Meet Quintin. Quintin Is in the Closet.
Meet Quintin. Quintin is bi. Quintin is in the closet.
“The fear I have about coming out is the way people will see me as a person,” Quintin told me when I asked him to define his fear of coming out bi in one sentence. He continued, “I am afraid that they will see me as less than, or different.” It’s a common fear when someone has a secret that others will look down on them when they reveal what’s unknown about them.
I asked Quintin whether he feels that other communities, such as the gay and lesbian communities, the asexual community, and the straight community, will accept his bi-ness. He responded, “I feel that the majority of the LGBTQ community will accept me. But it is not one of my greatest concerns at the moment. I am more interested in my family and friends being able to accept me.”
Our bi community is diverse in our array of fluid sexualities and the names we give to them. Quintin is no stranger to this. I asked him if he uses any other labels, besides bi, for his sexuality. “I used to identify as gay,” he revealed, “but I prefer the term homoflexible. I have dated many women in my life, both romantic, and sexual. I would say that most of my experiences with women have been positive experiences. However, at this point in my life I am mostly attracted to men. I feel like I connect with men on a different level. This is just a personal thing. Not to degrade women, it just happens to be my preference.”
Quintin told me about when he first discovered his bisexuality; when he first realized he had an attraction to more than just men. “My first experience when I finally realized I was bi/homoflexible, was somewhat exhilarating,” he confessed, “and then immediately followed by fear. I was not comfortable with myself, and I lacked the self confidence and strength I needed to be able to handle this situation. I feel that being different was not always celebrated, even though I knew I was different from my peers, I just pushed it back down, and decided not to deal with it. I am in a much better place today. I will be coming out to my family soon.” That’s some very exciting news. Every time a bi person comes out there’s a substantial amount of magic added to our world.
“My family does not talk about the LGBTQ community,” Quintin explained. I asked him what kinds of things he hears from friends and family about bi people that might make him want to stay in the closet. He went on to clarify, “I do not feel like they are homophobic, they just have not had much experience in this area. My family would most likely be supportive, but I am afraid that they may change the way they see me.” Again, a valid fear and a common one. Then Quintin brought up a good point that I hear from time to time. He noted, “I do not want to be defined by my sexuality, I want to be defined for the person that I am. I feel like my sexuality is very important, but it does not define me as an individual.” Yes, your bisexuality is one of many large portions of you, Quintin. Just as important as all those other parts that make up you and your identity and individuality. Quintin said that it isn’t always comfortable around his pals, though, but it’s not as bad as it could be. He confided, “As far as my friends go, they will make off comments or jokes from time to time, but I do not think they are anti gay or bi.”
Does Quintin participate with our large bi community online? He stated, “I am aware of the bi community online. I do not generally participate with the online community. My interactions online have been very limited, so I do not feel like this question really pertains to me.” There aren’t any bi groups in his local area, so it’s a bit difficult for him to get together with other bi folks and garner that sense of community that we all need.
Quintin said he has been to an LGBT bar before while on a road trip with some friends and had a great time. “A few of my friends wanted to go to after hours at a gay bar,” he told me. “The after hour scene was more of a mixed crowd. By ‘mixed’ I mean different sexual orientations, as well as straight. I was so excited to go. I felt safe because I was going with my straight friends, so it would not matter if anyone had seen me. When we walked into the bar, I felt I was finally home. It was amazing, but at the same time, it was not. It was a world that I wanted to be a part of, but I just was not ready to deal with it.” I got this. When I was younger it was a lot for me to wrap my head around my sexuality. I had to be ready. I didn’t think I was mentally ready to deal with the stigmas of being bi in this world when I was younger, so it took two tries over the course of a decade before I finally came out in my late thirties.
Quintin reiterated his exciting news about stepping out from that emblematic closed wardrobe when I asked him what the ideal situation would be to come out completely. He told me, “I plan on coming out to my family soon. I do not know exactly what my ideal situation would be. I guess it would be for my family not to have a reaction at all. That would be my ideal situation. As I said before, my sexuality is important to me, but it does not define me.”
Had Quintin ever been in a same gender relationship? “I was in a same gender relationship for about two months,” he revealed. “It was my first experience with a man. He happened to be one of my instructors. It was nice, but short lived. We did not have a lot in common.”
Finally, I asked Quintin what about being bi brings him the most joy and comfort. He said, “I am not sure how to answer this. I do not feel like being bi makes me feel any more or less joy than anyone else. I don’t feel that sexuality can bring you happiness, it has to come from within.” Exactly.
That is Quintin’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?