While many young people start figuring out their sexuality in their teenage years, I had already been in two long-term relationships with guys by then. As committed as you can be when you’re 16 and 19 and think you’re never going to love anyone in the same way ever again.
Was I attracted to girls as well? Oh, yeah.
Not only was I into girls too, but I firmly believed every girl was attracted to other women and that was somehow still possible while identifying as straight.
Hint: I was wrong.
All it took was a chat with my straight female besties at the time. That’s when I started realizing I might have not been heterosexual after all.
Unlike me, most of my female friends didn’t have the slightest romantic and/or sexual interest in girls.
That just didn’t make much sense to me. And then the girl crushes came along.
The girl crushes
I started developing these harmless girl crushes on slightly older girls whose style I admired. Did I want to be like them or did I want to be with them? I’m still not sure.
The thought of being bi, however, never crossed my mind until my first year at university.
I had a crush on a lesbian girl while still being with my boyfriend and I hadn’t the slightest idea of how to deal with it. Good thing she dropped out and I never saw her again after a while. Spoiler: we’re friends now.
At the time, I had gay and lesbian friends and straight friends, I just didn’t know anyone who was vocally bisexual. And that didn’t help.
My internalized biphobia
It almost felt that it wasn’t possible to like both genders. What’s worse, I was guilty of internalized biphobia myself.
I dismissed one of my best friends when she tried to come out as bi to me. As for male bisexuality, it just didn’t seem a ‘real thing’ to me. I’ve said and done things which I deeply regret in hindsight.
After my first, tormented, long-distance semi-relationship with a girl, I had an existential crisis. I was 25. By that time, you’d think you should probably have it together, shouldn’t you?
But I was a mess. I thought I had lied all along and only liked girls.
My gay best friend pushed me to come out as a lesbian for months, sometimes he still does. Nonetheless, I knew the relationships I’ve had with guys mattered to me and were real. And my experience with a woman was just as real.
I wasn’t trying to be interesting
There was just no difference in the way I’d go on a date with a guy or a girl, or in any other aspect of these relationships, really. That was probably the hardest part to explain to people.
I wasn’t disappointed by men. I didn’t want to kiss a girl and like it and then forget all about it once sober.
Nor was I trying to be the interesting straight girl with a penchant for same-sex relationships, as many guys said.
‘Oh, you’ve just become exponentially more interesting now,’ a male acquaintance told me, probably fantasizing about a threeway that was more of a no-way on my side.
My bisexuality wasn’t there to please anyone, let alone certain straight men who filter any woman’s experience through their own gaze. It wasn’t an invitation, a suggestion – rather a way to educate some people on how to be respectful of others.
Why I’m vocal about being bi
That’s why I started to be vocal about my bisexuality.
Timidly, at first. And then I began to drop hints on my sexual orientation in any casual conversation remotely related to the topic.
Nobody was there for me when I needed it, but I could’ve helped others coming to terms with their own bisexuality.
I told my closest friends and my new friends, my very accepting parents and every boyfriend or girlfriend I’ve had since realizing it.
Being bisexual is just a tiny speck of who I am, but I still need to point that out to be visible, to come into existence.
Sometimes I wish I had realized I was bisexual way sooner than I did. I could’ve given it a go with that cute girl in high school, for instance, and spared me the troubles of figuring out myself when I was supposed to have my shit together.
Most of the time, it is actually fine. Coming out in my mid-20s gave me the chance to question myself at an age where others seem to know everything about themselves. And that, to me, is a strength rather than a weakness.
Or at least, I’d like to think it is.