Original article published here
I’m bi, and I’m getting married this fall. I’m excited, nervous, terrified, and so fucking happy. I’m choosing to get married because this particular person brings out the best in me. This person happens to be a man. I’m still bi.
To be bi is a continual series of coming-out moments—first to yourself, maybe as you leaf through old magazines and stare at a picture of Rita Moreno’s legs and come to terms with badly wanting to touch them (this is me). Maybe next it’s to your sister, who warns you in no uncertain terms not to tell your parents until you’re serious about a girl because they will flip the fuck out (this is…also me). Then maybe you come out to your college friends, who will ask jokingly if you are gay or straight, this and every weekend (you guessed it: me). Maybe you then muster up the intense courage it takes to come out to your parents, who calmly ignore it. And then you’ll brace yourself and come out again and again and again to every person you’ll ever date. When does it end? When do you get to stop telling people you’re bi? When do people start to grasp that this is your truth? When do you get to slide easily through life with everyone assuming your sexuality correctly? When do you start seeing yourself reflected positively in all (hey, even any?) of the media you consume?
You’ve guessed the answer, haven’t you?
Bisexuality often needs an explanation. It isn’t something you can often “read” on a person, and because of that bi people sometimes feel like an invisible part of the LGBTQIA community. People’s sexuality is often defined by who we’re partnered with at any given moment, which can be a frustrating limitation for me. I’ve had countless tiny “coming out” moments in my life, often simply to explain to someone else that they have misjudged my sexuality based on who they saw me dating. Now I have a small platform of visibility, because I’m on a fun and (if I do say so myself) damn good television show. I’ve chosen to use that platform to speak openly about my bi-ness, because of other people who may feel invisible and unsure of whether or not to come out as bisexual.
A lot of stuff rolls around in your head when you’re wondering about whether or not you should come out as bi: If I pass as straight, why should I have that possibly uncomfortable and maybe dangerous “I’m bi” talk with my family, friends, community? If I’m in a same-sex relationship, shouldn’t I “stay gay” and not upset the status quo? How much detail should I give people about myself and my sexuality? (Because, to be honest, sexuality is an intimate thing that I’m still in the process of discovering daily—that’s the nature of all of our sexualities.)
Here’s the thing about sexual drive that some people like to deny: It’s around even after you commit to one partner. You may still want to fantasize about people, want to kiss them, to fuck them. Or maybe you do none of the above, but the kinds of people you were and are attracted to are still the kinds of people you were and are attracted to. I know I’m bi because I’ve stared at the shine from a girl’s hair much longer than you would if you were just admiring it because you wanted to know what conditioner she uses. I know I’m bi because in high school, I once stalked a very adorable blond boy so much I knew exactly when he would be at the water fountain between 3rd and 4th period classes and used it as an opportunity to get close enough to check out his JNCO-covered butt while he leaned over to drink.
The weekend before last, I had the honor of riding a float in the D.C. Pride parade. I and lots of other LGBTQ people were aboard (including Karamo Brown from Queer Eye, and yes, he’s just as magnetic in real life). I was nervous before we boarded the float. I’ve only been to one other Pride as an out bi person, and here I was, about to board a float with my heterosexual cis-male partner in tow. Would I be accepted by the community watching the parade? My mental saboteur screamed at me from inside my brain: “You don’t belong here! This isn’t for you! YOU’RE NOT GAY ENOUGH TO BE HERE, HOW DARE YOU?” I was sweating, and it wasn’t because of the D.C. heat. The parade started and someone handed me a flag—pink, purple, and blue, the bi flag. I took my place on the float, Karamo next to me, my partner behind us. Karamo and I smiled at each other, and I raised my flag and started dancing.
I didn’t stop dancing for the next two hours.
I wasn’t drinking this Pride, but let me tell you that I was drunk on the love we received. Everywhere you looked, a sea of LGBTQ family and allies were dancing, shouting, waving flags, smiling and laughing. It was fucking electric. I could not stop smiling. In the crowd, the bi community came to represent, wearing the colors, waving our flags. We would scream in recognition when we saw each other, pointing and waving. “I see you,” I kept yelling while jumping up and down. And the bi fans of the show, my God. When I tell you I have never been moved like that, it is not a lie. There were so many times I would lock eyes with someone yelling my name and we would simultaneously yell “I LOVE YOU” at each other.
There was one girl, with curly hair and glasses, who was shocked to see me. (I hadn’t told many people I was going, just a small announcement on Twitter.) When she saw me, she burst into tears. “Thank you!” she yelled. She repeated it as the float moved past her, crying harder and harder. I started crying, too, and leaned over the side of the float to wave and almost fell out. My vision blurred as I choked back a sob.
I met someone else over Pride weekend, a young man who recognized me and talked to me about Brooklyn and what a fan he is of the show. Then he whispered that he loved the episode in which Rosa came out to her family. He too, he said, identifies as bi but is unable to share it with his family. He told me that the episode meant so much to him, and then he trailed off. I grabbed his arm and held it. I told him I understood. I held his arm while we changed subjects and talked about the sights I should take in while in D.C. Before I left, I hugged him and could feel his heart racing. I wondered if I was one of the few trusted people he had come out to. I felt so hopeful for him that he would find his way to the freedom that being out can give you, and utterly flabbergasted that I was the one privileged enough to hear his truth.
Speaking from personal experience, it feels so fucking good to be out. It’s still scary sometimes—I feel like an outsider so often. But those moments of discomfort are worth it, because living authentically gives me so much joy and feels so honest and good. In October, I will marry a heterosexual man. We’ll make vows that I will take very seriously—till death do us part. But I’ll be bi till the day I die, baby, and I vow to myself to always sing that truth.
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