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5 things that helped me accept that I am bisexual and come out the closet



A flashback to a selfie taken around about the time I came out. My face says everything about how I was feeling at that point in my life. 

Last week I wrote a long, rambly 4000+ word post about my decision to come out as bisexual two years ago, and what life has been like since.

In that post, I shared that my decision to come out was directly related to my decision to end some questionable platonic relationships. While this was the critical moment that pushed me over the edge, it wasn't the only thing that had happened in recent years that would get me closer to accepting what I had known since high school. Here are five other things that helped me accept who I really was, and result in me coming out of the closet!

1. Open-bisexual public figures

While I was growing up, there weren't any bisexual public figures to look up to. At least not any who were explicitly bisexual. I've known for decades that Angelina Jolie and Drew Barrymore are bisexual - but their sexuality is not well publicised.

Fast forward to the last few years and there are two prominent bisexuals in the media who everyone knows are bisexual: Kristen Stewart and Cara Delvigne. I mean, sorry if this is how you found out but anyone who follows celebrity gossip even slightly knows that these two ladies love people of any gender.

Bi-erasure is still a problem. Cynthia Nixon is one of the most prominent examples. She's been married to a woman for 11 years and has to correct people who assume she is gay. I mean, she was with a man for 15 years (which was during her Sex & The City fame) that you think would be a giveaway - but nah! I've even had to personally correct someone on Cynthia Nixon's sexuality. 

People, not even public figures, should never feel pressurised to be loud about their sexuality if they don't want to be. And they shouldn't really have to, in an ideal world anyway. But having celebrities who are loudly bisexual was a turning point for me.

2. LGBT+ people coming out in later age

I came out a month before my 27th birthday. And part of my fear was people asking me why it took me so long - or, god forbid, using it as a reason to not believe me. Any, yes, I was asked by people why it took me so long. Not all of us get it done the first day of university, okay?

In 2015, YouTube sensation Ingrid Nilsen came out as gay at the age of 26. Granted this was two years before I would eventually come out myself but it did serve as a small nudge that it's okay to come out in your late 20s.

A slightly more low-key coming out story was from local Glasgow blogger Sophie. Sophie is a friend these days, but at the time they were no more than someone I followed on Twitter. But seeing someone who was my age publicly document their coming out story was the second most important thing that helped me accept myself, only losing out to ending shitty friendships.

I came out of the closet a year after Sophie did, and their story was an important part of mine. Sophie sharing their story helped me rattle on the closet doors while ending ugly friendships was the thing that made the doors throw open. If I was to write a book about my life as a bisexual - from the moment I knew to the present-day - Sophie's influence would have a dedicated chapter.

And that's why I'm a fan of people sharing my own story. Sophie isn't a public figure. They were a random person on Twitter, albeit one that I would consider a friend now. In the past week since publishing my anniversary blog, I've had two bisexuals (one closeted) come into my DMs thanking me for putting into words what they've struggled to say. You never know who your story could help.

3. Online dating

I would like to give a friendly shout out to my good friend Tinder (and OkCupid) for making it easier to chat to girls when I still wasn't ready to come out publicly. How did queer people meet people back in the day? Especially those of us who don't look queer? And weren't confident enough to be out? Heck, I'm still rubbish at chatting up potentially queer girls in the real world.

4. Better bisexual characters

Again, growing up there weren't many bisexual characters in tv and films. Sure, there were characters who experimented or randomly came out as gay after having a healthy hetero-relationship (looking at you Willow Rosenburg). But those characters typically enforced negative bisexual stereotypes.

But a few years ago I got sucked into the Arrowverse and the bisexual character of Sara Lance. For the first time, I witnessed a bisexual character portrayed really well. She doesn't have a long-term partner on the show, so we see her date people of multiple genders - and she never "picks a side". And her sexuality is very rarely mentioned specifically - aside from an evil character here and there - it's just there. 

Since coming out I've dipped my toes into Riverdale, which boasts the bisexual characters Cheryl and Toni.

And while I haven't watched it, I've heard that Emmerdale of all things has a bisexual character now.

That's why I firmly believe in representation. Because when people can see themselves in things, it lifts them up.

5. My self-confidence

In last week's post, I shared that I struggled with self-confidence and anxiety while I was in the closet. But truthfully, my anxiety and my sexuality is a bit of a chicken-and-egg theory - which one came first? Because in the years prior to coming out my confidence had grown bit by bit. Yes, it grew exponentially the day I came out. But some of the work I did on growing my confidence since high school did lay the groundwork for me having the confidence to eventually come out.

And one thing that definitely did not help me get there sooner: 

People speculating about my sexuality

Despite being femme presenting and not obviously queer, I am more than aware that my sexuality was speculated about more than once. And I know the people who did so had their heart in the correct place, but it actually made me find a dark place at the back of the closet where no one would ever find me. The idea that people knew terrified me. Even on the odd occasion where I was specifically asked I laughed and denied it.

I won't name the family member specifically, in case I have the story wrong. But there is an older family member who has acted as if they have known since my mid-teens, but never directly asked. They did, however, start showing more of an interest in LGBTQ+ issues and stopped teasing me about boys. And that was the way to do it. Allowing me to know that they knew, they loved me regardless and would be there for me when I was ready.

Coming out is a personal choice that should be made by the person. And one of the best ways to be an ally is to give them the space to figure it out in their own time.

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