Californian parent Mike Szymanski has for many years had to deal with many questions about his sexuality. In a society that likes to see things in a clear-cut, binary, black and white way, bisexuality can often confuse people, or even prompt suspicion.
For example, after his parents adjusted to the fact that a young Mike was attracted to men, they then had to understand why he also wanted to date some women.
‘Well if you’re bisexual why would you choose the wrong way?’ his dad asked him once.
Szymanski has now recorded an illuminating video in which he discusses being bisexual, dating women, how he met his long-term male partner, and how they’re raising a child.
‘I always knew that I was interested in boys and girls… And I didn’t really know what bisexuality meant or used the word because I came out as gay first and I told my parents and it was a big deal.’
‘And then I was sleeping around with a woman and they thought that it was strange. I was living in West Hollywood and we would go to gay clubs but I was with a woman. And then I thought, “Well, okay, maybe I’m bisexual”.’
Szymanski went on to become a spokesperson for bisexuality, appearing on talk shows and being interviewed for newspaper articles. It was through such an article that he met his partner, John Sylla, who read about him and got in touch.
‘We happened to live a mile away from each other, our names were right under each other in the phone book and we’ve been together now for 18 years.
‘We have a child that he had with my sister so I’m the uncle. But we’re pretty much a nuclear family. And we’re boring… we go to the PTA meetings and concerts. But we’re together and we both identify as bisexuals and that throws a lot of people off.
‘It’s often a frequent conversation with the family at Thanksgiving dinner, they don’t understand it. “So you’re still bisexual?” “Yeah, we’re still bisexual.”’
Szymanski has recorded the video as part of the I’m From Driftwood project: an initiative that aims to build an archive of LGBTQ stories in order to, ‘help LGBTQ people learn more about their community, straight people learn more about their neighbors and everyone learn more about themselves through the power of storytelling and story sharing.’
‘I am not one to subscribe to the belief that everyone is bisexual,’ says Mike. ‘I know some bisexuals do, they think that there are some people on different spectrums, but I think sexuality is fluid and I think people can be bisexual in different parts of their lives.
‘So just be yourself, be comfortable, be yourself, and don’t try to squelch your interest in whomever you’re interested in. I think that’s the best way to go about your life.’
Watch Mike’s video below.