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“I am open about my sexuality.”
I’d like to say that.
But, the truth is that like a lot of other members of the LGBTQ+ community, I’m still terrified at times.
In my 30s, I thought I made my peace, and I am at ease with who I am, but honestly, I still sometimes tremble when I have to “come out” to someone new. My heart beats in my throat, my face turns hard and devoid of any emotions, and arrogance becomes my shield.
I grew up in a religious home, and at times, this was a comfort. Other times, this added to my dread and self-loathing, preventing me from doing the introspection that so desperately needed to be done.
I first fell in love with a girl when I was 18.
She was openly gay, and I was terrified. I convinced myself that I was just curious and that everyone goes through this, surely.
But, I loved everything about her: her smile, the way she looked at me, the kisses that left me breathless. I was in love, and I was petrified.
This wasn’t part of “the plan,” and so, it needed to end.
Some years and some relationships later, I managed to convince myself and others that it definitely was just a phase.
Save for a crush on Ellen DeGeneres (and a few other female celebrities), my infatuation with women seemed contained—controlled even. I had met many amazing people in the LGBTQ+ family and quickly had unbreakable friendships.
Yet, I was constantly faced with what I wasn’t facing in my own life—people being brave enough to own who they are. That was, at least, until I met someone that shook my self-made boundaries.
She quickly absorbed my thoughts in a way nobody had done before, and I knew I no longer could hide. I didn’t want to. I wanted to be able to openly love whomever I wanted to love.
And I did love her, hard.
I came out to my family as bisexual, and even though they might not have been as ecstatic as I was, I was consumed and couldn’t be sidetracked by the adversity of it.
I felt wonderful and liberated, but the war was not yet won. As love stories go, they sometimes come to a crushing end. And I was crushed.
Sometime later, I met a man and quickly realised the word “bisexual” sometimes carries more judgement on its back than most other words combined.
Suddenly, I was called confused, greedy, and indecisive, even by friends. Again, the solid foundation, confidence, and trust in who I was was shaken to the core.
Was I a fraud? Was I greedy?
Looking back today, I realise that judgement had nothing to do with me, specifically, but with the social constraints we have created and still enforce on each other.
Bisexuality is not a curse. You are not indecisive or greedy. You are attracted to a person not based exclusively of their gender.
I’ve read an article on Elephant Journal that says, and I quote, “Coming out should not be an act of bravery.” I am still learning that on a daily basis.
I’m bisexual. I don’t need to be brave. I just need to be me.