Here, in the ‘Coming Out’ series of posts, I write on a different topic every time. Generally they will be stories of me coming to terms/coming out about various ‘taboo’ subjects. These posts are a blend of the personal and political, so stay with me!
This is now quite a historic piece of writing, which I never posted when I first wrote it. But I didn’t want to not post it. So although I’ve come a long way concerning my sexuality since this post in terms of experience, etc, I still present as a straight woman most of the time, so the issues I talk about here are still (I think) relevant to the person I am now.
So. Bisexuality. When I had the idea for doing a series of ‘Coming Out’ blog posts, of course, the first one had to be about my coming out process as bisexual. I want to give this series a political touch whilst remaining centred in my own experiences, so I’ll be discussing my own sexuality, and understanding of it as well as the wider implications of being bisexual, and the difficulties bisexual people experience in coming out.
I grew up in a fairly understanding setting. My parents aren’t homophobic, and from the age of around 12, my close female friends and I found ourselves explore our sexualities through sexual games etc. In fact, my first kiss was with a girl. Growing up close to Brighton meant that being gay didn’t seem a terrible or terrifying thing – however, I was of the first generation that used the term ‘gay’ as a negative adjective; ‘Your trainers are gay’, ‘That band you like is gay’, ‘My mum’s so gay’. This meant that, although non-straightness wouldn’t, in serious conversations, be thought of as an awful thing, ‘gay’ was weird, and odd, and defective in our normal parlance, and our ideas of gay people were of exclusively men that were incredible camp/transvestites.
I worried hugely when I first felt attracted to another girl as a young teenager, and worried even more when I confessed my attraction, freaking the other girl out so much that she wouldn’t speak to me.
After that, I decided I liked boys and just got on with it. I continually found myself attracted to women, watched female-only porn and experienced mini crushes on various female friends, which I viewed as intense friendships.
As I got older, I privately started to explore my feelings about women, but only really in my head and on computer screens. I did that fake lesbian kissing that girls do in clubs when they want to turn boys on, but never felt ready to explore my feelings towards women.
When I did feel ready, I joined a dating website and looked for both men and women. I even went on a date with a woman. But then I met my partner. We are perfectly suited to each other, and they understand and support me in a way in which no one else has ever done. I also fancy them a lot, and we have great sex 🙂
My partner, though, is a man.
In fact, despite all my feelings, explorations and sexual curiosity towards women, I’ve never been in a relationship with one. And this is the problem with being bisexual. Bisexuality is so invisible, so easily deniable, because it isn’t based upon behaviour. I am attracted to all genders, but all that anyone sees is a straight girl (or if I was in a relationship with a woman, a lesbian girl).
Being seen as straight, being assumed to be straight, has its benefits. Unlike gay and lesbian people, I can walk down the street with my partner and be accepted by the strangers I walk past. I don’t have to be scared for my life just because I want to hold hands with my loved one. My bisexuality is very easily hidden.
But being easy to hide doesn’t mean that my identity isn’t a challenge.
Common responses to telling people that I’m bi?
“It’s just a phase”
“You’re just not ready to come out as gay”
It’s pretty exhausting to have this invisible sexuality. But I will never regret knowing myself well enough to be sure of who and what I am, and being proud of that, despite whatever misconceptions and stereotypes people throw at me.