Welcome to AH&HL’s third annual guest-post series for Bisexual Awareness Week! The “Bisexuals and their Laptops” series aims to share a diverse set of bisexual stories, histories, and celebrations. This post is by nonbinary bisexual writer, Em (she/they). Read all identity posts.
I remember the very first time I heard of a bisexual person. My mom and I were in the kitchen and she told me about my uncle’s girlfriend’s sister. A bisexual woman who lived the way she wanted, barely told her family the gender of her partner of the moment for family gatherings. It became a kind of an inside joke in this family if I remember well. But what I remember the most is the state of confusion I was left in once my mom had finished her story.
Then I didn’t think much about bisexuality until high school. I was stuck with the binary heterosexual vs. homosexual … I remember how in middle school I didn’t understand the hate against gay people (while using the f-slur, I truly apologize for using it). In middle school, I was just trying to fit in after being bullied for 2 years. I had to fit it to protect myself. I knew only 2 people in the high school I went to, so yes, that means I could begin a totally new version of myself. So what did happen in high school? Well, I’ve met the first (out) bisexual guy of my life. He is one year older than me. He literally changed my life. Also, social media happened; to be more precise, Twitter happened. New friends happened. LGBTQ+ friends happened. I am so grateful for high school and I’ll tell you why.
So, it starts with my bisexual friend, Minou*. We became friends in a heartbeat. We met thanks to a friend we had in common, a very casual meeting. On the same day he told me that he was bi but had a little lean over boys. And what did I answer when he told me this? « That’s so cool ». A bit stupid for many, but for me, it was truly the coolest thing ever. We could be attracted to girls and boys, but we could have a preference too ???!! OMG !!! I’ll always remember this moment. It was so casual to him; it was a bomb for me. Though, sorry to disappoint, but I didn’t really think about it until months later. I had a boyfriend at the time (heterosexual relationship). Why would I question my sexuality when I was in a relationship with a guy who didn’t even make me happy, haha!
Then, as I said, social media came into my life. I created a twitter account to send a DM to Shawn Mendes (no, he never answered but he followed me so it’s not that bad). But my twitter quickly became queer and LGBTQ-friendly. I learned a lot on this social media: definitions, history, movements, intersectionality, etc … But above all, I met queer people. People I could relate to, but I didn’t realize it. They either talked about their LGBTQ problems or just their life. I needed it. I quickly learned a lot about what was about to become my own community.
My first friend in high school came out to my very close friend group as bisexual when she announced us she had a crush on a classmate. My only reaction was that she could have chosen a better crush. Then, the other girl in our small group came out as bisexual. We just laughed because I was the only ”straight” left. We talked quite a lot about it and then I came to the conclusion that I was straight but 1) I should have sex with a girl, just to try, you know, to not die stupid and 2) that maybe one day I’d have a crush on a girl, but that’d be far from now. Yes, I was in complete denial of my own sexuality.
It took me quite a while to realize that no I just didn’t want to have sex with 1 girl, 1 time. I had to change my whole perception of my life. I’ve always been attracted to boys, so I couldn’t be lesbian. Right? But also, (I thought) I’ve never had a crush on a girl, so how could I potentially be bi? It was too soon to have this whole conversation with myself. I needed time. I needed to change the view I had about myself, about my future life, my future partner/family. This was a lot to take in. It took me many sleepless nights to come to the realization that it was ok to be me. It was ok to be bi. It was ok to have a preference for guys. But above all, it was ok for me to hide it a bit until I’d feel comfortable with this revelation, with the realisation of who I truly am.
Then came the moment I couldn’t hide it anymore. I couldn’t keep it for myself any longer. I first came out to my closest friends, for some of them there was no amount of surprise at all, I guessed some were a bit surprised but what matters is that they were all very supportive. My best friend had already come out to me as bisexual (her label changed) so I knew it’d be easy with her. I was really anxious to come out to my mom officially; I was scared that she’d be disappointed or that she didn’t believe me, etc … I wrote a letter to her, left it under her pillow and I went to my dad’s place for the weekend. Her reaction was far better than what I expected. She was (and still is!) so supportive and she told me that it only made me able to open my heart to more people. The hardest part was done. I then came out to more and more people. I officially came out to everyone on March 13th, 2018, at a Harry Styles concert. Everyone there was just so nice to me, people came up to me to thank me for bringing the bi pride flag. Harry smiled at my flag during the show. The amount of love I’ve received this day was unbelievable. I still can’t believe it. From this day, I’ve decided that it was now a fact about me. It was hard for me to come out. I’ve always felt vulnerable while coming out and I don’t like this. I shouldn’t be ashamed or uncomfortable with my own identity.
So I worked a lot on myself. I talked a lot about it to my friends. To twitter. I read a lot about bisexual people too, I needed bisexuality to become a normal thing but it had to be a huge thing before. Working on myself was actually mainly deconstruction of compulsory heterosexuality. I then came to the conclusion that I didn’t have a preference for a gender, I was just scared of girls. I wish it was as easy as this but actually I didn’t feel valid for a very long time. Internalized biphobia showed up. I couldn’t stop asking myself if I was truly attracted to boys meaning that I was actually lesbian, or on the contrary, if I was truly attracted to girls meaning that I was actually straight. It was psycological torture. I pretended to feel valid and confident when I was actually asking myself millions of questions. I became really honest with myself (and everyone) when I said out loud that I have a preference for girls (and non-binary people). But then, once again: wasn’t I lesbian and not bi? How could I be sure? After all, I’ve never had any serious thing going on with a girl! So at the beginning of 2020, I knew that I had a strong preference for women and enby people but I still didn’t feel 100% valid as bisexual, not entirely sure that I was actually bisexual.
As you can see, I use the past tense to talk about it. Like many of us, I had quite a lot of time to think about me, my life, who I am, and so on during the lockdown. So once again I was deep into questioning my identity hence my sexuality. I thought about it very seriously, asked myself different questions, watched bi content on twitter, youtube, and TikTok. I can today say that I am 100% sure that I am bisexual. I am into all genders. I just have a preference for women and non-binary people. I am not attracted to all genders the same way. And this is ok. This is normal. This is valid. This is beautiful. Yes, I am attracted to women. Yes, I am attracted to non-binary people. Yes, I am attracted to men. And I know it’s ok. I am not weird. This isn’t a phase. This is who I am. It took me 3 years to finally feel valid in my own sexuality, I know for some people it can take longer but it was already a lot for me; but today I am at peace with my romantic and sexual orientation, I know this.
I know that I am very lucky to have a supportive mom and supportive friends. But unfortunately, this isn’t everyone’s story. In 16 countries my identity is illegal. In many countries, I would face penalties, fines, torture, and so many awful things. And this feeling of injustice grows into me and I want to fight for my people, for my queer siblings. I got into an association which allowed me to intervene in middle schools and high schools to spread awareness on the LGBTQ community. I believe that this changed my life. I want to dedicate my life, my job to my community. I want to help, I want to make some people’s lives better. I believe in humanity and I hope from the bottom of my heart that I will be able to do it. I’m still hesitating on how to do it : either integrate an already existing NGO/association or to create my own. If everything goes well I will study a gender/sexuality studies degree. Everyday I try to spread awareness on social media and in real life. I read and educate myself as much as I can. I will be involved. I will change things. I know it. It might take time, but I will fight against the LGBTQ-phobic system and I’ll try to improve the life of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of LGBTQ people. I know that no matter what job I’ll have, I’ll spread awareness, education, and love.
At last but not least, I want to talk to my bi fellows: you are valid. Take your time. We have to deconstruct what we were taught. You can have preferences, you can be attracted to all genders the same way. You can doubt, you can change your label as many times as you want. There is no rule. Be yourself. You are valid the way you are, the way you love. No sexuality is superior to another, no sexuality is more valid. We, bisexual people, exist, matter, and deserve love. You included. Take care of yourself.
Be proud, be loud.
*: for personal reasons, I won’t give his real name but he knows damn well who he is.
Em(ma) is a non-binary bisexual student, activist and artist (they try their best at it). They have an unhealthy obsession with Sense8 and the Umbrella Academy. Their only personality trait is that they have 6 tattoos. You can find Em on Twitter and Instagram. If you enjoyed this post, please consider sending them a few dollars on PayPal!