Late Sunday night, I decided to officially come out as bisexual, publicly, through an Instagram post. I don’t know if that was the proper etiquette for this sort of thing, is there a “proper” way to do “come out”? A tired, loathsome concept when you get down to it. I always told myself I would probably never announce myself as bi in a public forum like that. I mean why should I have to? Straight people don’t. Who I date or love or get into a sexual relationship with is no one’s business but mine.
Yet, at the same time, it did feel like it mattered, both in an annoying way and one that left me with a sense of urgency to get this off my chest. For years I’ve been in the online twitter community, I’ve been on Tumblr, I’ve been draped in the comfort of anonymity and comfort from peers who see the world the same as me and deal with many of the same issues. It wasn’t always great, social media is truly a toxic cesspool in a lot of ways, I harnessed some bad ideologies or got caught up in the mob mentality from time to time, but I’ve also learned so much. From reading, from studying, from talking to people all over the world, from people I met in college, from people I met passing through endless, listless, shitty summer jobs, I just collect things. I note specific anecdotes, reactions I would get from people over stating things I believe in deeply but was afraid to speak aloud.
I used to hide in plain sight, wading in the grey, I would not fight for my beliefs, I’d let people say things I was fundamentally against to keep things placid and non-confrontational. Not just about my sexuality, which has often and loudly been a target for everyone, the LGBT community too, which was always the most disheartening. But about everything I believed in and stood against. I didn’t want to make waves. I wasn’t comfortable or confident enough in my own skin and mentality to believe I had a right to stick up for myself or for people who truly couldn’t.
Bi people are sluts. Bi people cheat on their significant others. Bi people are transphobic. Bi people are liars. Bi people can’t be monogamous. Bi people can’t pick a side. Bi people always inevitably pick a side. Bi people are half straight and half gay. Bi people have threesomes all the time and they’re swingers. Bisexuality is confusing. Bi people don’t really exist! You’re either straight, gay, or lying.
You get the picture.
These were things I’ve heard, over and over again, for my entire life. Hell, I’m sure I participated in the sentiment from time to time when I was still questioning myself. I let people tell me what my sexuality was. I let them define it for me. I let gay men and gay women tell me what bisexuality was. I let straight people mock it.
At the end of the day, I internalized it all for a long time.
When I was 13 years old. I was sitting in a career building class in middle school. Somehow, the topic of religion came up, I don’t remember how, but one of the girls in my class said she was an atheist. I was so shocked. I didn’t realize being non-religious was an option. Before that, I dutifully prayed to a God I never quite understood or was sure existed, night after night. I took things at face value. When I watched TV, I felt was I supposed to feel. I thought what adults told me to think. I didn’t question much. I was naive and gullible, as kids often are.
When I found other girls pretty, I told myself it was because I was jealous maybe. To a degree, I think that was some of it, I struggled with self-esteem and wished I looked the way they did so it wasn’t really attraction, just wanting what they had.
It was that day, the day I found you could just choose not to be religious if you didn’t want to be, that I began to find some kind of power. Not much mind you, high school was a mess of insecurity, self-doubt, and self-hatred. But enough that I started to open my mind a little bit. I’m not sure how I feel about religion these days, I’m not interested in organized religion but I respect other people’s beliefs, I feel as if there is some cosmic power out there maybe but I don’t know what.
When I was in high school, I had lots of crushes. Lots on guys, those I was allowed to be vocal about, and some on girls. Luckily for me, and no offense to any of my female friends who may read this, but it was never on someone super close to me. Popular girls who I couldn’t help but stare at for just a little too long. Girls I saw as ethereal, who never noticed me, there were a few who I liked. They came and went, I entertained them but I didn’t feel as if I was allowed to really like them more than that.
“Lesbian” was an insult. Worse slurs were thrown around. Being called gay was something people would say to hurt you. I never, ever, wanted someone to call me a lesbian by mistake, I thought it was insulting because of the way our society nurtures people to look down on girls who love girls (unless they’re being used in a male-gazey fetish-tastic way). I had so much biphobia, lesbophobia, misogyny, and straight-up homophobia to unlearn to learn to love myself. I had to identify, redefine, reshape, and understand things in a new way and not just the way people were telling me to. I had to do this on my own, in my own time.
I buried it all, I buried a part of me.
It hasn’t been since I graduated high school and since numerous things occurred in my personal life that I won’t get into right now but that I started to really begin to look at myself and my desires and the way I feel about people and the world around me.
I started to learn about feminism, about intersectional feminism. I read so much. I tried new things. I started to get hurt, and offended, when I heard negative comments about bi people, about girls liking girls. I internalized it still but I knew that I had a personal connection. It always hurt worst when it came from people I loved, my friends and family members, or when it was from random people laughing with my friends, who didn’t bother correcting them. And I’m not saying this to call anyone out, it’s not something I’d ever share identities about, it was a lot of passing, fleeting comments, a lot of moments combined into a strand. But I was pushed deeper into the proverbial “closet” because I just didn’t want to face the alienation.
Media became my escape, I mean it always was, but even more so. My passion. And that’s one of the big reasons I felt the time was right for me to come out.
A few months ago I went to the emergency room. I have struggled with severe anxiety my entire life, and it got to the point where I couldn’t function normally. Every slight thing was world-ending and catastrophic. I was having panic attacks and manifesting physical symptoms to a mental condition. I couldn’t deal with it anymore.
I’ve been in and out of therapy sure, and therapy is great, but it still wasn’t enough. So I became medicated. Something difficult to admit to, something difficult to accept, because I wanted to handle it on my own and solve it on my own but I couldn’t anymore. Since finding an antidepressant that worked for me I have felt so much relief. Obviously, it’s not a cure all. I still have bad days and moments. But it’s helped me understand myself, my brain, and be able to slow down and take things as they come.
It’s helped me figure out what I want to do with my life. In the past year alone, I started my own blog, I got involved in the book blogging community on NetGalley and Edelweiss, I started writing for a horror website and a television website. I’ve been given opportunities to interview actors and make press contacts with people at various networks. These are all baby steps, mind you. I’m in the early stages of everything I’m well aware but god, I’ve fallen so in love. The marriage of entertainment and writing, two things I love more than anything, and it’s what I want to do with my life. I want to write about the things I love, plain and simple.
But it still wasn’t quite enough. I needed this final step, this final shove, this final embracement of me. I’m a little self-obsessed, I will admit. I love myself. I love being alone. I love doing things alone. Yet, I still found an impediment to being completely myself, something I felt I could be online in the Twitter world with people who didn’t know me in real life. It was so easy and I felt so good. Being bisexual became such a huge part of me and my life in the past few years. I started to tell some of my friends or drunkenly babble about it. I love that part of me I really and truly do.
I don’t really want to get married. I don’t want kids. I love the idea of just being absolutely free, both to myself, and to who I can love and who I can become. So I needed to just be out there to the world. I’ve been greeted with a lot of love and support and while there are people in my family I’m not sure will be okay with this, that’s okay. I don’t need them to. I needed this for me and only me.
I wondered for so long, if I needed to come out. I mean theoretically, I might only date men forever, I might never date at all, I might date 3 girls, 2 guys, and 2 nonbinary people, I DON’T KNOW. But that’s the beauty of it I think. And the reason it was so important, because no matter who I date, I want them to accept me, all of me. I can’t date someone who doesn’t accept my bisexuality. I just can’t.
And let me also state, that the automatic idea of bi people being transphobic is an archaic notion. Trans people are men and women, you can’t classify them as another gender without being transphobic yourself. Trans men are men and trans women are women. The end.
“But bi equals two so therefore it must mean you only like two genders, cis men and women.” Bi also means binary, as in bisexuality doesn’t operate within a binary. I can love anyone I choose. I will love anyone I choose.
And it doesn’t matter for me, or anyone else who is struggling who might read this, if you like guys 99% of the time and girls 1%, or you’re 50/50 (like me), or you’re 80/20 IT DOESN’T MATTER! You’re still valid, you’re still bisexual. Even if you only date girls but are attracted to men or you date some men and only one or two girls, IT DOESN’T MATTER. Don’t let anyone else define your sexuality for you. Ever.
I want to wrap this up by shouting out to some of the incredible characters and bi women who have inspired me so much.
One is Stephanie Beatriz, who plays Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn 99. If you get the chance I highly recommend watching Season 5, Episode 10 of Brooklyn 99.
Or Callie Torres, who got an entire multi-season long storyline about her bisexuality and coming out on Grey’s Anatomy, thank you so much for that Sara and Shonda Rhimes.
Tessa Thompson, because she is so funny and genuine, kind and motivated, and Valkyrie who I fell in love with on sight, in the MCU.
Janelle Monae for her music, her mind, and her empowering creative ingenuity.
Also Miles Hollingsworth from Degrassi: Next Class.
Bo Dennis on Lost Girl.
Sara Lance from DCTV.
Korra & Asami from The Legend of Korra.
Magnus Bane from Shadowhunters.
Toni Topaz on Riverdale.
Monica Raymund, who is so talented and strong, who I loved on Chicago Fire and can’t wait to watch in her new project.
Anna Paquin who made me love my tooth gap and has always been beautifully outspoken for bi people.
Evan Rachel Wood, another True Blood alum with an incredible ability to inspire with her words and talent.
Cara Delevingne, the hilarious, beautiful model-turned-actress who has never shied away from her true self.
There’s many more but this is where I’ll leave things for now.
Coming out, for me, has liberated me. It has made me feel like the truest version of myself. It’s given me so much power. Though I won’t deny, there was a little sadness too. I feel like I gave up this small part of me that was only mine and now it’s out there for everyone to know. I think coming out is complicated, it is a little bit of an emotional minefield and all the shows and movies that try to conquer it rarely get that part right but I don’t regret it and I think for the first time in so long I just feel so ready to embrace my future.
This got super fucking long honestly if you’re still reading I feel like I should send you a muffin basket or something but you’re amazing for getting this far.