In Your Own Words: Coming Out Bi
Today is National Coming Out Day! Every year on Oct. 11th, thousands of lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender (LGBT) people choose to come out of the closet. This is a big step and a potentially dangerous step for many of these people. Thousands more make a conscious decision to stay in the closet, often because they do not feel safe coming out. In many cases, LGBT people face the risk of being disowned by their parents, kicked out of their homes or their school, and/or fired from their jobs simply for being honest about who they are. Many face violence from their families, communities, or government. For all these reasons, LGBT organizations make an effort to remind people that while Coming Out Day is a great way to celebrate coming out, it is always ok to choose to wait until one feels safe to come out. There is no shame in staying in the closet. What IS shameful is the fact that so many hateful people actively work to keep people in the closet.
For bi people, coming out can have unique challenges. Many bi people even face discrimination from within the LGBT community. Biphobia in the gay and lesbian community results in many bi folks being ostracized from LGBT spaces, where we should feel safe and welcomed. For this reason, fewer bi people are out to those close to them. And, since our orientation makes it possible for us to be in relationships with more than one gender, we are often pigeonholed into a “gay” or “straight” identity depending upon the sex of our current partner. This makes being out especially challenging in a society that tries to keep us invisible. Bi folks who are dating often feel like they have to come out over and over again to their prospective partners. And many even fear being rejected by a potential mate solely due to our sexual orientation (a fear that gay and straight people do not face).
Last month, Bi.org celebrated Bi Week (Sept 16-26) and Bi Visibility Day (Sept 23) by hosting a fun challenge for our fans. Our Bi Visibility Challenge invited folks to participate by changing their Facebook profile photos to a purple Bi symbol. The idea was to flood FB with Bi profile pics, to show the world that we exist and are numerous. Thousands participated, and ten lucky winners won a Bi Swag prize pack from us! When we launched the challenge, we didn’t anticipate that folks would use it as an opportunity to share their coming out stories. But they did. So many of them. So, in celebration of National Coming Out Day, we’ve chosen to share a few of them with you all:
These are just a few of the amazing coming out stories that were shared with the bi.org community on Facebook. It’s inspiring to know that so many people in our community are out and proud. If it’s the right time for you, we’d love to hear your coming out story as well.