This interview is with a young bisexual male. Tom dispels the myths about bisexuality and the way he sees it, remembering everyone’s journey is different and teaches us all different lessons.
First of all tell me about yourself?
I am a twenty-one year old university student. I study full-time and work part-time, so it doesn’t leave a lot of room for relationships. My two passions in life are writing and Doctor Who. I would most definitely consider myself a gigantic geek / nerd, and I pride myself on that fact.
Exactly how do you identify yourself sexually and otherwise?
I have always said I really don’t like labels. I don’t like the fact that sexuality is someone’s “identifier”, it isn’t the only thing that defines who I am. I always tell people I’m most like Captain Jack Harkness (from Torchwood / Doctor Who), I love who I love, whether male or female. BUT for simplicity’s sake, I identify as “bisexual”.
Many of the readers won’t know the area you were born in so could you describe it, especially the attitudes towards LGBT, if any.
I come from Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. I am lucky enough to say that here in Australia, there haven’t been any real issues with LGBT harassers etc. Then again, I’ve only been a city-slicker, and never gone rural so I couldn’t rightly say if that covers the whole country. I now live in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I moved up at the beginning of 2010, a week before year eleven started. I came from public co-ed schools up until then, when I was sixteen, I went to a private all-boys Catholic school for year eleven and twelve. Going into that environment was odd because I guess like a lot of high school guys they say “that’s gay” to just about anything that is slightly out of line with the “norm” that they consider.
Tell me about how you discovered you are bisexual?
In retrospect I think I’ve always known I like guys. Younger me would look at attractive guys and think “yeah I want to be like that”, but then it was when I was halfway through high school when I realised that oh wait a minute, I actually find them attractive and I wouldn’t mind being with them.
It was in year ten though (I was fifteen) when a new guy started and he was apparently bisexual. We used to talk about the “private” guy stuff, and I talked about that with some other male friends back then. It was a turn on for me, and it actually helped me realise that I liked both males and females/
How did you cope with it?
For ages I was pretty ashamed in all honesty. It was mainly because, like most fifteen year old guys I was looking up pretty raunchy content online and that helped me discover what I actually liked. I was embarrassed because I didn’t want my family to find out what I looked up, and I was scared they would find out, while I had mates to talk to, your family finding out about sexuality through browsing history isn’t how I would like to come out.
Have you told any friends of family?
I have not told my immediate family. Almost every friend I have knows, and they were told in various ways. I told a couple guys in my last year of high school and one of them showed EVERYONE in the cohort, including some of the kids in the grade below, the message I had sent him. I had explicitly stated “please don’t tell anyone, I want to do it on my own terms”. That was at the all-boys private school, of which I managed to get House Captaincy after only eight months of being there (so plenty of the guys were supportive). The guy that showed everyone my message also showed my cousin who’s two weeks younger than me, and I believe he told his older sisters. I actually told my cousin (and his girlfriend) in Sydney only recently and both were amazingly supportive of me. SO, in short I believe much of my extended family know but my immediate family do not.
How did they react when you first told them?
My extended family I think are cool, my female cousins I guess already knew because of how I was whenever we came to visit when I was younger. I don’t think my immediate family would take it well. I have always said I would never tell my dad due to his upbringing and the things he says about “faggots”. He also disowned me once, but that was for another reason I won’t go into (we are good now since he doesn’t live in the same city as me). My friends say “mums always know” and maybe that’s the case, but I think she denies it if anything, and while she doesn’t use more crass terms for LGBT members, how she acts when discussing them, it’s obvious she wouldn’t like it. My older brother would be fine, I think, it would take him some time to get used to it, but I think he would be the best respondent to the news.
What are your thoughts on coming out to people as a bisexual person?
I am more than happy to tell people. I actually had a really good conversation with a girl from work about it recently while we were drinking, since she is bisexual as well, she understood the frustrations. If I have also helped about three or four guys from high school, grades below and above come to terms with themselves, they said I was an inspiration since everyone knew about me way back when, so that makes me feel good.
Who was the hardest person to come out to?
My two best friends. My female best friend from Adelaide, she always knew secretly but she never said because she wanted me to tell her, rather than someone else. When I first started in Brisbane, I used to tell her all the guys she should look up on Facebook who were hot, and I used to give her guys that I knew she wouldn’t find attractive just in case it got too suspicious. But I told her after my eighteenth (she had visited for it) and I had to do it on the phone. My male best friend, in Brisbane, was also hard to tell because like my female best friend, I wanted them both to see me in a different light, and at the time I felt like maybe if they knew my sexuality, they would see me differently. The guys I told in high school weren’t my absolute closest friends and I guess I felt like I could “protect my image” that I show them somehow.
What are your thoughts on monogamy?
I think it is good. I don’t like the idea of an “open” relationship, but then some celebrities do such a good job with it that I have thought about being in one maybe once or twice.
A lot of people believe the myth that a bisexual person cannot have a monogamous relationship what would you tell them?
I tend to agree slightly. It is hard sometimes. I was in a relationship for seven months, it ended almost a year ago. I wasn’t honest from the start, and I didn’t tell him I was bisexual because I didn’t want him to be concerned that I would be looking at other males or females.
I think it’s ludicrous though that people believe bisexual persons cannot have monogamous relationships, what makes us so different? The fact that we are attracted to both sexes means we can’t have a loving relationship with just one person? Poppycock! It is all dependent on the person though, I suppose.
When and if people ask such questions about your sexuality how do you react to them?
SO MANY PEOPLE THINK BISEXUALS ARE JUST GAY AND THAT REALLY ANNOYS ME. I have had to correct several people over the past six years about that fact, and it is really frustrating. I have had to do it to my female best friend once or twice, as well as my housemate and some of my work colleagues. “Oh, aren’t you gay?” they say. “No. I like women as well as men!” I reply. Of course I don’t act outwardly angry, but inside it hurts that people can’t distinguish two separate elements of LGBT. Like, it even has both next to one another in the acronym? Not that hard people.
What do you think to comments that Bisexual people have it easy, because they are attracted to both sexes?
In my case people are so sorely wrong. I have a work mate who is nineteen, and he is very much a womaniser, he always jokes to me that I can double his “strike rate” and I love the kid. But the thing is, people don’t seem to want a relationship with a bisexual because they think we can’t be faithful. This is what irritated me about the rumour that a certain boy band member was bisexual. Even if he were, he would still have no problem having boys and girls swooning over him not caring that he was attracted to both sexes. Yet here I am, still single because girls only see the “gay side” of me, and guys only see “possible cheating with the opposite sex” (or along those lines). I will be honest, I struggle with the fact sometimes, because it would take a very special person to love me for me.
In regards to girlfriends/boyfriends who have reacted in the most negative/positive way?
Just my ex. He didn’t believe me, he called me a “liar” and thought I told him that so that it was an “easy way to get out of our relationship”. The only reason I told him was because I felt it was time he knew, I just didn’t expect him to get so annoyed. He said “you’re the gayest person I know, I don’t believe you’re bisexual”. I have only ever had one relationship, and to be honest, I don’t know whether I should tell anyone if I find the “perfect person”.
How do you think other members of the LGBT family react to your sexuality?
Some of my gay friends have said “it’s just a phase, I went through it as well”, and that annoys me internally, because they may have gone through it but it isn’t a phase for me, I know who I am, I just have to live with it. Almost all my friends are gay males though, and I love them to bits, and they’re all supportive anyway.
Are you involved with any groups that support bisexuality at all?
Apart from one lgbtqia organisation, no. I actually have never looked to see if there are any support groups / forums for bisexual people, I guess we are part of a larger minority so they tend to clump everyone together.
And…..your final thoughts?
I think, bisexuals should embrace themselves. Don’t listen to those people that say “it’s just a phase, you’re gay” because you have the right to love anyone you want, male, female (or other). Bisexuality can be difficult but there are people out there that go through similar thought processes about themselves, so finding that support is a great way of getting one step closer to loving yourself.
Part two http://wp.me/p78BZ8-13b