Friday, February 22, 2013

How to come out as bi?

Let's pick up where yesterday's post left off, on how easy it is to be out of the closet as bisexual. In particular, I'll focus on how I myself am (or am not) out of the closet.

I consider myself out of the closet. Anyone who pays attention to my online activity knows my sexual orientation. I discuss it on this blog, and I'm definitely out on Facebook. (Though whether all my FB friends pay attention to me I don't know.) So that's pretty easy. But what about "in real life"?

Bi triangles

from commons.wikimedia.org
In real life is a bit trickier. Or maybe just awkward. I've told my family and boyfriend. And that's it. Well, and I confessed to The Belly Dancer that I once had a huge crush on her, which I guess qualifies as coming out to her as well. But it feels weird to bring it up with people I'm not close to.

I don't exactly want to randomly tell people I'm not super close to that "Hey, this is totally irrelevant to what we're doing, but I'm bisexual!" There was a guy who did that to another man (incidentally also LGB) I knew, and it came across as creepy. But maybe there's an un-creepy way to just randomly volunteer that info? If so, I'd love to hear.

Usually people guess a person's sexual orientation based on whether they're dating a man or a woman. But that doesn't work with bisexuals. When people hear I have a boyfriend they assume I'm straight. If I were with a woman they'd assume I'm a lesbian. And it would feel just plain awkward and weird to address this unspoken assumption.

Alternately, someone might judge a person's sexual orientation based on their dating history. But even this isn't a reliable indicator for a variety of reasons.

I guess we could wear the bi-pride colors to declare our sexual orientation...but that isn't as helpful to us as wearing rainbow colors is to gays. Even though I have those colors on my phone case, I seriously doubt that anyone has recognized what it means.

So, how to come out "in real life" to people I'm not close to?

I don't know. And it doesn't really bother me.

It doesn't bother me, but when I was discussing the topic of bi-invisibility hurting us it seemed like my confusion on this matter should be addressed. Because there might be a good reason for why we're invisible, and why we tend to be taken for straight or gay: it's easier to just let people jump to assumptions about our sexual orientation than to be constantly explaining "I have a boyfriend, but am actually bisexual."

2 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'd try a button on my backpack or somewhere that actually says "Bi Pride" or something obvious like that. Some people might start a conversation about it and others wouldn't.

I never thought before about how hard it is to indicate bisexuality. Thanks for enlightening me!

Sarita Rucker said...

I hadn't thought about the bi pride button...thanks. :)

Others might find it easier to indicate that they're bisexual. This is just my own personal experience as someone with only a year worth of experience.