For Bisexual Awareness Week, I have a series of guest posts scheduled every day leading up to 5 posts for today (Sept 23rd). Buckle up for some bi visibility! This post by Lexi N reflects on her budding bisexuality from a young age. (Read all posts in the series here.)
I feel like I both realized and mostly accepted that I was bi pretty early, probably mid to late middle school or so. I’m not sure when exactly I was introduced to the actual concept of bisexuality but I knew I was attracted to women before I knew what being bisexual meant. For me, it was an easy enough conclusion to get to when I liked to kiss my girl friends because they looked nice and I had crushes on them and it was fun and felt good. Just as good as when I kissed boys.
I kissed my first “boyfriend” in the hall of my elementary school on the very last day of fifth grade. It was corny and fast and I remember closing my eyes really hard before I kissed him, right up against the lockers with our faces pressed together with what was likely way too much force. After that experience, I kissed a lot of people simply because I liked doing it and it wasn’t too hard to get a lot of practice. It was easy and enjoyable and I kissed a lot of different boys throughout the eight combined years of middle school and high school. But kissing my friends that were girls was a little different. I know a relatively common young adult girl narrative is kissing your girl friends for practice, but my friends and I kissed just to kind of prove that we could.
I’ve been a little in love with every woman I’ve ever been friends with, and being a sixteen year old with cute friends just meant that I was kissing a lot of them too. By kissing each other and not making a big deal out of it, we kind of made a big deal out of it, which looking back is both sweet and slightly embarrassing. I kissed one of my best friends the summer of seventh grade while in her room doing something silly that I no longer remember clearly. She lived in my neighborhood and we had spent nights recreating music videos of Katy Perry’s Hot and Cold.
I wasn’t nervous like I was in the hallway on the last day of fifth grade, next to lockers that are now so, so small whenever I go back to my elementary school. It was easy and nerveless and I liked it almost more so for it being something that didn’t bring with it the anxiety of kissing and dating boys. Kissing my girl friends was something I did increasingly throughout middle school and high school, sometimes quietly and for no reason when we were just hanging out, just because we could, and sometimes in front of groups of friends.
For a few years, I definitely wielded my bisexuality as a way to be more attractive to guys. I have vivid memories of pool parties in early high school, where ten or fifteen of us at a time would sit around in pools and hot tubs and dare each other to do dumb weird shit. A lot of the times it was kissing other people at these parties, guys daring us to kiss them or each other. I was never quiet about my bisexuality and I used my willingness to kiss my girl friends as a way to show guys I was cool and carefree and thought other women were attractive. As a way to be more appealing by playing into how sexualized women liking women has always been and still is to straight men. It was almost disgustingly easy to do because I found my friends attractive and I liked kissing them, and it wasn’t really anything I wasn’t already doing.
Yet kissing in front of groups of boys had a different and more potent social effect than kissing goodbye on our own or kissing a little for fun in our bed rooms. There’s a lot tied up into all of this–being a young girl and wanting to feel wanted by anyone at all, wielding my bisexuality as an almost performative thing, and using aspects of my identity to feel attractive to the gross teenage boys in my life who wouldn’t matter in a few years. I still feel a little weird and wildly embarrassed about how I sometimes talked about my own bisexuality as a teenager (god that makes me feel so old). But as I got older, I also got far more confident in liking who I liked simply because I liked them. That aspect of being perceived by others for liking women in particular felt important in middle school and high school, but doesn’t feel as important now. Probably because most if not all my friends are LGBTQ+ and I’m a lot more solidified in who I am as a person. Now I both know myself and how I feel about this part of who I am, and how I feel is mostly pretty damn good.
Once I knew that identifying as bi was an option I was allowed to have, I was all in. It’s nice to have a label that feels good and right and I’ve been comfortable with calling myself bi for about ten years now. In the last few years, I’ve dabbled with the idea of pansexuality, especially in regards to the discourse around gender identity and transphobia that kind of comes with it. I very vehemently believe in there being more than two genders and if I was single, would be very open to being with someone who is trans. For me personally, being bi kind of centers more on being attracted to more genders than just the opposite one (the two in bi being the gender I identify with and genders that aren’t mine) rather than focusing on just being into both men and women.
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