One summer day, when I was 15, I was hanging out with my friends at my house while my parents were out. It’s hard to believe, but we weren’t up to anything nefarious—just a bunch of goth/grunge kids in 1999 sitting around, eating gummy bears and talking about who we thought was hot.
My friend Dana said, “I think James Iha from Smashing Pumpkins is pretty much the hottest one in the group.”
Jesse made a face and said, “Definitely not Billy Corgan. His head looks like a potato.”
“No,” I argued after a sip of Mtn Dew, our favorite beverage. “D’arcy, the bassist, she’s the hot one.”
Jesse turned to me, her eyes wide. “Hey, just wondering … are you bisexual? It’s cool if you are.”
A sudden, impossible power rushed through me, followed by a sweet relief I’d never known. “Um, yeah. I think I am." I said it louder, "I think I am.”
That was when I came out, almost 20 years ago. But today, if you asked any of my friends or my family, they would say that I’m straight. Because, somehow, I got back into the closet.
In college, almost all of my friends were lesbians and gay men. I went to Pride, went to political protests to support gay marriage and, though I mostly dated men, I did have a couple of girlfriends (but nothing serious).
I became a public education teacher. During our training in college, many professors made it clear to us as future teachers that we could be fired from our jobs if, at any point, the community lost confidence in our ability to teach their children in loco parentis. I took out my nose ring and I went back in the closet.
I don’t want to run off and get a girlfriend. I just want to be bisexual and out about it. But how am I supposed to do that?
In 2009, I met the man who would become my husband. At this point, I had dated men exclusively since 2003. I still found women attractive, but being in the closet professionally began to warp my view of myself. I figured that bisexuality had just been a “phase” and that clearly, since I was married to a man, that I was actually straight. And everyone in my life believed the same thing.
However, recently, I became active in several writing groups in the town where I live, which has a sizeable LGBT community. As I began to attend meetings and interact with other writers online, I made real connections to many lesbians and trans people. In sharing our writing and lives, I realized, no, I am not straight. I am a bisexual woman, but I threw myself back in the closet for stupid reasons. This really is who I am and I should be allowed to exist as an out LGBT person.
But where do I go from here? I am married to a man that I want to stay with. We have a daughter. I don’t want to run off and get a girlfriend. I just want to be bisexual and out about it. But how am I supposed to do that? And what would really change about my life if I came out again?
The real question is, should I? In my quest to be true to myself and to claim my identity as part of the LGBT community, am I going to harm something or someone in my life? I still work in a public school in a small rural town. Will my husband think that I’m not satisfied with him?
Recently, we watched "Wonder Woman" and I couldn’t contain myself. “I am in love with those Amazons. All of them,” I said to my husband.
He laughed, and said, “Well, if you wanted to bring an Amazon home for the two of us, I wouldn’t mind.”
Massive eye roll. That is not what I’m interested in. And that is exactly the response that I wouldn’t want by coming out to my husband—that my sexuality is an opening for adding a third to our relationship to fulfill a male fantasy. I just want to be an out, bi woman who can openly be part of the LGBT community, to be bi enough to belong there.
Honestly, I really don’t know what to do next. I thought that by writing this, I would come to some kind of conclusion.
There is so much to gain, but there’s also so much to lose.