#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? 

Leah, 22, Colorado: I told my boyfriend before we started dating that I was bisexual. I wasn't fearful of anything, because I knew he would accept me for who I am, regardless of my sexual orientation. The response was exactly what I wanted it to be. [Everyone] responded as if I had told them my hair is brown or that the sky is blue. It wasn't a big deal for either my family members or friends. I don't usually go around telling people my sexuality, unless they assume I am something I am not. Most of the people I know are straight, and they are accepting of my sexuality. I have only had one encounter where a religious neighbor verbally attacked me for the LGBTQA bumper sticker I have on my car. As far as the gay community goes, I have seen many people supporting bisexuals but have also seen Twitter posts that slam bisexuals, saying they would not want to date a bisexual because it's twice as much competition. I think within both groups there are a great number of supporters, but the stereotypes and stigmas are still apparent in jokes and throughout society. 

Dave, 27, Scotland: I came out, first of all, to a few close friends when I was a teenager, probably around 15 or 16, but didn't really accept it in myself for a long time. My head went from going between Bi, straight — no, curious ...  mMaybe gay? Nah, I like girls too much, bi, and back and forth for years. I've never been in a same-sex relationship, though I have been with men in a sexual way, and I think a combination of me not talking about it for a long time and having no "evidence" to suggest I was anything other than straight has resulted in a few people assuming that it was just a phase.

I had a pretty horrible experience when I was about 18 when my parents found out I'd been viewing gay "adult content" and they flipped out. My dad asked me straight up if I was gay and I said no, but I told him that I thought I might be bisexual. His response was something along the lines of, "What do you mean you might be bisexual!?" He was furious — and I closed off. He approached the subject in a pretty challenging, aggressive way soon after that, and I just denied it and said it was curiosity. My parents never spoke about it with me since.

Nowadays, I feel like I maybe missed an opportunity to just admit it, but I know I wasn't ready to, and the circumstances weren't ideal. I've been with my wife for over 10 years now, albeit with a one-year break when we moved cities. We've been married for over two years. She has known about my being bi since the beginning, and we spoke about it every now and again in the beginning, but it was always something I avoided talking about.

A couple of years ago, I lost my mum very suddenly and it made me reassess a few things in life — a couple of those being that happiness is the most important thing in life, and being true to yourself is part of that. I made the decision that I wanted to be able to speak about my sexuality openly, and while I didn't want to go screaming it from the rooftops, I don't want to hide it anymore. I've come out to a handful of my closest friends and they have been phenomenally supportive. We went to Pride a couple of weekends ago and they were there for me, as it was something I wanted to feel part of. 

Evan, 40, California: I came out when I was 21, at the beginning of my relationship with my [now] ex-wife. This lead to her expressing her own bi curiosity, though she ended up maintaining a straight identity. Many of my male friends responded in biphobic ways, like "It's OK as long as you don't hit on me." As if my being out would suddenly make me treat them differently from when I wasn't out. I've received nothing but support from my family.

Any family members who don't support me keep their views to themselves and I'm unaware of them. The gay community has always treated me like a pariah. My experience has been that my community frequently negates me or my contribution because I'm "not gay enough." 

Beth, 42, Minnesota: I came out when I was 21. I generally got supportive comments from my friends. I didn’t tell a lot of my family to start with, but aside from some bumps in the road, my mom was OK with it. I came out at a fairly progressive college in which there was a queer student group led by an out bi woman, and I also had bi housemates that same year. So I got support right away. I’ve encountered biphobia from gay and lesbian folks and straight folks, but not typically from people I was already friends with. Overall I’d say I’ve been lucky.

Jake, 26, Washington, D.C.: I first came out as bisexual to my then-girlfriend my senior year of university in the fall of 2009. Afterwards I slowly came out to various people the rest of my senior year, including friends, a couple of professors, my mentor from high school, and my mother. Overall I was met with positive reactions, and my then-girlfriend was very supportive, although my mother was a bit hesitant at first, since she had never known anyone who was bisexual, although she had met multiple homosexuals.

A year after I first came out to anyone, I moved to Washington, D.C. As I slowly made friends in a city where I knew almost no one, I had to learn once again who to trust, which isn’t necessarily easier than where I grew up in Ohio. But I felt more comfortable telling people I’m bisexual in a city that seemed very progressive, especially concerning LGBTQ issues. All of my new friends and my current church family have been very supportive since I moved to D.C.

I have had a mostly positive reaction from a majority of my friends. A couple of my aunts contacted me, telling me I am sinning and to return to the teachings of Jesus. My sister-in-law actually sent me my first “hate mail” message a couple days after coming out, saying she didn’t agree with my “lifestyle.” My brother and I, even though we still talk occasionally, seem to have fallen out for the time being and avoid any mention of my sexuality. My father and I continue to talk, but we have also avoided my sexuality. Therefore I feel my relationship with my father and brother have less meaning than they used to, and I’m uncertain what the future holds for us.

Finally, there have been times when I have been called “greedy” and “selfish” by gay men here in D.C., revealing that a place I thought was progressive maybe isn’t as much as it seems.

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