#LGBTHM19

What blocks the closet door?

by an anonymous contributor

bisexual
Credit: Tumblr

This is something that I have never said publicly, only to a select few friends, I am bisexual.

I knew that I was bi when I was 16, but at this time I struggled to come out.  I grew up in a part of Scotland and around people who weren’t exactly known for open minded attitudes towards the LGBT community and I hate to think what the reaction of my devout Catholic family would be when I told them that I have a sexual attraction to men as well as women.  Leviticus comes to mind.

There have been a lot of things that have stopped me from coming out, and to this day when I have lived away from home for almost 2 years now and have my own life here in Stirling, I still struggle to come out fully and have that anchor of what happens at home when I do.

I suppose the best place to start my story is at the usual place, the beginning.

I grew up in a place where the LGBT community and the issues facing LGBT people were not fully understood, homophobic comments were something I heard daily, not just from people around me but also those close to me.

I realise that these comments were not through bigotry, most of them anyway, but just through a lack of understanding.

I suppose that is why when I realised that I was bisexual, I felt like there was no one that I could trust to come out to.  Spending my last few years of high school carrying around this secret like it was something I had to hide really impacted me, I went through depression, struggling with my own identity, hearing people unknowingly attack my identity daily led me down a dark path where I struggled to openly acknowledge and accepting my own sexual identity, spending all of my time in my room, alone, I even had the number of a helpline on my phone in case things got worse.

bi crack
Credit: Redbubble

A new chapter of my life began when I had decided to move to Stirling, and probably the best personal experience of Fresher’s week happened in my now best friend’s living room.  We were sitting having a chat, as people do, and as it came up in conversation, she said that she was bi, and my response;

“Yeah I’m bi too.”

This was the first time that I had acknowledged my sexual identity openly, and it felt so liberating, I spent the first semester of uni living a free life, being who I was and not caring who I was, it was probably one of the happiest times of my life, where I was living my life who I was without a care, and I loved it, I could finally be myself.

I wasn’t out fully, only to those when it came up in conversation, but that’s more open that I had ever been.

It was this feeling that I made me think I was ready to come out to my family, but I soon realised that I was wrong.

I told my dad on a Friday night that I was bisexual, his response was; “I was expecting this, that’s the thing with your generation.  I hate to tell you, but you’re not bi, you know f*cking nothing and don’t tell anyone else.”

interview image EDIT

I’ve never been so hurt by anything anyone had ever said to me, and it only got worse.  We went out for a drink with a woman that my dad was seeing the next day, and she made a horrible comment about bisexuals,

“There’s no such thing as bisexuals, they’re just indecisive gays.”

I was so annoyed with her (and my dad) that I decided to let her know that she had just made a horrible biphobic comment to a bi person, her response, she laughed.

“Shut up, you can’t be a bisexual, bisexuals don’t exist,” she said again, “bis are just greedy, make up your f*cking minds and pick one will you.”

As she sat there attacking me there was one thing I remember, my dad sitting across the table just drinking his pint and not defending his son, I’ve never felt more ashamed to be his son than that moment.  So, I got up and left.

That night my dad confronted me and told me “not to embarrass him like that again.”  I was so upset and angry that I packed my bags and got the last train back to Stirling without as much of a goodbye.  

I remember sitting in my room that night in tears, feeling rejected my someone I had respected my whole life.

bi paint
Credit: Tumblr

He continued for weeks to try and convince me against it, trying to convince me that I was straight, every time he made a comment like that it hurt, like someone had stuck a knife in my back and started twisting it.

I struggled because I love my dad, and didn’t want to resent him, I just wanted him to understand who I was and how what he was doing really hurt me.  I know he wasn’t fully aware of the impact of his words, it was just a further lack of understanding.

I thought it would be better with my friends at home, it wasn’t.  When they learned that I had pulled a guy in a Glasgow night club one’s response was;

“A guy, for f*ck sake, what is wrong with you?!”

Not that I’m surprised, he always was a bit of a pr*ck.

Every so often they made a snide comment or remark, only this time it was aimed at me.

One friend from home was accepting and said “good for you,” that was a good feeling, he was my best mate in school, and I respected him, I’m personally glad he wasn’t like the rest.

Still my experiences of my old life made me break a promise, I promised myself that when I moved away from home that I would start a new life and not let my old life impact that, and yet the reaction of my friends and family to my honestly led me to regress, I was no longer as open or happy as I had been previously, they had made me feel ashamed of who I was.  

Immediately after the trips home from hell I found myself totally avoiding conversations about sexuality as a sort of unhealthy denial of what had happened. I went through another period of bad depression, not getting out of bed, missing classes and deadlines, I began drinking a lot more than I should and I let my grades slip as I dealt with everything the wrong way, as the ghosts of my past started to haunt me again.

bisexual pride
Credit: Askideas.com

I’m still not as open as I was, I am only open to a handful of people about being bi, but I feel like there are still things stopping me from coming out.

I know that there are lots of open and welcoming people I know who would accept me regardless, but I can’t shake the thought of the consequences of coming out, is it fear or anxiety?  I don’t know, but there’s something stopping me.

That feeling of liberation and happiness I once felt may be the way I feel again, but I can’t see that day anytime soon.  I still feel anchored to my old life and that is preventing me from being the person that I am.

I see people in my daily life who have come out and are open about their sexuality, and I am inspired by their confidence, yet still I feel trapped.

I still talk to my friend about these things, and she has been amazing in helping me through the hard times.

I will apologise as I am sh*t at writing personal stuff and this is the first time that I have been open about this publicly even if this article is anonymous, but I think this is a good place to end.

I’ve needed to share my story for some time, about my ongoing journey with coming out, maybe one day I will be confident enough to face my… I guess you could call them fears of my old life and live my life as I am.  I have started to cut the people who didn’t accept me out of my life, and I am slowly building up confidence to face my family and tell them who I am.

One day.

For any support or information around bisexuality visit these Scottish sites:

https://www.equality-network.org/resources/publications/bisexual/

http://www.lgbtconsortium.org.uk/directory/bi-beyond-edinburgh

https://www.lgbthealth.org.uk/services-support/helpline/

https://www.lgbthealth.org.uk/event/bi-scotland/2017-11-07/

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