Like many who realise their sexuality differs from the heteronormative expectation’s society places upon us, I became aware of my bisexuality much earlier before I told anyone in my life.
Bisexuality: attraction to people of more
than one gender, to all gender identities
or who don’t see gender as a major
factor in who they are attracted to
I remember telling someone close to me I liked a girl in my class when I was eleven, to which I was met with “it’s probably just a phase”. It wasn’t and this experience though not entirely traumatic, led me to continue covering up similar feelings over the next decade. I had always been quite vocal about liking boys and continued to be as a teenager, but suppressed my feelings towards women to avoid being an outcast at my all-girl, Catholic high school.
Heteronormative: denoting or relating to
a world view that promotes heterosexuality as
the normal or preferred sexual orientation
Peers had made their stance on same-sex attraction quite clear with snide remarks behind our queer friends’ backs and I did not yet have the confidence to stand up for them or admit I too was one of them. This led to a lot of experimentation with people outside of school and was the beginning of my outward acknowledgment that I was not heterosexual.
Queer: a general term used for people
who don’t identify as heterosexual
Heterosexual: someone who is attracted
to people of the opposite gender
After I graduated from school, I finally came out for the first time to one of my lesbian-identifying friends because I knew she would understand without judgement. This positive experience was the first of many I had telling all my friends and family. Even the person who had a decade ago theorised my feelings were “just a phase” accepted me openly and apologised after I told them how their words years ago had invalidated my identity.
Finally coming out after so long took about three years before most people in my life knew I was openly a bisexual woman, and it took guts. Though I was fortunate in how many of the people in my life received this news, friends of mine have been less fortunate. In a world where homophobia is still very much prevalent it can be difficult to feel like there is any merit to actually coming out, but I promise it is so worth it.
Read more: Sexual orientation – some terms you may know & others you may not
I have a new found respect and appreciation for my family and friends and now feel more comfortable than ever disclosing information about my personal life without the fear of judgement. I think it is still important to mention my experience coming out has been one of privilege that is not always afforded to other bisexual identifying people.
Despite the privileges I have, being a white, cis woman, who depending on who I’m dating can seem hetero-passing, there are many things about accepting this fundamental part of my identity that have been difficult to deal with on a personal level. Bi-erasure (attempts to deny or invalidate bisexuality) has probably been one of the hardest issues to deal with as it feels like some people even inside the LGBT+ community refuse to acknowledge some humans can fall in love with and be sexually attracted to both men and women.
Cisgender: a person whose sense of
personal identity and gender
corresponds with their birth sex
Bi-erasure: the denial or questioning of
the legitimacy of bisexuality, either in
regard to an individual or in general
Having people invalidate your feelings can make you feel like an imposter in your own body and mind, making you doubt yourself which really isn’t pleasant. In addition to this, Bi-phobia can also pose a challenge with uneducated people assuming this sexuality implies promiscuity, unfaithfulness or even that you are only attracted to the same gender when under the influence. Both of these issues seek to discredit bisexual people and are extremely important to talk about within the community if we want to increase education and awareness.
Bi-phobia: fear, hatred or
intolerance of bisexuality
Though being bisexual isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, I am grateful I found the courage to come out and to accept my identity for what it is. Being bisexual is valid and it feels good to embrace this part of my identity whole-heartedly. I believe sexuality to be fluid and sometimes even evolving, so I might not always identify this way, but for now being bisexual is the most me I’ve ever felt.
Read more: Unsure of a few terms? Check out Rosie’s Feminist Glossary
The more I learn about bisexuality, the greater my desire to educate and inspire others to share their voices in the community. I believe that if I had grown up surrounded by voices telling me same-sex attraction was ok, it would have been a lot easier to come out; and a lot quicker too. We need more voices sharing their stories, voices from all walks of life and above all else we need to keep educating and empowering the young people part of the LGBT+ community.
I feel good knowing that we as a community are louder and prouder than ever and that many young people today will grow up being empowered by their identities. If you’re confused about your sexuality or gender identity, that is 100% ok! Nobody knows you better than you, trust your instincts. It can also be helpful to confide in a friend, family-member or health-care professional so that your journey to self-acceptance is as seamless as it can be.
Stay positive and just be you!
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Izzy Votsis is a Melbourne-based writer with a passion for music, travel and anything fun! When she’s not busy writing, Izzy likes to spend time with family, friends and living life to the fullest.
This piece is part of our Teen Writers Program, and we’re always looking for more stories. If you’d like to write for Rosie and feature across our website and social media, get in touch with your idea. We’d love to hear from you!
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