I figured out I liked both boys and girls when I was 12 years old, then proceeded to ignore it for the next eight years. Why? I’m not totally sure. I grew up with a very accepting, loving family in a liberal town, but I was still terrified to come out. I had no problem with anyone else being gay/bi/etc., but I needed to be straight. I’ve since learned this kind of self-directed homophobia is pretty common, but to me, everything was new and terrifying.
I told myself I would come out in college, but being in a new environment with new people didn’t make the idea any less scary. I remember being a freshman and thinking to myself, “Well, you’re never going be with a girl. But at least you like guys, so you’ll be fine.” (Turns out this is a pretty terrible deal to make with yourself.)
Fortunately, this all changed when I met Emily in my dorm sophomore year. At first I was really intimidated by her, but realized after a few conversations how smart, cool, and down-to-earth she is. We had an instant connection that I knew deep down was a lot more than friendship.
Eventually, with the help of some Smirnoff and my friend’s Barbie-themed birthday party (I was ’80s Rocker Barbie, she was Ballerina Barbie), I kissed her. I immediately started freaking out and apologizing, convinced that I had ruined everything. I was ecstatic when she told me that she liked me too –- weirdly enough, we were both secretly bi. We’ve been happy together ever since.
Unfortunately, this new relationship came with a complicated caveat: I had to finally tell people that I liked girls. While the majority of people in my life have been nothing but sweet and supportive about this, I’ve also had several (some friends, some people I just met) say some seriously strange and/or insulting things.
Let me clarify –- I totally understand having questions about bisexuality and sexuality in general and I’m happy to talk about all of them, but this is referring to just the weird and offensive things people have said to me.
Those of you who are guilty (though a lot of you are men at bars who won’t ever see this): please stop. Bisexual people are sometimes seen as a joke –- partially thanks to the flighty/promiscuous bi girl stereotype -– even by other members of the LGBT community. It really sucks to finally be honest with yourself and everyone else while also feeling like you’re not being taken seriously.
Anyway. Here are some of my personal favorites:
1. “When you look in the mirror, do you turn yourself on?”I have no idea how to respond to this. What the hell does that even mean?
2. "So are you and your girlfriend, like, in a monogamous relationship?” Ugh. Yes. Do I seriously need to specify that?
3. “You’ve been dating a girl for three years? So you’re actually just gay.” OHHHHHHH, thank you! I was actually really confused about my sexuality until you explained it to me.
This is what pisses me off the most -- some people have this notion that bisexuality doesn’t exist and that people who come out as bi are just putting off coming out as gay. If you’ve ever come out, you know how hard it is; the fact that people think I’ve planned this epic two-part coming out to ease everyone into me liking girls just doesn’t make sense. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
4. “Oh, you have a girlfriend? So…threesome?” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA NOPE!!!!!!!
5. “You’re dating a girl? That’s weird, because you look like you’d be really good at giving blowjobs.” This was the closest I’ve ever come to punching someone in the face.
6. “What percent gay are you?” Shoot, I’m not sure. Let me check my Big Gay Calculator.
7. “When did you become bi?” Honestly, I was born bi. I’ve always thought both men and women are interesting and attractive and figured it out for sure when I was in sixth grade. It’s something I knew, not something I chose.
8. “You like girls? What a waste.” THANK YOU? *head explodes*
9. “Which one of you is the man in the relationship?” Neither. That’s kind of the point. My girlfriend can restring my guitar and put together an Ikea bookcase in 20 minutes by herself, but that doesn’t make her any less of a woman. It just means she has superpowers.
10. “It’s probably just an experiment.” Huh. Maybe. Or maybe I’m super in love with this girl and we’ve been dating for 3 years (and counting). Please don’t assume it’s a phase just because it’s something different. Trust me, because clearly I trust you enough to talk about this.
On a different note, the best response I got was: “Bisexual? Like David Bowie?” (My mom is amazing.)