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Community Connections

Coming Out: No Bisexual is an Island

Ross Hope
ELSA Digital Coordinator, Faculty of Education

I remember watching Astro Boy as a kid and feeling the same kind of attraction as I had for a girl at school – but I didn’t really have a conscious awareness of my bisexuality, until I got to university. It was there in the background, just something I didn’t look at directly.

It was when I left home and my Christian high school, that I allowed myself to really see what had been there all along.

Realising and then acknowledging that I was bisexual came as a bit of a shock to me, and there was so much self-judgment. While I had gay and straight friends, I’d never even met another bisexual person.

Who was I really? And was it even okay to be that person?

The realisation, and all the self-judgment, then became tied to mental health issues for me, triggering my anxiety. I started having panic attacks.

The anxiety grew to the point that coming out to my parents seemed easier than trying to keep all this bottled up inside me.

I was about 20, and home for Christmas when I came out to my parents, sitting at our kitchen table.

It was really difficult, and emotional for all of us. I don’t think my parents knew any gay people at the time, and I’d heard some terrible stories from friends who had come out, and subsequently been kicked out.

So I didn’t know if they would still love me after I told them. I felt like this might be a test of whether ‘unconditional’ love actually had limits!

As it turned out – it doesn’t.

My parents may have been emotional in their response, but they still loved me and accepted me … although they didn’t really understand it fully at the time.

Looking back, I think the main reason they got emotional was that they were worried about what being bisexual might mean for me. Whether it would make my life more difficult, or people would treat me differently.

They knew about my anxiety, so they decided to try to help me relax by taking me camping. The very first night though, the tent caught on fire. With us in it. We had to jump out through a wall of flames … so that didn’t really help me relax.

I’ve changed and grown over the years, and so have my parents. They understand my sexual orientation a lot better now – to the point that they’ve almost become queer advocates. They’ve talked to other parents whose queer children have come out, to sort of help them through it; they voted for marriage equality.

Therapy also helped greatly, in talking through and understanding who I was, in helping me to accept and love myself. Not to sound overly dramatic, but I think it saved me.

Depending on who I was in a relationship with, I’ve found myself coming out and explaining myself many times throughout the years. How I approach it depends on who I’m talking to – it could start off with me making a joke about a man being hot.

I’m now married to a woman, and we have a daughter – so some people may not consider me part of the queer community. But I’m still a bisexual person. My marriage is about being in a relationship with one person, and that is separate from sexual orientation.

Bisexuality isn’t a phase. How I express myself, my humour, my sense of style, my bisexuality – they’re all part of who I am.  

As a kid, I felt really alone. That’s part of why I choose to come out now, because being open about my bisexuality might help someone else feel less alone. And maybe it might help people to understand it a bit more.

Read more Coming Out stories here:

Han Worsley

Peter Graham

Sophie Cherryh

Lydia Stevens

Christian West