(Editor’s Note: This column may contain graphic or sensitive subject matter.)
In 2015, gay marriage was nationally legalized, the military adjusted their Equal Opportunity Policy now allowing homosexuals to enlist without discrimination, and Kim Kardashian’s dad (dad? Other mom? LOL) bought him/herself a shiny new vagina.
So why is it still taboo to be bisexual in a country that accepts sex change operations and gay soldiers? In this article, I will explain my theory on the subject as well as share my personal story and experiences as a bisexual woman in America today.
In junior high school, adolescents are exposed to lifestyle choices and paths they didn’t really pay close mind to in their younger years. Drugs, alcohol, and sexual experimentation are the most common “phases” or activities a typical teen will explore before their freshman year of high school. Peer pressure and the struggle for popularity play key roles in the choices teens make about these “extracurricular activities”.
For example a 15-year-old girl desperate to climb the social ladder will be more likely to “try” anything the popular kids do in trying to fit in or “look cool”. Now with social media and celebrity influence, a drop of your typical teen angst, a little coming of age, and the struggle to be seen and treated as an adult you have all the ingredients required for an adolescent identity crisis.
The “popular” kids are typically idolized by teens not just in middle school but in high school and outside of school as well. Most teens are desperate to be a part of these cliques to feel confident and socially accepted thus leaving them vulnerable to influence. When a teen gets acknowledged by or welcomed into the “inner circle” they feel an immense amount of pressure to impress these “idols” as if trying to secure their place in the group.
While under this pressure they will be easily swayed to take part in activities such as drug use or promiscuity simply because “everybody’s doing it”. As if that wasn’t bad enough there is always the alpha or leader of the group, the one most likely to influence this behavioral change.
The alpha is inspiration, he/she’s so cool and everybody likes them and wants to be their friend.
At this age, you don’t think long-term, you don’t consider the effects or consequences of your choices, only the short-term effects such as popularity.
So, when the alpha passes the drugs or bottle to you, you don’t think you just do. And as far as sexuality goes if the alpha is gay or claims to be gay it’s not regarded as taboo, it’s seen as cool or mature. So of course now our teen is what we call bi-curious.
Once a teen is “bi-curious” they typically experiment with another person of the same-sex or skip straight to claiming to be bisexual or gay. This is where the stereotype “confused” comes from. People view bisexuality as an experimental phase or cry for attention. But I’m here to say that is not always the case…
I’m Brittany, I’m 26. I’ve been openly bisexual since I was 15. My story began just as I described above until my 8th grade year. My 8th grade year was like any other typical school year until I met her. She wasn’t any alpha or leader yet she was intriguing in a way I didn’t understand yet. We became best friends very fast and after a few weeks passed I began to see her as more than a friend.
I found myself attracted to her physically as well as non-physically. So after a day or so of contemplating what to do I decided to tell her and hope for the best. I was terrified to talk to her the next day for fear of rejection and humiliation, but I summoned my lady balls and told her how I felt. Not only was she understanding but she felt the same about me.
We began openly dating at the end of my 8th grade year.
I was still attracted to men but now I found myself attracted to women too. I began dating my now ex-husband right before I turned 16 while still dating her and both of them were respectful of my relationship with the other. We were able to spend time together, all 3 of us without any jealousy or animosity ever occurring. It was wonderful.
At 17, I slept with her for the first time. It was my first time with any woman sexually and it was a different experience than having sex with a man. She had a softer touch, she felt fragile when I touched her unlike a man. Being with her, touching her body, kissing her lips felt natural and right to me, just like with my bf. I didn’t like men more nor did I like women more, there was no genders just people I cared about.
We stayed together until I turned 23 when she passed away from cystic fibrosis, I was at her bedside until the end. I lost a part of my soul when she died. I still think about her and talk to her often. She is buried near my house in a local cemetery and I visit her often. I don’t think about my husband anymore but she crosses my mind daily and I still miss her. I truly deeply loved her.
I’m with a wonderful man now whom I love with all of my heart, but I still miss her every day. I have dated women since she passed away, and I’m still equally attracted to both men and women. This isn’t a choice I made, and I’m not confused. I can’t just decide to be straight or gay because this wasn’t intentional or forced on me. This is who I am, and this is who I’ll always be. I am not ashamed, nor am I embarrassed or insecure about my sexuality.
Bisexuality isn’t just an adolescent phase, some of us don’t grow out of it. It is who we are, who we always were underneath it all. It’s who we wake up as, who we will die as. I’m not confused nor am I seeking any form of popularity. I’m speaking out on behalf of any bisexual person who has been labeled something they are not.
We are entering a new era of acceptance and equality, we are changing history and embracing a brighter tomorrow. So let’s stop slandering and judging each other, and instead embrace our right to love who we want to love, be who we were born to be, and live lives that make us happy!
I’m Brittany, I’m 26 and I’m not confused.