Meet Xinyi. Xinyi is in the closet.
In writing these articles my first question is always: Describe in one sentence your fear concerning coming out bi. I ask this because it's important for the person being interviewed to come to terms with exactly why they aren't out yet. It's also a way for me (and others who are out and reading these answers) to reflect on how difficult it was ourselves to come out fully. I asked Xinyi this question and she responded, I fear coming out because of the general misconceptions of what it means to be bi: that we can't be monogamous, that bisexuality is a phase, or we are confused, etc, and I fear being rejected by those who wouldn't understand.
These misconceptions come from many types of people, and not just straight people, but people within our queer sphere, too: ace, gay, lesbian, etc. I wondered if Xinyi felt that these various communities accepted her bisexuality as a real, viable sexuality. She replied, As a whole, I do not. I think that many people in all communities have difficulty understanding how someone can be attracted to multiple genders, or have attractions that aren't gender-based at all. I think many in these communities are much more comfortable and understanding of monosexuality-based attraction.
Does Xinyi only identify as bi or does she also use other labels to describe her sexuality? She revealed, I identify as bi and queer. I know there is some debate over the word 'bisexual' only meaning two sexes, although I define it as 'the same as myself and different.' I also like to use 'queer' because I believe it is more inclusive of an identity that is other than straight but without specifically defining it.
I wondered about the first time Xinyi realized that she had attractions for more than one gender. She confessed, For me, realizing and accepting that I am bi were two different things. I am in a long-term, committed, opposite-sex marriage. But I knew for many years that I am also attracted to women. I denied it to myself for a long time because I myself didn't fully understand what it meant to be bi. It wasn't until I started reading about bisexuality and what the different attractions can look like and how the levels of attraction can be different for everyone did I finally accept that, yes, I am bi. And when I embraced and accepted that about myself, it was as if something inside me that had always been in conflict finally made sense. One has to come to terms with their sexuality first in order to fully be embraced by others about it.
And sometimes others can be abrasive about bisexuality. Perhaps Xinyi had heard things that family members and associates have said that painted bi people in a negative light? She said she had. Xinyi noted, I've heard from family and friends that bi people are confused, that they can't make up their minds about being straight or gay, and just that they don't understand how someone can be bi - that it doesn't make sense. These words hurt, but by coming out and showing how bi people are we can dispel these myths about us.
Is Xinyi aware of our community groups across the 'net? She stated, I am very aware of the large online bi community I follow on Twitter and I have learned so much from what I read. I do not participate because I don't want to do anything that might reveal to my extended family that I am queer.
Going to Pride events, parades, LGBT and LGBT-friendly bars and clubs can help us feel included, especially if those places cater to bi people. Xinyi makes a great point with her reply about whether or not she has attended any of these. She said, I have not, although I have considered it. I think if I could find somewhere I know is 'bi-friendly' and where I would be welcome with my opposite-sex partner, I would go." There aren't very many bi-specific places in this world, but to be able to go to a place where you are welcome with any partner sounds lovely especially in queer spaces.
What would be the ideal instance that would allow Xinyi to come out fully? She replied, I would love to be out completely, but with my conservative, older family members I'm not sure that will ever be possible. I think if there was a circumstance where my coming out would be helpful to someone - for instance, if someone else I loved were to come out and needed support - then that might change. But right now I am out to my husband, my teenage son, and a few close friends, so at least I have those people in my life who know my whole truth.
Had Xinyi ever been in a same gender relationship? She answered, No, I came to understand my identity later in life, and I have been with my husband for over 25 years.
For my final question I always want to know what about being bi brings the most joy and comfort. Xinyi stated, For me personally, being bi means I see more than gender in others, and from what I see in the online bi community, I think that is true of many of us. And knowing and understanding my bisexuality has brought me a measure of peace that I didn't feel before. I think bisexuality is beautiful, and that we are more open to seeing the beauty in all the people around us.
That is Xinyi's story.
In an effort to bring to the public the fears and discouragement of why many bi people choose to remain in the closet, I present to you a series of interviews with those I call damp bi folk. Though just as fluid in their sexuality as any openly bi person, a damp bi is someone who cannot fully embrace their fluidity in their sexuality safely or surely, and therefore are only slightly wet. This series hopes to instill in the reader a sense of encouragement and hope, for those in the closet, and a sense of awareness and insight to those non-bi folks who want to encourage bi people to live their lives openly and proud.
52% of LGB persons surveyed are bi, according to most recent statistical analyses. Many bi people remain slightly wet. This ranges from gay and lesbian identified people who also have attractions to other genders, straight identified people who are also attracted to many genders, asexual identified people who sometimes have sexual attraction to men, women, and non-binary folk, and the average person who gives no hint of their sexuality but is generally perceived by others to be straight. This suggests numbers may be higher among the non-LGBT demographics. What can you do to encourage bi people to come out? Do you help facilitate a safe environment for bi people to feel comfortable coming out to you? Do you see the importance of people living as their true selves, to be able to talk openly about the relationships they are in regardless of gender?