National Coming Out Day

It’s National Coming Out Day 20GayTeen, and I wanted to share something with you. 🙂

A few months ago, I had a written response assignment based on an article I read for school.  It was meant to be a personal response, and I thought, “What would be more personal for me than to respond to an article about LGBTQ people?”…so I chose Domenick Scudera’s “My Gay Lifestyle”.  It’s great; look it up if you’ve never heard of it.  I had to dig deep for things that I’ve buried over the years, and it wasn’t an easy write.  Surprisingly, I had a heartwarming response to this piece – by my instructor and by a few select people I sheepishly shared it with.  I knew I wanted to open it up to others at some point, because I know I’m not the only one who has lived this experience, but I’m always afraid of criticism and failure and I never felt like the time was ‘right’.

As this is my 2nd year of being fully out to the world as a queer, genderfluid, bisexual being, it feels like a great day to celebrate this piece that I am so proud of.

Before I confuse you, I left my citations intact because it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense without them. lol.

(Apologies to anyone I wrote about here.  If I included you, anonymously, you were a vital piece in my story so far – regardless of if that has been positive or negative.  Either way, I am grateful because it has lead me to the person I am and that is someone I am grateful to know ❤ )

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I knew I was in awe of women when, at 6 years old, I would look at my first-grade teacher and see sunbeams and rainbows radiate out of her face.  When she spoke, it was as if a heavenly choir had suddenly filled the room.  Everything she embodied caused my heart to flutter.  I’m sure if you had listened closely, you would have heard the soft batting of butterfly wings throughout my abdomen.  I had no idea that this feeling went beyond the notion of wanting to be like her when I grew up.  I had no idea that this feeling went beyond anything normal at all.

I knew I was different when, at 10 years old, I began to recognize that tween heart throb crushes showed up differently for my friends when it came to our favourite celebrities.  My girlfriends were all fawning over their imagined lives with Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Justin Timberlake, and Josh Hartnett, while I was swooning over Goran Visnjic and simultaneously going back again and again to the local cinema to see Titanic – and it wasn’t for Leonardo DiCaprio.  I was unknowingly “ruining the fabric of … society” (Scudera) as I tore at its seams with my unhindered thoughts, silently wishing for hand-in-hand sunset strolls along the beach with Geri Halliwell, Julianna Margulies, and Alex Kingston.  As a girl on the cusp of her impending womanhood, I chalked these feelings up to the excitement of finally reaching my destiny as one of these beautifully charming and effervescent women that I so admired.

I knew I was different when, at 18 years old, I found myself falling in love with my female best friend.  I was in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship at the time, and not having had much – if any – exposure to varying sexual identities, I also found myself very confused.   In the world I knew, you were either gay or you were straight, so where in bloody hell had I landed myself that I’d been caught somewhere between the two?!  The real world is black and white and very binary.  A person can’t be attracted to both men and women…can they?

I knew I was different when, at 20 years old, I met a girl in a bar and felt my head begin to spin (no, it wasn’t from the alcohol).  I was entranced and I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to be friends with her, while also wanting to be the object of her affection.  A battle began to rage internally.  If I hadn’t known any better, I would have sworn that on my right shoulder was a Catholic priest shrieking at me about my sin and the burning fires of hell, and on my left, the Devil incarnate himself, pulling me into this lifestyle by the skin of my teeth.  I chose to leave what I knew behind, follow Lucifer, and pursue these feelings because I knew I wouldn’t find the answers by gawking from afar.  Did this mean I was a * gasp * LESBIAN now?!  Short-lived.  I couldn’t seem to shake the cross of my Catholic upbringing or my internalized homophobia, and I allowed myself to be persuaded by a fabrication to leave her (and this lapse in judgement) behind.  The harsh reality of it was that a woman I had considered a close friend had sabotaged my budding relationship.  I was upset, and yet, relieved.  I struggled so intensely with whether I was right or wrong for feeling the way I did.  It became apparent to me just how wrong it must have been when others chose to resign their friendship cards because don’t people know that if a girl has feelings for another girl this means she likes EVERY. SINGLE. GIRL in the entire world?! Or that being friends with someone who is attracted to the same sex might facilitate “the transfer of [their] gayness” to others (Scudera)?!  I marched myself back into the closet and shut the door behind me.

I knew I was cognizant when, at 26 years old, I was introduced to Callie Torres in Grey’s Anatomy and for the first time I saw myself in the image of another.  It was the “A-HA!” moment I had been waiting for.   Here was this strong, accomplished, soft yet bold character who had found herself and proudly professed her love for not just men, but also women.  Sitting there, mouth agape and dumbfounded to have stumbled upon this openly bisexual character in the mainstream media, I thought back to all of the nights I’d spent screaming into the sky trying to rid myself of these feelings, and I found myself asking, “but why would you want to?” That familiar electrified galloping in my chest returned.  No, you cannot “pray away the gay” (Grey’s Anatomy), no matter how hard you try – and believe me, I’ve tried.

I knew I was transforming when, at 28 years old, I’d wanted so badly to announce my solidified bisexuality to my very Conservative, very Catholic family as we watched Ireland legalize the abomination that is gay marriage.  I wanted to turn their angry red faces into faces red with embarrassment as I shouted, “HELLO!  AM I SUCH AN UNNATURAL ABOMINATION? I AM BISEXUAL YOU KNOW. I’VE KISSED GIRLS!!!”.  Instead, I sat there mute with my own cheeks flushing from frustration.  I began to plot all of the ways that I was going to support others like myself, and how I could use my voice to spread love and tolerance in the face of hatred and ignorance such as this. HA! THAT’LL SHOW ‘EM!

I knew I’d found peace when, at 29 years old, I opened the closet doors and stepped out into the world as my full, authentic self.  I’d reconciled that this isn’t something I can change, nor would I wish to.  I’ve been bullied.  I’ve been made a mockery of.  I’ve been invalidated.  I’ve been excluded and judged and abandoned, solely based on who my heart has chosen to love in this life.  I realized that the only permission and validation I’d needed all along was from myself.  I forgave myself for carrying such hatred and disgust towards my heart, my mind, and my soul.  No, my sexuality was never a conscious choice I made; it has been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember.  The only choice I’ve made has been allowing myself to be seen.  In doing so, my thorns have softened and I have learned deeper compassion and understanding.  I have been gifted with patience and empathy towards others and myself.  I have increased the love I choose to put out into the Universe, and in turn, the love I receive.  Because of this, I can confidently say that if I was ever given the choice to press rewind and start fresh – I would choose to live it all over again.

 

Pride! (& Bisexuality)

I read my horoscope the other day on Chani Nicholas and I was shook.  It was a much needed reminder that I am exactly where I am meant to be at this moment in time.  Here’s an excerpt of what literally chilled me to the bone:

Friday’s full moon connects to the core of your personal life. It sheds light on your inner life. It reveals the strides that you have taken to create a sturdier base for your life over the past 2 years. It asks you what beliefs you are ready to part with. Beliefs you’ve inherited from your parents. From your childhood. From the misunderstandings of young adulthood. It asks you to uproot any weeds that are strangling your life-force. It asks you to make room for more positive experiences to blossom.

We cannot hold onto the guilt, shame and fear of our pasts if we are serious about living out our lives in the present. Right now a little excavation goes a long way.”

My eyes bugged outta my damn head…and you’re probably asking why:

It’s JUuUuUuUuUuUuUuuuuune!
That means Pride celebrations and rainbows EVERYWHERE.
And for me, finally, a sense of belonging.

It’s only been within the last 2 or 3 years where I’ve come to a place that I am comfortable within myself and how the world may see me, to build a solid base of self-love and self-understanding, to let go of all of the untruths that I carried about myself and my validity, to (quote directly) “make room for more positive experiences to bloom”.

YES

I struggled with my sexuality, FOR YEARS.  I always fell into the myths of how mainstream media defined bisexuality and, with that, I constantly felt invalidated.  I was confused, I was lonely, I was distressed, I was outcast.   I went through humiliation and agony trying to figure out just who or what the hell this part of me was.

Pride was not something that intrigued me (or even presented as an option) really until last year.  Bisexuality is so commonly erased in the media, and in general conversations about the LGBTQIA+ community, that I never ever felt that Pride was somewhere I belonged; that it wasn’t meant for me… even though the B is RIGHT THERE staring me in the face (and it doesn’t stand for Bagels, or Belugas, or Big Blue Balls).

I went to my first Pride in 2016, and it was TERRIFYING.  I knew without a doubt what this part of me was, yet I was so scared to be outed as “just a bisexual” that I felt incredibly uncomfortable the entire time I was there.  All these people around me who seemed so much more valid than I did because of the conditioning I’d been subjected to on what my sexuality was defined as.  The incredible self-doubt I bathed in because of others defining how I should be feeling, instead of paying attention to how I actually felt.

This year is different.  This year will be my 2nd chance: the first year I attend Pride as a truly out bisexual/queer who is finally comfortable in her identity, and as a B/Q who knows that I have a space in this community.

If you’ve got 30 spare minutes, you can watch the video I posted in October 2016 of my “coming out” HERE .  I cry a lot, I say “um”/”so yeah”/”truth” A LOT,  and I talk at length about Sara Ramirez and Grey’s Anatomy (because Callie was pivotal in my life changing for the better).  It’s vertically filmed because I was a video n00b, and it’s all around just a general, giant, hot mess…but it’s authentic, and raw, and honest.

I had no script for it; I literally sat down with no preparation and hit record because I knew if I didn’t, I’d never get it out.  It was worth it.

Also please note: I don’t include Queer in the dialogue of the video.  That’s because it’s an identity I’ve only recently adopted for myself.  By definition, Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or not cisgender.”  Bisexuality alone sometimes feels limiting and uncomfortable.  Queer not only accommodates my sexual orientation, but it also accommodates my gender expression fluidity as well.  To put it more plainly, Bisexuality feels like the sweater I like but is sometimes scratchy, whereas Queerness feels like the soft bunny-hug I cozy up to Netflix in.  Also, Queer is rooted in the meaning of “peculiar” or “strange” and that suits me just perfectly! 🙂

Bisexuality gets a hella bad rep in the world, so I want to do some common myth busting because it’s 20-freaking-17… buckle up!  I’m about ta learn ya somethin’!

Here are 10 common myths regarding bisexuality, and the truth bombs that go with them.

Myth One:  Bisexuality does not exist.
Truth:  I didn’t realize that I had the Super Power of Invisibility! It’s true that some people DO go through a transitional time of bisexuality before cementing their identity as either lesbian/gay or heterosexual.  The notion that bisexuals are confused or “sitting on the fence” is misconstrued; those who go through valid confusion often do so as a function of oppression, not biological misinterpretation.   Our society still largely denies bisexuality as a true and valid identity.

Myth Two: Bisexuals are just homosexuals straddling the closet door.
Truth:
This ties into the whole “confusion” bit, yet isn’t it hilarious that the only people who ever seem to be confused about bisexuality are never those who actively identify as bisexual?  I’ve heard countless stories of people who identify as bisexual who have been grilled about when they’re just going to come out as gay/lesbian (myself included).  THEY’RE NOT.  And to be perfectly honest, even if someone who identified as bisexual for years decided to come out as gay/lesbian because that is how they truly felt, that is still valid, and it’s really none of yo business homie.

Myth Three: You can’t truly be a bisexual if you haven’t engaged in sexual activity with persons of the same and opposite sexes.
Truth:
UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. No.  Just no.  Were you confirmed as straight after sleeping with someone of the opposite sex, or did you know it was true before your parts smashed together?  You can be a virgin and still be a VALID bisexual.  You can be a woman/man who only has sexual experience with men and still be a VALID bisexual.  You can be a woman/man who only has sexual experience with women and still be a VALID bisexual.  Your sexuality is not validated based on your bedpost notches….which brings us to Myth Four.

Myth Four: Bisexuals are greedy or extra promiscuous.
Truth:
This one actually makes me laugh…like, when I think about it in application of my own life, I just get a headache.  Promiscuity is not dependent on sexuality.  People of all orientations and identities experience sexual yearning in varying intensities.  Number of partners and frequency of copulation is dependent on the individual, not the sexuality.  Let it also be known that bisexuals are not more inclined to join in on your ménage à trois tryst just because they have attraction to both sexes.  STOP USING IT AS THE HETERO HOLY GRAIL FANTASY THAT YOU CONTINUALLY PROPOSITION POOR SOULS WITH WHEN YOU’RE THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND.

Myth Five: Bisexuals are “dirty”, aka more like to carry sexually transmitted diseases.
Truth:
Absolutely not, and this accusation is just downright hurtful and rude.

Myth Six: Bisexuals are more likely to cheat on their partners.
Truth:
FALSE.  Bisexuals are no more or less likely to cheat on a monogamous relationship than any other sexuality.  Seeing that men and women are almost equally likely to cheat, looks like we’re all rocking in the same boat, really.  You wouldn’t let an infidelity in a heterosexual relationship taint your views of all heterosexuals, so please don’t allow it to do so with other identities.

Myth Seven:  You automatically become straight if you leave a same sex relationship for an opposite sex one (or reversely becoming gay if you leave an opposite sex relationship for a same sex one).
Truth:
NO NO NO NO NO.  Not confused, not being greedy, not promiscuous.  Literally just attracted to both sexes and not bothered to keep track of if dingaling or if cooter.
Also reference: literally the SAME CONCEPT as if your hetero relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend fell apart, so you started dating a different guy/girl.

Myth Eight:  Bisexuals are attracted to EVERYONE.
Truth: LOL.  If I could roll my eyes any further into the back of my head, they’d roll out my skull and down the god damn street.  While we ARE attracted to both sexes, we’re NOT attracted to idiots.  You’re safe.

Myth Nine: Bisexuality is 50/50.  If you’re bisexual, you’re attracted to males and females equally.
Truth: 
Oh my sweet llama, NO.  This is something that even I didn’t fully understand until I started reading up about bisexuality and hearing other bi experiences.  Bisexuality is NOT black and white.  It’s not 50/50.  It’s an entire spectrum/umbrella of fluidity and identity.

Myth Ten: The B in LGBTQ stands for Badass.
Truth: Yes, can confirm, this is 100% true.  More importantly, unlike the word subtle, the B in LGBTQ is NOT silent, and it stands for BISEXUAL.  SAY IT.

Happy Pride, everyone!
Let’s remember to be inclusive all months, but especially this month.
The acronym LGBTQIA+ stands for something, and it’s important to remember to create spaces that are safe for ALL identities involved.

unicorn

cover photo pc: Eat Drink Chic