Coming Out: My Story

Yes, I know this type of thing is pretty played out, but since Pride Month is coming to a close, I figured go big or go home. So I’m gonna do something I honestly should have done a long time ago, tell you my coming out story (in full detail).

It should be no secret to anyone who reads my blog that I am bisexual. I’ve done a few posts about it, and it’s not something that I enjoy hiding about myself. But, If I had started this blog three years ago, I would have never written about it. The short version of the story is that I came out on October 11, 2012. But I promised the long version of the story, so here it is.

For a long time, I knew I liked boys. I had little crushes on guy friends in elementary school, that would eventually turn into full-blown boy craziness in middle school. It was my feelings for girls that threw me for a loop.

I realized I might be attracted to girls when I was about 10 or 11, and I saw the movie Josie and the Pussycats for the first time. Josie gave me butterflies in my stomach, especially when she sang, and I had no idea why. And, of course, as I said before, I got the same butterflies when I watched Coyote Ugly a short time after.  Of course, I quickly became confused. I’d tell myself that I must be gay, and have the same thought that there was no way that I was gay, because I liked boys so much. And it didn’t help that I was a somewhat sheltered (no offense, Mom and Dad) 12 year old at the time.

So, I did what I do best, and I started researching sexuality. I pored over every book I could find on the subject, I Googled before Googling was a  verb. This was also around the time I started noticing a trend around my middle school. Girls were kissing other girls. It was happening in alarming volume, and I knew from my research that it was a statistical impossibility that all those girls were gay. So, after I caught a couple of girls I vaguely knew kissing, I asked them why they were doing it. (yes, it was awkward)

“We’re bi.” They said, with utter confidence

“What does that mean?” They giggled at how naive I was about the subject, but told me anyway.

“Duh, it means you like to kiss girls and boys, it’s like gay but cooler.”

I was confused, because from a lot of what I’d heard, it certainly wasn’t cool to be gay. I’d heard enough “That’s so gay” and “What are you, gay?” from the boys, and girls, at school, to know they didn’t find it cool at all.

“Why is being bi cool?” I asked. The girls went into another fit of giggles (this is only slightly exaggerated).

“Cuz’ guys like to see girls kiss each other.”

That night I looked up the word “Bi” on the internet, and got the predictable results (bicycles, bifocals, etc.). but what stood out to me immediately was “Bisexual”. I read a whole article on how it was a trendy thing for girls to say, but nothing about whether it was an actual orientation. Sadly, my Google-fu was weak in those days. so I put it out of my mind for two years.

And it wasn’t that hard. I’d had crushes on guys steadily after that point, but never really on girls. I’d even started dating one of my best friends. And then I played a game of truth or dare.

It was the usual thing, there were tame dares, and risky ones, and I never knew which I’d get, so I kept picking “truth”. unfortunately my mischievous BFF, T had other plans.

“Have you ever kissed a girl?” she asked.

“No.” I wondered why she would pick that particular question, and we moved on. When it came to my turn, and I picked truth, once again, she asked another, equally weird question.

“Have you ever liked a girl?”

“Do celebrities count?” she gave a nod and I immediately felt myself turn every shade of red imaginable. My boyfriend was there as well and (of course) he was curious about my answer.

“Yes.” I said, without another word.

“Who?” I shook my head, insisting that someone else take a turn. She relented, but I knew that she would have that same question coming.

“Dare.” I said at my turn. T looked surprised but she smiled. And I swear, I did that “gulp” like they do on TV. she had a true dare up her sleeve, and I had a feeling what it was.

“I dare you to kiss her. ” she pointed at the girl next to me. One of the girls who claimed to be bi in middle school, but I didn’t know if she really was. So I kissed her, I had to.

Fast forward about half a year, and I found myself walking with T, preparing to tell her what I haven’t told anyone.

“I think I’m bi.” I said. she just smiled.

“I know.”

That was the first time  came out to anyone. The next day I told a few other friends. But there was one friend who I shouldn’t have told, because after I told her, she informed the whole crowd that surrounded us, loudly, and pointed straight at me.

I was mortified, so I ran.

Another half a year went by, and I was still with my boyfriend, but I also had a crush on a close female friend. I told my boyfriend about it, over the phone. He suggested I start a relationship with her, while still being with him. I hated the idea, I knew it would be a disaster but I did it anyway.

Three months and one breakup later, I had a girlfriend. The relationship with her lasted almost ten months, and it ended in a very messy, very public way.

For the net few years I dated a few guys, kissed a fair share of girls, and hid who I really was from my parents. Finally, on October 11th, 2012, I saw a message on Facebook saying that it was national coming out day. I decide I was sick of hiding. But, my parents were in Monterey. So I came out via Facebook status.

I apologized to my mother, in advance, in the status update. A few of my friends commented, but I got no calls or messages from my parents. As it turned out, they hadn’t checked their Facebook pages for the entire day. I asked them to look, and finally they saw.

My mom told me the only problem was that I didn’t tell her in person, and my dad didn’t really say much at all.

There you have it, my coming out story (stories, technically).

It may not be as tumultuous, or as dramatic as some other stories, but it took a lot of courage, and a lot of heartache, for me to even attempt to acknowledge my sexuality. And it’s the same for most people like me.

I’m lucky enough to have parents that support me through times like this, and I know that not everyone has that. And as anticlimactic as I make my coming out sound, it had me in state of anxiety I haven’t experienced since. Of course it felt good to finally get it off my shoulders, but it terrified me. And, as it turned out I didn’t have a reason to be scared.

My heart goes out to those who had a difficult time with coming out, and those who weren’t nearly as supported and accepted as I was. It makes me unbelievably angry to know that there are parents and families who disown their own flesh and blood for their sexuality. Sometimes, the cruelty of others astounds me.

As for any parents who might be reading this. If your child comes out to you, they aren’t expecting you to lead a pride parade for them, they just want to know that you love them unconditionally. So, despite any issue you may have with anything to do with LGBT awareness and rights, just give your child your attention, and let them know that you love them.

Happy Pride month.

 

 

Guess What Day It Is

No, it’s not hump day. Sorry, no camel for you.

It’s Pride day! Throughout the day I will post updates on the festivities, and maybe include a few pictures and videos (don’t hold me to that.)

I’m just excited it has finally arrived. I’m getting ready to have an awesome day, and this short post is just the beginning.

Pride revisited

Sacramento Pride is exactly 7 days away, and I’m ridiculously excited. But it makes me think, why do we celebrate?

Why do people of the gay community flock to pride, enduring the crowds, the noise, and the heat of June? The answer is simple, community.

We long to find people who are similar to us, whether it’s in sexual orientation or just the same television shows. We love being around people who are like ourselves. When I go to pride, I’m not the awkward girl who likes to stay in the back, I’m accepted.

I dance to music I don’t even like, I talk to people who, on the street, I would pass without a second glance. I thrive in the crowd while I would normally feel my mouth go dry. I love the attention I get from other people. But, most importantly, I feel like I belong, like I’m actually being myself instead of hiding myself from everyone.

I recently went to a comic convention as a volunteer, and I had the same feeling. I was able to act like myself without fear of judgement, and I actually felt confident. On my day off I even went to a few panels and I actually talked to James Marsters. My legs were shaking, and I had to stand on tiptoe to reach the microphone. Bu,t when my voice came out, it was strong, I spoke without a stutter, without a shake, and i felt confident. Once again, it was because i felt like myself.

When I’m at a convention, no one gives me a blank stare when I talk for way too long about Harry Potter. And when I’m at Pride, no one rolls their eyes when I mention gay marriage, and no one laughs at my dance moves (even though they probably should). I’m accepted for who I am and it’s exhilarating. I become social, my anxiety disappears, and I can speak with total confidence.

The hypocrisy of the LGBT community

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Disclaimer:  I am not, in any way, homophobic. I support the efforts of the LGBT community to gain equality and recognition. Now, onto the post.

I’m warning you now, this is going to be a deeply personal post. More personal than anything I’ve written here before. I’ll just start simple and throw myself in headfirst.

I am bisexual.

Okay. The easiest part is done. Now I’m going to talk about bisexual erasure.

What is Bisexual Erasure? Well, basically, it’s the tendency that media has to ignore, remove, or deny the existence of bisexuals in a work. You’ll usually see this in an adaption; where a character in the source material will have relationships with people of both sexes, but the adaptation focuses only on the relationship they have with one sex. Most of the time, this sort of thing will be done in a work that caters to a heterosexual audience. This is “justified” by the thought that heterosexuals (usually of the white male variety) won’t be able to identify with a character who is attracted to both sexes. But, that’s a different post.

I’m talking about works catering to an LGBT audience. This makes a lot less sense, after all, the in LGBT stands for bisexual. The best example of this I can think of is Glee. Yes, Glee does have a bisexual character in Brittany S. Pierce. But it’s the way she’s portrayed that is the issue.

Brittany has slept with nearly everyone at McKinley High (by her own admission), and for a while she was involved with Santana, a lesbian character, whom she eventually dumps in favor of a man. I know what you’re thinking “Well, they aren’t denying the existence of bisexuals.” No, in essence, they aren’t. But all of the things I mentioned above are a result of her bisexuality, and are also stereotypical complaints about bisexual people. Brittany can’t make up her mind, and as a result causes Santana emotional distress.

Santana is portrayed as a far more sympathetic character; she is more well rounded and has, overall, a more interesting story arc.

If that example isn’t a good enough illustration of the concept, there is a much more blatant one.

In the season 2 episode “Blame it on the Alcohol”  Blaine (Kurt’s boyfriend) shares a drunken kiss with Rachel during a game of spin the bottle. This causes him to question his sexuality and wonder if he could possibly be bisexual. By the end of the episode, he realizes that his doubts were unfounded. What struck me most about the episode was Kurt’s attitude toward the whole situation. Naturally, he harbors some jealousy over the kiss, and feels as though Blaine might abandon him. However, when Blaine comes to him for advice, Kurt balks:

“Bisexual is a term that gay guys in high school use when they want to hold hands with girls and feel like a normal person for a change.”

When I heard this, I couldn’t believe my ears. Glee is a show that claims to be “all-inclusive” but, at the same time, has the character based heavily on Ryan Murphy himself say something like this. And it’s clear from the way the episode handles the situation that Kurt is supposed to be in the right for saying it. The idea that male bisexuality doesn’t exist is, for lack of a better term, bullshit. This is an example of bisexual erasure at its worst.

And Glee isn’t the only show that did this. The explosively popular Showtime show The L Word did it too, starting with three bisexual characters in its main cast and ending with a whopping zero. They also mad a running joke out of bisexuality as a whole on the show, with characters in early seasons telling the bisexual Alice to “make up her mind”. Guess what? She does, and eventually speaks of her experience identifying as bisexual with disdain.

That (extremely long) segue, brings me to my main point. Bisexual erasure, and outright biphobia, in LGBT works is pure hypocrisy. Again, the B in LGBT stands for bisexual. Yet, still to this day, bisexuals are misunderstood an antagonized by the very people who should respect them as equals. It is only whenever someone outside of the LGBT community attacks bisexuality that they do anything about it. Otherwise, they themselves refer to bisexuals (male and female) as “fence-sitters”, indecisive and selfish.

This kind of hypocrisy is what makes me wary of getting involved in the LGBT “community”.