By Lividia I. Violette
The realization that I liked both sexes/genders started around kindergarten. I had no idea what it was, I just knew I had a crush on most of the kids in my class, (save for the glue-eating kids). I was very fond of pretty boys and the very pretty girls. I was a shy person and never really acted on these attractions for females until much later in life. I was still confused about whether or not it was right to even feel that way. Moreover, at first I wasn’t quite as attracted to the gals as I was to the guys. Girls took longer to grow on me. I certainly enjoyed a pretty face, but kissing a girl wasn’t something that interested me much until my teen years.
In junior high, a friend came out to me as bisexual; that was the very first time I heard the term. In high school, I learned of a few other bisexuals, mostly girls. When our discussion meandered to sexuality in my senior English class, one girl came out of the closet. I can’t recall her real name, but friends called her “Twitch.” Our teacher, (one of my favorites) however, thought that bisexuals were just greedy. He said there was no such thing as a “true” bisexual. I never stood up to correct my teacher or defend Twitch. I regret that I allowed my timidity to silence me. I didn’t know at the time that he was expressing bi erasure and biphobia. There was no GSA in my high school to consult about the matter. I didn’t even hear the term “Gay/Straight Alliance” until long after high school.
By graduation, I was still attracted to guys, although not as strongly. To me, the less masculine a guy was the better. I think this was really the beginning of my fondness for men with androgynous and feminine appeal. My interest in women slowly but steadily increased, yet a better understanding of my sexuality did not really sink in until I was about 20. After this major epiphany, the first thing I did was search the local bookstore. I had to find out more about bisexuality. I had to know how many others like me were out there and how they might be found. At this time, I was aware of only a handful of other bisexuals in my city of Arlington, Texas. At the bookstore, I found one copy of Bi Any Other Name, edited by Lani Kaahumanu and Loraine Hutchins, and devoured it. I learned so much from everyone’s different perspective and I wanted to learn more. Next, I ordered The Bisexual Option by Fritz Klein and after that, the humorous Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe by Nicole Kristal and Mike Szymanski. I read Look Both Ways by Jennifer Baumgardner during breaks at work. A few years later, I obtained my newest treasure: Getting Bi, edited by Robyn Ochs and Sarah E Rowley. Robyn gave me her copy herself when she came to Dallas.
Two years after reading and re-reading it, I gave my precious copy of Bi Any Other Name to my friend, Shelley (also an LGBT activist) who said that she might be bi. She loved it and told me that she is now certain she’s bisexual.
At age 22, I came out to my then best friend. She comically jumped back as if to protect herself, before folding her arms and saying, “Okay, so?” It was good to know that it wasn’t a big deal to her. She reminded me that she herself had mentioned long before I came out that she wouldn’t be completely adverse to dating women, and pointing out that she thought some women were “hot sauce.” She, aged 20, was more like a Kinsey 1 1/2. At 22, I lingered at Kinsey 3 for a while. I was still attracted to men, though I was very particular in their qualities: no chest or facial hair, not too tall or too muscular. I was really into the skinny men with long hair. I loved the glamorous women: lipstick, pretty hair, boobs, skirts, high heels and all. So far, every friend that I’ve come out to has been very accepting, even my very conservative new best friend. Since moving to Dallas, I’ve made many more out friends within the LGBT community, and have experienced little discrimination within it.
When it comes to my family, I’ve always been very private; growing up in a full household any amount of privacy was sacred. To this day, I have yet to introduce anyone I am dating to my family, male or female. The few relatives that I did come out to were accepting and non-judgmental. I have a gay cousin who came out before I did, so I think that may have eased whatever tension there might have been. At my current job, I’m out at work. It is very easy to be. Almost everyone is an LGBT person or LGBT-friendly. It’s a very diverse company. People come from different backgrounds and cultures, covered in tattoos or piercings, blue hair and funky clothing; no one judges you based on what you look like or whom you love. Having a manager who is openly and proudly gay also helped me feel more comfortable about being out at work. Never before have I been free to be me at work.
I’m twenty-four now and more comfortable in my own skin than I’ve ever been. I think as far as my attractions go, they may change and evolve, but I’m certain that I’ll always be attracted to more than one sex/gender. Right now, I would say that I’m more of a Kinsey 3.5 to 4, but when I take into account the Klein Grid, it gets much more complicated. I find it easier to form friendships and emotional relationships with men. I’m less and less attracted to masculinity, physically or otherwise. I’m more attracted to the soft-butch women and femme, but not too lipstick, women. I’m still into men that physically remind me of women and I am really into the androgynous look. I can’t really look at the grid and say what my “ideal” orientation is; for me, it’s whatever I’m identifying myself as at the time.
As far as role models go, Robyn Ochs is a bisexual icon of mine whom I had the pleasure of meeting during her visit to Dallas. I look up to all those who promote visibility for the bi/pan/fluid community, as well as those who fight for equality for all. I am a member of the Dallas-Fort Worth Bisexual Network, but I have not gone there for support. I really haven’t thought about seeking support for myself—I am too busy lending support to others! I also admire some of the bi and queer-identified friends that I work with in my community: Latisha McDaniel, D.J. Anderson and Andi Reis .
The best advice I have for other young people who are questioning or bi/pan/fluid would be this: Come out, come out, wherever you are! Read bi and LGBT literature, be proud to wave the bi flag or wear bi colors during Pride week and parades to promote visiBIlity. Join or organize a GSA if you’re in school, or find or create a support group. Go out there and find local activists and organizations that are pro-bi and pro-LGBT causes; just get involved in the bi and BLGT community! Learn as much as you can and teach others what you know. Make use of the many resources that are out there. Education is a key factor in breaking down the barriers of ignorance and intolerance we still face today.
Lividia is a 24-year-old activist from Arlington, Texas who rocks the mission of equality.