Well look at that, a new month that I haven’t blogged during, yet again. >_<
But, today is National Coming Out Day, so I thought it would be a good day to talk about a few things I’ve been thinking about. Coming Out is an important thing to do, because it’s only through visibility that acceptance can be gained. But it’s also important for all the young questioning folks who don’t know what they are except different.
It’s been almost five years since I first realized I was bisexual. I came out to the relevant parties (i.e. my husband) fairly quickly. Last year I posted openly about it here, but I still never feel fully “out.” I’m slowly coming to terms with this feeling though. It’s just a symptom of being a bisexual in a monosexual world. So many of us simply disappear into a perceived sexuality denoted by the gender of our current partner. I’m perceived as a heterosexual, there are many bi-folks who disappear into the greater LGBT community as lesbians or gays. Coming out for bisexuals is never a one-time deal where we tell our friends and family and then they know because we are dating/married to the appropriate gender. Instead it’s a continuous process of “well, actually I’m bisexual” as the the subject arises. The only way to combat that invisibility is to talk about it continuously, to everyone. That’s a valid and important thing to do, but that’s not really my style. I tend to only mention it in relevant discussions, and I’m far more likely to talk about it online than in person.
People have been bisexual since there have been people (it’s as biological as any other sexual orientation). But we’ve been invisible until just recently. Really, the rise of the internet. On the internet, we’ve been able to find each-other, build communities, and raise our voices. The internet, with its profiles and data, as allowed us to come out and stay out in a way that never really seems to have been possible before. I was reading recently a book about the ways that lesbian and bisexual women disappeared in the historical narrative, and how we can re-discover them by reading “between the lines” as it were (Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women by Leila J. Rupp). It was a fantastic book, and it really opened my eyes in a lot of ways. One of the reasons it took me so long to realize my own sexuality (beyond “girls are pretty, and boys are pretty, and kissing them is nice”) is there were no great examples of bisexuals in literature or popular culture, and I’ve always been rather oblivious and not good at seeing the unspoken.
This is why representation is important. Seeing ourselves in literature and popular media is important for self-esteem (as studies have shown) but also for understanding. Some people figure out who and what they are intuitively, but others have to see that such a thing is possible in order to apply that knowledge to themselves. Some of us would never realize and come to terms with ourselves without examples of others before us. Having a name for ourselves leads to community, and community leads to better self-love as well.
Anyway. I guess what I’m saying is, come out if you can so everyone can see the infinitely wonderful variety of those around us. Be safe first, be out second, and be an example if you can. But if you can only be one of those, be safe (mentally AND physically).
Happy National Coming Out Day. ^_^