Meet Dewi. Dewi is in the closet.
Discrimination can be a double-edged sword for us bi folks; we face it not only from the straight community but also the supposedly more tolerant gay and lesbian communities. So, it can be terrifying to come out to anyone. I asked Dewi to describe, in one sentence, his fear of coming out as bi to the world at large. He replied, “I would not define it as fear, as I do not fear coming out as bisexual.”
He went on to elaborate, “It’s just, I have some particular thoughts about it: I consider my life private, so I do not comment [on my sexuality] to people I barely know, unless I notice they are in a queer mentality, sort of calling it that way. I have only told some of my family members, and some very dear friends. Also, as I’m telling it, it does not mean I hide, if someone asks me that directly, first I will inquire the reason they are asking.”
I mentioned the stigmas that we get from various communities. I asked Dewi if he felt that these communities (gay, straight, asexual, and lesbian) have his back when it comes to his bisexuality. He stated, “Unfortunately I have not had a good beginning when I tried to reach out to LGBTQ people. Very often, and still sometimes, I get denied, mostly by gay ones, once I tell them I’m bisexual. They assume I’m confused, or think about gender as a binary. They have no idea. I just call myself bisexual, because it is a label I’m comfortable with. Although, I dislike labels. I’m very cautious and respectful on how people want to be referred to. Because I want the same in return.”
I wanted to know if Dewi used other labels to describe his sexuality, other than bi. He revealed, “If not bi, I refer to myself as queersexual. I made up that word once trying to explain myself and got along with it very well.”
When did Dewi first realize that he is attracted to other genders? Dewi related, “It started at a very young age, but obviously I had no idea how to name it. It was when I was 6 years old, in elementary school, I had a really strong crush on my classmate Myfanwy, and she was really sweet to me as well, and in the same period of time I had romantic interest also on a very lovely boy named Dafydd, he also was very sweet to me. I loved being around them both. That is when I thought something was very fucked up, that I was not a normal guy, that everyone would make fun of me calling me names I hated and the inevitable happened anyway: they called me those and many other disrespectful and offensive names all my student life, right up until college.”
And these names not only come from school associates but also from the prejudices of close friends and family. I asked Dewi what kinds of things he might have heard from people that prevent him from coming out. He confessed, “From someone’s just blatant ignorance, I tend not to be close to family and/or friends that I know think that way…. If I tried to explain it once and they still think or act the same, I’m done. I will not be where I’m not wanted nor loved in return.”
Is Dewi aware of the large presence of bi people online? He said, “Well, I know by my own research that there are plenty of groups of bi folks, but not many, or none that I am aware of, here in Wales, at least not where I live, in Ynys Môn. I wish I could know more bi folks. I do my research and try to add and contact some, but I am afraid I’m not getting a friend more than a virtual contact. It is a little sad.”
I wanted to know if Dewi ever tried to get support in person, from an LGBT center, or by attending a Pride event or parade. He responded, “No, I have not, but I plan to go to Pride Cymru, for my very first time! I think, ‘Well, fuck it!’ I want to go, meet LGBTQ people celebrating, share those moments, and I got support and still get, from my very beloved cousin. She is lesbian.”
“I have not thought about that particularly,” Dewi replied when I asked him if he’s ever come out fully. He continued, “But, the difference now is, I do not care about any other’s opinion about me and my life, so if anyone notices I’m bi, great, I will share that with them. My sexuality is a partial vision of the whole me. I believe there are many beautiful people there in many aspects.”
Has Dewi ever been in a same-gender relationship? He stated, “Well, I am in a same-sex relationship right now. We have been together for more than 3 years now. He is gay, and I am bi. We learned to share and love our differences. So as a result, it is just not important how people may call me or assume I am. IDGF. I always want to get to know more about myself, that is the real power to everyone.”
Finding ourselves and loving all aspects of ourselves is a difficult task at times, so it’s crucial we maintain some form of positivity about that one big aspect of ourselves: our bisexuality. I concluded my interview with Dewi by asking him what about being bi brings him the most joy and comfort. He replied, “That I get to see a very varied and big identities spectrum, and I love it. Otherwise, I think we would be very boring as humans. That I get conscientious. That I can relate to any human being in a very deep way, it does not matter the differences.”
“Da iawn!” as they say in Wales. Well done, Dewi.
That is Dewi’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?