Does it really matter?
Is it really anybody’s business who I love?
Do I owe the world an ounce of transparency?
These are a few of the questions that have been rolling around in my head over the past year. Really, over the past two years. And lately, they have been pretty loud.
It was two years ago in October that I came out to myself. It was two years in October that I came out to another person for the first time. It was two years ago that my journey to self-acceptance really began.
Hello. My name is Anna-Marie, and I am a bisexual woman.
I remember the first time I wrote that, or a version of that; it was in a text to my friend who was sitting a few feet away from me. We had just watched Ghostbusters (2016) together and I just…needed to tell her. I needed someone else to know.
I couldn’t text the full bisexual, but it was a start. It would take me over a year and a half to get comfortable with that word and the fact that it belonged to me and not I to it. It would be a year and a half before I even realized how much internalized bi-negativity I had and recognized its negative effects on me and how I viewed myself and how I spoke of myself.
It has been a long road, and there is still a lot more road to travel. There’s a reason so much of life (and life itself) is compared to a journey. And no journey is easy. But most journies turn out to be worthwhile and teach us more than sitting still or hiding ever could.
Today is Bisexual Visibility Day. If you don’t know what it means to be bisexual, well, let me be the first of many to tell you that it’s a different experience for everyone who identifies as bi. It’s not (or it rarely is) a 50/50 split in attraction, and even then, it’s not just within the categories of men and women (shout out to the nonbinaries out there, you’re lovely). For me, I lean more to the lady-love side of the coin. I have other bi friends that lean more to the gentleman-love side of the coin. I’m not a lesbian, they’re not straight. We’re bisexual. And that’s just two examples. Like most things in life, you gotta take it person by person. Seriously, just take every human as a person and get to know them as them. You’ll be amazed every time by what you discover.
The point of today is not to walk you through my story, how I realized, the process, etc. The point of today is that I’m going to be visible.
“I’m not afraid to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me.” When I heard those lyrics in The Greatest Showman for the first time they meant something different to me. Tears welled in my eyes and I thought, “Yeah. I’m not afraid anymore.”
Which isn’t entirely true, of course. Fear is involved in every part of life, and I believe fear is a necessary and healthy thing that can keep us safe if we let it. It’s when it gets out of control that it becomes a problem; it’s when it takes over our lives and holds us prisoner within ourselves that it becomes the enemy. A perfect love casts out fear, I was taught. A perfect love casts out shame. A perfect love casts down walls. A perfect love makes room for more love to grow.
I’ve come out in two of my college classes at my conservative private Christian university. I’ve come out to a lot of people one on one and on social media platforms. I’m comfortable in my own skin now and I’m not afraid of speaking when the need or opportunity arises. And that’s really cool because there was once a time when I could barely say those words to myself let alone to anyone else.
Does it really matter that I’m an out bisexual? Yeah, I think it does. I think for myself it matters because I can’t live my life in hiding; it matters because I like to be able to breathe and know I’m being authentic and true with myself and with other people. It matters to the freshmen who have come out to me because I’m out and they see me as someone safe they can talk to; it matters to my straight friend who didn’t have any queer person to talk to before me and learned a lot through our friendship and is now an ally; it matters to my community to have another voice… Listen: it matters.
Is it anybody’s business? I mean, no, not really. I grew up around people who were irritated by lesbians and gays who were “shoving their sexualities in our faces;” heck, I became one of those people to an extent. But I’ve realized since coming out that when a queer person is being “in your face” about their sexuality, it’s really about the fact that being straight is the default, or we live like it is, so queer individuals have to come out to say hey, I’m not what you have assumed me to be, this is a different narrative, please don’t put me in your box. And I do understand the slippery slope of making any one aspect of ourselves the aspect that we are known as forever. I could easily identify myself with my major and wrap up everything I am into that, I can do that with being the oldest of a large family, I can do that with being left-handed, I can do that with my mental illnesses, I can do that with my sexuality.
But the thing is, I am the sum of all of these things and then some. As Whitman said, “I contain multitudes.” And you do too. If we are to be whole human beings we must admit that there are pieces which make up the whole. And I hope that we can all override our tendency to project just one of these things as our core, our only identification, our sense of belonging. I hope we can own all of these multitudes and shout for joy at the complexities of being human; that we won’t be afraid of these things which connect us and also make us unique.
When it comes down to it, I don’t really owe anyone anything. I know that. But that’s the beauty of being human: we have the opportunity to give freely, to love freely, to share freely. And I hope that we will never pass up the opportunity to do any of those things. Because when we take those opportunities, well, some truly beautiful things happen.
So, this is another piece of who I am, how I perceive the world, how I love. Thank you for letting me share it with you.
Shout out to my fellow bisexuals out there: men, women, nonbinary: you are valid, you are loved, and I see you. I hope you’re having a lovely day. Do something nice for yourself. Celebrate your existence. Happy Bisexual Visibility Day!