Hi, I’m Bi
Hello readers! It’s me, Jordan. You know me, I’ve been the one writing around 45% of the posts in this blogging project. But one thing you might not know about me is that I’m bisexual. Yes, I’m BISEXUAL!!! And, yes, this is a coming out piece. Fucking hooray! So, to me, being bisexual means that I am ‘attracted — romantically and/or sexually — to people of more than one sex and/or gender.’* Despite what I thought was a superhuman level of self-awareness, I have only come to explore and accept this part of my identity within the last year. I suppose you could say, 2019 has been a BIG year for me.
My bisexuality wasn’t something that I was knowingly or purposefully stifling, at least in my current recollection. I don’t have any explicit memories of having crushes on girls or praying the gay away. Being interested in girls didn’t even seem possible because of my uber conservative Christian upbringing. And since I knew I liked boys, and could focus most of my romantic and sexual energy towards Leonardo DiCaprio, it was easier to dismiss any non-hetero feelings; unlike the countless heartbreaking stories I’ve heard from friends who knew they were different from the get go and spent their childhood fearing their seemingly inevitable condemnation to Hell. Internalized homophobia unconsciously prevented any possibility of self-awareness, let alone exploration or expression.
However, that shifted as I went away to college. I was still in a very conservative environment at a Christian college (yes, don’t worry, I will write about this more in the future) but I became passionately involved in LGBTQ activism on campus and my friend group became more diverse. I no longer believed that minority sexualities were ‘sinful’ or ‘not how God intended’ but I started internalizing some new narratives about sexuality that may have further hindered my self-discovery. Within the community that I was newly an ally to, I began to glean the importance of the wide gap between gay and straight. It became a binary in my head so much so that the BTQ nearly became invisible. I learned narratives that claimed bisexual men are actually just gay and bisexual women are just sluts who will leave their lesbian girlfriends for a man. If there was just gay or straight and I knew I liked men, then I had to be straight. That was the only option.
As college went on I took a few classes related to gender and sexuality. And acting like I was a sociology major, I’d go on to spout sayings like ‘sexuality is spectrum’ and ‘a majority of the population isn’t 100% straight or 100% gay.’ This rang true for me on a deeper level but I kept it very theoretical. It was an easy explanation for this unknown part of my identity I never really even knew I had to deal with. ‘Sexuality in general is fluid, that’s why mine is…everyone is like this too. Cool.’ By making my fluid sexuality so theoretical, it seemed utterly unnecessary to actively do anything about it. Which protected me from having to upend so many aspects of my life.
That’s pretty much how I lived up until this year. Stray thoughts and fantasies here and there. But I hadn’t done much dating and would dream/drool over Harry Styles constantly. I HAD to be straight (we need to question my logic there…I would argue now that my Harry Styles obsession is actually just further evidence of my queerness). Bisexuality legit seemed like it had its own invisibility cloak in my eyes from the combination of the internalized homophobia of my childhood and the bi-erasure and phobia in secular culture and the queer community.
Then in January of this year I watched The Bisexual, a television series written and directed by Desiree Akhavan, a bisexual Iranian-American woman. It is a classic move of mine, to blame a significant life-changing realization on a television show (I still claim Buffy made me a feminist). But let me tell you, this show just bombed the shit out of my conception of self. It artfully portrays bi-phobia and bi-erasure in the hetero-world and in the gay community along with how easy it can be to suppress bisexuality within oneself. I began to make my way down the rabbit hole of a question, ‘If this is a part of me — this being fluidity, pansexuality, bisexuality, etc. — then do I owe it to myself to explore it?’ As you can probably tell from the fact that I’m writing this, the answer ended up being yes.
I still had no clue what I felt comfortable identifying as or if I would even want to settle on an identity. But FINALLY I knew I wasn’t straight. I opened up my dating apps to men, women, non-binary and trans folk. I realized my feelings towards Rihanna were not merely those of envy or admiration. I began to listen to King Princess, discovering the glory of the song ‘Pussy is God.’ And in March I went on my first date with a girl. FYI, with queer girls it always ends up being brunch. Why is it always brunch?
Most of my friends were clued in on the general process throughout but I struggled with the idea of labels or coming out. And even more with the idea of officially entering the queer community. I had for so long been an ally that it seemed almost appropriative. If I hadn’t been with a woman yet then it would be like I was claiming something that wasn’t mine. Which was definitely problematic thinking. But then I met Elle** and all my anxiety-ridden thought circles on my validity just kind of stopped. Elle was pretty and funny and tall and super weird and flirtatious. Our first date (yes, brunch again) was like cuteness-overload. And on our second date, she kissed me in the rain under a small black umbrella and it felt like I might levitate. We soon became girlfriends and were together for a majority of the summer.
While dating Elle gave me a new clarity, it also brought about some unanticipated struggle. One of my closest friends wasn’t quite where I thought she was theologically when it came to gay relationships. It caused a temporary rift in our friendship which caused a lot of insecurity in regard to my personal faith and telling my family. I started feeling paranoid about telling my dad and worried about how/when my brothers and sisters-in-law should find out. But, as can be expected, those concerns just made me feel more solid in my bisexual identity which I began to claim more openly; relishing in the moments where I’d reference Elle as ‘my girlfriend.’
As summer ended, Elle broke up with me and it wasn’t done in the most tactful way. You can read more about that here and here. It was hard. It was my first break up and it had this other significance to it that felt so weighty. Yet as I sat there, heart broken and doing something I never in my life pictured doing: listening to Taylor Swift songs crying my eyes out over a girl, I felt strangely empowered. Like I suddenly realized, ‘Hey, this is bisexual af.’ I came out to my mom. I came out to my dad. I became far more comfortable referring to my sexuality in everyday conversations and just generally really started loving this aspect of my complex identity.
Despite my next-level acceptance of my sexuality, I’ve found it difficult navigating this larger dating pool. After going through a break up that felt like being drop-kicked by someone who explicitly told you they wouldn’t drop-kick you, I’m finding it a little difficult to trust people and my instincts about them. I always knew I could get rejected by men, it was expected. But then suddenly I could get rejected by women and it could hurt just as bad or worse. So, now, as a bisexual woman on Tinder I can get rejected by men and women and trans or non-binary individuals and couples looking for threesomes and people in ethically non-monogamous relationships and polyamorous people (side note: I have absolutely nothing against open relationships or poly people but I had no idea there would be soooo many). It’s scary and it is just really, really hard to connect with other human beings.
It’s hard out here for a pimp/bitch i.e. those seeking some form of acceptance and/or intimacy. Like I had a guy stick his finger in my mouth when we were in public. And there was this girl who made out with me then a week later invited me over to her house for another date only to never give me her address and ghost me completely. And, most recently, I had begun to really like this girl I had been texting for around two months. We had a great date but she was being avoidant about scheduling a second. Obviously it made me feel a little insecure but it turns out she was only starting to explore her queerness and was just not ready to take the plunge. And I don’t blame her. This is complicated stuff and messy. Some people are careless and some are careful. But people get hurt either way and I’m still trying to understand why we keep putting ourselves through it.
Sometimes I miss how simple love and sex and relationships seemed to be throughout my teens and early twenties. But before long I realize it never was simple, not really. Those things weren’t ever how they appeared to me to be. They were always this complicated. The only reason I didn’t see those complications around me is because so many people live out their whole lives terrified to explore the fullness of themselves and those around them. I don’t want to do that. I choose to acknowledge my true sexual identity and to continue attempting to connect with others. I can put up with the complications and the pain and the heartbreak so that when I do find various forms of intimacy and/or deep love throughout my lifetime, it will be electric and authentic whether it be with a man, woman, trans man, trans woman, non-binary person, or otherwise.
* Activist Robyn Ochs defines bisexuality as “the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”
Enjoy my bi culture themed playlist:
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