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Embracing the Rainbow—A Year of Discovering My Bisexuality

Celebrating a Year of Self-Acceptance and Continuing to Navigate the Curves of My Sexuality

(Image via Tumblr

This is a recount of my own journey. It is simply to share my personal experiences over the past year. My story will not line up with that of everyone. Remember, you know your own sexuality best and you are unique. I am not claiming to represent anyone. However, I hope perhaps what I have been through will resonate with someone who reads this. If you are struggling with your sexuality and are seeking some support, I have included links to organizations that can help at the end of this article.

Alright, let’s go.

July 20, 2018 marks exactly one year since I first came out. I sat in the passenger seat of a car belonging to one of my best friends. I stumblingly admitted to her how I felt, or, more accurately, I confessed the feelings I could no longer ignore.

The fact was this—I fancied boys, and I also fancied girls. Now, it seems so simple to say that, but 365 days ago it truly didn’t. I’m pretty sure I talked at my friend for a solid fifteen minutes, trying to explain it to her but also make sense of it myself. She listened, she wasn’t shocked, and she was supportive.

Just like that, the closely guarded secret of my bisexuality was now somewhat out in the open, and we went about the rest of our day. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief, as cheesy as that may sound. It was the start of what has been my ‘year of queer’ so to speak—and it’s been quite a ride (metaphorically I mean, if you’ll pardon the expression).

I’m not straight. I’m not a lesbian. I’m bisexual. I’m valid. I exist, and, nope, sorry, I can’t and don’t want to pick a side. I don’t fancy everyone I meet (In fact I crush on very few people anyway), I will never cheat on you, and please stop automatically assuming we’re all into threesomes (some people are and that’s fine, but at least stop asking about it?)

Okay, that’s some of the biphobic stereotypes out of the way. But that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

Yes, for around two years prior to the moment in the car, I’d been very confused about my sexuality. I was in deep denial for a long period of time, a fact I am rather ashamed to admit. I had always been a supportive ally of the LGBTQ+ community—yet, for some reason, when it began to dawn on me that I myself could be, well, not straight, I was filled with a great sense of worry.

Being bisexual makes a lot of sense now that I think about it, and it certainly explains the fixations little me would form on beautiful women I saw on TV as a child. I mean, how else can one explain my obsession with Boogie Pimp’s "Somebody to Love" music video at age four?

But, needless to say, I worried that my sexuality would lead me to be viewed differently than how I was before. I worried that I could be rejected by the people I loved. I even worried about what now seems like stupid things—what if my best friends didn’t want to share a bed with me during sleepovers? What if family members would cut me off? (Well, many of them still don’t know.) I simply wasn’t sure what the outcome would be, and it was frightening.

When I presumed I was straight (as I did for years), I couldn’t really understand why being queer would be an issue. I was incredibly naïve. I assumed that coming out was easy, that people would just accept it, and there wouldn’t really be anything to be concerned about. I was wrong about all of this. I felt scared and lost. Not being certain of your own sexuality can feel very isolating and, above all, I was extremely confused.

I was lucky in so many ways. Many of the fears I have listed above were just that, all in my head. My parents had both told me from an early age that they’d support me no matter what, and, as I have slowly revealed my truth to my friends one by one, they have all been nothing but supportive. I am also incredibly privileged to live in a country where, by and large, being queer is accepted. However, I am all too aware of the prevalence of homophobia in our society. I know that when I travel to certain countries, I will have to hide who I am because it is not accepted. I also know that, should I chose to be in a relationship with a woman, I risk comments and judgment, but all of these issues and more must be addressed in later writings that I hope to complete.

The thing about coming out is that many of your worries revolve around what others will think, which is actually pretty ridiculous when you look it. The fact that we worry about how others will react over the effect of all this on ourselves? Ah, the queer high road. It’s all good fun.

However, when I think about my ‘comings out,’ I remember a story told by the British illusionist Derren Brown when I saw him on stage a few years ago. (If you haven’t seen his work, YouTube him now; he’s a master.) He explained that it took him many years to come out as gay. For him, it seemed like a big deal, as it most likely does to many of us queer folk. But Derren explained how actually when he did tell everyone it was rather anti-climactic. Why? Because people didn’t really care. Not in a horrible way, I hasten to add, but just because it’s often not really so much of a big deal to other people as it seems to yourself. This is something I can certainly sympathize with. Me being bisexual is just another fact about me; it isn’t life altering to anyone really. The world won’t stop spinning. It just is what it is. I guess I’ve been lucky so far that so few people have cared, if that’s understandable.

I was actually reluctant to have a coming out. It’s more been a situation of "well, I’m not coming out—you’re just finding out about it." I guess I just decided that I wanted the people I love the most to know this about me because it started to feel like I was keeping a secret, and that didn’t feel good. It was a personal choice. I don’t care if the rest of the world knows or doesn’t. It’s the business of me and those I chose to tell. If someone were to ask me (and they have), I see no need to lie about who I am. But I wanted those I care about the most to understand.

However, one thing no one told me about coming out is that it doesn’t happen just once and that’s that. It happens many times, and it will keep happening, hence my reference to ‘comings out.’ I will have to tell everyone I date about my sexuality, for example. Which is why for me, I say telling people I’m bisexual is simply that—more a letting people know than a coming out, because that’s all I want it to be.

Ah, fun fact: I actually revealed my sexuality to a group of around 1000 strangers at a TV recording before I’d even told my parents. (Sorry mum and dad.) I went to a recording of the comedy show Live from the BBC with a friend and ended up being the subject of a mass game of human tinder with the host and entire audience (your standard Saturday night, I know). The idea was to find me a date. It was great fun, and I took it in my stride. (But no, I didn’t actually get to go out with anyone as a result of this endeavor, as you can well understand; it wasn’t serious.) The host had to ask me my sexuality in order for the game to work, and, after smiling to myself and biting my tongue, I proudly said, "I’m bi." I didn’t mind that a group of strangers now knew, little did any of them know what a big deal it was to me—but it felt fantastic to say it out loud.

I moved to London in September 2017 for university and since then I’ve met people just like me. I’ve downed suggestively named cocktails (The I-Bone Charger pitcher at G-A-Y in Soho is a favourite of mine) and danced the night away in gay clubs. I’ve met my ‘homos’ as we call ourselves. I’ve proudly told people of my queerness—many times after a glass or two of something alcoholic, I must confess. And yes, I’ve formed a few fleeting crushes on handsome boys and pretty girls.

I also want to shout out Stephanie Beatriz, who’s bisexual storyline involving Rosa on Brooklyn Nine-Nine made me sob, and who is a bisexual icon and a definite crush of mine (also Melissa Fumero and Andy Samberg, if we’re listing actors on this show that I fancy). Also Scarlett Johannson, Zoe Saldana, Jaime Alexander, Hayley Atwell and Cobie Smolders for practically causing thirteen year old me to have a sexuality crisis in the first place. And, my current crushes: Daisy Ridley, Brie Larson, and Tessa Thompson for also contributing to this. Come to think of it, looking at that list, a lot of this is mostly Marvel’s fault. Everyone in those films is just hopelessly attractive.

Don’t be mistaken. I also have many unattainable male actor crushes (Yes, particularly looking at you, Tom Hiddleston.) But, I’m mainly just going to big up the girls here because I’ve kept quiet about them for long enough.

The previous two paragraphs are slightly embarrassing, but it’s true—I discovered my sexuality largely because of the concerning number of ‘girl crushes’ I had on famous women. But then I noticed that the feelings I had for the women were the same feelings I also had for the men and suddenly—hello bisexuality. Also, admitting to my crushes on public figures is easy, but my crushes on real people in my actual life? Some secrets have to stay secret.

So there we have it, a brief-ish, messy roundup of my story. My main thank you goes to the people who have made it easy for me to be me, for listening to my ramblings. Overall, my experience has been a positive one. It’s been difficult at times and I expect that it will continue to be. But I count myself as blessed to have a strong support network and that I am in a safe environment to express myself. It isn’t so plain-sailing for others, and I wish I could comfort anyone out there who is in a similar situation but feels alone. I hope to eventually be able to better help in some way, someday, because you should be proud of you.

I can’t wait to continue learning and to wave my pink, purple and blue flag in the sky. And, possibly, when I decide to put an end to my 'chosen' life of independence, I may actually find myself a beautiful boy or girl (should any of them want to subject themselves to this hot mess) to dance and discuss the universe with.

But, until then, more Shakespeare plays and marathoning Queer Eye on Netflix. I love those boys, both Wills and the Fab 5, of course.

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