I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for quite a while now, but without ever being sure of the approach I wanted to take. As the title suggests, I’ll be writing about the fact that I am bisexual. It wasn’t an easy journey, nor a romantic one that can be seen in films – where one takes a glance at a beautiful girl and they instantly fall in love and are able to discover their sexuality together, or with one helping the other. It was an emotional journey full of confusion, doubt and shame. I’m not sure whether or not I can say I’ve truly found and understood myself now, but at least I’ve accepted myself – which is more than I could’ve wished for a couple years back.
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When it comes up in conversation that I am bisexual, there’s always the generic question “How/when did you know?, which to be honest is a really fun one to explain. Looking back on my life, there were clear signs everywhere that I was attracted to girls; but I think it was easy to ignore these signs considering I was also attracted to boys, which left me in the ‘norm’ and without a need to necessarily try and understand what I was feeling. It truly hit me a couple years ago, however, when I developed feelings for one of my best friends. They were very strong romantic feelings, not necessarily sexual, which made it all the more confusing: I didn’t understand if my love for her as a friend was so strong that it felt almost romantic, or whether I actually felt something deeper for her. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to tell her about it, although not in depth as I was still confused and (without understanding why) ashamed. It didn’t change anything in our friendship, or the way she felt around me, which is the best reaction I could’ve expected.
When university started I tried labelling myself as bisexual, but it didn’t really go as I expected. I, for one, felt uncomfortable with that term as I used to (wrongly) believe that bisexuals were attracted to men and women equally, as in 50/50. I felt I was more attracted to men so I didn’t feel like I could carry the term ‘bisexual’ to describe myself. I know we don’t necessarily need labels to define ourselves, but especially at the time, I needed some kind of name to understand who/what I was and to feel like I belonged somewhere with people who experienced similar feelings. The fact that I had never had a girlfriend also made it difficult for others to believe I could be bisexual – as if I’d need to give some kind of proof, and that the way I feel wasn’t what mattered most. In any case, every time someone tried talking to me about it, I would try and stop the conversation as quickly as possible, and overall ignore the topic as I felt so ashamed to talk about it. I never understood why I felt that way; I never thought being bisexual (or gay or lesbian, or anything else for that matter) was anything negative or to be ashamed of, but I guess when it concerns you directly it’s different. It’s so easy to say “why don’t they come out? It’s so obvious they’re not straight!” – but you need to understand it can take a lot of time for someone to accept themselves and to feel comfortable with talking openly about it. No matter what people say and how far we’ve come, there is still discrimination and stigma concerning the lgbtiq+ community which still makes it difficult to feel confident about ourselves.
I truly made my coming out this year when I started my year abroad in Italy. Before moving to Bologna, I promised myself I would be honest and confident about who I am so that no one could ever doubt the way I feel. To my surprise, everyone was so accepting and loving towards me, making me feel like I could be unapologetically myself. I became friends with an lgbtiq+ group for the first time, which truly helped me to discover and understand myself and to learn more about the community as a whole. I was faced with the positives and the negatives of the community, but I won’t go into detail now – that could be a whole post of its own.
I haven’t told my family yet, and I’m not sure when to tell them. I guess it’s something that’ll come naturally if I ever really feel the need to. It’s important to remember that what matters most is the way YOU feel, how YOU decide to present yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you who or what you are, and very importantly: you don’t owe anything to anyone. Be your beautiful self, and don’t let anyone make you doubt how amazing you are.
Lots of love,