I first realized I was bisexual when I was around 20.
At that time I was living and studying in London. I’ve always been a ‘free and independent soul.’
I’ve never been ashamed of my feelings, my sexual life and my attraction to men.
So realizing that I had the same attraction for women it was just like a sort of ‘expansion’ of my already strong personality.
Coming out in London was easy. When I came back home, to Italy, coming out to my mum and brother was embarrassing but still ok.
With my father, it was a different matter. I’ve never been very open about my sexuality to him so it isn’t something we discuss openly.
I told my husband a few years ago sometime after we’d started our relationship.
I didn’t want to ‘hide’ anything, but I was so involved with him and our children that I didn’t really think about it.
It was part of me of course, but I just ‘forgot; in some way.
When I did tell him, he was ok with that.
We talk about many things and we are extremely open minded about feelings and sexuality so it’s never been an issue. We talk about women we like and we joke a lot about it. It’s a fun and intense way to live a relationship. We feel like equals 100%.
Being bisexual in Italy
Italy is catholic country. When I say ‘catholic,’ I don’t mean just as a personal faith but as something that leaks in many aspect of people’s everyday life.
We can see it in laws, approaches to education, society etc. It has a very traditional way to see feelings and sexuality.
In order for people to be ‘afraid’ of biphobia, people would need to know what bisexuality is.
In our country there is a huge difference between young people and less young people, straight or gay.
Young LGBT people accept bisexuality as a concept. Many are starting to affirm their bi/pan sexuality. Others know it exists but are afraid of the many misconceptions surrounding bisexuality (cheaters, liars, not bi but gay in denial etc etc).
Older LGBT people tend to deny bisexuality exist, whether they’re gay or straight.
Some of them only accept bisexuality if you are having ‘relationships with men and women at the same time.’ But, once you are exclusive you are straight or gay.
Official documents, researches, laws etc just don’t mention bisexuality in most cases.
It’s a ‘new’ phenomenon for many or just ‘fashion’ for others.
Personally, I’ve found more acceptance among straight people than LGBT people of my generation (40 years old).
But, slowly, things are changing. We can see it also by studying the attention our group BPROUD has been getting in the last 2 years.
People of all ages contact us daily, so I’m positive that something is changing for the better.
New generations are taking over old generations. Concepts such as ‘fluidity, spectrum, bi/pansexuality’ are taken much more into consideration.
It’s an everyday fight for LGBT people and although many things have changed there’s still a lot to do.
Accepting bisexual people is just very difficult for many, Especially in the LG community.
They see us as something in between.
I’m sure society will change one day and once all the rights will be equal. Bisexuality will be a valid part of this country.
The work we are doing now is: letting people know we exist, we are ‘normal’ people among them, we aren’t enemies but ready to fight for the same rights and we suffer the same difficulties if not more.
I work as a teacher in charge of my own private school in a small Italian town. I’m not out to everyone because the risk of losing my job is very high.
But I am out to many friends and family, of course. They are ok with it.
Being out in a small close-minded village is still hard though.
We started a project with some friends a few months ago.
It’s a storytelling corner we organize from time to time in local libraries and other places. We read books about topics such as adoption, diverse families, same sex marriages, racism and bullying.
Children are always happy to share these moments with us and our books but parents aren’t always happy.
Every time we do it, it’s a surprise. It can be a wonderful moment or a very tense one.
Being a bisexual parent
I’ve never had a real ‘coming out’ to my children.
That’s because I’ve always been clear to them. Since the beginning my husband and I have always used a very inclusive language. We’ll say ‘if one day you’ll meet the person of your life, a girl or a boy…’ and read inclusive books with them.
They know love is love, no matter what and that people can fall in love with other people no matter what.
The advice I always give to parents of young children is this: be clear to them, if you can.
Sometimes, just by reading a book you can explain things in a very clear way. You don’t even need to do ‘the speech’ sometimes.
At one point I told them ‘mum is bisexual’ and they were completely fine with it. Their only concern was ‘yes but you love daddy, don’t you?’
Once I reassured them of that, it wasn’t an issue for them.
I would recommend parents come out to their children as long as it’s safe.
Coming out to people you love is always liberating. Being yourself, being free to live yourself truly, being honest to the people you love is the best feeling in the world.
It’s where your real life starts.
But coming out to your kids is more than that.
You can show them that the world is bigger than it seems, with many nuances. You’ll teach them to be more open-minded and more respectful. And, another important reason is: what if they are bi or gay?
They will always know that you are there to support them and, more than everything, they know that you can understand them deeply.
Of course it isn’t always easy or possible. It also depends on the age of your kids, on your family and partner and on the environment you live in.
If you can’t come out, don’t feel guilty.
You can raise your children as open-minded and sensitive people without revealing yourself. They will understand, eventually.
Anna is a pseudonym used to protect the writer’s identity.