First of all, happy International Coming Out Day 2019! Now, for many people today is a celebration of their truth and their true selves being expressed to the world. But coming out can be, for a lack of a better word, scary. There are many reasons someone may not be comfortable sharing their sexuality such as religious persecution, unsupportive family or friendship groups, or they might just not be ready to. Even people who have open and accepting families and friend groups have to face this niggling doubt that someone will react badly, or won’t accept them for who they truly are.
And so with that little introduction out of the way…… I am Bisexual.
Now terminology can be very confusing, it took me a long time to understand both my sexuality and what term I fit into. And so I shall self define what bisexuality means to me. As a bisexual I am sexually and romantically attracted to people of both genders (both cisgendered and transgender) and people who identify as gender fluid or non-binary. Other people might disagree with this definition but in the end they don’t get much say over my label and my belonging to this community.
I am quite lucky in the sense that despite not coming out to my family until right now, I know they are open, respectful and accepting people. And if it turns out some of them aren’t, well what can you do? I haven’t come out to my family because I know they are open and accepting and to be honest I didn’t really think it should be a big deal. If I came home with a girlfriend or a partner who was non-binary then my family would be accepting if albeit a little shocked. I did however come out to my close friends last New Years Eve. This was a fun experience for me as everyone was lovely and accepting and all round supportive of my choice to tell them. But what has angered me for a while and held me back in telling more people was the resentment that I had tell people at all. I don’t really think its a big deal, it hasn’t changed who I am and most of the time its no ones business who I am attracted to. And so I am going to do some teaching as to why I and many others feel this way.
The world I live in, and especially western society is what academics call hetero-normative. This essentially means that being straight (heterosexual) is considered the default setting, anything else is considered other. Most of the time when something in society is considered as other (i.e. not being white and being a woman) it is regarded as worth less than the norm. However, society is changing and has changed so much even in my short lifetime, but one thing that is yet to change is the assumption that everyone is straight unless they tell you otherwise. And for some reason sexuality and gender and what you identify as these days is a big deal and everyone must know about it. I have always been quite shy and not very open about myself so choosing to tell everyone my personal business is a massive deal to me. But now I care less about what people think and more about what I can do with my voice and my platform. So I am telling everyone. Yup, I’m bisexual and I always have been.
The reason I believe it took me so long to understand my sexuality is because I never really understood what bisexual meant. The only representations of the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and others) community I had growing up were overtly camp gay men or butch lesbians. This, while better than no representation at all, did not exactly represent my experience at all. I didn’t have a reference for what being bisexual looked like, felt like or functioned in society like. There was no handbook for my to consult when my sexual feelings confused me. Seeing something in action like sexuality is much easier to understand than reading about sexuality, especially growing up during a time when gay was an insult widely used. If I had any inkling of my sexuality back during my teenage years I definitely pushed it away and decided to think about it at a different less confusing time.
Anyway that’s why I wanted to write this post. Because I would like to show maybe just one confused person out there, that there is no right or wrong way to be yourself, that there is no right or wrong way to belong to the LGBTQ+ community. Hopefully throughout the rest of my life I can do much more for representation and more to change the society I live in.
It’s all queer from here.
Over and out. x