I am bisexual and I am proud of it.
I shout it from the rooftops, of both the virtual and literal kind as I did one night at a rooftop Manhattan lounge after having one too many glasses of wine with my girlfriends.
I openly discuss my attraction to women, men, and non-binary individuals, celebrities and noncelebrities alike. I am more than happy to discuss navigating life as a queer individual with anyone who asks, barring that I am performing emotional labor for those who refuse to understand the long-standing struggles of the LGBTQ+ community. I have explored my sexuality, kissed many girls and boys, had many sleepovers as amazing queer artist, Hayley Kiyoko, sang about, and feel no shame about the wonderful partners (and less than stellar ones) that journey has led me to.
However, the embrace of my sexuality was not always this open, honest, and transparent. Instead, it was something that was wrapped in shame, guilt, secrecy, and longing to be “normal.” It was something that I snuck into the back of my mind but always ended up bubbling to the surface at inopportune times. It would reveal itself when I would longingly look at the popular girl in my Study Skills class in high school, her long, flowing brown hair, and deep-set brown eyes captivating me for only a few seconds or so, resulting in fellow students, some of whom I called friends at the time, mocking it, and calling me a lesbian. It would come out in having to keep to myself. My relationship with my first boyfriend, who was queer, my burgeoning feelings for the first girl I truly liked when I was 18, questions about sex with the same gender (and sex in general), having feelings for boys as strongly as I do girls and how these seemingly conflicting, confusing feelings inform who I am. I was met with condemnation of both the religious and just plain cruel nature upon discovery of these thoughts.
My mom would think it was a phase and that my LGBTQ+ friends were brainwashing me and making me into this open, hyper-sexual person when I was really a girl just trying to figure herself out. My grandparents swore I was going to hell, wanted to drag me to church, and put out “the demon that’s making you think this way.” The other side of my family was in denial. The only family member to ever accept me and make me feel normal was my dad. Despite this, it was something that scared me, something I had learned to be sneaky, secretive and guarded of, and something that I would never admit to anyone for a very long time.
Eventually, as the adage goes, I had grown to be as sick as my secrets. I had denied my identity and feelings to anyone and everyone, developed an eating disorder, stayed away from relationships I wanted to have with potential same-sex partners, and engaged in casual sex with partners I had no attachment to in order to fill the void. I grew tired of the betrayal to myself, the omission I had to engage in, and the devastating effects it had on my mental health. After much wringing of my hands, my mind, and my heart, I had decided to give myself a coming out day on Facebook during the national coming out day of October 2018.
Just as my sexuality had surfaced in bits and pieces throughout my life, so did my coming out. After college, I had told a few trustworthy friends and an ex-boyfriend in bits and pieces, that I was bisexual, all of whom were nothing but loving, accepting, and definitely had not thought there was something wrong with me. I had saved the whole story for my dad, who I told that I was sure I was not only bisexual but was attracted to those outside of the gender binary as well. I said that I looked for good, beautiful people with gender not being a focal point of attraction. He said that he always wanted me to be happy in life, find love with whoever made me happy, and that he was always proud of me and loved me who I was. His love and acceptance ultimately empowered me to live authentically, to throw away what one side of my family had told me, and to fully embrace my identity.
After the exchange with my dad, I had posted a status to Facebook stating my sexuality and the road to acceptance of myself on the coming-out day of October 2018. Instead of the criticism I was afraid of I had gotten comments and messages of love, acceptance, cheers, and virtual hugs from the hundreds of people who read it. I felt liberated, loved, free, and ready to embrace everything that came with this new chapter of my life.
Establishing my identity as a queer woman has been a long journey with its fair share of ups and downs, but I’m proud to say that I’m a bisexual woman. I’m proud to have all the wonderful support I do.
I’m ready to talk about it on a rooftop or ground floor, preferably with some red wine.