very social, and I joined her in many night-life outings; music events, and rock bars. We went to very straight bars with very straight people. In this setting, my sexuality was consumed for the pleasure of others. Self-identified straight men and women propositioned me and asked me very sexual questions. These were questions that one straight person would generally not ask another. A queer woman who appears to fit into heteronormative culture and desire is meant for consumption, they seem to believe. She is not worthy of respect, and she is deemed ‘promiscuous.’
That relationship turned tumultuous quickly. We moved to a new city together and couldn’t handle the pressure.
My ex-fiancé was always in my life. We remained best friends through everything. Moving home to Toronto, I went back with him. People assumed I was ‘straight again.’ Those who had dropped out of my life were suddenly interested in me once more. This frustrated me endlessly, so I made a point to own my bisexuality, to claim my bisexual identity powerfully. I would not be mislabelled. I would not be erased.
I began reading and writing about bisexuality. I found that language, having a word that described me, helped me not only explain myself to others but also to better understand myself. Honestly embracing a part of myself meant embracing a word that honestly described me. Being bisexual is a positive thing; it empowers me to resist social pressures and gives me the courage to be myself in more ways than one. Having flexibility in love, freedom to navigate the waters of gender and sexuality, felt awesome.
I am now with a genderqueer woman who has been a best friend since our first meeting. She was one of the first people I met, when I came out, who accepted me. She didn’t question my motives or find me untrustworthy. She understood.
I still get asked invasive questions regularly. But I feel secure enough in my bisexuality to stand my ground. How I answer, or if I will answer, and how I will discuss things is up to me.
It’s important to tell your own stories. Don’t let anyone else speak for you… I am bisexual, and I am proud!