I got a question from a reader wondering whether she should come out as bi: "Is it worth coming out as bisexual if you're not dating someone of the same gender? Should I just wait until it's necessary to say?"
This is a great question--and one with which lots of bisexual people struggle. Ultimately, it's highly personal, and like any coming out question, the key isn't when it's "necessary" to anyone else; it's whether coming out is important to you.
(<Btw, Kalinda Sharma on "The Good Wife" is the most interesting bisexual character on television, in my opinion.)
Bisexuality can feel "invisible." When you're with someone of the opposite sex, people tend to assume you're straight; when you're with someone of the same sex, people tend to assume you're gay.
I know it's not fair that people make these assumptions, but I admit that I do the same. I know at least two out bisexual women who are married to men and have biological kids with them. They're living a "straight" life and are indistinguishable from other straight people. It's not that I'm "denying" their sexuality, just that I don't really think about people's sexuality beyond their current relationship unless they're talking to me about it, referring to a same-sex ex, or waving a Pride flag at me.
Here are a few things you might want to consider in your decision about whether to come out as bi:
Since this is a decision I've never had to make, I can't speak from personal experience. But I can say that I much prefer being "out" as who I am over not being out as who I am.
I know I have plenty of bisexual readers out there. Any other advice you'd share?
6/24/2015 07:05:35 am
This is really resonating with me, and I think I needed this article, so thank you. I'm really struggling with whether I should come out or not, as I'm in a long-term relationship with someone of the opposite sex, yet it feels really odd that my mother doesn't know. My own mother doesn't know about that huge part of me that I would love to talk about with her, but I think she would treat me differently. I've actually already come out to a few friends and it feels great, so maybe one day I'll find the right situation or the right time... or perhaps, one day, I'll just bring a girl home and she'll have to deal with it. Thank you again!
6/24/2015 10:39:26 am
I am bi and have known for 24 years. I had a relationship with another woman for 13 years yet married a man and have a child with him. I am pretty femme and probably most people assume I am straight. I used to be very out but was bi-bashed a lot. Slowly I went back in the closet and just didn't say much about it to anyone. A couple years ago I decided to come back out during the prop 8 case in the U.S. Supreme Court. It was important to me that people who were close to me understand that these major issues of rights effected not just nameless people referred to in the media but close loved ones. I could have married that ex-girlfriend. I loved her dearly. I also feel it is important to show that bi people can be out AND be in committed relationships - that we can provide stable homes and excel professionally and emotionally. When my time is past, I'd like to think I did my part to help bis in the future. If I could help prevent someone in the future from being afraid, feeling isolated or depressed, then my time will have been well spent. Ultimately it is your own choice if you are out all the time or not, especially if you pass as straight, and no one can fault you for taking your time. Being out, however, can change the world for the better just a teeny bit. And lots of small efforts throughout the world have a collective impact.
7/7/2015 07:43:05 pm
I've known I was 'bi' (or more likely a pan-romantic grey-ace, but hey- I've only just sussed that bit out!) since I was about 10 or 11- before that (and quite a few times since on and off) I pretty much just wanted to be a boy. I didn't have a name for what I was at the time, and it took me until I was 20 or so to come out as Bi to my parents and close friends. Some of my most seemingly liberated friends were actually quite pissed off for some reason, and some were fine. Prior to this in my teens my best friend had been a gay bloke and I'd been his platonic-significant-other for some time (as he was single)- hanging out on the gay scene and doing Pride etc..and at the time I probably wanted to be a gay man myself- kind of. This friendship was good in many ways, but sadly kept me distanced from the Lesbian scene where I would have dearly liked to have spent much more time. I was secretly madly in love with my other best (female) friend- who was robustly straight- and I was probably pretty confused all round tbh. If I'd have had more lesbian friends I'm pretty sure I'd have mainly ended up dating women. As it was I almost entirely dated men- many of whom I wasn't remotely attracted to, but they were 'nice' and I had no awareness of the concept of going for what *I* wanted at the time. Partly because I've just realised I'm really a grey-ace, and partly because I had NO self confidence at all. I'm married now, with 4 kids, to a really lovely man who I *do* find attractive- I didn't go looking for him, but he turned up anyway. We've been married 15 years, and are still really happy, but I do feel like I never fully explored relationships with women properly- most of my loves were unrequited, or at the wrong time or place for one of us, and this feels like a big hole in my life in a way. After all- the vast majority of people I'm attracted and drawn to are women- mainly quite tomboyish/ butch ones, and I'm glad that my eldest daughter (who is pretty sure she's bi or a lesbian) is growing up in a time that- although much worse for girls in many ways- is much more accepting of 'different' gender identities. As far as my mum was concerned, there were 'queer' men, and that was about it. She liked gay men, but I didn't feel she had a lot of time- or any connection with- lesbians, and that's why coming out as bi actually almost made me commit suicide at the time. And I was pretty sure she'd dismiss it as a non-thing which in the event was about right. Both my parents made all the right noises, and were very accepting it seemed, but when I took my daughter to Pride this years it was all.. 'Oh, so you're STILL bi??' and 'maybe she'll figure out whether she's straight or gay soon' about my daughter, so basically, they STILL don't get it. I'm still bi. I did tell my husband when I first met him- but it seems like he didn't really take it in properly- despite me being the biggest tomboy- and having all the gay films/ literature etc... and now that my childbearing years are over and I've reverted to buzzcut butch me- I think he's a bit worried that I'll suddenly up and run off with a woman because I LOOK more lesbian than for a while. He doesn't seem to understand that if I have managed to be monogamous for 15 years whilst being Bi, I should be able to continue- at least as long as our relationship is mutually strong. Damn, it's complicated. Everyone's really surprised when they find I'm married to a man- but tbh I'm about 75% lesbian if there can be such a thing! I feel sad to no longer really be part of the gay scene, and I don't really fit in in the straight world either. Luckily my OH likes me however I come, and we are soulmates so I love spending time with him too- but it does seem sad that I wasted so many years on rather lame relationships with 'nice' men because I felt I had to- rather than chasing all the women I was really attracted to, just through a lack of confidence and Bi role models. Still, they were all very nice blokes- and good friends, but only one or two of them should have been more than friends. I've had to come out multiple times, and it's still an ongoing process, but the older I get the less I give a shit what people think, so it's easier in that respect.. Sorry for the rant!! x
8/2/2015 01:57:17 am
Is it "worth" it? Depends on the risks and consequences, right? Where you are in your life, and what you need to get out of it. Many bi people don't get what gay folks do out of it--the feeling of being "seen", understood on their own terms for who they are, just like Len said above. Coming out as bi is in many cases even more dismissive and invalidating an experience than living in the closet, because people don't believe bisexuality exists, or they automatically think you're "a slut" (what does that even mean?), or many other unhelpful, upsetting stereotypes.
2/16/2017 09:54:25 pm
have you noticed how many people are just going straight so their life will be easier.
4/23/2016 11:29:39 am
I knew I was bisexual before I even knew there was a word for it, I fell in love with a girl (not a crush!) when I was 14; I am 51 now. I never considered myself different, perhaps because I was a "weirdo" anyway, but it might have something to do with me being Swedish... After this girl - we only kissed and made out - I fell in love with the most sensitive man (ok, boy) I've ever met. He was not like other boys, he didn't want to have sex first of all, and he liked classical music and ballet. Of course he was gay, and I had to point it out to him! It sounds dramatical, but really it wasn't -we are still the best friends. After him, I had a brief relationship with a wonderful woman, then I met the love of my life - a man! I have told (some of) my friends, that if it wasn't for him, I would be living with a woman, and that is the absolute truth. I look at woman, I love being with women, and occasionally, I miss having sex with a woman, but as for now, I am very happy with my man. Sometimes, I feel like I want to scream out "I AM BISEXUAL". Just for making a statement for myself I guess, and because it's nothing new to me. I really don't know what to do. There might come a time when I will have a relationship with a woman.
1/14/2017 01:16:04 am
Look up 'butch' on Wikipedia and you may get a better idea on what it is. It's basically a girl who is LGBT who expresses herself in a more masculine way instead of feminine. It's not a rule, it's just a choice. Some girls do it so it's more obvious that they are gay or bi
1/15/2017 08:38:01 am
I disagree that being butch is a choice. I feel horribly dysphoric if I wear "feminine" clothes, and I also feel dysphoric if someone thinks I am a man. I am only "myself" if I am a female-identified person in "masculine" clothes. This was not a "choice." It's just how I am. It's not an easy way to be, but it's fine. It's me. I accept it. I wish other people would stop acting like I am "trying" to be something. I don't want to give off any particular image. I just want to feel comfortable in my own skin, which happens to be butch skin.
8/10/2017 07:19:07 pm
this is a question i've been asking myself a lot as a firmly-butch bisexual. By choice, I don't date men at all. Plus, i'm very visibly gay. For these reasons, i think i'm not going to be open about my bisexuality when i transfer to a new school this fall. I'm comfortable, delighted even, by being perceived as a lesbian! I'm much happier having people just assume i'm a lesbian than deal with people trying to tell me i "can't be butch" because i occasionally find men to be kinda cute (even though i never act on it!) To me, men aren't worth the trouble, especially when there are so many amazing women and nonbinary folks!
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