Hi, I‘m Tori. I am Bisexual.

I was born in the 60's in Melbourne Australia. I went to Catholic schools, Primary and Secondary until I was expelled for not fitting in with the schools fundamentals on how a boy should be portrayed in the world. I went to work as an apprentice Painter and Decorator in the building industry where again I was not really fitting in but I did learn a lot and I did finish my apprenticeship. I started working for myself as a Painting and Maintenance contractor and I was successful for 10 years until I became affected by the solvents and was advised to change my profession. I was unemployed for about 3 months and I spent most of my time at the local library where I learned from reading lots of books that maybe I was a natural salesperson. Having no skills that I could fall back on, I secured my first sales position on a lowly wage but I thought that this will test me while still earning a living. It took two weeks until I topped that company's sales records and expanded this local company to overseas markets. I started looking for a sales position with a salary and commissions and within another two weeks I had doubled my income and 12 years later and with a couple of moves I was sitting pretty in the world. At that time my brother had become unwell after a few years out of the Defence Forces and he took his life. There's so much more to this story and writing this small portion makes me feel like I should be writing a book because this is just one angle of my life. Anyway after he died I kept working and ignoring my deep feelings until one day I'd had enough. I quit sales altogether and now it was two major career upheavals. I joined Environmental groups and began my next phase. I started to organise with seasoned activists against logging and Uranium mining and Coal. I was pretty good at this and I was told I had a natural ability with people and also with film. I went back to school as a mature student and completed an Advanced Diploma in Screen and Digital Media. I won an award for a film I co produced about cultural erasure of Indigenous Peoples in the capitalist system. The minimum requirement was for a 3 minute film and the two of us made a pixilation of 24000 frames that ran 13 minutes. Anyway I eventually quit half way through my degree after the Equal Marriage vote was won because I decided on that very moment to jump for joy and declare my bisexualtiy at the school. That was a bad move for my ability to finish school because my two main teachers were bi-phobic ( how could I have known that?) and they made it very difficult for me to complete my work and even though I still pushed through and kept up I was pulled aside on a couple of occasions and told that they didn't want me there and that I didn't fit in and that people like me shouldn't be in the workforce in films. So I quit and that was just a few months ago. Although I cried in a deep depression in the weeks after, I now feel much better and I'm glad I'm not around them. I'm putting my life back together and that's kind of how/why I found this org.

What being bisexual means to me

What a question! It means everything to me because I was denied acceptance in many ways throughout my life. When I was young, at least around 7 years old I knew who I was in many ways and one of those ways was that I had affection for people, admiration for people, closeness for people. I didn't see mum or dad different from each other and I didn't see their friends different from each other except for their dress sense and their mannerisms but I noticed very early on that everyone was pretty much the same in mannerisms when they were partying. My parents had lots of parties. At least two a month for all the years I grew up. That's a lot of observing people and that's what I did for fun. I loved the way people interacted with each other. There's a dark side to it as well. My dad was an alcoholic. He didn't drink every day but at those parties he would drink beer all night until about midnight and then he would drink Drambui. It's an Irish liquer. He would finish a whole bottle with others having a little bit but he would drink the most. SO he had this sort of dual personality with me. I'm not sure of the profanity settings of this website so I'll just say that the next morning after he had been drinking he would be in the kitchen cooking his early breakfast of fried eggs and bacon and I would always get up and go and see him and he would tell me what he thought of me which wasn't nice. I didn't understand what it was and I didn't know the meanings of the words because I would never hear them anywhere else but I knew I couldn't trust him with my feelings about myself. So when I was growing I had my first sexual experience with a girl when I was 8 and I had my first sexual experience with a boy when I was 9. It was a natural experience both times and I had further experiences with both of these people for right up until I was 15. I never initiated anything and I don't really know how we knew except through our eyes and through our trust.I never felt bad or guilty or shame or anything disturbing and we had no words for what we were doing. It wasn't just sex because we were friends and it expanded to more people as we got older. there was never any talking about it in a negative way. We joked during intimacy and we cared about each other and we were close. Then along came more people into our group and some of them were prudish and some of the guys were violent and we started to learn without having to mention anything that we were in danger if we said anything outside our developed friends bi circle. So we were careful for the first time in our lives and we started to question ourselves. I met many more people over the years but I had developed a blockage for saying how I was oriented sexually and gendered and romantically how I felt. I never became straight and I never denied if I was asked but people wouldn't believe me. They always assumed I was joking and eventually in my 20's I drifted away from my feelings and began to conform. I honestly didn't notice it because it was so gradual. I still remember being beat up in my late teens and early 20's for dressing not like a man's man. For talking wrong. For being too intelligent. For caring too much about people's feelings. I got beat up once by my older brother (not the one took his life) for singing Bohemian Rhapsody and for liking Freddie Mercury. I didn't understand how I didn't really know who my older brother was and I learned that day that he had strict rules about what his brother could like and align with. Years later I learned just how dangerous my older brother was. I never grasped it when I was young. I thought he was just a surfer and everybody liked him. He was also a biker and his best friends were some of the hardest criminals in Australia. When I learned that I didn't just become scared for me but also for anyone who might be my friend who was like me, so I pulled myself away from all my friends and I became like a recluse for about 6 months. Then I went about creating a new outward identity. Strangely (or maybe it isn't so strange because fear has power) I began to disassociate my memories as my own but they were still there and they are still here today. I still had a couple of flings with guys and some trans people over the yers but somehow I was being another me and I didn't have any fears while I was out and meeting people but I never shared this with anyone and even if somebody said something I wouldn't deny it but I wouldn't be believed. Then during the Yes Campaign I was going to all the rallies for like a decade and I was documenting it on film and talking to people and enjoying myself but I had somehow forgotten after all these years my intrinsic self and it was while I was being verbally attacked by a bigot that a crescendo of awareness shattered my suppressed memories and all the feelings that were lost for those memories came flooding back and I yelled back at this person that I'm queer and I'm equal.

What I would like the world to know about bisexuals

Bi mammals are a natural occurrence in the landscape of life on earth. We are as important for the wellbeing of the planet as we are for the wellbeing of the human condition. We are, like all oppressed groups hearts of empathy. We are natural <3

What was your path to a bisexual identity?

I think I answered that above pretty well.

What is the toughest thing about being bisexual?

Being bi is fraught with mistrust. The stereotyping of bi people is among the hardest to nullify. We all know the stereotypes, don't we!

What is the best thing about being bisexual?

The best thing about being bi for me is it completes me to myself. It's my music and my heart.

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

I've found that being around other bi, trans, pan, bi romantic, non binary, genderqueer, fluid, intersex people makes me feel stronger. I'm energised by people who are like/ similar to me. I hope I give the same for them. Without allies and comrades it's very heavy and difficult. We need each other.

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

Before you come out, find friends and likeminded groups and bring them into your life. Make yourself comfortable with support and true family and then come out with strength and confidence. It's still either going to be easy or difficult but having like people to support you with love is going to bring you back up very much quicker than without.