I’m a freshman in college and I’m sitting in the bathtub of my dorm and I’m crying. I have some overly poppy song playing to keep anyone that walks by unalarmed by what’s happening behind the door. My heart is pounding and my head is throbbing and I’m hugging my knees so hard as if I let go my legs would slip down the drain. I can’t keep this to myself any longer. I have to tell someone.
I decide to call Carrie, a friend that I’ve had since we were in elementary school. Fate brought us to college in a strange town and in this moment, I know she’s the person I should tell first. I’m extremely close with my roommates but I need the familiarity of home to comfort me while I finally tell the truth.
It’s dark outside but it’s not too late when I start my walk across campus to meet Carrie at the library. I called her, still crying. I tried to say “I’m okay, I just really need to talk to you. Can you meet me?” But instead, I’m sure it came out as just one jumble of snot and tears and “need to talk” which is all she needed to hear before she said “Library. Now.”
The cliche thing to say right now is “that was the longest walk of my life.” But it was. I felt like that walk lasted for hours. I ran through exactly what I was going to say, how I was going to say it. I imagined her reaction, both positive and negative. I thought about her questions and I decided on my answers. I’ve been waiting for this moment forever and it was finally here. I was ready to be honest with not only myself, but with everyone.
As soon as I see her, I start to cry. She immediately sits me down and holds me and asks me what’s wrong. I can tell she’s worried and honestly, she sounds scared. I feel like an ass because I’m scaring my friend half to death over something we’re eventually going to laugh about.
After literally ten minutes of me just crying in her lap, I blubber out the words “I’m bisexual.” I begin to sob.
As soon as the words leave my mouth, a woman approaches us and asks us if we’re interested in joining her church group. I’m positive that Carrie could feel my body tense so she quickly yelled, “This is really not a good time!” and the woman scurried off.
Carrie begins to laugh and returns to the crying pile of snot in her lap that is me. She says, “Is that all?”
I shoot up and say “what do you mean ‘is that all?'”
“I thought you had shot somebody or your mom had died or something tragic! Who cares if you’re bisexual???”
“I don’t know! I care! What if my mom cares? Or my roommates care?”
“They’re not going to care, Marki. They love you. We all do. And you have the right to love who ever you want, just like we do.”
“I just don’t want to make anyone around me uncomfortable. I don’t want people to think I’m saying this for attention or have people look at me differently.”
“Since when do you care what people think?”
She had a point.
After talking with Carrie and having her ease my mind with how people would react, I felt more confident about the whole situation. My main concern was making my roommates uncomfortable because we live together and I didn’t want them to feel uneasy in their own home. I didn’t want to come off as some sort of sexual deviant, as many bisexuals are perceived to be.
I decided to ease into the whole “I’m a part of the Queer Community” deal and joined my campus’s LGBT Club, Spectrum. I went to my first meeting and met a girl named Heather. She was the only bisexual girl that spoke about her experiences with her family and having people not accept her because she wasn’t gay enough and she also wasn’t straight enough. Everything she said made so much sense to me. She had been through what I’m going through. The fear and the self doubt. The lack of approval from both communities. I decided to talk to her.
We met for lunch the next day and I told her a little bit about my situation. She told me coming out as bisexual is a completely different experience than coming out as gay, because it’s not as widely understood as being a homosexual is. It’s a little more complicated and people struggle to understand it fully because it has so many stigmas attached to it. She told me about her parents having a difficult time with it at first because she came from a religious family. I could relate because my dad was Mormon and my mom still holds on to some of those beliefs. Deep down, I knew my mom would never be anything but supportive but at the time, I was afraid she would dismiss this as if it weren’t real or legitimate.
After talking to Heather, we walked to class together hand in hand.
Fast forward a few months and I’ve already come out to my roommates. None of them gave a shit, obviously. They were supportive and understood why I felt like I couldn’t talk to them about it but reassured me that they loved me and they weren’t afraid of me sleeping in the same room. The whole situation is so laughable now but at the time, god, I was so scared.
After being surrounded by so much positive energy regarding my sexuality, I decide to come out to my sister when I go home for Christmas. I tell my sister and she cries and hugs me because she’s so proud of me being my true self and not hiding it. I told her not to tell mom because I wasn’t ready. She understood.
My mom noticed us talking and crying and she began to worry. She approaches me and asks what’s wrong. I tell her nothing. She immediately asks if I’m pregnant. I laugh and say no. She asks if I’m gay. I hesitate. She immediately asks another question. I had received the reaction I needed to hear for me to know that now was not the time to tell my mother. It can wait.
Fast forward a few years…
Two out of five sisters know I’m bisexual. Pretty much all of my close friends know. It’s time to tell my mom.
Well, I didn’t even know it was time to tell my mom until she asked me.
I had just gone to Pride Fest in Knoxville and I had a blast. I posted about it on my Facebook and posted loads of pictures that were oozing in rainbows. Not too long after that, gay marriage becomes legal in all 50 states. I am ecstatic. I am over the moon. I post about it on my Facebook obviously. Apparently that caused some family members to question my sexuality as if it were any of their business.
My mom tells me my aunt asked if I was gay.
I asked my mom what she said?
“I said I didn’t think so but if you were, I wouldn’t care.”
“Great because I’m bisexual.”
I can tell that wasn’t what my mom expected to hear. I kind of think my mom has almost suspected that I’m gay but she was never expecting me to identify as bisexual.
She then tells me that bisexuality is the one sexuality she just doesn’t understand. She thinks it’s a “sex thing”, that bisexuals just want to have sex with whoever. She thinks it’s a phase, that I’ll eventually just pick a gender to be attracted to. She tells me that she believes I’ll fool around with girls but when I settle down and get married *~*to a man*~* that I’ll regret the way I felt towards women.
This is my first up close and personal experience with bi erasure and honestly, biphobia.
I love my mother, and after I explained to her that this isn’t a phase, that I’m not interested in only sex, and that I will never pick a gender, she listened and accepted me and my *legitimate* sexuality.
I’m lucky enough to have a mother that can think one way but be openminded and so full of love that she will listen and accept new information. It’s my favorite thing about her. I love her so much.
It has taken me a *very* long time to write this blog post and I’ll tell you the reasons.
Because coming out as bisexual doesn’t seem necessary and do you know why? Because people don’t view it as a legitimate sexuality. It’s seen as sexual deviance. An excuse to make out with anyone. An experiment. Or a cover-up for actually being a lesbian.
People who are bisexual do not eventually become straight or become gay. They remain bisexual, regardless of what gender they end up dating or marrying. I have only had boyfriends and I have only slept with men. Does that make me any less bisexual? No. It doesn’t. Because my lack of experience doesn’t take away from my abundance of attraction and desire towards the same sex.
I have hesitated with coming out officially just because it didn’t seem necessary. Because I didn’t feel like I deserved to make a fuss over something that is very important to me. But you know what? I do deserve to make a fuss about who I love because everyone deserves to be excited and celebrated for who they are.
Bisexuals are here and we’re queer and we’re not going anywhere.
Today is Bi Visibility Day. A day to celebrate and include bisexuals as a legitimate sexuality. So grab a bisexual, give them a hug and say “I see you.” Because I am tired of having to explain myself because gender doesn’t define who I love.
My name is Marki Beth Nieporte and I am a bisexual and I’m fucking proud of it.
Thank you for reading and thank you for loving me.
see ya later crybabies,