By Lyndsie Bennett
What is it like to be me? That’s a rather broad question, and it would take far more than a 1500-word submission to explain. But in the context of my sexual identity, I can tell you that I consider myself to be fluidly bisexual. This is because my sexuality has changed over the years: I used to like guys more, then it was equal, and now I find my attraction to the other sex dwindling rapidly. However, I do still find men attractive, and could see myself in a relationship with a man at some point in time, if not now.
I’m 19 now, and I did not start coming out to others until four years ago; however, I acknowledged my orientation at the age of 11. Looking back, I’m sure I’ve always subconsciously known I was bisexual. For example, I have always found women more attractive, and in high school, I found it easier and more pleasing to flirt with a woman.
I learned the word “bisexual” when I was twelve, from a friend who identified this way. Finally, I now had a word with which to identify my feelings. However, because of all of the stigma attached to our orientation, it was extremely hard to accept that I could like both genders. I had to convince myself that I need not choose one or the other. Luckily, in high school, I was close to two bisexual girls, and with their help I was able to come to terms with myself. So I suppose I learned the most about what being bisexual really means from them.
The vast majority of my friends showed acceptance, though there were a few who were reluctant at first to accept it, including my best friend, who is gay himself. But he came to me later, after he’d thought about it, and he said that he hadn’t been fair before; since he isn’t bisexual, it was wrong for him to question me when I never questioned him. Since his apology he has been extremely supportive and we are closer than we used to be. I have only lost one friend as a result of being honest. Unfortunately, she was a friend I’d had since I was little. However, she is extremely religious, so I found it unsurprising, if hypocritical.
As for family, I’ve still got one foot in the closet. So far, I’ve told my mom and brother. My mother is in the denial stage. As for my extended family, I’m unsure of when to tell them, if ever. While I believe my grandfathers would accept me, I’m doubtful about my grandmothers, aunt, and uncle. I know they’d still love me, but acceptance is harder.
I have many role models, and hope to be one myself. Once I’ve told my father, I’ll be out to all my nuclear family. At that point, I would like to become an activist and make myself available to others, especially teens and 20-somethings who are having trouble coming to terms with themselves like I was. I also want to see gay marriage legalized nationwide during my lifetime. Right now, I do what I can to help out, but I really want to become more involved in gay rights. Some of my straight friends have said that I have helped them to become accepting of bisexuals because I disprove certain stigmas. I would like to continue doing that on a wider scale, so that the LGBTQ community recognizes bisexuals more as part of the community. For my own support, I turn to my friends, whatever their orientation, and also to the bisexual and gay friends I’ve made through Tumblr and Pride events.
To any person who thinks they might have an interest in more than one gender, I would say don’t doubt how you feel. Find support and be honest with yourself. Think of your happiness before you think of the approval of others. Just be careful if you think your parents are the kind of people who wouldn’t support you if they knew. In that case, don’t come out to them until you are independent. Don’t come out just because someone thinks you should. Do it when you’re ready. I mean, you’ll never really be ready, but you’ll know when the right moment is. Don’t get concerned over labels. Just be you. And most importantly, be brave.
My name is Lyndsie, and I’m from Georgia. I am a student of Photography.