A Decade Goes Bi

Jun 24, 2021 | 2019 Fall - Growing Older

By Mari Wrobi

I’m 22 years old and I’ve identified as bisexual since I was 12 years old—which means that I’ve been identifying as bisexual for a decade now. A decade. For someone who’s identified as bisexual for so long, it might seem like I’ve always been sure of myself, but the truth is that I haven’t always felt so sure. The first time that I claimed a bisexual identity, I did so because it was simply easier than explaining to people that, hey, I’m pretty sure, but not completely sure and sometimes I think I’m a lesbian and other times I feel attraction to men and I definitely feel queer but I don’t know if it’s queer enough and I’m so young so I don’t think I should know everything but right now it’s the only thing that makes sense and I just don’t quite know—

Bisexual, to me, encompassed all of the simultaneous feelings of uncertainty yet certainty that something under the umbrella fit. And as I held onto the identity out of ease, I began to grow more and more comfortable with the label. “Bisexual” started to feel less like a mask put on for the sake of others and more like a sweater that you melt into and feel at home in. As I’ve gotten older, my relationship with my bisexuality has evolved from I don’t know to maybe to probably and finally, now, to definitely.

The older I’ve gotten, too, the more my bisexuality reflects me internally rather than any single external factor. I used to think that my bisexuality was to be defined and determined by my dating history, or the gender of my partner(s), or the identity that my partner(s) wanted me to take on, or the pressures of society and of the LGBTQ+ community too. But now, being bisexual means so much more to me than that. It means that it’s okay to be a little unsure. It means that my attraction to different genders can fluctuate and change over time (and that it praobably will). It means that my relationship status and my partner’s gender don’t define my identity no matter what anyone else might think. It means that my bisexuality is, and always will be, mine.

It’s only been a decade, though. I’m only 22 and I have a whole lifetime ahead of me. So, what does the future hold for a still quite young, but definitely sure, bisexual like me? I like to imagine that the future holds more growth, more comfort with my identity, more love for the people around me, more understanding that my bisexuality really is mine and mine alone. Sometimes the intensity of my attractions to different genders comes and goes, and I see the future holding these changes with the understanding that my bisexuality is still stable. I see the future holding my long-term commitment to my partner, and my partner’s gender not validating or invalidating my identity for better or for worse. I see a label and a community that are okay with exploration and “figuring things out” and the understanding that if things change, that’s okay too. I see pride. I see myself finally confronting my family’s belief that my history with men means that I’m straight, or that my history with women means that I’m gay—that these two experiences of mine are a whole of me, not a part of me. I see myself continuing to advocate for our community, to challenge stereotypes, to accept those in our community who might “fit stereotypes” because that doesn’t change the validity of anyone’s identity. I see perseverance in the face of discrimination and prejudice, and celebration despite the bigotry. I see continuing to exist in the LGBTQ+ community and continuing to make it a better place for the future generations of bisexual people after me like those bisexual people before me have done the same.

But on the topic of not being quite so sure—I don’t know exactly what the future holds. Regardless, I’m excited to see the next decade, and the decade after that, and the decade after that, go bi.

Mari Wrobi is a queer, trans, and intersex advocate from Sacramento, California—constantly challenging binaries, boxes, and bigots.

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