Bi the way

 

The funny thing about being bisexual is for the longest time, you spend hours upon HOURS discerning if you’re actually gay or if you’re just a horny straight girl desperate enough to go after anything with a pulse. At least, that’s what is was like for me. I spent the majority of my childhood thinking that my attraction to girls was just that- attraction. It wasn’t like I was capable of love towards members of the same sex, because in the church I was raised in, that was bad. Being gay was a sin and if I acted upon my attraction to people of the same gender I was sure to spend eternity burning away in Satan’s fiery Hell. Catholic’s haven’t been known for their open, accepting attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community, and I sure as hell wasn’t about to test the waters by acting upon my “gay tendencies”, as my religion textbooks so delicately put it. The way the Catholic Church teaches its followers to accept gay people is this- you CAN be gay, you can just never act upon your gayness. To me, that’s a load of, pardon my French, utter bullshit.

I knew I liked both girls and guys since I understood what it felt like to be attracted to another person. I vividly remember sitting in a doctor’s office when I was 8 when I heard Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”, which I now realize is completely cheesy, and realized that girls could kiss girls. According to the song, that was taboo, but that’s a story for another day. That was the day that I finally realized that it wasn’t weird that I had crushes on my girl friends AND my boy friends, even though all my other pals would talk about was how cute all the boys in our class were. No one ever mentioned how cute they thought the girls were, so I never brought it up. I repressed those feelings, saving my attraction to girls and shoving it deep into a dark corner of my brain, hoping it would magically just disappear. I mean, according to the church I spent every Sunday at and got my education from, those feelings were immoral, evil, sinful. In hoping they went away, I hoped that God and Jesus would let me slide come my reckoning at the gates of Heaven, seeing as how I never acted on that gayness, it didn’t really happen and I could pretend those feelings were never there. Oh boy, was I wrong.

I never even mentioned my sexuality to another soul until I started therapy the end of my junior year of high school for issues that would take an ENTIRE new article to explain in depth. I’ll keep it short and sweet for now- after years of struggling with anxiety, depression, and an undiagnosed eating disorder, I finally seeked help. This is when I finally felt comfortable enough to speak openly about my sexuality. I told my therapist`that I thought I was attracted to boys AND girls, but I was afraid to come out because I wasn’t sure if I really was bisexual or if I was “just confused”. She talked me through these feelings and helped me realize that my attraction wasn’t a bad thing, rather, it was just another part of me.

Two months of telling my therapist that I was bi, I had my first real “coming out” story. It was a summer night, and my mom and I were home alone binging Project Runway. Keep in mind, I had only recently started labeling myself as bisexual in my own head, and while I wasn’t public WHATSOEVER about my sexuality, even being able to identify that part of me to myself was a huge step. Back to the story- my mom and I are eating ice cream and watching TV when she asked me how I felt about my upcoming senior year of high school, and I just blurted out that I was bi. I couldn’t catch myself in time, and it totally threw my mom for a loop. She stared at me for a minute, and then started crying. I was crying at this point too, as I had absolutely NO INTENTION of coming out to her then and there. It just sort of, I don’t know, “came out” of me. (Like my pun? Neither do I.) She told me how much she loved me, and continued on to ask why I hadn’t told her earlier, considering how I have other family members and relatives in the LGBTQ+ community. I told her I wasn’t worried about how she would respond, I was just nervous about saying it out loud. She gave me a big hug and we continued on our binge-watching, but not before I made her promise not to tell my brother or my dad. I wanted to tell them when I was really ready.

Fast forward a few months, and it’s October of my senior year. My dad was driving me home from a therapy session when I figured it was the right time and place to tell him I was bi. When I told him, he made a dumb dad joke about how I had “twice the chance” of finding someone now and gave me a high five. I shit you not, my dad made a dad joke when I told him I was bi. This is some Hallmark-movie shit going on. I held off on coming out to the rest of my friends and family, figuring I would wait until after my graduation in the coming months. I mean, attending a Catholic high school with only one other person who openly identified as anything other than straight isn’t really a gay person’s ideal setting. My friends were accepting of others, but I didn’t know how they would react when one of their very own told everyone that she liked boys and girls. Little did I know, my plans for coming out post-graduation would change in an instant.

It’s Christmas break and I’m sitting at home rewatching Always Sunny for the third time when it hits me. Why did I have to wait until after graduation to tell everyone that i was bi? It wasn’t really that groundbreaking, because if you were friends with me, chances were you would have heard me profess my undying love for Lorde and Jake Gyllenhaal. Sitting on my bed in my flannel pjs and hot chocolate in hand, it felt like the perfect time to just come out. I mean, it shouldn’t change anything, right? If my friends really loved me, they wouldn’t even care about this.

So I typed up a post on my finsta, and pressed “publish” without much of a second thought. Two minutes later, my phone was BLOWING UP. Random kids from school were requesting to follow my account, my friends were texting, calling, and leaving comments. They all seemed positive. I was crying, I was so happy to have finally gotten this off my chest. Since everyone wanted to see what I had said, I figured, “Screw it, I’ll post it on my snapchat story so EVERYONE can see it.” I got about 300 views on my story (about ~150 more than usual), and had tons of supportive messages from friends, family members, and people I barely even knew. It felt so good, but that feeling didn’t last for long.

I was so worried that people would react negatively to my coming out, I almost forgot that I would have to go back to school at the end of break. My first day back was a bit rough, I was worried and stressed. That was, in retrospect, completely unwarranted. Underclassmen stopped me in the halls to say that they thought it was really “cool” of me to be bi. I know their comments were coming from a good place, but I couldn’t help but hold onto them as if they thought my sexuality was like a face tattoo- something that made me edgy, outcasted, and defined who I was. I was paranoid that people were really talking about me behind my back. I spent my first day back at school post coming out worried more about what people “really” thought about me, and ended up crying in the bathroom during seventh period. My best friend came tin and hugged me, telling me that everything was fine and that I was just in my own head. She was right, for the most part.

I was sitting in one of my classes when we started discussing what major Supreme Court rulings had occured in the past decade when we arrived at the one ruling that impacted the LGBT community immensely- the decision on June 26th of 2016 that ruled in favor of same sex couples and granted the right of same sex marriage across all 50 states. It was in this moment that almost every head in the room turned and looked at me, waiting for me to vocally support the ruling. Obviously, I do. It’s a no brainer that I, a bisexual/queer woman, support same sex marriage. But, a kid in my class blurted out how it was a sin for two people of the same sex to marry and how he thought it was disgusting. Barely stifling a laugh, I recalled that I was at a Catholic high school, where my attraction was frowned upon. This wasn’t the first instance of homophobia I had encountered, and it sure as hell won’t be the last. I’ve since grown a thicker skin, and don’t let comments such as this get to me as much anymore. But it comes with the environment- I knew I couldn’t be fully accepted by my peers in a setting like this.

Now, I am an active member of my college’s Queer Student Union, where I advocate for the rights of LGBTQ+ people and for safety and equality for all. The past few months have been a whirlwind- I was able to celebrate my first Pride month, Bi-Pride Day, and now National Coming Out Day as my true self. I have grown more comfortable in my skin, and no longer feel as if I can’t fully be myself around the people I love. I know coming out is a constant process, and I’m definitely going to find my share of biphobia and homophobia in the future, but the important part is I have found a group of people who love and support me no matter who I love. My family and friends are always in my corner, supporting and helping me fight for what i believe in. Coming out is scary, but in my situation- it was the best feeling in the world and opened me up to an entire new community of people who love, support, and care about me. To my fellow LGBTQ+ pals- whether you’re out, closeted, questioning, or WHATEVER- I love you and thank you for your support. To my family and friends who have done nothing but surround me with love and encouragement- I thank you. To those of you who have just now reached the end of this article to discover that I am bi- take it or leave it. If you take it- I thank you and I love you. If you leave it- my door is always open in the future when you learn to love and accept others regardless of who they love.

To anyone who is struggling with their identity- it gets better. It takes time, but it will get better. :)