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This bisexual painter used her artwork to come out

This bisexual painter used her artwork to come out

Mae Desmond and the painting which helped her come out as bisexual

This artist has the cutest story of how she met her ex.

Mae Desmond is 29-years-old. She has lived in Hawai’i for six years now.

Her neighbors were queer artist Rose Adare and her apprentice, Kaylie.

Mae started going over, and the three of them would all paint together in the studio there.

‘It was wild that I’d never met her before,’ Mae explains about Kaylie. ‘We ran in sort if the same crowds, and both ex-hippie/gardener types now focused on oil painting.’

Both Mae and Kaylie were in ‘bad relationships’ they were trying to get out of.

Mae’s partner at the time was abusive and ‘there was a lot of pain.’

‘Rose bought a house and months later. They said they were looking for another roommate. We all moved in together!’ Mae continued.

Then both Kaylie and Mae decided to enter a painting competition, which Mae described as ‘ the most prestigious one in Hawai’i.’

The competition takes place every three years.

Mae decided to ask Kaylie if she’d model for her painting. She’d had a crush on Kaylie for months already at this point and they’d become best friends over the summer.

To Mae’s surprise, Kaylie said yes and also asked her to model for her!

Mae and Kaylie
Mae (L) and Kaylie (R) | Photo: Supplied

Kaylie and Mae

Over August, the women painted their pictures of each other side by side.

All this time, Mae had wanted to tell Kaylie how she really felt.

Mae explained: ‘I had been struggling with admitting I was bi for a decade.

‘It was this thing that loomed over me, this question.’

Kaylie would behavior in a way Mae thought was being flirty, and then ‘be regular.’

Then one day, ‘mid-way through the painting,’ Mae asked Kaylie if she wanted to hang out.

‘I tried to be cool as possible,’ Mae added.

The pair ‘ended up hooking up’ and were together for a month.

From here, Mae came out to her sisters and parents.

‘They were a mix of being supportive and celebratory and “k whatever”. The funniest was my mom,’ Mae recalled.

She spoke about how she’d been updating her mom on the progress of the painting and ‘ she thought that was pretty gay of me to paint my friend like that and had talked to my dad about it.’

Mae's painting of Kaylie
Mae’s painting of Kaylie | Photo: Supplied

‘It’s about new beginnings’

Mae says she is now really proud of the painting and it means a lot to her.

She explained: ‘It’s about new beginnings. In the painting, behind the girl are dark rain clouds.

‘Rain has happened, rain will come again.

‘But she also faced beautiful clouds, with a rainbow on the horizon.’

She chose an ‘especially androgynous look’ for her portrait of Kaylie as it looks like ‘she could be a modern woman or perhaps a young sailor teenage boy from back in time.’

In comparison to the pain Mae felt in her abusive relationship, this painting is about being ‘in the open, excited about and unsure of what’s to come in this new life.’

Mae added that she hasn’t spoken to many people about the fact the painting is about her bisexuality and that she has now resolved ‘something in myself that had caused a lot of strife.’

Kaylie's painting of Mae
Kaylie’s painting of Mae | Photo: Supplied

‘What a wild ride’

While Mae and Kaylie had been casually seeing each other, Kaylie had also been seeing another guy.

Mae adds: ‘I know I could have fallen totally in love with her had I let myself.’

She says she knew Kaylie and the other guy had a ‘stronger love.’

Mae found herself ‘so attracted’ to Kaylie, but Kaylie didn’t have the same feelings for Mae.

And so, they had their fling and then it ended.

The women are now back to be best friends as they always were.

Mae says she is ‘forever grateful’ for Kaylie being there for her and helping her come out.

Read The Bi+ Manifesto

The Bi+ Manifesto