My partial coming out as Bisexual has been very interesting. I've gotten responses that range from "Oh my God, I had no idea" to "Yeah, I've known for a long time", and everything in between. Everyone that I've told has been verbally supportive. But as I think back on conversations we've had, I wonder if the apparent acceptance is real. I believe they want to be supportive. But they say things that lead me to believe otherwise. I thought I would rundown a few of the statements that have come up in conversation. I'd love to know your thoughts about them.
"Maybe it's just a phase?" Uh...no. I guess someone who is either 100% gay or straight (an article for another time) cannot wrap their head around the concept of being sexually and/or romantically attracted to more than one gender. But if it's a phase, its one long phase! If something spans decades, I'm thinking that we've moved well past "a phase".
"If you only have sex with a man OR a woman exclusively, I don't think you're really Bi." This is an interesting one. It actually implies that real bisexuals cannot be monogamous and that we are all greedy. I have plenty plenty of married straight friends who look at and make comments about women but they are monogamous. Why don't people think that Bisexuals can also look, admire and fantasize but still be in a monogamous relationship? Yes, it can be more challenging because you are cutting off an experience that goes to the essence of your being. But as humans, we have the power of choice and the will to decide and control behaviors.
"Are you really gay? Are you transitioning from straight to gay?" Maybe some people use it as a way to ease into coming out Gay. But if someone tells you that they are Bi, just believe them. It is very hard to tell loved ones (especially a spouse) and friends that you're Bi. It may be harder than coming out as Gay because people understand Straight and Gay. They understand that two people of the same sex can have a relationship that people of the opposite sex have. But try explaining to someone that you're in a monogamous heterosexual or monogamous homosexual relationship but you are still attracted to/turned on by a different gender than the one you're currently with. A lot of people can't wrap their head around that. So, if I were Gay, believe me, it would be easier to explain that rather than coming out as Bi.
"Do you need to talk about this anymore?" This is an interesting one. You come out to a friend, they are vocally supportive, the friendship doesn't change but they don't really want to know or talk about this aspect of you. They want you to basically be the person they thought you were and not the person you really are. What do you do with that? Do you just pass as Straight around them? Do you cover the bisexual aspects of yourself? I still haven't figured this one out but it does make it more difficult to be at peace with yourself.
"So...you're half Gay?" This one made me laugh a little. Bisexual is not necessarily a 50/50 proposition. Some people are mono-romantic (only interested in a relationship with one gender) but are interested in being physical with multiple genders. Don't assume that Bisexuals are equally attracted to all genders. This may actually help those who say they would never date a Bisexual man (also see the second item above).
It's been an interesting journey so far. Some of these comments have made me question whether or not I should have come out at all. Once you're out, you're out. There is no going back. Whether you are gay or straight I hope you'll be a little more understanding of the unique things that bisexuals face, especially in the coming out process. If someone trusts you enough to share something this personal, trust them enough to believe them.
Do you, or have you ever, thought any of these things mentioned above? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still (mostly) Anonymous