I was reading Half the Human Experience for my Psychology of Women class when I came across an interview between the authors and a woman who talked about her sexuality. She said that she had been with men and that she had been with women, but that she didn’t fully identify as being heterosexual, homosexual, or even bisexual. She simply said, “I’m just sexual.”
This struck a cord with me. It was one of those “ah-hah” moments that author Katharine Brooks talks about in her book, You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career. Except in this particular incident it had absolutely nothing to do with my career and everything to do with my sexuality.
I can recall several times throughout my life where I have questioned my sexuality. I can recall several times throughout my life where I have said to myself, “Well, I’m not a lesbian, but I’m definitely not straight. So what the hell am I?”
It wasn’t until my 20s that I began identifying as bisexual.
Prior to that, I spent my time denying my sexuality. I told myself that bisexuality was really just a word used by a person who was in denial that they were lesbian or gay. Highly problematic, I know, but the reality was that was just me denying my own sexuality. When my brother Andrew asked, “Are you a lesbian?” I was very quick to deny it. I mean, it was the truth. I wasn’t a lesbian, but the way I responded to his question implied the notion that there must be something wrong with being a lesbian. Spoiler alert: there isn’t.
After reading Half the Human Experience, I knew that I had to, in a way, come out to myself before I could even think about telling anyone else. I had to be comfortable in my own skin. I had to be proud of who I was. I had to be proud of my bisexuality and not at all ashamed of it. I had to love myself first. When I finally began to feel comfortable with myself and my bisexuality, I made a list. This list contained the names of people that I wanted to come out to first. One by one I began checking each name off my list. The first person I came out to was my younger brother, Aarron. We were in the car on our way home when I blurted out, “I have something to tell you.”
It was the best reaction that I could have asked for. Aarron didn’t care that I was bisexual. My sexuality did not change the way he felt about me. Once I came out to everyone that was on my list, as far as I was concerned, nothing else mattered. I am incredibly thankful to those people who were on that list. You all know who you are. I know how lucky I am to have such an amazing group of people in my life who love, support, and accept me no matter what and I know that is not the case for everyone who comes out.
Back in April, I finally decided to make it “Facebook official” by telling the rest of the world. My Dad was afraid. He was afraid for me. He told me that he was scared of how people were going to react. I explained to him that I didn’t care. My roommate Beth said it best at Lavender Graduation. She talked about how when she came out to her Dad and once he was in her corner that nothing else mattered and that is exactly how I felt.
The only people, whose opinions I truly cared about, aside from my own, were on that list. They already knew I was bisexual and they didn’t care. I had received nothing but positive reactions and love from the people on that list. “That’s all that matters to me. Everyone else can fuck off,” I told my Dad.
Alexis Renae Griggs