Recently, I visited the lively city of Dublin and explored its historical monuments, Guinness Storehouse, and experienced some of its LGBTQI friendly nightclubs. It’s also here that I discovered the slogan ‘Closets are for Clothes’ emblazoned across the back of an attractive waitress at the Thunder Road Cafe. I instantly fell in love with these words but at the same time felt the sharp pangs of shame. It’s a message that means so much to me as a bisexual woman but I’m too scared to be fully out the closet for fear of being disowned and judged by some of the people I love the most. I couldn’t handle that so I say nothing and keep my secret. All I want is to be loved for who I am.
Let’s get this straight. I’m married to a wonderful man whom I love with all my heart. He’s a writer too so I’ve hit the soul mate jackpot. It doesn’t make me any less bi. He kind of already knew who I was before I decided to come out to him because I’d always make comments and compliment pretty women while having this air of nervousness surrounding me. When I eventually did say the words he was happy for me and has supported me ever since. I was flabbergasted as I thought this revelation would catapult us into an argument or breed some sort of distrust between us. I’m eternally grateful for this incredible soul with his gigantic loving heart. He’s one of the most liberal and progressive men I’ve ever met and I’m so glad that I get to spend the rest of my life with him. However, like my icons Stephanie Beatriz and Evan Rachel Wood – I still fancy girls. I can’t not find them attractive. It’s part of who I am and who I’m proud to be. Sometimes I feel that I’m looking for my tribe, people with the same sexual leanings that I can identify with and call my friends. It’s why I always go to gay bars so that I can soak up the culture and be in a safe space.
Being in these places makes me feel like I’m a part of something greater, a community that can share stories and experiences, and most of all the love and acceptance that comes with it. Even just seeing people being truly free and having fun takes me to a genuinely happy place. It’s like a San Junipero moment where Kelly and Yorkie discover their love for one another, diving in headfirst to unknown places with not a care in the world. That scene makes me gush in more ways than one. Identity is a huge part of who I am. Right now, I feel like the world is seeing a jigsaw with missing pieces. Parts that I’ve left out deliberately and hidden from the people closest to me. So, in order to fill in parts of my life puzzle I decided to tell my friends the truth.
Anyway, after that I decided to tell my friends. The close ones. Luckily, I have quite a few gay and lesbian friends in my circle and it felt right to tell them first as each had their own coming out story. Still, it was scary sharing this truth with people, not knowing how they were going to react, or what they’d say. I formed the message over and over again in my head, trying to link it to TV Shows (Yes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine), before eventually sending it out. Eagerly, nerves twitching, I waited on their responses. Slowly but surely they began trickling in until there was a flood all at once. People were happy for me, proud even, and some weirdly already knew. It was the latter part that made me question myself – am I that obvious? If I am then do my family know instinctively but are they turning a blind eye? Maybe they don’t want to believe it. They definitely wouldn’t understand it.
I’ve felt physically sick that my family will somehow find out through some turn of fate that’ll end up in them ultimately disowning me. They’re not very progressive when it comes to LGBTQI issues. There’s this wavering tolerance where they’ll make jokes about it but then see two people of the same sex kiss in a film and you can see their respective lips curl in disgust and comment on how it’s not like that in nature. Sure it is! There are gay penguins, bonobos, and all sorts of other creatures that engage in same sex activities. It’s only homophobia that’s distinctly human. I’ll never tell them. Not in a million years. I’ve spoken to some bisexual friends and they say it’s not worth the hassle, and sadly for now I think they’re right.
It might be my secret but I also need to consider my own self-care. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety throughout my life and I don’t need those demons to come back and wreak havoc. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family but I disagree with their views. I think it’s a generational thing where they’re so set in their ways that they’ll never change. I already conform to their martial expectations and have tied the knot with a man so there’s no need to tell them. Why should I share my sexual interests with them anyway? That’d just be weird. So, they can go on being blissfully unaware and I can continue to have good mental health.
It’s been a tough struggle to accept myself for who I am but I’m glad that I have found friends who know exactly what it’s like and love and support me through the worst of it. Plus, having someone like my husband who is the gentlest most loving soul on the planet on my side makes life worth living and every day feels like a gift. I couldn’t ask for better people and if they accept me then why shouldn’t I accept myself?
So, while I need to keep my sexuality nestled among the coats sometimes for now, having good people around makes it easier to wear it more often in all its rainbow-coloured glory.