Coming Out Day: We Contain Multitudes

The main thing I have learned since enrolling in what Melissa Lusk, in her essay Dungeons and Dragons: A Great Place To Be Queer, terms “The Bisexual Academy” is that there is no one way to be bi+. There are some similarities here and there (for example every single one of us fancied both Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in Thor: Ragnarok), but just like in any other aspect of life, each person’s story is unique. This Coming Out Day, here are some of my favourite stories that bi+ women have shared.

A neon rainbow coloured heart sign glows against a dark wall.
Photo: Jiroe on Unsplash

Why coming out as bisexual was an act of self-love – Eleanor Wilson, Xtra

“I want everyone considering coming out, and everyone who will ever have someone come out to them, to know that it doesn’t have to be fraught. Coming out can be gradual and it can be casual; it can be deeply, purely joyful.”

Full disclosure: this piece was written by Ellie Wilson, my best friend and co-creator of the website you’re reading right now. It weaves a beautiful, gentle, hopeful tale of coming out to yourself and your loved ones in a supportive and loving environment, flipping the common narratives that everyone knows they’re queer from birth and that coming out has to be a painful thing. I read it because she was my friend, not because I was particularly interested in bisexual issues and two years later we run a bi-themed website together which would not exist without her article and the questions it raised for me. Thanks Ellie!

As a Black woman, I don’t know when I’ll feel comfortable coming out as bisexual to my parents – Jasmine Lee-Zogbessou, Metro

“I already tackle not being accepted in certain spaces due to both my gender and race, I don’t particularly want to navigate around my sexuality too… So while I am still finding myself and casually exploring, I’m happy to maintain privacy.”

Jasmine Lee-Zogbessou discusses why she would currently rather not come out to her “very loving, caring parents”, who grew up in cultures where for various reasons queer sexualities are not discussed openly, and why increasing bi visibility – particularly for Black women – is so important.

Not That Kind of Gay: On Being a Bisexual Trans Woman – Mey Rude, them.

“When I first came out as a trans lesbian, I stopped pretending I was a man, and stopped pretending I was straight. I thought I was free to be the queer woman I am. Instead, I got so good at pretending I wasn’t bi that when I thought about liking men, I started to hate myself. Every day that I proudly declare “I’m bisexual” is a fight against that.”

In this illuminating and vulnerable essay, Mey Rude looks at the complexities of the intersection between sexuality and gender identity and how the route to self-acceptance can be long and winding, especially when trying to navigate the impact of internalised homophobia and biphobia.

Coming Out Twice: Being Bisexual and Invisibly Disabled – Zoie Sheets, The Mighty

“These two interlocking parts of who I am inform the ways I interact with the world, how I engage in relationships, and how I view my own self. To erase either of these is to erase a core aspect of my being, a core part of my personhood.”

Zoie Sheets shares her story of having two “invisible” identities – being a bisexual woman in a “straight-passing” relationship and having a disability that is not always visible – and discusses how bi erasure and poor accessibility in queer spaces has a huge impact on the lives of queer disabled people.

Why I still haven’t come out as bisexual – Anonymous, Metro

“You can’t really get into LGBTQ culture until you’re proudly out, and feel free to be seen at gay nights, on Tinder searching for women (I’ve had Tinder chats with women before, but was too scared to commit to an actual IRL date), and flirting it up with people without worrying about being ‘caught out’.“

I include this slightly heartbreaking piece because not being out is a huge part of the bisexual experience. We are less likely to be out than gay and lesbian people, for a wide variety of reasons many of which have their roots in being told over and over again by the media, society and even the LGBTQ+ community that your sexuality simply doesn’t exist. I want to honour this person’s experiences this Coming Out Day and affirm that you never need to come out to be a member of this community.

Adult-Onset Bisexuality and the Passing Dilemma – Gillian Morshedi, Medium

“For the vast majority of my life, I ignored or dismissed or misunderstood truths about my attraction to women sufficiently to not only “pass” as straight to others, but to myself as well.”

See also:

I Was Happily Married When I Realised I Was Bisexual – Haylie Swenson, A Cup Of Jo

I came out as bisexual in mid-life – Julie Cohen, Medium

I Didn’t Come Out As Bisexual Until I Was 34 And Married – Shannon Brugh, SheKnows

I am not and have never been married, but one of the main obstacles I faced when starting to question my sexuality was the voice in my head that telling me, “nobody gets to their late twenties without realising they’re queer, ergo, you’re lying to yourself.” Well, these four articles, among countless others, are here to tell that voice to pipe down with its uninformed and incorrect opinions and just let us live our best grown up baby queer lives.

Happy Coming Out Day!

Author: Jodie Manning

Hello! My pronouns are she/her and I am an enthusiastic opinion-haver, mostly-amateur writer, once-published poet, and the person who makes 99% of the Taylor Swift references on The Phase.

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