Meet Baz

10/21/2018

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Meet Baz. Baz is in the closet.

Baz described to me, in one sentence, why it is difficult for him to come out bi to the world. He revealed, “As I am married to my best friend, who happens to be a woman, my two biggest fears of being publicly known as bisexual are the questions and concerns it would raise in the minds of others who know or love her, including friends and family – i.e., ‘Is her husband faithful?’, ‘Is she at risk of him bringing home STI’s?’, ‘Is she really just a beard for a gay man who won’t admit he’s gay?’, ‘Does he truly love her?’, ‘Will he someday leave her for a man?’, etc. …and ‘What would being publicly out do to my business activities?’, which involve working as a realtor on a part-time basis for people in my community.”

As someone who worries about the many questions the world has for him, Baz feels like he has nowhere to turn. The greater LGBT community should be that place to feel accepted, so I asked him if he felt that they were behind him every step of the way as a bi person. He answered, “In terms of acceptance of my sexuality by the wider LGBTQ community, I’d have to say that I’ve never really expected or cared a great deal about this. As a monogamous male bisexual in a mixed orientation marriage, I accept that I am a minority of a minority. Although it would be great to have others to talk to in the same situation, the likelihood of meeting is not high, so I tend to focus on the more general concerns that everybody in any kind of relationship has to deal with.”

Does Baz define himself using any other label other than bi? He said he did and that he also uses the word queer. It is not unusual among bi people to use an assortment of labels to better describe their exact attractions more fully. We use words like ambisexual, pansexual, polysexual, omnisexual, homoflexible, open, fluid, curious, along with bi or sometimes we don’t use any label despite feeling bi feelings and/or exhibiting bi behavior.

I asked Baz to tell me about the first time he realized he was bi. Baz responded, “(It was) very sad and shaming, as it triggered breaking up with a girl I’d been sexually involved with for a year, and who wanted to marry me, but with whom I couldn’t bring myself to share this side of myself.”

Finding out that we are bi or finding out that the world often rejects people with such feelings can be a shock to us, so completely coming to a realization that one is indeed bi is an important step in maintaining good emotional and mental health. It’s an incredible experience to be a bi person. Has Baz fully come to terms with his bisexuality? He confessed, “In some ways. I can’t say that I have done so completely.”

Who is Baz out to? Does anyone know that he is bi? Baz confessed, “Not something I’ve discussed with anybody except my wife and a few trusted friends. They have all been supportive and I am glad I came out to them. In the case of my wife, I did this once, briefly, before we married and again, in a little more detail, 35 years later (about 3 years back). The more recent discussion followed doing some men’s group work for a couple years, where I finally was able to admit to being bi to a group of straight guys who I had come to regard as brothers, at least to some degree.”

Baz said he has also been to LGBT events. When asked if he had ever gone to a Pride parade or LGBT center, bar, or club, he stated, “Once to a pride parade on my own, and one of the men’s groups I spent some time with (gay/bi men married to women) met at our local LGBT center for about a year, before dissolving.” When asked what gave him the strength to go, Baz said, “The realization that I had to do something to help myself deal with depression.”

So, Baz had found a support group with men like him. With that ending, does Baz now continue to reach out for support anywhere else? Baz replied, “In terms of reaching out to the rest of the LGBTQ+ community, I pretty much limit this now to following other bisexuals on Twitter and Facebook. There are a few out bisexuals who I have come across on Twitter that I feel some kinship with, and this does help address the feelings of isolation that I think are common to anybody in the closet.” Being in the dark closet can definitely feel isolating, but as we do little things like follow bi people on Twitter and Facebook, it’s like adding little candles to our closeted life.

The fear of being out can be overwhelming. The answer to my next question is a bit shocking and there is a heaviness and a sadness to this answer that tells you that even though it is suffocating being in the closet, that one is willing to suffocate in there. I asked Baz if he would ever come out and what would be the ideal scenario that would help facilitate his coming out and he replied, “Only if my wife were to pre-decease me. If the modern western society changed enough to accept mixed orientation marriages and bisexual men as normal parts of human existence.”

I was curious to know if Baz had ever been in any same-gender relationships. He responded, “Only two very brief one night stands, before I met my wife, and the one short online relationship about five years ago, before I started my men’s group work.”

What about being bi brings Baz the most joy and comfort? Baz replied, “That I can have gay work colleagues, friends, and clients without any sense that they are somehow abnormal or less than full men, and that I can enjoy a feeling of kinship with other bi men who have excelled and made a positive contribution to human existence.”

That is Baz’s story.

In an effort to bring to the public the fears and discouragement of why many bi people choose to remain in the closet, I present to you a series of interviews with those I call “damp bi” folk. Though just as fluid in their sexuality as any openly bi person, a damp bi is someone who cannot fully embrace their fluidity in their sexuality safely or surely, and therefore are only “slightly wet.” This series hopes to instill in the reader a sense of encouragement and hope, for those in the closet, and a sense of awareness and insight to those non-bi folks who want to encourage bi people to live their lives openly and proud.

52% of LGB persons surveyed are bi, according to most recent statistical analyses. Many bi people remain slightly wet. This ranges from gay and lesbian identified people who also have attractions to other genders, straight identified people who are also attracted to many genders, asexual identified people who sometimes have sexual attraction to men, women, and non-binary folk, and the average person who gives no hint of their sexuality but is generally perceived by others to be straight. This suggests numbers may be higher among the non-LGBT demographics. What can you do to encourage bi people to come out? Do you help facilitate a safe environment for bi people to feel comfortable coming out to you? Do you see the importance of people living as their true selves, to be able to talk openly about the relationships they are in regardless of gender?

Greg Ward
Gregory Ward was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona where he resides today. He spends his time bringing awareness to the local scene and helping bi folk. He loves movies, astronomy, and the Irish language. He founded Fluid Arizona which is an active bi+ community that can be found on Facebook and Twitter, and is a big proponent of the #stillbisexual campaign.