United States

Hi, I‘m Joe. I am Bisexual.

I'm from the midwest. My wife and I have grown children. I'm a Liberal Religious minister, and my calling (career as a minister) has meant we have lived in many interesting places. I'm glad to being once-again openly bisexual in my work and life.

What being bisexual means to me

My bisexuality is just how I am. My bisexuality becomes meaningful to me as I live with an open integrity about who I am. And that way of living leads me to more openness and kindness. And this, in turn, give my life a deep, layered meaning as I live it working for justice, equity, and compassion in an all-too-brutal world.

What I would like the world to know about bisexuals

I didn't choose to be bisexual. It's just what I am. I learned in my church that as a bisexual, I was OK and my bisexuality one of many good orientations in the world.

What was your path to a bisexual identity?

I grew up in a liberal religious congregation. In the early 1970's my church offered a sexuality education class to young teens (because no one else, especially public schools, would do it). My classmates and I learned that some of us were straight, some were gay, and some were bisexual. I knew immediately that the word "bisexual" described me.

I was out as teenager. My church and my family nurtured and supported me when I openly had a romance with a boy in high school. And nurtured and supported me when my next love was a girl.

I was in college when I was dating another young man. When I told him I was bisexual, he and all the gay and lesbian friends I'd made shunned me. I didn't fully understand what was happening until the very first Pride Parade in my hometown. It was only for gay and lesbian folk. Bisexual folk were NOT welcome. Soon my church began to warmly welcome gay and lesbian people into congregational life... and as that happened, I found that even there my bisexuality became unwelcome.

I went INTO the closet in my early 20's. I've been coming BACK out in slow steps in the past 15 years. I'm established enough in my life now that I'm out and proud.

What is the toughest thing about being bisexual?

Experiencing hostility and discrimination from my own generation of the Lesbian/Gay community for "refusing to be gay." I've experienced discrimination even in the liberal congregations I've served -- which has been a great sadness in my life. I went INTO the closet as a young adult after realizing I was unwelcome at Pride Parades or other queer community activities. I was, of course, a pariah in the straight community, but was isolated and without community for most of my adult life.

What is the best thing about being bisexual?

Being more open to appreciating all the diverse beauty in other human beings.

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

I came out to my children when they were in their teens. Their reaction was "We knew that." They find my use of the term "bisexual" quaint -- even "straight" people in their generation adopt the term "queer" when they are open and affirming of life and sexuality in its diverse beauty.

I keep using the term "bisexual." It's a word that is essential to the context and culture I knew as I grew up bisexual without any need to come out. As the identity that made me a pariah in the gay community and a scorned curiosity in the straight world, it remains a helpful way of understanding my experiences of oppression.

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

If you are young and coming out as bi, you will definitely find a lot of queer folks who will welcome you into community. If you are older and coming out, the gay and lesbian community will not welcome you. You'll need to find other bisexuals for support.