This may rank as the least important and dramatic statement of its kind in the history of National Coming Out Day, but here goes:
Folks, I’m bisexual.
For those of you who’ve only recently gotten to know me through this blog or some other social medium, this just makes one more wing on the BizarroLand Barbie Dream House of my personality. And for those of you who’ve known me for a very long time, you know how completely and wholeheartedly I’m committed to Cam, darling husband of 15 years and previously posted fame. In either case, you’re probably both asking the same question: so what?
The short answer is: so absolutely nothing. I’ve defined myself as about a 2 or 3 on the Kinsey Scale for almost two decades now, but I never felt the need to share this very widely. I don’t feel any urge to experiment or anything — I’ve already put on the metaphorical sweatpants. Much more importantly, Cam is my love, my soul mate, and my bonded life partner. I made vows; I take them seriously. We’re in this for keeps. My evolving understanding of my own sexuality has zero impact on that commitment, so nobody go freaking out.
As for the other relationships in my life, I expect just as little impact. My oldest kid really doesn’t care, and my youngest is too young to care, but we’ve raised them since day one to believe that love is love, and as long as they know that Mom and Dad are the same as they ever were, I figure I’ll get as much attention as a pile of broccoli. My parents’ only concern was fidelity, which was immediately allayed. My place of work is supportive and EOE and all that. The school where I serve as PTO president is home to a number of same-sex couples who are very active in its politics and activities. And we’re Unitarian Universalists, one of the very first denominations (if not the first) to openly welcome GLBT members and ordained clergy.
The long answer has to do with the “why bother?” side of the equation. Several months back, columnist Dan Savage wrote an article in which he tried to defend himself against perennial accusations of bi-phobia. It gives an interesting insight into the internal politics which plague any group with factions — in this way, the GLBT movement is hardly different from any geeky fanbase fraught with edition wars.
He makes a strong case for the fact that part of the absence of good press about bisexuals in the mainstream media stems from the fact that the majority of bisexuals tend to settle down in hetero relationships, for some reason, and then shut up about their identity: “…it would be great if more bisexuals in opposite-sex relationships were out to their friends, families, and coworkers. More out bisexuals would mean less of that bisexual invisibility that bisexuals are always complaining about. If more bisexuals were out, more straight people would know they actually know and love sexual minorities, which would lead to less anti-LGBT bigotry generally, which would be better for everyone.” I felt that indictment pretty keenly. Between that, and an absolutely amazing experience of love and acceptance having nothing at all to do with sexuality at Twin Cities Pride this summer, I decided it was time to join the visible minority.
Many of you know I’ve been a dedicated activist for LGBT causes since 1992, because every human deserves the exact same opportunities for love, dignity, and fulfillment. Ironically, I think it’s my long history as a “straight ally” that kept me from allowing myself access to the bisexual identity. I haven’t suffered in silence. I haven’t struggled for acceptance. I haven’t been oppressed on the basis of my sexual orientation. I haven’t been personally vested in the rights I’ve worked to secure. And I’m incredibly fortunate to have been able to marry (and secure the immigration status!) of my chosen life partner without so much as a second thought. So where do I get off investing myself with an identity which others have borne and bought with blood and tears? It seems like it depends on so much more than just sexual orientation.
But then we’re right back around to the short answer again: it IS that simple. I’m bisexual. I’m also happily married, so that’s as far as it goes. But for all my family and friends, here’s why it should matter to you: if you didn’t know and love a bisexual person before, you do now. You have for a long time. And it didn’t kill you, or damn you, or give you cooties. And I’m not evil, or unfaithful, or a bad mother. I’m still me, no better, no worse.
Just like everyone.