Hi, I‘m Liesel. I am Bisexual.

I was born and live in Canada. Beginning at age four, I studied ballet for ten years with aspirations to join a professional dance company. I was positive that when I grew up, I wanted to be a ballerina. Dance related injuries proved this was not to be, and I began to discover other creative talents. I took an interest in photography, wrote poetry, made jewellery and went to a high school for the arts where I studied drama. So far these have mostly been hobbies, while professionally, I studied to be an addiction counsellor. I have always had a strong desire to help ease the suffering in this world. I have worked as a counsellor since 2005, though have had to take multiple leaves from work, as a result of depression. I also had to take leaves from both high school and university for the same reason. I grew up in a middle class family with my mother, father, younger sister and older brother. I was fed, cared for, clothed, sheltered, and blessed with many opportunities to travel with my family, attend summer camp and take a variety of lessons outside of school. However home life was mostly dysfunctional, chaotic and emotionally unhealthy. I was sexually interfered with by a relative intermittently for six years and was bullied at school for a few years during that time. I was diagnosed with major melancholic depressive disorder at age fourteen, and in addition to the prescription meds, began using mood-altering substances to cope with life at home and my personal despair. I am now clean and sober.

What being bisexual means to me

I appreciate male and female energy, both of which are manifest in everyone to varying degrees. I am attracted however, to those with a balanced proportion of each, who lean towards androgyny.

What I would like the world to know about bisexuals

We're born this way. We experience as much prejudice from people as gays and lesbians, but (for me anyway) mostly from within the gay community. Some of them accuse us of wanting the "privilege" that comes with appearing hetero. Personally, I'd rather be gay. Second choice, straight. But unless we are prepared to lie to others and embrace the neurosis that comes from suppressing a large part of who we are, then we are "stuck in the middle", as the song goes. And for those individuals who fully accept their bisexuality, I hope to learn a few tips from you in this fantastic forum.

What was your path to a bisexual identity?

When I was in grade school I had crushes on both boys and girls. I didn't even know the words homosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual etc. My mom always told me I'd grow up and marry a man and have babies. When I looked around, it appeared that's what everyone did. I didn't have any sexual impulses at this age and I just believed what I was told.

I experimented with female friends as a kid and young teen, but I think that's normal and quite common, even amongst those who grow up to be completely straight. As I became a teenager, the kind of boys and young men I was attracted to were always thin, artistic and had long hair. The pretty ones. By my mid teens, I was definitely feeling attracted to certain female friends, whom I occasionally succeeded in seducing, but who were nevertheless hetero.

Until my early thirties, I never had the benefit of meeting a woman I was attracted to who was also attracted to me. However, we lived 1000 miles apart and it wasn't to be. Prior to that and since, it has been serial monogamy with men, and single for years in between. Always wishing for a girlfriend, but never meeting the right one. I had the odd one-nighter but that's it.

Then I met a man I loved very much who I thought could be "the one", but who was not about to share me with anyone, I tried really really hard to be straight. He used to make fun of pictures of women who looked strong or slightly masculine, and I hid this part of myself from him, though he knew I was bisexual. I had long hair and wore makeup and feminine clothing.

After a few years of this I became quite ill with depression. I realize now that I had imploded from suffocating my true nature. After recovering somewhat, my whole identity just flipped. I cut my hair short, wouldn't touch makeup or dresses, was only attracted to women, and this other side of me emerged. In my mind, I was done with men. From then on I was only going to date women. I identified as lesbian and went on dates with women. I had some brief encounters, but didn't meet anyone that I wanted a long-term relationship with, even though I really did want a long-term relationship with a woman. I am highly selective however, and the available queer women are far fewer than the available straight men. This went on for several years.

Then one day I bumped into a high school sweetheart who was himself quite feminine and identified as bisexual. More importantly though, we both knew we had spiritual karma together, that we had had past lives together. It wasn't his physicality I was attracted to (nor was it in high school). It was his energy, his mind, his soul. So I had to admit to myself (begrudgingly) that I was indeed bi. To proclaim I was a lesbian would have been a lie.

In my experience most women who say they are bi, are just doing it to tease or please a man, which doest appeal to me. I've never had an actual romantic long-term relationship with a woman, and maybe once I do, I'll feel clearer about "what team to play for". I would possibly be open to a plurogamous (yes, I'm a neologist) relationship with a man and woman, all of us committed to each other.

Currently I'm in a relationship with a much older man, who, like the last one, is totally unwilling to share me. Though not particularly sexually attracted, I really do love him and can't imagine my life without him. I'm a very loyal person as well, and just don't know if I could bring myself to leave. I feel a responsibility towards him as well, as he has stood by me through many difficulties.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the woman who lived a thousand miles away. Now she's only 400 miles. So here I am once again, stuck in the middle. The theme of my life.
And although I adore the expression "your fence is sitting on me", if I could pick a side, I would.

What is the toughest thing about being bisexual?

I have known I was bi since I was 7 years old but since coming out at age 16, I found I wasn't accepted in the gay OR straight community. I carry quite a bit of shame over being bisexual. Most lesbians won't date bisexual women. You'd think growing up and experiencing prejudice themselves, they'd be more accepting. I feel like I have both a male and female side and it's really confusing to be bisexual in such a polarizing society. I find myself on middle ground when it comes to an assortment of beliefs, attitudes or philosophies. I think being balanced in ones energy is a beautiful thing to be, if only I felt like I fit in. I know part of my purpose on this planet is to be a bridge, to help close gaps between opposing factions, which is a wonderful honour. Being rejected isn't.

What is the best thing about being bisexual?

A bit of extra knowledge or experience maybe. That's the best I can come up with. I'm sure my opinion would be different if I didn't carry so much shame and experience so many heartaches because of it.

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

Brushed it off. Brushed me off. Didn't believe me. Rejected me. Told me not to tell anybody else in the family. Told me to pick a side. Refused to date me or let me in their lesbian club. Tried to convince me I wasn't. Some try to tell me I'm going through a phase but I'm really straight. Some tell me that once I meet the right woman, I'll be gay as a holiday parade. The odd platonic friend accepts it, with the caveat that I don't hit on her. Which Is so typical of straight people when they find out someone is gay or bi. Suddenly they believe they are an irresistible delicacy, and must make it clear that they aren't "into" us. It doesn't occur to them that they aren't attracted to everyone of their preferred gender, and neither are we.

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

Pick a side! Just kidding. Wish I had some good advice, but I'm hoping for some myself. All I can say is good luck.