Pink. Purple. Blue.
[Hello. I'm a rubbish writer. I've not written on this blog in six months, thus ending my years-long streak of having at least one blog on here a month. Here's a big walloping one to follow up on my last blog posted here!]
A few months ago, I came out as bisexual. And I don't regret that. Except in one instance as part of the coming out period to a very small group of people. But I'll touch upon that further below. Basically put, with Pride Month starting to come to a head, I wanted to write about how I came out, why I ID as bi (and something else) and all the other things that came with it.
How I identify and the labels I use
I am a cis-gender white male who identifies as bisexual because it's an all-encompassing catch 22 term. It's better to refer myself as that rather than actual specific labels that suit me better that are under the bisexual umbrella. In fact, when I came out publicly, I remember asking a few fellow queer-identifying friends whether I was within my right to use the term queer despite coming out as bi.
In the end, I found bi was a better fitting label, but they all shared the sentiment that I could choose to identify as queer because it was within my right to choose it as part of my identity. At first, I identified primarily as bisexual and only lightly identified as queer, but now more and more, I'm starting to identify more and more as queer and bisexual - because hey, there's something empowering about identifying as queer (though I know some people still see it as a slur, which is fair game and an opinion that is absolutely and totally valid, but reclamation is a very important thing and for me, queer is part of that).
When I came out, the immediate family I came out to widely assumed that with bisexuality, it was a half-half interest into both male and female. Not quite. If anything, I still have a skewed preference for women. If I had to nail percentages, it's 70-30. While I do identify as bi, the specific label(s) I'd fit under as part of the bisexual umbrella is heteroflexible /heteroromantic. What do they mean? In a sense, it basically means that I am both romantically and sexually interested in women, but only sexually interested in men. That's not to say I won't ever rule out a relationship with a man, and it feels more likely than you may think. But for the most part, my biggest attraction is with women.
(this will also be the first time said immediate family finds out about specific preferences - hi!)
But because I have a preference in who I'd like to be with, romantically or sexually (or both), that doesn't make me any less bi or queer. If I like women more, that still doesn't make me any more straight. If I like men a bit less, that still doesn't make me any less gay.
Realising you finally had a label to fall under should usually be a relief. Obviously, I knew I wasn't straight beforehand - I've known since I think I was no earlier than 11 - and I knew bi would be a label I'd fit under, but I didn't know if I was deserving to have the bisexual label because of the fact I was merely only sexually interested in men, but both romantically and sexually interested in women.
I only discovered of the hetroflexible term and in turn the bisexual umbrella as part of Bisexual Awareness Week 2014 after seeing it posted on Twitter by two people I knew. And that's when everything finally clicked. I had found my label and felt I was more worthy of being a bisexual.
However, this revelation was not exactly something I was jumping for joy at. Not because of the thing itself, but rather outside events that were happening at the same time which affected my thinking at the time and was severely hampering one's mental health - primarily this (yeeeah, that was a fun time).
But the revelation I was worthy of being called a bisexual was a relief, as was the discovery of the specific label I fell under. But still, I was nowhere near ready to come out at that time. Especially with everything going on.
How I came out and the (massive) challenges they provided
It wouldn't be for another two years until I would actually come out to my first person, someone I've known for a long time, but had built a particular bond with over nearly the past year at that time. And I remember telling her and feeling a relief in telling someone. A kind of 'oh fuck' feeling even though I knew this person was going to be very accepting regardless. And she was when I told her on Halloween night last year.
The first two people I told were the two main people I wanted to tell, the others were on a kind of play it by ear basis. The second person I told, over the phone, was the kindest, understanding, accepting person I spoke to in coming out to someone. Out of anyone I came out to before doing it publicly, this person was the most important I had come out to. And I honestly couldn't have found a better person, a better friend to talk to about it.
Afterwards, I had sort of mixed results telling people. They were all kind and loving and accepting, but it was more the tone of what was said from most of them that kinda made me think twice. But there was one person in particular who I told in that group of people that would bite my ass big time when it came to privacy and trust.
To set the scene: from mid-November to mid-December last year, I had an incredible depression relapse. To say it was bad would be an understatement. It was incredibly awful that lots of stuff started swirling my head. I had a really bad depression episode one night. It was helped in part by my sister-in-law who I had an extensive talk to about things - including coming out to her (kinda out of necessity, but even then, I was still fine with coming out to her considering how brilliant she'd been with my mental health stuff) - but I was still kinda fragile that night. After getting some food, I went into see my cousin, who also is also my neighbor, for no particular reason other than to get a hug.
She then came visited me soon after and, in private, I told her I was bi (note: don't reveal super incredible life revealing moments with your mouth near full of food). I felt I was okay in telling her that considering I was starting to rebuild trust with her again after a significant falling out years earlier that only started healing as my other fell ill.
Big mistake. But I'll rewind to that below.
About five weeks later in January this year, considering some situations stemming from the start of the year within the immediate family and something ominous said by my sister (who did not know about me being bi until after the fact) thanks to, lets say, 'outside family' and a really awful dream, it was clear I had to come out for two reasons.
1) - This was starting to have a damaging effect on my mental health greatly 2) - The ominous thing implied was that someone could use something against me thanks to outside family - like, say me being bi (this wasn't aimed at me, but the thought of having someone reveal me being bi was going to happen before I had a chance to do it). Either way, I was going to make sure this wasn't going to have this be taken out of my hands
I called in two people - the first person I had told I was bi last October and my sister-in-law who I told last December - to have a private meeting and discuss how it would happen. What originally was going to happen was I'd separately come out the same day to both my brother and his partner (they also happen to be neighbors) and then later in the evening go to my sister and come out to her (she lives on the other side of the city) and then publicly come out to all my friends and family who I hadn't told the next night on social media.
But somehow, they all managed to congregate in the same place at the same time without prior warning - my brother's - so a on the fly decision was made to do it then and there. After some nerves and a tiny bit of apprehension, I sat down on a sofa and, in front of my brother, sister, two sisters in law (plus respective children) and sister's boyfriend, just spat it out. And then came the gushy shite, through which my first thought was "please kill me". But in all seriousness, they were super supportive. Incredibly so.
The plan was to still come out the next evening still to everyone else on social media to any friends and family who didn't know - including my dad (one, I don't ever think I could have done that one face-to-face because of sheer fucking nerves, but also two, he went off on a holiday to Spain without any warning a few days prior so *shrug*).
The day after I had come out to my immediate family, I found out my brother had actually been telling people beforehand when I said to him the previous day, 'don't say anything until I announce this proper'. He had told two of my uncles. That actually really annoyed me at the time, but whatever, it was a few hours difference (we're talking three or four hours when he told me). But what I had also found out was something more dramatic.
Remember when I said I came out to my cousin in December last year? Yeaaah. Turns out I really shouldn't have. Despite implicit warnings of disowning her if I found out she told anyone before I came out, considering the trust being built between me and her again, it turns out her dad - my uncle - actually knew of me being bi before anyone else in my family, telling my brother he already knew. And I certainly didn't tell him. Either she told him or she told her mum (we'll get to her) who then told him. And without knowing for sure admittedly, I wouldn't put it past her to have said it to other people as well before I came out.
Anyway, that evening, I came out publicly (the first link at the top of the post is the same text I used to come out to people on Facebook as well as using that blog post primarily for Twitter). And that was that. The reaction was incredible and positive. Me, I was in a massive anxiety spiral after posting with numerous panic attacks during the night, but it all cleared the next day.
The only negative response came six weeks later.
My aunt - the mum of that cousin I shouldn't have come out to - called me two homophobic slurs, gayboy and the f word (I ain't repeating it) after, long story short, verbally getting into it basically with said cousin's fiance.
To date, thankfully, it's been the only instance of homophobia I've had. But I realise there are others, particularly women and POC in the LGBTQ family, who've had it worse off than me. I'm trying - and going to keep continue trying - to support them. Not just out of solidarity, but because it's the most basic human thing to do - queer or not.
The aftermath and how being bi/queer makes me feel
In the six months since I've come out, what have I learned? I've learned that it does get easier with time as a few people pointed out. That coming out was one of the best things I've ever done and that I don't regret doing it at all, if albeit I would have done some things differently (like have tighter control on who I told). That seeing fellow friends and acquaintances talk of being queer on Twitter and Facebook genuinely makes me super happy and in a way kinda excited, knowing there is so much love in it. And that talking queer stuff with friends and other people makes me happy and excited in the same way games and other things I like do. It's wonderful.
If I can end this on one final note - it's this.
If you have a fifty-fifty split on liking both men and women or have a certain split ratio such as liking men more than women as a man and vice versa as a woman, whether you like the opposite sex more than same sex or whatever, you are valid enough. You are bi enough. You are queer enough. And how you choose to identify as such is yours to choose because, no matter your sexuality, you matter.