United States

Hi, I‘m Phil. I am Bisexual.

I live in Arlington, Texas, with my cisgender wife of 24 years and two sons, one 17 and the other 12. I also have three mixed-breed dogs my family and I adopted from a local shelter. I am currently unemployed since I was laid off when the bookstore I worked at for 20 years was closed. I am currently in the job market looking primarily for a teaching position, but I'm also looking at retail as a fallback. I am a practicing Roman Catholic and am very much involved in youth ministry in my parish. My interests include DC comic books, Star Trek, the St. Louis Cardinals, and I love reading both books on Christian theology and classic works of horror fiction.

What being bisexual means to me

I'm still trying to sort out the answer to this question since I only became consciously aware of my sexual identity a couple of years ago, but as I've learned to embrace this identity, I have felt a true sense of freedom that has helped me to be less depressive and more open with all those about me as to who I truly am.

What I would like the world to know about bisexuals

That we exist. In the past couple of years, as I have started to come out, I've met some resistance from some gay men and lesbians who feel that my calling myself bi is being "wishy-washy," that I should take a side and embrace either heterosexuality or homosexuality exclusively. But I can't do that, for I feel an attraction to persons of both genders. I don't act on those attractions due to my fidelity to my marriage vows, but they do exist.

What was your path to a bisexual identity?

I became consciously aware of my sexual identity a couple of years ago when during a period of personal prayer I began to reclaim feelings and memories that I had repressed for several decades. You see, I recognized as early as junior high that I was attracted to both young men and young women, but the ultra-conservative Catholic Christian environment I grew up in told me the feelings I had for my male classmates were wrong, sinful, even pathological, so I began to repress those feelings, put them away where they would not lead me to sinful desires or behaviors. However, over the ensuing years those feelings would come to the surface, most notably when I was in seminary where in succession I fell in love with two of my classmates, one of whom I even kissed, the closest I ever came to acting on my desires physically. But each time I became consciously aware of these feelings, I would shove them back into my mental closet and re-padlock the door. But a couple of years ago, I felt a stirring during a time of personal prayer and meditation that made me consciously aware of these feelings, which was followed by lengthy conversations with my counselor, my spiritual director, my confessor, and my psychiatrist that led me at last to fully accepting that I am attracted to both men and women, that I have always been, am now, and will be until the day I die a bi man.

What is the toughest thing about being bisexual?

For me, it's the possibility of scandal that hangs over me. Some in my parish are not comfortable with an openly bi man teaching and working with the youth of our parish. I've had long conversations with our parish priest and youth minister and have reassured them that I have no intentions of leaving my wife and that my teaching will always be orthodox, points they use in deflecting criticism that comes their way, but still the concerns and rumors come their way and my way, and all I can do is live the life I have been called to live as faithfully as I can and not let these negative parishioners bring me down.

What is the best thing about being bisexual?

For me, it's the freedom from the depressive thoughts that denied me self-confidence for several decades. Opening up about my identity and sharing it with others has made me feel more alive and more in touch with myself than I have ever felt before.

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

All of my friends and family have been very supportive since I came out. In fact, I learned that my youngest niece, who has just graduated from college, is also bi, coming out when she was in high school, but keeping it between herself and her parents due to her grandparents, who are also naturally my parents. I did come out to them, and, so far, they are the only family who have not been supportive. They think that anyone who claims to be bi, gay, lesbian, et al. should just keep their mouths shut. "Don't ask, don't tell" is the constant refrain I hear from them. But they are the only two voices in my large Catholic family who are not positive and supportive of my niece and myself.

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

Find a friend whose opinion you trust or seek out a counselor or a spiritual director and talk with them about your feelings. Take your time. Only come out when you yourself are completely comfortable with yourself. That's why it took me about two years to come out to my wife and family since I wanted to be in a place where I felt comfortable sharing myself and not overwhelmed with stress and fear over everyone's reaction. People's perceptions of you might or might not change and, thus, they may or may not accept what you are sharing with them, but if you are comfortable and serene in who you are as a child of God, then it is much easier to accept both those who will embrace you and those who will reject you.