Should you come out? Only you have the answer to that question. If you were to ask me I would say it is definitely the best idea to bust out of that closet. It is stifling in there but I don’t want to sugarcoat it. I do know as a Bisexual it is not easy to be out. I also know that for me it has been worth it.
I came out at 17 and while, because I am Bi, that has meant I have had to come out over and over again it has also meant I did not fear someone might find out who I am and who I have always been. I had acknowledged my own truth, said the word Bisexual out loud and felt the warmth of authenticity which speaking that truth brought. Even if my Mother said I would grow out of it. Even if not every single person I passed on the street knew I was Bi. I knew and I had spoken it out loud. Here we are 44 years later and I can guarantee it was not a phase.
Now, to be clear, because I have been married to a cis man for a long while many folks have thought I was straight. (grrrrrr) It has definitely been a struggle over the decades to make sure I made abundantly clear who I was. Guess what? Sometimes people did not believe me. And, I know, there have been times when I have internalized that bierasure and, in my worst moments, I felt internalized biphobia. Was I protesting too much? Did people not believe me when I told them I was Bi because deep down inside I was really not queer enough? Over and over I had to tell myself I was queer enough. There had been no change to my attractions even if my ‘married with children’ life looked heteronormative. I had every right to say who I am without fear and with the expectation of support.
I know there were times I thought my clever comments indicating I was Bi, which to me were totally transparent, were a bit too opaque for anyone else to catch on to. I beat myself up sometimes for not wearing a sandwich board every time I went out saying ‘This person is Bisexual’. Now my radical bi-visibility is impossible to miss. (don’t be disappointed in yourself though….it is not always an easy process so just take it easy on yourself!)
Truly, things have gotten better. There is more Bi representation in media today than there was 44 years ago…when as far as I could tell there was exactly zero amount. More celebrities and well known folx are out, loud and proud. There are more advocacy group specifically supporting concerns of Bisexual people. There is definitely more Bi bling, such as Bi Pride t-shirts and jewelry, which can do your talking for you. I literally dazzle with my pink, purple and blue!
However, we still face many disparities in the Queer community:
-Bisexuals have higher rates of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression than members of the Gay, Lesbian or heterosexual communities
-48% of Bisexuals have been the subject of hurtful jokes at work because of their sexual orientation
-29% of Bisexual youth are harassed at school.
-Bisexuals face an almost equal amount of discrimination from the Gay community as they do from the straight community
-Bisexual teen girls face higher levels of sexual harassment than their straight or lesbian peers
How do we combat this discrimination? I would argue the best way is by speaking our truth, coming out of the closet, finding our community and supporting each other. I say this knowing it may not be safe for everyone to be out. First, love yourself just the way you are. In my view, being Bi is magical. You can see beauty all around you in all types of people and that is an absolute superpower.
If you are reading this and truly do not think there is anyone you can talk to just leave me a comment. I can guarantee I will be in touch and help in any way I can. Even if it is just to listen to you say, ‘I’m Bisexual or ‘I’m Queer’ or ‘I’m Pansexual’. I am a safe place for you. It is usually just one step at a time but trusting one person is the first step.
Being Bi is amazing. Being Bi in community with other Bisexuals is transcendent. Take your time. Be out on your own terms. Just know we are here and waiting to welcome you.
There are resources/organizations for Bi folx and I will include just a few for you to take a look at:
Bisexual Resource Center: http://biresource.org/
Bi+ Pride Milwaukee (this one is close to my heart as I organize it): https://www.bimke.org/
BiNet USA: http://www.binetusa.org/