Meet Elijah

By Greg Ward

April 28, 2019



Photo credit: Pexels/Dominika Roseclay

I'm almost thirty. I have a seven year old daughter who I have full custody of. I work at, it's kind of like, a warehouse. I do a little bit of everything. We make medical kits and stuff like that but it's also a lot of packaging and moving things around and shipping things. Most of my life has been centered around my child at the moment.

Elijah is your typical dad, focused on his child's welfare and well-being and working hard to make a living to support his small family. He also harbors a secret that he's ready to let set sail: He is bi. But coming out completely, to him, would be a big deal.

I think it's, for me, personally, it's a lot, because I've actually come out of the closet two different times now. I'm actually transgender. I'm a transgender male. So, I came out in high school as a lesbian. Then about twenty one, when my ex was pregnant with my daughter, I came out as transgender.

Elijah's made the announcement that he's not who we see him as, not once, but twice. We all know that the third time should be the charm.

A man high gives a young girl while in the street on a sunny day.

Elijah continues, “So for me, I feel a lot of people are going to be like: 'Okay. This is the third time now. Like, what are you doing with your life, dude?'” Elijah chuckles as he notes the odd sequence of events that culminated to bring himself to this point in his life.

Coming out bi is scary. Coming out in general is scary. There's a countless number of reasons why one would want to stay in the safety of the closet. We make it plush and comfortable in there as the years go by. We read the news stories online about attacks on our LGBT siblings, and then we add another cushion to the floor of our individual, metaphorical armoire. It has to be cozy in there, because it seems too perilous in the real world.

Statistically speaking, however, it's not as treacherous as you think, despite the real dangers that are a possibility. It's all dependent on the regions you live within in free states and what countries you reside in that still have anti-LGBT laws on the books. And also, the myriad of hateful randos that could cross your path at any given moment. But there are far more good, decent allies and an ever-growing amount of queer and trans people in this world. It's now safer now than ever to come out, in spite of the charged political atmosphere that you might feel currently.

It's confusing to determine when would be the most secure time to get off and out of your cushioned closet. But life can be a mystery. Especially when finding yourself, and that can certainly take time. The biggest growth comes as one enters adulthood and faces the responsibilities that come with being a grown-up.

I don't think anybody knows one hundred percent who they are in high school. Like, yeah, obviously you have this idea of who you are and what you want to do with your life and then you graduate and you're thrust into the world and they're like, "Okay, well, now you really have to know what you're doing" and you're like, "Oh, crap. I actually had no idea before". So... and now that I'm almost thirty and I have a seven year old, it's like, "Okay once again, I have no idea what's going on with my life!"

Elijah tells me he's only really out to people online, especially people he's met on Twitter. He says that every time he's come out, it has first been to people he doesn't physically know, from the web.

I feel it's a lot easier to do it that way because it's like, this person doesn't actually know you from a hole in the wall. So you can tell them your deepest, darkest secrets and they only know what you want them to know. They don't know where you live. They don't know your full name. So if it comes back to bite you in the butt: Oh, well? This person actually doesn't know anybody you know and doesn't know your neighborhood and stuff. So nothing's really going to get out. You know what I mean?

It's taken Elijah quite awhile to get to this section of his life and now he's ready to come out to everyone as a bi man. I ask him what his biggest worries and fears are.

Like I said, with the having come out twice already, I felt like people are; just part of it is that people will be like, "Okay, well, what is it? Because first, you were a lesbian in high school, and then you were 'Oh, I'm transgender', And it's like, 'You were so adamant about only liking women, and now all of a sudden, you're like, well, maybe I could like men, too.'" And I think that's a big part of it... And then the other part of it i that not all of my family is the most accepting of people. I have, unfortunately, a lot of family that are very Republican and very conservative in their views, and unfortunately, quite a few of them who are Trump supporters, and I'm just like, which is awkward for me, because not only am I trans, and, you know, attempting to come out as bi at the same time, but I'm also half Latino. And the part of my family that's the very conservative part is my mom's side of the family, who's white, you know what I mean? So, for them to support this person, [they] who do not support like, two out of three, or three out of four of the parts of me, like, "Oh, okay, thanks, guys". Like "Love you, too".

While we assume most of our family is straight, because we live in a heteronormative society and are conditioned to believe most people we come across are heterosexual, it isn't always the straight community that takes issue with our bisexuality. Elijah and I talk at length about other queer people and the opinions of them toward our more fluid crowd.

I feel like, for me, I don't think I can really want in all of the rest of the LG community, I guess I would call it, because like, some of them are very accepting of people who are either bisexual or trans, or trans and bisexual, but not a lot of them are. So I feel like it's kind of, some of them are super accepting and then some of them are just kind of like, "Well, no. Pick [a side]", you know? I feel like it's a mix of the two. I know most of the people that I know that are in the LGBT community would be very accepting. But those are people that I'm already friends with, that I know their views and their opinions, and I feel like they would be accepting. But as for like, a worldview of people who I don't know, I don't know what their reactions would be, especially being trans, because a lot of people it's like, "Okay, so you transitioned from a female to male because you liked women", which obviously is not the reason I transitioned, but whatever. But then they're going to be like, "Oh, and now all of a sudden you like boys", like "Why not just a woman?" And that is probably the thing that aggravates me the most about people when you tell them that you're trans, and like the same gender that you have transitioned too.

Another fear comes from society's perception of bi people, especially for bi femmes it's the myth that women are bi because it's a fad.

I know, personally, like the high school that I went to a lot of, especially the girls, were like, "Oh, you know, I'm bisexual"... I feel like it was kind of a, they felt like it was a fad. Like, 'Oh, yeah, I'm going to say this because this one did', you know what I mean? So, I think, I don't know, maybe it's just where I went to high school. Maybe it's just "High School" in general, that's how how kids are. And I think that was a lot of the reason I probably never wanted to admit to any of that in high school was because everybody was just going to think "Oh, well, you're doing it for the attention, or you're being greedy, you know?"

Elijah never came out bi back then out of fear. So, when did Elijah start to realize that he was bi and what has helped him to come to this realization?

A lot of it, I feel like it's because there's a couple of people that I've gotten to know who are either gay or bi themselves, I should say, specifically males that are either gay or bi themselves. And I feel like even just talking to them and hearing their experiences, and the things they felt as they got older, it's kind of like, okay, I kind of had that, that same feeling for a while. But again, I think it was something that I never wanted to admit, because I was really, in high school, as a girl, was very butch, like very much, like I actually walked into the boys locker room one day, and my own gym teacher didn't even realize, "Hey, wait a minute, you're not supposed to be in here". So that was kind of hilarious to be perfectly honest with you. But I feel like, so had I come out at that point as "Yeah, I like boys, too" they would have been like, "Well, then why do you look like one?' You know what I mean?

This is how the world has worked for a time. The perception of many younger people as they grow is that to be in love you have to be in love with either a gender unlike your own or a similar one, but never at the same time. Definitely things are changing with respect to ideas of sexuality that are not just gay, lesbian, or straight. But for us bi people, we've always known this, even if it took some time to admit it to ourselves. The pieces need to fall into place for it to click in our minds, even when it's staring at us dead-on in the face. Elijah continues,

So I think that caused me to not want to come out. But then as I got older, and you know, as I said, I'm almost thirty and I read up on different things, and I read different articles and watched all these videos of people like, "You know what? It doesn't matter what I look like. This is who I am. This is what I am, and you're just going to have to deal with it." I feel like that has really made me say, "Yes, this, you know, this is me", and whether anybody likes it or not. I like it. And this is how I feel. This is what I want for my life. This is what I want for me.

The silhouette of a man overlooking a lake in the early morning while it is still dark.
Pexels/Lukas Rychvalsky

Elijah tells me that he's involved in the bi community online. That community is important to him because, as he's stated before, in real life he doesn't have that kind of support. But sometimes it's because he just too busy.

"With my child, it's just really hard to get involved in certain things because I'm a single parent”, Elijah notes, but he does take the time for teaching moments with his little girl, such as bringing her to Pride. “I have no problem bringing my child around all of that, like, I bring her to Pride every year, she loves it.” Pride events are special places where LGBT people can truly be themselves in a place that is safe and secure and free of judgment (at least, we hope so). And we all try to make it as such.

Elijah says he goes to Pride all the time, since back when he first identified as a lesbian.

Yeah, the first time I ever went was actually in high school, I was 17, or 18 was the first time I went, just because I had never realized that there was one. I live in Rhode Island. It's a small state. So I never even realized there was one in Rhode Island. So I was like, "Oh, hey, let's go do this!"

It was like a dream come true for him. Perhaps at one of these Prides he realized he was a bi guy. Our time now goes by so quickly. We live in a fast-paced world, and it's hard to do all the things we'd love to do with all the people we love. Sometimes doing things online is just easier. For a lot of single fathers that is the case. Elijah relates.

But like a lot of the things, like if they do rallies or something like that, I would love to go to them. But I also have to think about the fact that "Okay, I have my child", I can't just make her stand outside with me for four hours. You know what I mean? So it's, it's a little difficult for me. So honestly, most of the stuff that I tried to do and try to be involved in, is online, because that's what's easiest for me, having my child.

You can tell Elijah loves his daughter and cares for her first. He puts her needs before his own. But now it's his hour. A little bit of time to shine in the spotlight. Elijah is coming out bi. In his own words, he says, “I mean, it's just got to come out one way or another, right?”

And Elijah loves his bisexuality. Why would he not, right?

Honestly, I think it's just, the biggest thing for me is about being able to say, "Yes, this is me", like, I don't know that there's... I don't even know that it's just what I love about being bi, it's mostly that I am able to be me, you know what I mean? Because I have come out numerous times before and it's like, at this point in my life, it's just, I just want to be able to be me and be who I am.

Part of being a parent is being a role model for your child. They not only literally look up to you as they are growing up but they are also hoping to look up to you in other ways as a positive teacher of lessons learned throughout your own life. You've experienced things they haven't yet or may never experience. As a parent, you get that opportunity to pass on those valuable bits of knowledge to your progeny. Elijah understands this.

I want to show my child that no matter what, as long as you're happy, that's all that matters. And since becoming a parent, since becoming a father, I feel like that's been my biggest issue. I've always, and I'm not saying it's wrong of me to put my child before me, obviously, she should come before me, she's my child. But I feel like she also needs to learn, that in order for me to teach her to be happy, I need to be happy. You know what I mean? And if I can't be happy, then I can't teach her how to be happy with herself.

But it's not always easy to be uplifting all the time or to teach those positive lessons. The world can, at times, also be cruel. And it's easy to get caught up in that and focus on the devastating portions of our lives. It's easy to think that it's happening constantly to us, even though it's really not. Elijah knows this all too clearly.

As a person who suffers with a lot of depression and stuff like that, if I just continue to be in my depressive state constantly, and not trying to better myself, how can I show my daughter that she should do that for herself? And so I think a lot of it is, is that, is trying to say, "Listen, your father...", I mean, she doesn't know that I'm trans right now, because she's only seven. So it's not something that I feel the need to explain to her right now. But she needs to know, whether it's today, tomorrow or a couple years down the road. That: "Listen, this is who Dad is. And he's happy. And that's what matters. Just like this is who you are, and you're happy. And that's what matters."

“And I want my daughter to not only accept herself for whatever or whoever she is”, Elijah states, “But I want her to accept other people for who and what they are. And again, I feel like I can't do that. Unless I accept myself for who and what I am.”

Elijah continues on about his daughter, “She has changed my life in so many ways. Like, the whole reason I even came out as trans was because her mother was pregnant and everybody was like, 'Oh, you're going to be such an awesome mom'. And I'm like, Welllllll, I don't know that I want to be somebody's mother. So let's just make me her dad.”

Like most bi people, we like our labels. And we certainly have a lot of them. And we have online wars about them. As a bifella himself, Elijah is also aware of this and he is no exception. He too enjoys using many words to describe his bisexuality.

I mean, right now when people ask me, like people that I'm not exactly ready to come out as bi to, I've used "heteroflexible" a lot recently. Because I feel like I know I like women. I know for a fact that I like women and I feel like at this point, I know for a fact that I pretty much like men too. But it's, I haven't been in any sort of relationship with a male to say like, "Yeah, this is absolutely for me. This is the type of person who could make me happy". I mean, so I've been using "heteroflexible", just because like, I know there's a... "Yes, I like women", but there is the chance. You know what I mean? I don't think chance is the right word, either.

And then like, I feel maybe "pansexual". Only because there are trans people that I'm attracted to. But I feel like... I understand people who use 'pansexual' as a self-describer for themselves. I feel like "bisexual" includes trans people, but a lot of other people use "pansexual' as a way to say, "Oh, I like men and women, but I also like trans people". And I feel like, personally, I don't like that there needs to be separate terms. You know what I mean? Because I may be trans, but I'm still a man. I don't think I need to tell people that I like cisgender people but also transgender people, you know what I mean? Because they're still just men or women.

A man is turned looking at the ocean from a hill throwing a pebble in the air.
Pexels/Rachel Claire

I agree. In the nineties, "pansexual" and "omnisexual" just meant that you were “all-around sexual”; that you fell in love with who you fell in love with, with "pan" being the Greek and "omni" being the Latin prefixes for the word "all". It has evolved over the years and developed into the definitions we fight over today, but even though it's more specific, there still is a similarity in the definitions and the definitions for being 'bi' (of which there are many) with a lot of overlap, and that's fine. Hopefully, someday the Great Tumblr Wars will be far behind us.

Elijah concludes, “I'm all for other people using the term for themselves, but personally, it's not really a term I like, but I mean, I guess it could be used to describe how I feel towards trans people, I guess.” He makes a great point.

And it's common for many people who are fluid to use many labels for themselves and not just one. After all, Elijah is a father, and also a dad, and a male parent, a guardian who is a guy, etc. You get the picture. Elijah states that he also loves the word "nonmonosexual".

But, Elijah wants more than anything for you to know that he is bi. This is his coming out article. It was a pleasure to write it up for him and I wish him the best in his life as an out bi man! Congratulations!