“I am Out,” Anonymous
The first time I remember someone questioning my sexuality, I was in early high school. Friends would swear that I was a lesbian because I never really had crushes, and boys that I did have crushes on (including the ones I dated) didn't appear very masculine. The first time I was asked, I was so confused, but I knew that having someone think of me that way upset my stomach. I didn't feel sick, but I was really confused. I'd had crushes on boys, and they knew that. Why would I be into girls? I was a girl. I was quick to deny them, but it didn't relieve that feeling in my stomach. If anything, it made my stomach hurt even more.
I had one boyfriend in middle school, and one in high school. I wasn't attracted to any of the other boys in my classes. That weird feeling in my stomach didn't go away, often coming back when I was in the locker room at my school. I found myself looking at the other girls as I helped them get the pesky locks on the bathroom locks open. It made me uncomfortable in my own, larger body, but I didn’t turn away out of that. If anything, I only turned away because I was afraid of getting caught. What would I say if these beautiful girls caught me looking at them? I didn’t know, and I didn’t want to find out.
I was always a kid who supported LGBTQIA+ people. My parents had views on it that I didn’t quite understand, but I always just saw them as loving differently than other people did. Who was I to judge that if it didn’t hurt me? Who was anyone else to judge that?
I got older, and I got more confused. I was in love with a boy who didn’t love me back, but I didn’t have a hard time seeing myself with a girl. What did that mean?
It was around this time that the Pulse shooting happened in Orlando. I’d inexplicably woken up in the middle of the night in my dad’s apartment, and got up to get some water. It was a one bedroom apartment, and my dad had transformed the living room into a half-bedroom, half-living room. He’d fallen asleep with the TV on, and I could see people being carried out for medical care, people crying watching this happen, the whole thing, in real time. I woke my dad up and we sat, watching the footage in the dark, and wondering how someone could be so hateful. It wasn’t until I was back in my bed, what felt like forever later, that I curled in on myself and cried.
It wasn’t until college that I realized that something was off, and I realized that I was attracted to girls. But I was attracted to boys, too. That was somehow more confusing than just liking one or the other. I struggled with the idea that I wasn’t straight because that’s what everyone expected of me. So I kept it to myself, internalized it and buried it in a deep part of me where no one would be able to find it.
My second year of college, I went to a shadow cast of Rocky Horror Picture Show with some friends for my birthday, and they did a burlesque number as part of the pre-show. I couldn’t look away from the girls dancing, and that familiar feeling returned to my stomach. I leaned close to one of the girls, who identifies as pansexual, and whispered, “And I was questioning my sexuality before I got here.” She laughed, reasonably thinking that I was kidding. But I wasn’t. That night, when the MC went through their line about getting offended at the show, “If you’re gay, we’ve probably already offended you. If you’re straight, we’ll offend you shortly. If you’re bisexual, you’re just plain greedy,” that feeling was back in my stomach. And it didn’t go away. But I sat through and enjoyed the show.
The next morning, I texted her and told her that I wasn’t kidding. “I think I’m bisexual,” I said.
But I knew.
I came out to my mom and a lot of my friends that same day. I made the mistake of telling my mom while she was driving, and she automatically braked in the middle of the neighborhood, asking me to repeat myself. I didn’t cry, but she did. I only cried telling one of my best friends, who immediately accepted it.
The only person I wanted to tell but didn’t was my dad. He was the old-fashioned parent, the one who still insulted people by calling them faggots and dykes, who taught my brother not to cry because if he did he would become a faggot.
That was almost a year and a half ago now. My mom took a few weeks to come around, but she did, and she’s doing her best. I’m so passionate about the LGBTQ+ that I started doing my honors thesis on coming out stories in young adult literature. My dad was a little confused when I told him about it over the phone, seemingly a little off-put, but I had the feeling that he didn’t suspect anything. So I left it at that.
A few weeks ago, my dad came by to tell my brother and I some news that he’d been keeping from us, and I knew deep down that I had to tell him. That feeling was back in my stomach, and I knew that if I didn’t tell him then, then I never would.
So I did. In the back seat of my dad’s car in front of my dad’s house, I came out. I cried so hard I could barely speak at times, but I explained that I’m attracted to both boys and girls. “I’m bisexual,” I said. “I’ve wanted to tell you for more than a year now, but I didn’t want you to hate me.”
It was the bravest thing I’ve ever done, and even thinking about that moment is enough to make me cry. My dad was quiet for a bit before he said, “I bet you’re relieved that you told me,” and went on to say that this is who I am, that he couldn’t ever try to change that part of me. That made me cry even harder. I’d come out to everyone I’d wanted to come out to, and I’d kept both of my parents.
So here I am, saying it again, I am bisexual, and I am proud. I am bisexual, and I am not greedy. My capacity of love just spreads further than it does for most, and that could never be something greedy. I am bisexual, I am out, and I am proud.