When I Came Out

I came out on August 30, 2014 when I posted a copy of a letter I sent to Emily Yoffe on my Facebook for all my friends to see. Below is a copy of that letter. Please note that many of my perspectives and opinions have changed since I wrote this–

To whom it may concern–
I am an avid Slate reader, and Emily Yoffe is a fantastic advice columnist. But something she wrote recently did very much bother me.

When asked by a bisexual woman married to a man whether she should come out of the closet to family and friends, she wrote:

Let’s say you discovered a late breaking interest in plushophilia, or you now realized you were turned on by being a dominatrix. This would not be news you’d be required to announce at the next Thanksgiving gathering.

I want to put this as delicately as I can, and I will most certainly fail.
Today, bisexuals are the targets of many unfair stereotypes. For example:
  • “There is no such thing as a bisexual. You’re either gay/lesbian or straight, no in-between.”
  • “Bisexuals are confused about their sexuality. They can’t have it both ways… they have to make a choice.”
  • “Everybody is bisexual (so nobody is bisexual).” [You can see why the above are untrue here and here.]
  • “To be bisexual you have to love both genders equally (so you aren’t).” [Nope.]
  • “You can’t be bisexual and be faithful to one person.” [See below.]
Wikipedia even reserves sections for Bisexual Stereotypes, Bisexual Erasure, and Biphobia.
Gays and lesbians had and have problems of their own stereotypes, and their first, most successful act on the path toward cultural legitimization was urging each other to come out of the closet. Polls showed that the more gays and lesbians people know, the fewer stereotypes they are willing to believe about gays and lesbians.
There was a beautiful scene about this in the biopic Milk (2008).
Even Dan Savage strongly believes that bisexual people should come out of the closet, saying:

Closeted bisexuals contribute to bisexual erasure and—while calling out the larger social forces that keep ‘em closeted—they should be challenged to come out, just as closeted gays were and still are. The main image for for the 1987 March on Washington was a banner that read “Come Out, Come Out, Where Ever You Are.” Harvey Milk exhorted closeted gay people to come out while pointing out that closeted gay people, by remaining closeted, were complicit in their own oppression and the oppression of out gay and lesbians. If exhorting closeted bis to come out is biphobic, then Harvey Milk was homophobic.

One of my favorite myths about bisexuality was put quite simply by a friend of mine who happens to be gay:

Everyone defaults to dick.

That is to say, many people believe that bisexual women fake it to please men; many people believe that bisexual men simply haven’t yet come out gay. [“Though 62 percent of gay men once identified as bisexual, nearly as many bisexual men — 56 percent — had once said they were gay”]
Another of my favorite ones since I am a male bisexual who tends toward women:

It would be hard not to think that I can’t satisfy him completely.

and

I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who I know from the start will be longing for something else.

Both of those from here. This was another instance where that same friend of mine gave me a great line:

Saying you are afraid to date a bisexual man because you are afraid he can’t stay loyal to one gender is like being afraid to date a man who likes both blondes and brunettes because you are afraid he can’t stay loyal to one hair color.

All of these problems (and many others) would be much easier for me and other bisexuals to deal with if more of the 70% of us were to come out of the closet. [70% are currently in the closet]
My point being that next time, please, instead of comparing my sexuality with “a late breaking interest in plushophilia” that should not be announced “at the next Thanksgiving gathering,” help make our lives a little easier and go with the late Harvey Milk’s doctrine: “Come Out, Come Out, Where Ever You Are.”
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