Why Coming Out As Bisexual
Is Perpetually Exhausting
My girlfriend and I are openly, and proudly, bisexual.
No confusion. No denial. No self-loathing. We have nothing but
acceptance for each other and ourselves. Even though I rock
outlandishly short, pink jorts as it gets oppressively humid
in Boston, and many of my mannerisms are “stereotypically gay,”
people assume I’m straight when I’m with her. There’s something
beautiful about that. There shouldn’t be mannerisms or stereotypes
that are considered gay or straight.
These stereotypes perpetuate false ideas of masculinity, femininity,
and conflate gender expression with sexual orientation. The irony is
that in my own way, I’m trying to say I’m not straight. I’m acting
true to who I am, and in doing so, expressing my bisexuality.
Because of my current relationship with my girlfriend, I’m perpetually
coming out. Unless sexual orientation comes up organically in conversation,
I don’t say I’m bisexual. Not because I’m ashamed. I just don’t think it’s
necessary to introduce myself by saying, “I’m Zach. I have a girlfriend.
I’m still not straight though. I’m actually bisexual.” There is more to me
than my sexuality. But after spending years trying to figure out my sexuality, and being proud of being bisexual, it is important to me for others to recognize it as well.
There’s the assumption that if you’re a man dating a woman, you’re straight.
And if you’re a man dating a man, you’re gay. This is mainly due to the fact
our language surrounding relationships are typically binary. There are either
straight or gay relationships – that's the language we use.
Similarly, when marriage equality passed it was “gay marriage” not same-sex
marriage. When we say gay marriage and straight marriage, (shouldn’t it just
be called marriage now anyway?) we completely erase bisexuals. That’s why it’s crucial to call it same-sex marriage (or relationship), to be inclusive of everyone who falls somewhere in the middle of the sexual orientation spectrum.
So, I’m constantly coming out—and it’s exhausting. Having to correct the false assumption that I’m straight (or less often now that I have a girlfriend, gay) isn’t something I consider fun. The times that I don’t want to correct someone for falsely assuming my sexual orientation, usually because I’m not in the mood to talk about myself, I am re-closeting myself.
That’s a lousy feeling—something that makes me feel a tad bit more insecure and inauthentic when I meet new people. These are feelings I felt in abundance while questioning my sexuality. The feelings I hoped I would be done with forever when I finally finished grappling with my sexual identity.
Instead, I’m troubled by feeling closeted in surplus, with every new person I meet. Yes, it will come up that I’m bisexual at some point, and if it doesn’t come up quickly enough, I will say something because I do think it’s important that people know that about me. But the time it takes to get there can suck.
I know it’s unrealistic to expect people to look at me and immediately think, “Oh. That guy is definitely bisexual.” I’m not even sure that’s what I want. What I do know is that assumptions are hurtful. Not always in the most obvious of ways. For me it’s feeling a little bit more anxious, inauthentic, and closeted.
So let’s stop assuming. Let’s remember bisexuality exists. No assumptions about a man dating a man being gay and a woman dating a woman being a lesbian. No assumptions that a man and woman dating are the quintessential heterosexual couple. Let’s think of relationships for what they are – a couple. Two people dating who have a connection. Let’s think of it as love, and call it a day