Sometimes you can track your whole life to changing after a few simple words.
“I love you.”
“I am going to run a marathon.”
“I want to write a novel.”
I can tell you one of mine: “Do you need any new writers?”
This was a question I posed to my now-editor here at bi.org. She was in the midst of setting up the Ambi booth at L.A. Pride way back in June of 2017. We had met a few times by this point at a handful of Ambi events, and I had started reading the works on the site. I had been ruminating on an article idea and thought that, if she was open to it, I could write it for her.
I can still remember her looking at me as we set up the prize wheel, the sun catching in her darling jet-black pixie cut. “Sure! What did you have in mind?”
And with that, we were off to the races. Not only did my now-boss like my initial pitch, but she noted a section of the website she had started but wanted to expand: a rating system for reviewing queer representation in media she coined The Unicorn Scale.
Writing about bi characters n TV and film and getting paid for it?! I couldn’t sign up fast enough.
This one little question caused a total sea change in my life over the past five years of my life, in the best of ways.
For one thing, I became much more vocally proud of being bi — both on paper and in person. I knew I liked multiple genders by the time I was eight but didn’t know the term “bisexual” until I was fifteen. I came out to my Unitarian youth group two years later — and then spent up until I was thirty coming out to people I trusted. More often than not, my sexuality got erased, dismissed, or ignored. With all of these years of queer writing behind me, I still don’t know if I can properly cover the total tonnage of pain that that caused me. But when I started getting published here — and getting my work in front of my friends, family, and community so often that it couldn’t be denied — that erasure stopped in its tracks.
Turns out, if you’re so professionally bi you can cite it as an income source in your tax returns, people tend to stop questioning its validity. (Also, full circle: some of the people who tried to erase me have come to me with ideas for articles. Didn’t see that plot twist coming!)
That professional validation transmuted into personal confidence. I refuse to get shut down anymore about being bi — and people responded to my passion and vocality on the subject. (And if they don’t like it, frankly I don’t care — if you didn’t want me to be obnoxiously out, maybe you shouldn’t have repressed me for the first thirty years of my life. That pulled the slingshot back; it didn’t stomp out my queerness.)
Writing for bi.org has also, blessedly, done a number on my internalized biphobia. After years of sniffing out the best (and the worst) of the bisexual experience in the queer diaspora, my findings made it crystal clear there is no one, narrow way to be bi. I don’t have to wear cuffed jeans and Docs and eat lemon bars all the time (though, hey, if that works for you, more power to you). Finding an internet home on this website helped me to embrace my inner bi in ways I may never have done without it as a safe place. Slowly but surely, that doubting voice in my heart has dimmed to a decibel.
Also, I have to say: it has been such an utter joy and deep privilege to report on the evolving bi representation in media over the last half-decade. It may seem like every time we flip on a streamer now there’s a bi character bouncing around, but five years ago that really wasn’t the case. I can remember curating my first list in 2017 of shows to cover, and I could count the possible candidates on two hands. Not only that, but the richness of bi characters has exploded — characters aren’t getting queer-coded or sidestepping the question, but often proudly using the term to describe themselves, but also enjoying love interests of multiple genders without that becoming their entire identity. There’s a change in the waters of Hollywood (or at least in the writing rooms), and it’s definitely for the better. We’re not where I’d love to see us eventually, but damn if we ain’t a lot farther along than we were even in 2017. (I mean, c’mon, y’all: Rosa Diaz exists!)
Covering this entertainment beat has also been a source of joy for me — not only for those in my immediate circles but for communities I participate in online and in person. Having quick references for newly-out, struggling bis who are clamoring for good, nuanced representation at the drop of a hat? I could barely dream of this when I was growing up. So to be able to pass on those resources is something I truly hold sacred.
Not only that, but I’ve been able to go out and hone my interviewing skills in a way I never anticipated before, with people whom I’ve admired for decades. From Oscar winners and groundbreaking NFL players to legendary queer activists to New York Times bestsellers and queer historians/TikTok sensations to comedians on the rise all the way to Matilda herself, #bicon Mara Wilson? I’ve gotten to ask them all about these varied and fascinating lives they’ve led — and share their nuggets of wisdom with bi readers. How cool is that?!
Even beyond these elements, I’ve gotten to sound off on issues important to me in personal essays. Whether it’s a hot take on some current event, a much-needed guide I wish I’d had growing up, or musing on an evolving viewpoint, I can’t express how much I’ve relished sharing with readers and finding my experience resonates with them and is often a universal experience. (Though, hey, I get it — not every opinion of mine will land. There’s room for the haters, too.) More often than not, these essays have been some of my personal favorites over the years, as I’ve used them to “write my way out” or through a particularly sticky emotion or situation. And I’m so glad to take others along for the ride as I do so.
I have other points I wanted to make, but this one is perhaps the most important: being so visibly out as a queer voice and byline has telegraphed to people near and far in my life that I’m a safe person to come out to. I can’t tell you how many times someone I know has come out to me as bi because I’ve literally lost count. But it’s a cherished position for me every single time; I vividly remember how terrifying it was to come out, so to hold witness for these friends attempting to be understood has been truly holy work for me. It takes so much courage to be yourself in this world that thrives on binary thinking, and not let your heart conform to that narrative. To be a vessel for someone emerging from that harmful mold is crucial to me. I don’t think I would have ever been afforded that opportunity if I hadn’t started writing for bi.org.
I don’t really know how to sum up my reflections on writing here. All I can say is that I’m eternally grateful to have gotten a chance to scribble and type up and mash together articles for this website. It has brought my life into bloom in a way I had always wanted but never expected to get.
I guess if I’ll end with anything, it’s this: I started off talking about how a few words can change the trajectory of your life. I’ll bet that, while reading this, you thought of some words of your own you’ve been dying to share with someone. Dare to say them. Ask that question. Take that chance. Take a step — even the baby ones count. Because you never know where one little string of words can take you.