By Robyn Ochs
In a January 2nd “Dear Abby” column titled “Bisexual wife is of two minds about coming out,” Abby printed a letter from a bi woman:
Dear Abby: After years of denial, I have come to realize I am bisexual. I’m happily married to a straight man. He is my soul mate, and we plan to be together for many years to come. I just happen to be attracted to women, too.
Some people say I can’t be bisexual if I’ve never been with a woman. I say they’re wrong. Am I correct?
How do I deal with this in social situations? I’m afraid to put it on my social media profile for fear of a backlash from my family. I’d like my friends to know, but it doesn’t feel proper to just come out and say, “I’m bi.”
How does one “come out” without overdoing it or coming across the wrong way? Is there a right way? Should I continue keeping it a secret?
— Bi in the Deep South
Abby’s reply started off well. She affirmed the writer’s identity, stating: “Bisexuality is having an attraction to people of both sexes, and yes, it is possible to be bisexual without having acted upon it.” But then, she cautioned her reader against disclosing publicly: “However, being married means you are (happily) involved in a monogamous relationship. To announce you are bisexual and/or put it Of Two Minds About a Dear Abby Column on the Internet would not only shock your family but it also might seem like you were advertising that you are ‘available.’ Unless you are promiscuous, you are not available. Most married people agree to be committed to their spouses regardless of whether they are straight, gay or bi. If you choose to confide your diverse sexual orientation to your close friends, that is your business. But if you do, please remember that once two people know something, there’s a strong likelihood of the news spreading faster than the flu. And if you do decide to divulge, be sure to tell your husband first.”
Abby apparently received a large number of responses, including mine. In April, Abby followed up on the original column, reprinting four letters, including mine:
Dear Abby: I was silent for five years, and the day I started talking about the fact that I am bisexual, I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off me.
I hope “Bi in the Deep South” will find the courage to come out and fly her rainbow colors. Although she may have to correct some people’s misconceptions of what it means to identify as bisexual, she will feel much better. — Robyn in Massachusetts
You can find the other three responses online at http://tinyurl.com/abby1-2-13.