Hi, I‘m Brand. I am Bisexual. I'm from Florida, where our current governor resembles Voldemort in more ways than one, and I am very worried that he may win our current Senate race against Democrat Bill Nelson. That would be a very, very bad thing.
I'm politically active in social justice and civil rights issues, and I'm part social worker, part anthropologist, and part linguist, all of which I use in my current job doing contract compliance, civil rights compliance, and staff trainings for a large domestic violence shelter.
What being bisexual means to meI am attracted to people regardless of gender, fully inclusive of people who are trans and non-binary. For me, I use the definition of attracted to two or more genders, or attracted to my own gender and other genders. I primarily use "bi" when describing my identity because it is more politically and socially recognized, and it was the only word being used for attraction to more than one gender when I was coming out, but I also often say that I identify as "bisexual/pansexual/queer", because all of those labels accurately reflect who I am. "Queer" works particularly well, as it describes both my sexual orientation and my gender identity, but I believe in bi visibility, which is why I tend to use "bi" the most.
What I would like the world to know about bisexualsWe are all different, with different ways of being bi, or being somewhere within the bi umbrella. Stereotypes are just that. Stereotypes. They are not our reality.
What was your path to a bisexual identity?I grew up always liking boys. But it felt not quite wrong, but incomplete. I was also realizing that my gender identity was more masculine than feminine, and so I felt more like a gay man than a straight woman. Though there were clues along the way (Alyssa Milano as Sam Micelli in Who's the Boss!), it wasn't until I was in 11th grade that I realized I was also attracted to girls. We had a new girl transfer to our school after losing her home in Hurricane Andrew, and I still remember, 26 years later, exactly what she looked like when she walked through that classroom door, her blonde hair, Florida summer tan, and bright, straight smile. My jaw literally dropped. Then it all fell into place. I never thought I was a lesbian. I instantly thought, wow, that's why I feel so different. I'm bi! And then I got really involved in the bi discussion group in the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Student Union when I was in college and have been active with bi activism ever since.
What is the toughest thing about being bisexual?Coming out to people as not-quite-straight when you still date people who appear to be the opposite gender (or at least the opposite sex) as you is tricky, especially when you have conservative, fundamentalist religious relatives. Conversely, sometimes there's also exclusion from the LGBTQ community as well. Sometimes you just don't feel quite queer enough.
What is the best thing about being bisexual?The fact that I'm much more open-minded and accepting about sexuality in general, and also, I can watch a movie or TV show, like Sense8, for example, and find the majority of the cast attractive, no matter what their gender is, and I love that. I love finding beauty in so many different people, even though romantically I tend toward monogamy. Eye candy is always a delight.
How have other people in your life reacted to your bisexuality?Mostly fine, though it's more difficult with people who've known me longer. Of course, some people have come out to me in return, so that's always a nice experience to have.
What advice do you have for someone who thinks they may be bi or who is in the process of coming out as bi?Trust your instincts about when and what is most appropriate for you when coming out. If it might affect your safety, or if you fear that you might be kicked out of your home or shunned by your family, make sure you're really ready, and make sure that you've got a support network elsewhere, a safe place to go if you're kicked out of your house, and people you trust whom you can turn to in a crisis. But most of all, believe in yourself and know that it's okay if you're not sure just yet. It's okay if your bisexuality fluctuates over time. Sexuality is a spectrum, and we don't always fall on the same spot on the spectrum, even throughout our own lives. Just be yourself.