by Andrew Henderson, Brig Alumni
Last year I wrote an article that was one of the most important pieces of writing that I’ve done. It was a piece that I really wanted to make sure I got right, and at the risk of explaining a lot of typos from my time at Brig it was one of the few that I drafted and re-drafted because I wanted it to be the best it could be. When it got published and I started seeing the feedback and reaction, it was amazing, and it really felt like the last part of that chapter.
Little did I know when I was writing it that it was the start of a big year for me. As far as I was concerned, writing and publishing that article, putting my bisexuality out there, that was me “out”. I last came out directly to someone five days before it was published, and that post was the big coming out gesture that I had always said wasn’t me. Within a couple of weeks, I got offered a job. Within a month, I had moved a couple of hours away from home (again) and started working full time in a job I love.
Really, coming out was just the start for me. What I saw as the final steps of my journey was the beginning of a whole other deal.
When I came out to my family, suddenly everything had a far more positive outlook, everything just seemed better. Then that article came out, then I got a job, and everything was rosy.
I went into my new job with a lot of confidence in who I was. I was more settled in myself than I had been in years. But one day a thought occurred to me: nobody at my work knew I was bisexual.
Last year I talked about “coming out” – the stress of it, the time that process takes. It’s place in society. I never felt like I was hiding, but I wondered if I was back in the closet just by default, just because nobody knew. I didn’t want to go around introducing myself as the bi guy, I didn’t want that to define me any more than any of my other interests or personality traits. And most importantly, I just wanted to make a good impression by doing a good job, I didn’t want that to be my defining trait.
But as time went on and I realised that I had essentially closeted myself just by not saying anything, I also realised that this is what happens. You never stop coming out in life, because whenever you meet someone new, there will always be assumptions made, and you will always be making a revelation.
I find it interesting that it doesn’t bother me. As I said, I have never felt like I’m hiding. If someone asked me, there is no reason for me to say anything other than the truth. I’m not ashamed, I have embraced that side of me.
Along with the realisation that you never stop coming out, LGBT+ has been creeping into my entertainment. I’ve been reading more books than ever before, watching more LGBT+ TV shows and films than ever before.
I listened with interest as that very topic was discussed on a Bi-visibility discussion on Air3 Radio. I’m sure this will come as no surprise to anyone, least of all anyone involved in that panel, but representation in media really can strengthen self-identity. I’ve found myself being more passionate about LGBT+ issues and being more confident in who I am.
I can directly attribute that to watching things like the various representations in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, where it’s just another part of the characterisation and not anything particularly special. Or Love, Simon, which for me is a generational landmark that everyone should see. Or even The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which deals with the inner turmoil that comes with self-acceptance.
Now I know I’m not saying anything groundbreaking here, but for me personally every time I read another book or watch another show, it’s another step in developing my confidence. I’m the kind of guy who a few years ago would have hesitated to watch Queer Eye out of fear of what people could say, and now I could not care less.
The reason that I’m saying anything about this at all is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s watching shows or wearing rainbow clothes and jewellery, it has been a year of progress for me. That is far more important than who knows what about me.
I don’t particularly care if the guy who sits at the next desk knows about my sexual orientation. Sure it was kind of weird to compare that feeling of being out and being invisible again. But what matters is that I’m happy with where I’m at. What matters is that I’m proud to be who I am.
For any support or information around bisexuality visit these Scottish sites: