The first of January, the beginning of a new year, means a new start. Resolutions, if you like. And for some, the idea of new beginnings means coming out.
I spend quite a lot of time on Twitter these days, and various retweets – or repostings by others, if you don’t know about Twitter – are from or about people who’ve decided they are finally going to tell other people they are bisexual.
Coming out as bi can be complicated, mainly because you have to tell people over and over again. People you don’t know will assume that you are either gay or heterosexual, depending on whether your partner is a man or a woman. If you are single, or dating several people, or poly – that can be easier.
There’s no bisexual “look”, in many places there’s no bi scene, the fact that other bisexuals seem hard to find (other than on the internet)... all these things can be annoying if you are looking for support.
But telling the world you are bi is important, really important.
Most of the world thinks that there is no such thing as bisexuality, that bi people are straight people playing at being gay (bi women) or gay people running away from their real sexuality (bi men). You know that it’s not like that – for you and for many others. The more of us who come out, the easier it is for those people who are not out yet.
And there are many people who cannot be out yet, because it is too difficult. They are too unsure of their feelings, their religion says it is wrong, it is illegal in their country, everyone around them thinks it is wicked, their family actually would beat them up and throw them out. They need to know there are people in the world who can support them, however far away they are or whether or not they know them personally.
So coming out is a public service.
It’s also something to do for yourself. Telling people you are bi, especially potentially tricky ones like parents and partners, means you are telling the truth about yourself. You don’t have to lie about a significant part of yourself. Yes, it will be difficult sometimes, but you may also be surprised by the people who will help and support you.
A bi man I once interviewed - deep in the closet, with a conventional life that felt he couldn’t threaten - said that he longed to “live out loud, like other people”. Coming out is the first step to doing that.
Happy New Year. And good luck!