Meet Betty. Betty Is In The Closet.
Meet Betty. Betty is bi. Betty is in the closet.
“My fear is my family.” Betty told me. “I’m afraid for them to not knock me or judge me for the person that I really am.”
Betty is currently in a same gender relationship. Very few people know that and the ones who do, don’t know that Betty is bi, they know her as a lesbian. She holds on to two secrets tightly.
Besides her bi identity, Betty also has another way to identify, which is fairly common among bi people first coming to terms with their sexuality. “I identify myself as a person, like, if I like the person, the girl, I just, it’s that moment I’m living. I feel attracted to women and I just live the moment and there’s no description for it. I don’t know. I don’t describe myself… I think it’s just… It’s just me. I’m a unique person and I just go by the moment; by the feeling I feel for… with a woman.”
I asked Betty about her first time realizing she was bi. Betty responded, “When I was in California in the sixth grade. I was just attracted to women. I like (women) because they know what I like.” Betty has had relationships with men, and has a son from one such previous relationship, but her desires for women are stronger and it’s easier for her to find attraction with women for the reasons stated above, which isn’t too uncommon in the bi crowd. Same and similar genders know how their bodies work; they know what they like, and like magnets to metal, bi women and lesbians are drawn to one another.
Some of the derogatory remarks Betty has heard from friends and family about bi people are things such as “They’re going to hell.” or “That’s nasty.” or “Look at them! How can they do that? How can they feel attracted to the same person they are; the same sex.” Betty revealed, “It gets stuck in my head and I’m just thinking ‘God damn, that’s me right there. Y’know? And that’s just crazy (they would think that about people just like me).”
Betty said she and a friend sometimes get online to gather digitally with other folks in the LGBT community but doesn’t know much about the online bi communities. Betty said it’s a great feeling to be among others just like her. She said she feels like she belongs. She remarked, “I forget about everything.”
She sometimes goes out to LGBT bars with her same friend, to feel a sense of community with others who are attracted to people of the same and similar genders but she noted that she had never been to a Pride event. I asked why not? I also asked why she didn’t seek help from other LGBT people, other than her girlfriend and her friend, or even from bi organizations. She said, “What are my reasons for not doing it? Of what they say. Oh, God. Their reaction towards me and it’s just… I just like to keep it… It’s ugly to keep it for yourself. You suffer a lot, but it’s just… I don’t know. It’s just… I don’t know.” But the anonymity of going online and joining in with the communities there is a lot easier for her. She stated, “I just feel good. It’s a different feeling. It’s a good feeling and I like it.”
But to come out bi fully, Betty said there are days when she feels like it would be great to come out but other days she’s glad she’s closeted. The ideal instance that would facilitate her fully coming out would be if her son agrees to it. “That’s what holds me back, my son”, she confessed. She said her son has said biphobic and homophobic things in the past and is reluctant because of that, but she also noted that he has friends online and in real life who are part of the queer community. She explained that her son is a YouTube content creator and collaborates often with other content creators, several who are bi or gay. Yet because of queerphobic remarks he has said in the past, she remains closeted.
Betty’s girlfriend keeps her grounded, despite having to hide her sexuality. They have a special bond. “She’s a special person to me”, Betty said adoringly. “I love the way I make her feel and I love the way she makes me feel. When I’m with her, y’know? I like it.”
For my final question I asked Betty what about being bi brings her the most joy and comfort. “The sex,” she said, full stop. I’ll admit, I was taken aback. She continued on about sex with women, “It’s awesome. Like I said it’s different with a girl. I have a son, and it’s just like, and if you have sex eventually, well, yes, you’re liable to get pregnant and it’s just like… I mean, it’s not the same (with a man as it is with a woman).”
That is Betty’s story.
52% of LGB persons surveyed are bi, according to recent statistic analyses. 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?
In an effort to bring to the public the fears and discouragement of why many bi people choose to remain in the closet, I will be doing this 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.” I hope to give readers 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.