By Chiquita Violette
I realized I liked not only boys but also girls when I was very young. I just didn’t have a word for it, nor did I talk about it. As a result, by lack of information, silence and de-fault, I was ‘hetero” to anyone who knew me, including my questioning self. The first thing I did was seek out books. I figured that the answer to my queer query could be found within bounded pages that would give me a definition, a description, illustration or story.
What I found was the famed anthology, Bi Any Other Name, edited by Loraine Hutchins and Lani Ka’ahumanu, which gave me everything that I was looking for: validation, insight into my feelings and a community. I devoured that book and searched for others like it, but at my local used bookstore, there wasn’t much else. For a kid coming from a low-income household, Internet access was sporadic and was deemed a luxury rather than the necessity it is today.
When I did access the World Wide Web, I sought out both community and women-loving women, dating websites, clubs and groups that were lesbian- or bi-specific. I remember one time I called a local lesbian hotspot and asked if it was okay for bi women to hang out there because I wasn’t sure and I was so nervous about the whole idea of it all.
I wanted to meet other bi women and make friends, but I was also open to the idea of dating. Thanks to the Internet, I landed an informal date. It was nice to have someone to share experiences, insecurities and questions with, and to talk to about the loneliness and confusion of not having a term to call ourselves and the epiphany once we figured it out. We explored the clubs on their under-21 nights to meet people and try to find dates. We navigated obscure landscapes, negotiating boundaries with each other in the naturally awkward way that we introverts do. While fearing judgment, we still found a way to have fun, never as an official couple but as friends, exploring our bi-ness.
My advice to those who are coming out of the hetero closet is to start with some literature, especially if you’re the reflective, solitary type who needs time to process things before getting social. Do some research on different organizations, groups and/or clubs for resources, support and information. I advise everyone, introverted or not, to do that. For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, attend existing support groups and meet-ups or start your own.
Chiquita is a 27-year-old bi/pan/fluid/queer Person of Color, student, artist and activist living and workin’ it in Dallas, Texas.