Are you carrying the cure or the disease? 

By @pridematters1

There is a disease out there, like no other!

It doesn’t require doctors to find a cure, but huminaty to implement the cure that they have inside.

It alienates its ‘targets’, changing their lives, destroying their existence and sometimes killing them.

There is a cure.

The government’s who have recognised the disease have had great affect on their countries. Not erridicating it yet but ensureing that the targets of the disease live better lives, the carriers are treated and the people who carry the antidote have the chance to spread it without prejudice.

In the uk they have fought against the disease for many years. Through soap operas, TV dramas, activists, government laws and many other methods.

Above: Eastenders was one of many TV programmes that set itself out to educate. 

UK TV: Soaps such as eastenders, Brookeside and Holly oaks were pioneers in educating people using the power of media. 

In this respect the UK is far from disease free, but it is slowly winning its fight.

It’s not the only country that is winning. Canada, France, Spain and many other European nations.

The targets are not victims always, but who the disease is aimed at and are mainly the carriers of the antidote.

The disease has many identities such as homophobia, Transphobia, biphobia, racism and many others including xenophobia and misogyny but it’s true name is hatred.

Mesha Caldwell was found dead on January 4th 2017

In 2016,  27 people who identify has transgender were victims of homicide in the USA. These victims were mainly black transgender females. The 2017 figures are already tragically set to be higher. 

This hatred is aimed towards people who are identify differently than the carriers of this awful disease.

It’s often referred to as bigotry.

Be aware some carriers think they are the cure.

They are not.

How can something be a cure by wiping out a unique part of humanity?

We must embrace our diversity. 

There is a cure! 

It’s out there,  already and it’s working in many countries. It too as many forms, embracement, education, love, facts not archaric opinion and so on.

Treat people the same as you wish to be treated yourself and stand up to anyone who feels it’s their right to demonstrate the hatred they have inside.

Regardless of who they are! 

Above: Mathew Sheppard was murdered because of his sexuality and many countries adopted laws against hate crimes, but without changes in attitudes any law that protects others could easily be in jeopardy if anti lgbt sentiment rises. 

We must back up the targets with changes in laws, legislation but without changes in attitudes and erridating hatred towards anyone who is different makes it possible for the laws to crumble.

Fight for erridating the disease and treat the carriers in order to make them more human again! 

They may be a president with little understanding of what makes a true defence team in their armed forces or they feel its ok to state that nazis are not the only ones in the wrong and not understanding that people will get angry against pure hatred.

Above: Most activists feel that Donald Trump policies are adding to hatred and unrest. 

A former Prime minister with a gay sister who preaches that she is a terrible parent because of her sexuality breeds hatred in his awful words. 

Below: Tony Abbott believes that his sisters children would be better off with heterosexual parents. 

They may be simply your neighbour who is vocal against ‘gay’ marriage and needs to be constantly informed it’s equal marriage for everyone.

Raise your arms and eradicate the disease with your love. Spread the word that love is an equal force. 

If you don’t understand why this needs to be done listen to the vioces of those who have suffered from inequality and you will understand better.

You will understand that all is required is equal laws with no prejudices, with strong values of respect and equality for each and everyone of us.

Ask yourself…..

Are you carrying the cure or the disease?

Owen’s Story: The need to be me. 

By @owentomasini
Growing up I always felt different than everyone. I dressed like a boy, I acted like a boy, but I was born a girl. My family called me a tom-boy, and I thought that’s why I never felt right in girl clothes, or felt like I wasn’t like all my friends that were girls. The feelings never went away.

As I got older I pushed my feelings down and told myself “you are a girl, you can’t be a boy”. I tried to be a girl, I tried wearing girl clothes, but it never felt right.

I got married, had kids, tried to be what people wanted me to be, but I was unhappy. I hated my body, hated how I looked and felt. My mental health suffered, and it got so bad I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror.

Then one day my mom – who I love, but couldn’t let myself be me – moved away to marry her cousin. That’s when things changed, and I started slowly being myself. I cut my hair, got tattoos, changed the way I dressed, and little by little I felt good. I could look at myself in the mirror. But those feeling of me needing to be in a different body came back. I still wasn’t ready to accept it, not until my friend came out as trans. That was my Ah-hah! moment. That’s when I could say to myself “you are a man”. You aren’t a women, and it’s OK.

It took me weeks after I realized that I was trans to come out to my doctor, and my husband. My doctor was great about it, she put in a request to see a special doctor that would prescribe me T. Then I had to tell my husband, at first he said “are you crazy?” Hours later he said he was OK with it. My husband isn’t fully behind me as a man. He tells me to get my face waxed so I won’t grow facial hair, tells me don’t take T too long, just a bit. When he does say those things I tell him “no I am trans, and it’s for life”. I think in time he will accept me for me. I know he loves me, and wants me to be happy and healthy.

I have come out to my friends and family and have gotten nothing but love. My mom – who I thought wouldn’t accept me and would be mad – told me she loved me, and wanted to support me. She even asked about what I wanted her to call me now. Wow! She gets it! My mom who I couldn’t tell major things to in the past actually gets it! Her husband went on about the Bible, saying this is a sin, she told him to shut it.

The only people I haven’t come out to are my in-laws. The reason being, they are Catholic, and will be cruel to my husband and I over this. I know I can’t hide this forever, but will keep it from them as long as I can.

I am excited for the future, I can’t wait for the changes from taking T to really start to show. I know in a year or so I will want top surgery, but I want to give my husband and kids time to get used to me being a man before I do anything else major.

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors.

Bio: Alan Cumming

​By @pridematters1 

Alan Cumming is an actor who is open about being bisexual. 

He was born in Scotland in 1965 but now mainly lives in America. 

Cummings has been in many productions, film TV and stage. Not only he has won himself many awards for his performance in all fields he has also won a GLADD award and an OBE in 2009.
Alan Cummings is a legend.

Over the years Cummings has been vocal about being bisexual. 

I still define myself as a bisexual even though I have chosen to be with Grant.  

I’m sexually attracted to the female form even though I am with a man and I just feel that bisexuals have a bad rap.



Alan Cummings married Grant Shaffer in 2012, after five years of a civil partnership. He is still open about his sexuality and is seen by many as a good advocate of what visibility for bisexuals should be like.

Be open, be seen, be proud! 

Interesting articles:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2084168/Alan-Cumming-ties-knot-New-York-Grant-Shaffer-years-London-civil-partnership.html

Alan Cumming talks about his abusive father, bisexuality, monogamy, and why he doesn’t want children http://fourtwonine.com/2014/10/08/5261-alan-cumming-talks-about-his-abusive-father-bisexuality-monogamy-and-why-he-doesn-t-want-children/

Be yourself! 

By @amyann2100

Society can be very mean towards us! 

Many don’t understand us and have created myths.  While there is plenty of biphobia in the world,we shouldn’t have to worry about embracing our sexuality because we are amazing people, who just want to be ourselves. It can be hard because of the misconception that we are “going through a phase”, as well as many others. If you’re reading this, I imagine you want someone to say, “Embrace all of yourself and don’t give too huts about what’s said”. As much as I want to say that, I can`t.

Everyone should embrace everything about themselves, but it`s not possible to not care in the slightest what is said about you and your sexuality. Being bisexual is amazing. I love it and I wouldn’t change this part of myself for the world, but I do care what people say when I fully embrace this part of myself. If you’re like me and struggled to accept being bisexual at first then I imagine you know what I mean; it takes a lot to put it out there and you do feel vulnerable to begin with, but it does get better.

I took small steps in embracing my bisexuality: coming out to friends and family, talking about how I felt about being bisexual, watching YouTube videos by gaywrights (I felt so much better after watching Camille’s videos) and I recently started liking and retweeting lgbtqia+ pages and bisexual pride pages. I have followers that are homophobic, but not even one has said something negative on any of my retweets. It`s scary, I’m not going to lie but you’ll feel so much better. Not embracing your bisexuality is like being in the closet, because your hiding. You don’t need to hide. There are manysupport pages on the Internet. 

If you experience any biphobia that help you to deal with it and become thick skinned to it. You are you and no one can change that. I`ve heard people say, “You’re so brave for embracing being bisexual. You’re embracing yourself and it’s a wonderful thing”. It’s not brave, pure and simple, heterosexual people embrace themselves and so do gay men and women. It’s not a new concept to be yourself. I keep saying this, but it`s true, it is scary and it can take a lot not to go back and hide, but it`s worth it. It is so worth it to embrace being bisexual and we shouldn’t have to hide through fear of what will be said. 

Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t worry about embracing your bisexuality:

  • ·You get to be yourself, and no one should worry about being themselves.
  • ·Allies, we have so many allies, that will be so proud of you for embracing yourself
  • ·You know the myths/ misconceptions are false
  • ·Only your opinion of you matters

You will be happier and no one deserves to worry about happiness. If you embrace your bisexuality, well done,I`m so proud of you, I love you. If not,that’s fully acceptable, you will not be judged for it, I love you also. Negative things are temporary, you are forever.Whether you embrace being bisexual or not, it’s your decision, don’t let anyone make you feel bad if you don’t. If you don’t embrace being bisexual, but you want to and are scared, I promise you there is support for you and it will become easier in time. Baby steps help a lot. It’s okay to be scared. It`s totally valid and you are not alone, I`ve been there and I promise you, you can do this,if you want to. You shouldn’t have to worry about being yourself, because you are amazing and no one can take that away from you.

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 


An interview with an Agender person. 

Interviewer @pridematters1

First of all could you tell our followers how you identify yourself? 

I identify as Queer. I am agender and bisexual. In the new-fangled terminology I am actually more pansexual, but I came out at bi- thirty years ago. There wasn’t “pansexual” at that time and the term just doesn’t resonate with me. Queer is the only term I really resonate with. It was a political statement as well as an identity when I first came out and it still has a lot of meaning to me. 

Could you explain what exactly doesagender mean and what it means to you? 

I have never “felt” like I was a woman (I was assigned female at birth). I never saw myself like the other ‘girls’ I knew. When I played “house” growing up with the other girls in the neighborhood I was always the “dad” that went off to work or the doctor who delivered their babies. I knew I was different.

When I was in college I started to think I might be trans. I could pass as a guy (and did so on a lot of occasions) and I fit in with gay men way more than I ever did lesbians. So, I spent some time exploring if I wanted to transition.

I came down to the conclusion that I felt no more like a man than I did as a woman. For the most part, I see my secondary gender characteristics as just great props. Gender is dress up for me. I have no real connection to my gender and don’t really care if I read “male,” “female” or trans. I am kind of an atheist when it comes to gender.

I understand that many transgender folk discover they are transgender at a very young age. Growing up when and where you did, do you feel this was the same for you, or were you influenced by the environment of what is understood?

I was lucky my parents allowed me to be me. They never pressured me to be a “girl”. When my kindergarten teacher cast me as George Washington in the class play claiming there were not enough “girl” roles I knew she was ashamed that I would be a “boy.” She pulled me out of class and did this big explanation of why I had to be a boy (ultimately, it was to try and shame my parents- small, religious town and we were outsiders). I LOVED it. I wore my knickers and wig to school for week. 

I knew I was a little different from an early age and I am sure my folks did. When I saw Liberace on The Muppets at four years old, I asked for a fur coat and piano lessons so I could become his sidekick. I am a proficient pianist today because I really wanted to chill with Liberace.

All through school people would say, “There are men and women, gay and straight, then there is Bec.” I was in this undefined space, and people sensed it. I never cared about fitting in or being part of a gender. I learned not to care about what other people thought of my gender and sexuality at an early age. It was a real blessing.

Did you experience any negative response from people when you first came out?

Again, I was super lucky in this sense. I came out as queer at 14 (1988 for reference). I was the only out kid at my high school for the four years I was there. I knew all the other gay kids and was a beard for all my gay guy friends at dances. Nobody really bothered me. My sister got crap because I came out but I think people were generally afraid of me (I am tall, and have a ‘presence’ about me).

In college, I was very out and a big campus activist. The College Republicans targeted me with death threats and plans of a “fix-it” rape, but didn’t succeed on either account. I watched my back and called the police about the death threats, but I just considered it part of the college experience.

Doctors were a different situation. I am Bipolar. When I was trying to figure out what was wrong, I had a psychologist tell me that it was really just not being okay with being gay. She recommended what she called “an excellent coming out group” on campus and then handed me the number. I was the facilitator for the group. I was clear from then on that health professionals were just a bunch of bigots.

Did you experience any negative response from people when you first came out?

Again, I was super lucky in this sense. I came out as queer at 14 (1988 for reference). I was the only out kid at my high school for the four years I was there. I knew all the other gay kids and was a beard for all my gay guy friends at dances. Nobody really bothered me. My sister got crap because I came out but I think people were generally afraid of me (I am tall and have a ‘presence’ about me).

In college, I was very out and a big campus activist. The College Republicans targeted me with death threats and plans of a “fix-it” rape but didn’t succeed on either account. I watched my back and called the police about the death threats, but I just considered it part of the college experience.

Doctors were a different situation. I am Bipolar. When I was trying to figure out what was wrong, I had a psychologist tell me that it was really just not being okay with being gay. She recommended what she called “an excellent coming out group” on campus and then handed me the number. I was the facilitator for the group. I was clear from then on that health professionals were just a bunch of bigots.

Could you tell me how being agender affected (and affects) your relationships? 

My partners have never had a big issue with it mostly because I am out and open about it from the start. I choose people as partners because they are okay with who I am. Online dating sucked because a lot of guys see “bisexual” and think, “This is my chance for a threesome!” or you get men and women who think, “Agender, bisexual — this person will never be faithful to me!” and won’t date you.

I might have had more issues if this came up after I had been dating someone. Being open about who I am from day one kind of weeds out a lot of problem folks.

There is much negative feedback from people in the public eye, such as Pearce Morgan and Germeane Greer about transgender people, and issues in general. What message would you like to share with people with such sentiment? 

I don’t think most of the issues that come up in the media about trans folks are really about identity. I have been in a number of social media exchanges about trans people. The whole bathroom issue is about rape culture and not trans people at all. The claims by the right and bigots in general is that trans women want to use restrooms to have access to rape women. The reality is, trans women aren’t the threat. The fact that in America we protect rapists, and have a deeply ingrained pro-rape culture is the issue.

Some of the folks out there argue that people don’t have a right to define their own gender identity. There are people claiming that gender is a duality or that what you are assigned at birth is your “correct” gender. A lot of this hate comes from the desire for individuals to keep the power they have in society. They like the status quo. They like the idea that the government and other people have the right to control bodies of queer folks, women, and people of color. These are the same people who have issue with individuals getting food stamps, health care, birth control and other benefits. The root issue is that people in power don’t want things to change because they would lose power. Challenging ideas of gender is just one of many ways to say, “Your world definition doesn’t work. Lets try something new.” It is scary to people who love the status quo.

If someone feels that they are agender what advice would you give them? 

Take some time to explore those feelings. We live in a time where you are expected to have a firm answer to “who are you?” People in general are uncomfortable with uncertainty. The thing is, your identity is a journey. It takes time to figure out who you are.

It is fine to say, “I’m figuring it out”. I was lucky in the sense that the Internet and social media weren’t a thing when I was coming out. It gave me a bit of privacy and time to try and figure out what gender meant to me. Today, with all the sites people are on, it is hard to say, “I am unsure of who I am. I think it might be this or that, give me some time”. Time is critical. It’s okay to have an evolving idea of who you are. 

What positive message would you like to share about being agender?

There are a lot of us who came before you. We have fought for the right to identify as we want, and for the right to be who we are. We are still fighting for you. You have a big comuinity who will support and fight for you. 

My social media is as follows:

@AuntieVice on Twitter and Instagram

http://www.loveletterstoaunicorn.com/

Www.AuntieBsKitchen.com


Facebook.com/Auntievice

Ellen DeGeneres 

By @eulaly_2


In this series we look at various heroes and advocates of the LGBTQIA family.

In this article we focus on a iconic woman who identifies as a lesbian. 

Ellen DeGeneres “Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come.”

 

Ellen DeGeneres was born 26 January 1958 in Metairie, LA. She hoped to become a veterinarian, however decided not to pursue this idea when she realized “what it required”. To make a living, DeGeneres sold vacuum cleaners, painted houses and performed legal secretarial work. Humor helped her get through a difficult public speaking experience. In 1981, she began receiving offers to do stand up comedy and performing in local coffee houses. Her ‘big break’ came in 1986 when she appeared on The Tonight Show and became the only female comic Johnny Carson had ever invited to sit on his couch, during her initial visit. DeGeneres has appeared in many other talk shows such as The TonightShow with Jay Leno, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Good Morning America. She was spotlighted and received acclaim on ABC’s Primetime Live.

“I learned compassion from being discriminated against. Everything bad that’s ever happened to me has taught me compassion.”

DeGeneres became a well-loved comic. She was offered her own television show, Ellen in 1994. In 1997, the DeGeneres’ character openly acknowledged she was a lesbian. This was the very first time a character had done so. Criticism ensued and sponsors withdrew advertisements. Nonetheless, the show also received praise from supportive activists, and an Emmy Award for this episode, yet it was soon cancelled.

DeGeneres appeared in several movies in the late 90s and returned to television in her daytime talk show, which has since won many Daytime Emmy and People’s Choice AwardsShe also voiced the animated character Dory in the film Finding Nemo and its sequel, Finding Dory. At various times between the late 90s and recent years she has also hosted the Grammy Awards, the Academy Awards, and the Primetime Emmys. She is a successful author of many books, and an executive producer for several television shows. 

The Oscars Promo 2014

 

“I’m not an activist; I don’t look for controversy. I’m not a political person, but I’m a person with compassion. I care passionately about equal rights. I care about human rights. I care about animal rights.”

 

DeGeneres is a financial contributor and supporter of many organizations involving education, animal rights, children’s health, AIDS research, and cancer.

 

DeGeneres was in a relationship with actress Anne Heche for three years, and with Alexandra Hedison also three years. She met actress wife Portia De Rossi in 2004. De Rossi has been quoted as saying that “meeting DeGeneres for the first time made her weak in the knees”, but was not openly gay at that time and has said she was in denial about her sexuality. The couple married 16 August 2008 in California after the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

Ellen and Portia Wedding, pictured with Ellen’s mother Betty.

Ellen DeGeneres “I would love to have the same rights as everybody else. I would love; I don’t care if it’s called marriage. I don’t care if it’s called, you know, domestic partnership. I don’t care what it’s called.”

 DeGeneres has said she is not an activist. What has made her so loved by not only the LGBTQIA community, but by everyone is her courage, kindness and her outspokennes against discrimination. Her self confidence and self assurance in that she has always been proud of who she is. DeGeneres chose to come out as a lesbian in 1997, while taking the huge risk with her career. Her decision was vital in opening the door to television shows and characters that were to come. DeGeneres is said to have done more to impact Americans’ views about gay rights than any other celebrity or notable person. In 2016 President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor to DeGeneres for “helping push America in the direction of justice.” 

Interesting Reading:

https://longevity.media/most- inspirational-ellen-degeneres- accomplishments

https://www.biography.com/ people/ellen-degeneres-9542420

http://www.thefamouspeople. com/profiles/ellen-degeneres- 1329.php

http://www.whosdatedwho.com/ dating/ellen-degeneres

http://people.com/pets/ exclusive-ellen-degeneres- chats-about-her-pets/

Who are we watching? 

​By @AlexandraClare 

For @Mattersofpride 

One piece of advice which seems to work equally well in all situations is to ‘be yourself’. The reasoning goes that people will detect if you are hiding something and, whether it is a job interview or a date, it won’t go well. But if you are an actor and your whole purpose is being someone else, how much does it matter who you are?

 

Josie Wittaker has pleaded with fans not to judge her performance on her gender. 

Over the last week (July 2017), I would guess that more people around the world have reacted to the news that Dr Who is being reincarnated into a female body than watch the average episode. The debate is fascinating because it hasn’t touched upon acting ability or whether the show is entertaining but solely on the gender of the actor. The primary argument against the choice appears to be based on a principle: since the show’s launch in 1954, the character has always been a (white) man, therefore he should always be a man.

 

Doctor who has always been a white male since 1954. Why should that always be the case? 

This same debate has been taking place for rather longer in theatre. Amidst complaints of a lack of strong female parts in Shakespeare, the solution has been to take on the great roles written for men. Maxine Peake starred as Hamlet, Prince of Denmark to acclaim in 2014 but she was following in the footsteps of Frances de la Tour in 1979 and trailing behind Sarah Siddons who played the role in 1777. And the question doesn’t stop at gender: in 2006, when the RSC launched its cycle of 8 history plays, Chuck Iwuji played the complex role of Henry VI. Comments focused on the fact that the king was not black, though there were no similar objections to the historical inaccuracy of peasants speaking in perfect pentameters and French characters all being played by English people. There was a much more visceral reaction in 2016 when a black actor, Noma Dumezweni was cast as fictional character, Hermione Grainger from the Harry Potter books (where her skin colour is not mentioned). The author JK Rowling commented: ‘Idiots were going to idiot… Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job.’

 

Chuck Iwuji playing Henry VI

That is a powerful argument for open casting, that you get a new depth to a character. The other one, which can have less positive effects, is that to get a film made, you need star quality and a well-known name, even if the casting provokes a sharp intake of breath, such as the five feet seven inch Tom Cruise becoming the six foot five inch Jack Reacher. Unfortunately, plenty of less-amusing examples exist, where well-known white actors have taken roles written for other races.

 

As more entertainment feature trans characters, it has been highlighted how often trans parts are taken by cis actors. The director of The Danish Girl, Tom Hooper, cast Eddie Redmayne in the lead role. While defending his decision, he pointed out that the film also featured a number of trans actors playing cis roles and he called for this to be made the norm. He was articulating the risk that the statement ‘only trans should play trans’ gets heard as ‘trans can only play trans’ condemning these actors to be marginalised rather than given full access to all roles. Underlying each decision is the real question over whether these portrayals may contribute to discrimination against the trans community. This is particularly in scenes where men play trans women and then accept their acting award in a tuxedo, potentially reinforcing the slur of trans women being just men dressed up.

 

Although unconscious bias may influence a lot of casting decisions, even the best actor will struggle if given a dull plot or cliched dialogue. As portrayals of diverse characters become more the norm, we will also need diverse writers and directors for an experience that reflects our beautiful, diverse world. And at that point, entertainment should start getting a lot more entertaining…

 

Billie Haynes: Early Hollywood star. 

By @pridematters1 

In this series we look at various heroes and advocates of the LGBTQIA family.
In this article we focus on a man who identifies as gay male. 

First star I could find  to come out was Hollywood star, Billie Haines.
Haines was a silent movie star back in the 1920’s when he met his life long partner Jimmy Shields and they moved to Los Angeles.

Even though most people who worked in the industry was aware of their relationship, the public was not. Haines was arrested in 1933 after a ‘situation’ with a sailor in a YMCA. 

Haines was sacked  by his studio MGM, after a big fight with studio legend Louis.B.Mayer. He insisted on him finding a ‘wife’ and when he refused his contract was terminated. 


He never worked as an actor again.

He stayed in Los Angeles and became an interior decorator to the stars. Haines had a lot of Hollywood friends from his early days that helped him cement a career as a  interior designer to the stars.

His clients included Orry-Kerry, Carry Grant, Joan Crawford and Marion Davies.  Haines and Shields remained together for over 50 years. Joan Crawford described them as ‘the happiest married couple in Hollywood.’ 

Interview with Kristopher, a bisexual male. 

Interviewer @pridematters1 

Hello,  Thanks for doing this interview with me. First of all, could you tell me a little about yourself and how you identify yourself – sexually and otherwise. 

Hello! My name is Kristopher and I am a 35 year old man from the state of Maine in northeast USA. I identify as a bisexual man and I am married to a straight woman and we have three children. Not sure how much you want to know but I was also in the Army for eight years and worked in a combat support hospital as a surgical technologist in the operating room. This is the person who passes instruments to the doctor, retracts organs, and other type of things. I’ve been doing that for the past seventeen years (joined the army right after high school, before college) and now I am two semesters shy of my BS in Sociology. Forgive me if that was more than you wanted.

Tell me about where you grew up and how it was coming out. Did you face any prejudices and how did you deal with this?

I grew up in a small town in Maine, approximately thirty thousand people. Maine is a fairly isolated place in the north-eastern USA and the whole state had a population of only two million when I grew up there, so you can imagine that it was very rural. I didn’t come out when I was in Maine, and, in fact, I didn’t truly come out completely until about five years ago, but I think that had a lot to do with the fact that I didn’t know much about bisexuality and I also had a lot of trauma in my life that didn’t allow me to explore that piece of myself.

 I did have a few experiences with guys when I was younger, but it wasn’t very serious or deep, and I had an extreme fear of being found out. My town, although fairly accepting of people, was not very open to gay relationships back in the 90s and I was constantly asked  if I were gay, or was being called a faggot for most of my school years. So you can imagine that it wasn’t something I was comfortable being open about or exploring too much. But, I knew that even if I didn’t know what to call it, that I liked both guys and girls. I suppose, in many ways, I tried to convince myself that it was just a fluke because I liked girls and that must have meant that I wasn’t gay – so I just had to get past it. I wish I had known more then because it took me years to accept that part of myself. I guess this is where people get straight privilege from; I hid my bisexuality by dating only women. However, that never stopped people from asking if I was gay all the way into adulthood. Many times I felt ashamed because I was hiding something I knew to be a part of who I am. 

Have you always been open about being bisexual to everyone? 

As I said before, I only came out fully about five years ago. But, I did try to come out to some close friends of mine many times over the years. Through my own ignorance, I kind of thought bisexuality was more of a female thing. There were times that I talked to close friends and I was like: “You know, I think I may be gay.” They would reply with: “Well, have you been with a guy before?” I would say not really, and they would ask me if I liked women, and I would say yes, of course I do, and it would end with, well then, you aren’t gay. 

I tried telling one of my closest friends once that I though I may be bisexual and he laughed at me, saying that only women can be bisexual. So, as you can imagine, it only caused me to try to push it further down. When I first met my wife I was struggling with it a lot because I had become keenly aware of my attraction to men, and over the years I had pushed advances away (I wish I hadn’t). There was a particular guy I worked with who was openly gay, and showed attraction, flirted and even joked about being with me. I wanted to so badly, but I was too afraid and never pursued it.

Anyway, I told my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time that I was attracted to men, and she freaked thinking I was gay. I laughed it off and pushed it even further down. We didn’t talk about it again until six years into our marriage when I told her I was bisexual. It was real – not a phase, and I refuse to stay married for the rest of my life pretending this part of me doesn’t exist. 

How do you approach this when in relationships? 

I never really talked about it. I think some of my girlfriends had suspicions about my attraction to men, but as I said, many people I have encountered see it as gay or not gay for men, and so I just stuck with my attraction to women and kept that part hidden. I would have gay guys flirt with me constantly, and express a desire to fool around, but as much as I wanted to, I was so scared I never let my self be comfortable with it. 

Again, due to trauma in my life, and growing up in a small town in Maine, I didn’t feel like I had the luxury to accept that part, or think that deeply about myself. 

Do you feel when you are in a relationship with one sex or the other people view you as gay or straight and how does this affect you personally? 

Well, since I’ve never had a full official and open relationship with a guy before, I don’t know that I could answer this question properly. But, I would say that being in a relationship with a woman – people assume that it is a straight relationship. Obviously, I’m bisexual so no relationship I’ve ever been in is truly a straight relationship. But, I didn’t know enough to understand that. I would say though that it definitely affected me mentally and all that suppression for so long was not good for me and my mental health. 

Do you think as you grew up there was a lack of awareness and education of all sexualities?

Without a doubt. There was little to no education about these things where I grew up and a ton of prejudice about it. Bisexuality, in particular, was seen as much more taboo than being gay. It was seen as a problem of character in that you were just hyper sexual, or that you couldn’t accept that you were truly gay. I would say this was a huge factor in the suppression of my sexuality. I would even go as far as to say that if I had been gay and not bisexual, I would have been able to accept myself sooner because being gay, although looked down on, was not as taboo as being bisexual. 

When growing up do you think bisexuality was cloaked by the larger visible parts if the acronym?

I’m not sure, but I would say that it was seen as “worse” than being gay for where I grew up. More of a stepping stone to being gay, or simply a hyper sexuality that was more associated with slutty women. I wish it had not been that way. It would have saved me a lot of years of confusion and depression. It also would have allowed me to explore same sex relationships that I really wanted to explore but never did because I was so fearful. I don’t regret much in my life, but I do regret not being able to explore my sexuality during the years that you should be able to do that. 

Is there a message you would like to share with anyone who are questioning their sexuality? 

My message would be to be strong. Be brave and trust in your gut. Trust your instincts and never be ashamed of who you are. It doesn’t matter where you fit in the acronym, what matters is that you were made how you were made and there is nothing wrong with it. It’s not a new thing, these things have been around since man became conscious of itself. It is today’s society that has the problem, not you. Be true to who you are. There are people out there who understand what you are going through and a community that will embrace you, lift you up, and lend you strength. 

There is always hope, and through hope can find community, through community you find acceptance, and through acceptance you can find peace. 

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