In the interest of full disclosure, I do not recall a time I did not know I was bisexual. I may not have had the language to express my sexuality but, from very early on, I knew I found so many different people attractive and they always included folks of my own and other genders. However, my worldview has definitely been expanded when I have spoken to, corresponded with and, most importantly, listened intently to Bi+ folks who have lived a very different experience than my own.
There are so many reasons folks may not clue in to their sexuality at a young age.
First and foremost are societal and family expectations. People make a lot of assumptions about sexuality. The media is very heteronormative. Young queer folk are bombarded with images of hetero couples, hetero sex, hetero attraction and hetero expectations. When that is the lion’s share of what you see it is not surprising that, even if the mold does not fit, you try to conform. Parents have so many expectations of their kids and, very often, those expectations are of a traditional, heteronormative nature. It can be very hard to feel as though you are disappointing your parents….even if what you are really doing is expressing who you truly are.
Religion is a large part of many people’s lives, especially for Americans. Religion is usually pretty repressive about sexuality. There are, of course, exceptions to that rule but very often kids who are raised in evangelical, puritanical, rigidly dogmatic traditional religious families don’t feel any support from their families or from their religion. It is extremely difficult to break free of those religious chains and the negativity toward Queer folk inherent in many religions can take a lifetime to process if you are Queer.
Being ‘different’ is not always easy. We still live in a culture which, far too often, others LGBT people and not everyone feels comfortable expressing their authentic selves and even if the closet restricts who they are it seems too scary to open that door.
Bi folks will sometimes marry young (in a ‘straight’ appearing marriage) before they have had the time to sort out their sexuality. This creates another level of anxiety and challenge as they will have to come out to their spouse who may not be supportive of their sexuality.
All of these challenges can conspire to keep people from accepting and loving their beautiful Bisexual selves. The journey to self-acceptance and self-love can, far too often, be a very long and arduous one.
It is important to know that whenever you are ready to come out is the exact right time for you. You are the only person who can confidently share your authenticity and you are the only person who should make the decision when to do so. It could be you won’t tell your parents or your family initially….or, perhaps, ever. Even if coming out to your family is not an option know there are communities almost everywhere who are Bi-positive and Bi-accepting.
Uncertainty is part of human existence. We all have moments of self-doubt. Accept your uncertainty and take the time to allow yourself to learn who you are. You deserve the time to sort yourself out. It is not important to meet anyone’s expectations but your own.
I would be remiss if I did not share the website for BiNet. They have many resources to help. Reach out to them at Bi Net