December 17 – Lesson Learned; What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)
When I was a senior in high school, I admitted to a couple of close friends that I was bisexual. A few months later I started dating a guy I thought I would marry, so I figured it didn’t matter.
That relationship ended amid much angst and hullabaloo, my drinking carried on another year, then I was busy getting sober… and eventually we hit 2010, I wasn’t accepted into Teach for America, and I cut off all my hair.
And then someone called me a dyke.
I was hurt, and annoyed, and aggravated, and I didn’t know what to make of the fact that I instinctively felt the correct response wasn’t “But I’m not even gay.” Part of that was on principle – “not that there’s anything wrong with that” is inherently homophobic, because if you weren’t on some level afraid of the other (i.e. speaking Klingon) you wouldn’t care if people thought you were that.
And part of it was because it rang hurtfully true, and it was like I’d been reminded of something essential. Since I moved to New York, and Brooklyn in particular, I’d been hovering around the gay community, relating to it, identifying with it, getting super steamed about DADT and gay marriage and employment protection legislation. When I went to Brooklyn Pride in June, it was like coming home into this wave of acceptance.
Started dating…came out to the parents….came out to the interwebs…. came out to selective work colleagues at both jobs… it was all very anticlimactic, because the big lesson I learned from all this is that true friends don’t care. I don’t just mean “we love you anyway, despite and because of this new identity you’re embracing,” I mean…literally? Do not give a rat’s keister. Or already knew (internet friends in particular have excellent gaydar).
So going forward, I’m out of the closet in as many spaces as it’s safe for me to be. The general invisibility of bisexuality means that straight people assume I’m straight and gay people assume I’m gay, and that’s fine. It’s a luxury, actually, to be able to pass for either, and I don’t take that for granted.