United Kingdom

Hi, I‘m Gabrielle. I am Bisexual.

Describing myself is always challenging, because I'm so many things. Right now, I'm unemployed, feeling a bit depressed and displaced. I'm from the US, but currently living in Wales, UK. My origin story goes something like this... I'm a daughter of two loving parents, one of whom immigrated to America from Italy when he was young. The other is a 1st/2nd generation Polish-American Jew. Her father was a Holocaust survivor from Poland who found refuge in Brooklyn, NY. Her mother's parents emigrated to NY from Poland. I grew up going to temple and identifying as Jewish, which meant having my Bat Mitzvah and lighting candles during Hanukkah, while also sharing in the rich traditions of my father's Italian family, which meant exchanging gifts on Christmas and sitting for hours upon hours to consume amazing, multi-course homemade meals. I learned a lot about these two robust, ancient cultures throughout my life, and have always been proud to identify both Italian and Jewish. In my professional life, I consider myself a public health professional, and have a breadth of experience - from local public health planning, to state and federal health policy advocacy. I'm a nerd for society, politics, human psych and, more so lately, history. Work is really important to me and I've worked hard to align my personal values with my work. It makes work more rewarding, but also more challenging sometimes, as it's hard to leave it behind when I go home. I often think about changing careers and doing something that satisfies some of my other passions, and allowing society and politics to be more of a hobby, rather than the other way around. I haven't done it yet, but it might be coming in the next few years! I'm married to a wonderful, patient, brilliant, (straight) man. He is half Irish/half Danish, who grew up mostly in Ireland. Between his heritages and mine, our holidays and traditions are a mish-mosh of things, but always interesting. He is also a scientist and works in academia. His work has been responsible for two big moves now. When I was younger, this type of movement meant adventure. As I've gotten older, however, it's meant a lot of hard work to start over. This has been especially hard being queer in a seemingly straight marriage. Coming out has always been hard for me, and moving and having to do it over and over again is absolutely exhausting. Other random tidbits: I have an awesome sister who I'm super close with and feel incredibly lucky to have. I spend way too much time on Facebook, and have been trying to quit lately (to no avail). I love gardening and farming. It speaks to my Italian roots (my family farmed back in Italy). I like to get crafty, and at different times have knitted, sewed, and made jewelry. I like photography and music and have dabbled in both. I'm afraid of the ocean, and am trying to get over my fear so I can go surfing for my 30th birthday (it's coming up). My partner introduced my to sailing a few years ago and I love it. I'm trying to learn Danish so I can speak with his grandmother, and I speak a little Italian. I probably use too many emojis when I text/email. I think you've gotten the gist! Thanks for reading :)

What being bisexual means to me

I'm deeply attracted to people of both sexes. I've been quite fluid over my life. I was boy crazy when I was younger, but as I've gotten older, I find myself increasingly attracted to women. And as I've held relationships with both men and women over time, I find I really love having relationships with women. My partner and I are in an "monogamish" relationship, and although this in and of itself doesn't define my sexuality, it definitely plays into how I have experienced my bisexuality over the years.

What I would like the world to know about bisexuals

This feels cliche to say, but I would like the world to know that bisexuality is an identity unto itself. I've tried the whole living in the straight world thing, and I've also tested out the whole living in the gay world thing. Neither has ever felt authentic to me. I've felt like I've been living in some netherworld or some form of purgatory for many, many years, because there are few spaces (physical, emotional or intellectual) where bisexuality is expressed or appreciated. Denial of bisexuality feels like erasure of my existence in this world.

What was your path to a bisexual identity?

My earliest memories of my exploration with women was just a genuine openness to being with women and recognition that I found the female form to be beautiful and sensual. This was in high school. It wasn't until my second year of college (I was around 19-20), when I had my first sexual encounter with a woman. A friend of mine, who I had talked to about my openness and curiosity about being with a woman, invited me into her bed with her boyfriend. We didn't have sex, but we fooled around. It was maybe a year or two later when I first had sex with a woman. By then I had started dating who is now my husband. I was 21 and still wasn't sure I was that into women. But my curiosity - toying with the question of whether I was really "into" women - never abated. And when I was around 25, I decided I needed to explore that more (among other doubts about my relationship). I broke up with my partner, and started dating women in earnest. It was during that time that my appetite, if you will, for women really blossomed. I found myself preferring to have sex with women during that time. However, I still wasn't sure if I could really fall in love with a woman - I was unsure of how deep my feelings could go for a woman, since all of my "love" feelings had always been for men. About 6-8 months later, my partner and I got back together, but during our time apart I had more formally started identifying as bisexual to friends, I came out to my sister, and when we did get back together, I fully came out to him (he knew of my interest, but I hadn't identified that way when we were together) and we discussed entering into an open relationship. Since then, I've held a few relationships with women, some of whom have been involved with both me and my partner, some have just been with me. One of whom I've fallen in love with. It was in the context of being with my partner that I realized just how deeply I could feel for women. It has felt like a long, twisty journey to get to where I am now. I have a deep, loving relationship with my male partner, but I also recognize that I can share full, deep emotional, mental and physical intimacy with women.

What is the toughest thing about being bisexual?

Feeling stigma in both the straight world and the gay world. Feeling like I don't have a place to exist that I can call my own and identify with. Recognizing there are very few visible models who are like me, who can help show the path as to how to live this kind of life in today's day and age. Coming out to new people is also hard, especially in new countries with cultures I don't yet understand. The anxiety and depression that comes along with all of that.

What is the best thing about being bisexual?

It's really forced me to work toward self-actualization, to try radical acceptance, to get more comfortable with discomfort. Those things have also been really, really challenging, but I know that they've made me a stronger person, and I appreciate that.

How have other people in your life reacted to your bisexuality?

Most of my closest family and friends who I have come out to have been cool with it, and in some cases non-reactive (aka they didn't care at all). Some people, mainly lesbians, have told me that I am a lesbian (like I'm on my way towards being "fully gay," or something like that). One (lesbian) friend stopped talking to me after I got back together with my partner (we had broken up for a while, and I was predominantly dating women at the time). I'm also not completely out - I'm not out to my parents, extended family, most family friends or acquaintances.

What advice do you have for someone who thinks they may be bi or who is in the process of coming out as bi?

It's tough for me to give advice, because I still feel like I'm working it out for myself. But I guess I can say that it can be a hard road, harder than anyone will give you credit for. And probably harder than you will give yourself credit for. Most people are probably more fluid than they'd like to admit or have the courage to explore. Give yourself credit for opening yourself up to vulnerability because most people are too afraid to do what you're doing. Another thing - avoid boxing yourself into one identity or another until you've tested out a lot of things. It is tempting because the world wants to categorize you and there is a lot of social pressure to do so, but push yourself to keep exploring until you've found what feels right to you.