I feel like my straight friends don't really understand what I mean when I tell them I'm bisexual. For the record, I wanted to spell it all out.
1. Yes, I am bisexual. No, I'm not just going through a phase, and I'm not confused. I'm not actually a heterosexual woman who's "experimenting." I'm attracted to both men and women, and always have been. I didn't choose to be bisexual any more than you chose to be heterosexual. This is just a part, a small part, of who I am. Please accept that.
2. The fact that I'm bisexual does not automatically mean I like threesomes or engage in risky sexual behavior. On the contrary. I have never had a threesome and I prefer monogamous relationships. My partner and I are normal people facing the same kinds of relationship struggles that you have with your boyfriend/husband.
3. I am not attracted to you. I think you're beautiful, intelligent, funny and all-around awesome. But when I look at you, I see my friend, and I cherish our friendship. I know your orientation is not the same as mine, and I'm perfectly fine with that.
4. If I compliment you, I really mean it. Whatever I said, I probably thought about it first to make sure you wouldn't take it the wrong way. You may not realize it, but I try very hard to ensure my sexuality doesn't make you uncomfortable.
5. It's OK to hug me like you would any girl friend. But it's up to you... I watch for your cues. I will never initiate a hug unless you're crying and in need comfort. You're my friend, and friends respect each other's boundaries. I understand if this is one of yours.
6. I hate women's locker rooms even more than you do. Even if I was straight, I would be uncomfortable. Ladies, please! Put on a towel! Straight or gay, many of us women are very self-conscious about our own bodies. We don't want to see yours. Me personally, I'm in the locker room just long enough to collect my stuff and change in the restroom or private dressing room, then head home for my shower. I'm currently in a relationship -- and even if I wasn't -- it would be highly inappropriate for me to look at you in your undressed state. Please make it easier for me by covering yourself when you're in the common areas.
7. I experience discrimination from all sides. Many of the gay and lesbian population do not believe that bisexuality is real. Instead they believe that female bisexuals are actually lesbians who are afraid to fully come out. Some lesbians have refused to date me because they were afraid I wouldn't be able to commit to a lesbian relationship. And of course, homophobia from the straight population has been pretty unavoidable. So you see, it's not easy to be bisexual. I feel like I'm trapped in between two different worlds and not fully welcomed as part of either one.
8. Because of #7, I sincerely treasure my friendship with you and all my other friends, straight or gay. Being bisexual has made me more empathetic towards others who might be carrying an invisible burden, whether it be their physical health, financial difficulties, mental health, abuse, or other issue. Much like me and my sexuality, that burden might be part of who they are, but it does not define them.
About the Author: Hello! My name is Amy. I am many things, with bisexual and bipolar being two of the first labels that come to mind. But those labels do not define me. I am a wife, mother, daughter, writer, friend, aunt, Packer fan, trumpet player, toy fixer, and so many other things. I grew up in small town Wisconsin, attended college in Minnesota, took my first job in Texas, and now live in Jacksonville, Florida with my husband, two kids, and our elderly black lab. Even in the best of times, I struggle with bipolar depression and suicidal thoughts. So upon the advice of my therapist, I started writing a blog to help me cope with all the thoughts and feelings that are involved with being both bipolar and bisexual. Please feel free to email me or meet me on Twitter!
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