We're sitting down with folks who have made #StillBisexual videos to find out more about their story. Here's Caroline Castro's.
SB Swartz: Why did you choose to do a #StillBisexual video?
Caroline Castro: At the time I had been out for about five years and I really wanted to do something that cemented it. When you first come out you get it's just temporary, you're going to pick one eventually. I'm going to pick a person eventually because I am monogamous, but that doesn't mean I'm going to pick [straight or gay]. So for me, it was validating myself.
Did you share your video with anyone? Who, and how?
I posted on Facebook. Then I sent the link to my mom and to my dad.
At the time my grandma was still not hip on Facebook. I did not come out to my her until maybe two years ago. Shortly after that I showed her the video and that was a great experience.
I personally have awful handwriting. Even I can't read it. I asked my mom to write [my #StillBisexual story] on the boards.
What was it like for you to have your mom write down your story?
Just another level of acceptance. She still has a little ways to go. I expect a lot from my mom. We focus on tolerance and I think we need to set people at a higher standard. I don't want to just be tolerated, I want to be accepted, I want to be me and everything that is part of that. I feel if I can't even put my mom to that standard, how can I expect anyone else to live up to that?
Looking back on the video, how do you feel about it?
It makes me want to be more a part of the [bi] community. I moved to LA about seven, eight months ago and I've been looking to get into the community a little more. I had a friend, yesterday actually, tell me about a mentoring program at the LGBT center and I think that's what I want to do, and be a part of. And keep on with the #StillBisexual.
So, mentoring baby bis?
Yeah. There are kids, I know because I was one of them, that feel underrepresented. I didn't see an example of myself. I saw Latinas, I saw women, but I never saw someone that was so proud of themselves in every single facet. And I think being a professional in [advertising], and just in general, and being proud about [being bi] is so impactful and is needed in the community, especially for the baby bis. You can succeed, you can be yourself and be open. There's going to be people who don't agree, but that doesn't mean you can't find the place that will accept you and love you for who you are.
If you were to make the video today is there anything you'd add from your life experiences since?
I met my ex-girlfriend a month after I made that video. We were together for almost two years. That was so impactful because she's a lesbian and she accepted me completely as I was. I was doing events for #Stillbisexual at the time and she was all on board. It reinforced that I can find women, I can find men, I can find people that just care about me as an individual.
If you could go back and talk to yourself before you told anyone you were bi, how would you treat yourself? What would you say?
I grew up in New York. I remember walking down the street and almost tunnel visioning because I didn't want to look at the girls around me. What I would say to myself is, "Just stop it. Stop allowing people, family, men, media, anyone from making you feel anything that you feel naturally is wrong."
I get kind of angry when I think of it because no one should feel that way. One of my biggest passions about the [bi] community is creating a strong sense of self for new generations and pushing for acceptance and love. We're just people, we're all different races, all different genders, we're all different orientations. Accept the matrix of whoever you are. I'm Latina, I'm a woman, and I'm bi. There's so many other intersections there.
In your video you mention you "refuse to limit yourself in any and every way" in your "career, relationships, and how [you] choose to enjoy [your] life." How have you continued to live towards this value?
Just being myself completely, not hiding anything, not omitting anything from any conversation. When I turned 21 and I came out to everyone, I bought myself a LiveStrong bracelet in bi colors. I wore it to my first pride.
I would wear [the bracelet] every day, on dates, on interviews, to work, everything. For me it felt like I'm being me. It's that daily reminder I refuse to hide. Even if it might be uncomfortable for whatever reason. The bracelet actually just broke this year, I need to find a replacement.
In the video you mention feeling "social pressure to reconsider being bi." How has this impacted you?
Yeah, it's not so fun. I just tend to separate myself from people who think like that. I'm here if you ever want to actually have a conversation, but I'm not going to adjust myself to you. If anything I try to educate my friends who might have microaggressions for bi people. Like gold star lesbian or hasbian.
I feel like I've ruined bi people for a lot of people [laughs]. Especially for men. Because [when they say] oh, you're bisexual very suggestive like, I mention the video. I start talking about the bi suicide rates and the kids and how they're feeling and my experiences and how much it sucks dating sometimes. And they just look at me like, fuck. You have humanized the bi experience. It's not just a theory. It's not a fetish. It's not a gimmick. It's not something to get attention. It is an identity. And to trivialize it, to make it almost cartoonish, that is not okay.
This interview has been edited and condensed. See SB's Still Bisexual video from 2015 here.