Meet Kelvin. Kelvin Is In The Closet.
Meet Kelvin. Kelvin is bi. Kelvin is in the closet.
You’re in the jungles of Southeast Asia. You’re lost and you feel something in the forest is following you. You can hear it every so often, but it hasn’t yet made itself known. You can hear your heart pounding in your chest like the drumming of a war march. You try to keep your heavy breathing from getting too loud, but it’s become difficult and the sweat falling from your forehead into your eyes doesn’t help. You stumble along, trying to hurry to find a way out and you keep turning every which way as you hear that thing following you seem to be upon you on all sides. Suddenly, with one of those turns it reveals itself to be a large tiger and soon you’re lunch.
The fear of coming out as bi isn’t too far off from the fear of being eaten alive by a large predator in a rainforest. You can’t see people’s reactions until you reveal yourself and become vulnerable, and then there’s the constant running away from the reality that you might just have to live your truth, and it’s eating you alive hiding it. Kelvin’s biggest fear, he said, is that people will be, “Judgmental”. A single word, that carries the weight of the disgust of others. And what may feel like the weight of a tiger as he is sinking his teeth into your neck.
And the judgment may not just come from immediate family or close friends. Some in our bi community worry about how people in other communities might react to someone coming out as bi, such as the gay and lesbian communities, the straight community, and the asexual community. I asked Kelvin if he felt that these communities accepted his sexuality wholly. Kelvin responded, “No. [I] get the ‘you are either straight or gay’ [response]. No in-between.”
Kelvin has also heard other people say that they can’t be with a guy who has been with other guys. This seems to be a fairly common fear among women in both the straight and bi communities. I’d heard this in my own life when I first came out. Strangely enough, I heard it from a straight woman whose first time was with two men. You’d think she was forward thinking enough, since the two gents were technically having sex together, along with her.
Besides identifying as bi, Kelvin told me he also identifies as prosexual. According to Urban Dictionary, a prosexual is “Someone with a pansexual attitude. Enjoys sex for the sake of it. Even if they’re biologically inclined to be straight or gay, is comfortable enough with their own sexuality to enjoy all worlds.” Sounds like a positive identifier for a healthy sexual individual.
Another way to stay positive while you are still in the closet is to find organizations online that you can be a part of, and to try to participate in real life, if you can. It’s difficult to be able to talk openly about your bisexuality and to share in the joys of your relationships and feelings for people of any gender. Finding these organizations online, finding your community, is key to maintaining a healthy mindset, especially if you feel you are alone in the world. You’re not alone. There are plenty of other bi folk out there going through similar experiences as you and who want to share their experiences with you, too.
I asked Kelvin if he had participated online with bi organizations and he said, “Yes, I am active on social media LGBT groups. It has been helpful. At times on Facebook I have commented or posted on a LGBT group, then after, wondered if someone on my friends list could see it.” There are plenty of groups where you can remain ‘incognito’ while online and the groups are very private. These resources are readily made available to you by simply typing into any basic search engine on the World Wide Web.
Attending Pride events can also help one in the closet still remain anonymous while celebrating one’s bisexuality. Kelvin stated he had attended one. He remarked, “Yes, attended Toronto Pride. Helped out at Bi booth. Strength in numbers.” I was ecstatic to hear there was a bi booth at a Pride event in Canada and more so that he was brave enough to go and volunteer his time.
Sometimes, it’s hard to accept our attraction to our own sex when you’re bi. The magnetic pull coming from someone you find beautiful can feel stronger than normal, and despite feeling so right, sometimes words and beliefs from society can make you doubt the rightness of your attraction and get you low. Kelvin’s no stranger to that feeling. I asked him about his first time with a man. He said, “[It] was good during. [I was] depressed, guilty after. Feel less of a man.” There’s never a good reason to feel less than zero about making love to another man, woman, or nonbinary individual, when that lovemaking is shared mutually. Imagine a world without that love. You don’t want that. I asked if Kelvin had ever been in a same-gender relationship before. He said he hadn’t. “No, just friends with benefits,” he replied.
What about being bi brings Kelvin the most joy and comfort? “Choice,” He stated. “Being with like-minded people. Love is love.” It certainly is, and it’s beautiful.
That is Kelvin’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?