#27BiStories: When Did You Come Out? What Was the Response Like?

In their own words, bisexuals tell us what it was like to come out.

BY Eliel Cruz

August 27 2014 8:00 AM ET

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When did you (or your partner) come out as bisexual? What was the response from your family and friends? How about the straight versus the gay community?

Christina, 41, CaliforniaI have come out several times. When I told my parents, they weren't even fazed and just said that I am definitely an individual. I have some family members that do not speak to me anymore, but for the most part my family is supportive. I have lost many friends over the years, but I have made many more that love me as I am. Most of the poor responses come from the straight religious people that I know. I haven't had a bad response from the gay community at all.

Melody, 32, Texas: I came out as a bisexual to friends when I was about 18. It was well-received by gay friends at first. They welcomed me with open arms. In hindsight, I can see all the times they were sitting me down to counsel me about coming out "all the way" as a lesbian. I was called a fence-sitter in jest. Straight friends did not want to talk about it much. They liked me and wanted to keep it that way, so they wanted to drop the subject of sexuality. I came out to some family members a couple years later, who just weren't really very surprised. They don't exactly "get it" as heterosexuals, but they love me. My partner has really only come out to me and one friend. He says he was only able to come out to me because I gave him the space to feel secure that I wouldn't leave him over it. It became important to my partner to come out to someone else, so he chose a gay male friend. As it turns out, his friend was a closeted bisexual as well, and he just came out to [my partner] in return. 

Gabriel, 34, Illinois: I came out to my wife before we got married, but we were already living together and had been partners for many years. It wasn’t as much "coming out" to her as it was needing to talk about feelings I’d had my whole life but never understood. She said "bisexual" for me — I didn’t even consider the word, as crazy as that sounds. I wouldn’t be in the wonderful place I am now without her and all of her love and support.

I came out to friends shortly after, but it took years to come out to family. I didn’t get much response one way or the other, just a lot of congratulations for being me and getting to that place. I had their support. For the most part, this is the straight community I’m talking about. I don’t have much involvement in the gay community, I’m “straight-acting” (to put it terribly simply, emphasis on terrible), I lean more towards the heterosexual end of the spectrum, and I haven’t experienced any doubt from that community from personal experience.

Online comments is another story, but even the essay I wrote for Good Men Project and Salon didn’t attract “he’s really gay” comments like other recent articles about bi people have. I guess the short answer is the straight community is curious about me, the gay community is indifferent. I had some family tell me that the essay I wrote helped them understand why I would come out at this point in my life. And I don’t know how much to read into this — I had friends and family share my essay on facebook and saw good positive discussions around the heterosexual (and a few fellow bi) “sharers.” My sister shared it —  she’s gay and part of a large LGBTQ synagogue. Not a single comment or “like” when she shared it.

Colleen, 58, Canada: My "wife" is open about her bisexuality with her husband, children, and birth family (she is a great-grandmother); however, I am less open, being out only to my ex-wife and children, and not to my birth family. I do, however, have a picture of me with my two partners on my desk at work, and am fairly open about this there. I am willing to respond to questions when people ask. The biggest negative reaction I've had has been from the queer community itself — especially lesbians. My "wife" has a number of lesbian friends, and she is less open about her bisexuality with them.

Zefi, 23, Greece: My friends and acquaintances have been generally very accepting of the fact, some of them sort of "knew" beforehand, like for example my ex-boyfriend. My mother was also pretty supportive, although it is still early to tell. She does not comment on it, which to me feels like she is treating as a nonissue. When it comes to the straight versus gay world, I am sad to say that I have gotten most of the biphobic comments and micro-aggressions from LGBTQ people, as I described above.

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