Meet Gloria. Gloria Is In The Closet.
Meet Gloria. Gloria is Bi. Gloria is in the closet.
“I guess I would have to say that I’m afraid of what my mother and my father would think of me,” was Gloria’s response when I asked her to describe in one sentence what she fears the most about coming out bi. “That would be me being afraid of coming out, just because of them, I guess. They are really against that, especially because they are Christians, and I guess in that religion, Christianity, Christians believe that if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or if you just, y’know, you will go to hell.”
I can’t help but feel the pain in her reaction to her parent’s inevitable disappointment that she has most likely imagined in her mind over and over. It’s hard not to imagine such a negative response when oftentimes you hear such negative things said about bi people just like you. I asked her about some of the things she might have heard her family or friends say about bi folk. Gloria said, “I have an uncle. He preaches the gospel. He’s always pulling out in the Bible this… it’s like a little section that people… I can’t remember what it is, I’ll be honest. It says, in the Bible, that if you are… if a man is with a man or if a woman is with a woman, y’know, you’re going to hell. God will never forgive you for this. And I believe in God. I know there’s a God out there and I know he’s looking out for me, but I think that’s one of the things I hear the most, that, y’know, that you’re going to go to hell. God will never forgive you. Y’know? And the fact that they won’t accept it at all is just… that’s just like, it’s just scary to me. That makes me just want to not say anything.”
When it comes to how Gloria perceives how the straight, gay, lesbian, and ace communities view bi people and accept her as a bi woman, she said this, “Other straight people that I know, not so much. I don’t think they would accept it because I guess like before I had people that I worked with, they expressed themselves very badly as bisexuals and gays and lesbians. I have met other bisexuals, other gay people, lesbians, and I don’t think it would be a problem, but they have their own opinions. The gays, the lesbians, they feel like because I’m bisexual, y’know, I either have to like women or I have to like men. They make it seem like there’s no going back. There’s no ‘in between.’ You either like women or you like men.” We hear this all too often.
When it comes to how people define their bisexual behavior, people have their preferences for how they want to be described and how they label themselves. Gloria is no different than many bi people still in the closet. She said, “I wouldn’t say I use the word bi or bisexual. I really don’t use a word. I don’t… I’ll just kind of be like ‘Oh, I think she’s hot.’ or ‘Oh, I think he’s cute.’ Y’know? A lot of people that hear me, a lot of my friends, my close friends, they turn to me and they’re like, ‘Okay but, I thought you were straight.’ Or, y’know, and then, if I say, ‘Oh, this girl is beautiful,’ then they’re like, ‘Oh, wait.’” But then it seemed to hit her as to why. She mused, “They get confused, I guess, and I confuse them because I don’t say… I don’t come out openly to say that I’m bisexual. But, if I see someone I like, I mean, I like that person, y’know?”
I asked Gloria about the first time she realized she was bi. “I would say I was bisexual when I met this girl where I used to go to school”, she said. “When I first saw her, I didn’t know if I was bisexual, or if I was lesbian, but I knew that I had feelings for her, that I liked her. I just never really told her anything.” It seems everyone’s got that one person who they just couldn’t quite turn away from. That one person who was your same gender that made you question your sexuality. That one person who gave you ‘the feels’ inside and made your whole face smile on the outside.
It can be a difficult and confusing journey of discovery and awakening realizing you are bi. Full of doubts and questions and exhilaration. Intense euphoria filling your mind while you sail on a sea of feelings of love. Your body reacting in a pleasant and comfortable way, but oftentimes during uncomfortable situations that are painful when you try to resist, only because you are hoping no one else realizes you’re doting on someone who your immediate social circles may not approve of. Gloria said she doesn’t feel like she’s completely come to terms with her bisexuality yet. She said, “I think I haven’t come to full terms with my bisexuality because I can’t express it to my mom and my dad. I can’t tell them and be open with them and tell them, ‘Hey, this is who I am.’ Y’know? I think that is why I can’t come to them.”
Bi people in the closet have many resources online to interact with people going through the uncertainty of whether or not one should come out to the world. Social media sites have many groups for bi folks and just a simple entry into a search engine can pull up webpages of organizations for bi people for most regions on the planet. But, you really don’t have to find something near you when you have such a rich and diverse online community full of bi men, women, and nonbinary. And if you need a good rebuttal as to why you shouldn’t identify as bi, or even be bi, because your book-quoting kith or kin say so, well, these people online in these communities have your back and can truly inspire you. We talked about several organizations online that Gloria could participate with, as she was unaware of them.
We talked about how she wanted to go to a pride event this year, but her friend went without her, and how she’s pretty sure her brother, who she’s very close to might support her if she ever told him she is bi, and how she’s unsure how her kids would react, but knows her daughter definitely has her back, and then we talked about a woman she met at work recently who she thinks may become her girlfriend. She feels this woman would be the reason for her to come out.
But what about being bi makes Gloria feel the most joy and comfort? “I don’t know,” she laughed. So, I asked her, “What do you love about being bi?” “Women,” she replied. “They’re beautiful.” She laughed some more, then said, “I would have to say that woman at work.” The laughter said it all about her love for her sexuality and how good loving others makes her feel.
That is Gloria’s story.
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?
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.