As I sit down to write this piece reminiscing on my four years as a bi writer, I cannot help but think back to the man — or perhaps more aptly, the boy — I was when I started this incredible journey of expression and self-discovery. At that time, as a recent college graduate, I was full of energy and enthusiasm, ready to dive into the exciting world of journalism with gusto the likes of which the industry had never seen before — or so I thought.
While there have been many instances where my zeal for communications and storytelling has been tempered by the harsh realities of my chosen field, ultimately, I was lucky enough to find an outlet that, for the past four years, has helped me develop my unbridled passion for writing in ways that I could have never imaged.
Even to this day, it seems so improbable to me that I am in a position where I can share my experiences, beliefs, and innermost thoughts as a bi man with my community, as well as with many beyond its parameters. Growing up as a bi man in a small, Midwestern town, I spent most of my life terrified that someone would discover who the real me is; now, I unabashedly proclaim my bi pride for the world to see. I am no longer scared to be who I am; my only fear now is that there are others out there suffering as I used to, who do not have the resources, representation, or support to live as their true selves.
Looking back, the pain and anger I felt as a young bi man was palpable in my first few pieces; even now, they are still somewhat hard for me to read. I was so frustrated and disappointed with the world in so many ways, most prominently with other members of the LGBTI community who brushed off my identity as a bi man as nothing more than a passing phase. It was a new kind of pain for me: I thought I was joining a community that supported and celebrated each other, regardless of their differences, but I soon came to realize that, as with every community, there were and remain problems within that are not common knowledge to those in the outside world.
However, those experiences helped shape me and inspired me to use my voice in a way I never expected. I did not plan to become an LGBTI writer. It was — and sometimes still is — terrifying to share my thoughts and experiences with the world, especially considering the derisive responses that dominated the early days of my writing and which still pop up to this day. Luckily, I have a family that has never wavered in their support of me, and I have surrounded myself with a group of friends who see and accept me for who I am. With that kind of support, how could I remain silent?
When I started my journey as a bi writer, I often only wrote in defense, partially due to anger and, to some extent, insecurity. However, I no longer write because I am insecure about who I am; I write because it is my hope that it will lead to understanding and, perhaps one day, acceptance, empathy, and compassion from others for my community and me.
I’ve also learned to become more patient; rather than rushing to anger and defense, when I can, I pause and think, “Why is this person holding this belief to be true? Is there a productive way in which we can discuss bisexuality? Or is it best to just distance myself from this individual because they are clearly not interested in having a constructive conversation?” Of course, that is not always a viable option; but it has certainly lessened the tension and number of arguments I have with the naysayers. Who knows, it might have even changed a mind or two.
Even if I have not changed a single skeptical mind in these four years, I remain eternally grateful for this platform, as it has helped me connect with other bi individuals in a way that I have never been able to before. After a lifetime of feeling alone, I have finally found people who are like me, who I do not have to validate or explain myself to; they just understand and accept my perspective because it is similar to their own. To feel seen and heard as the real me is the greatest gift I have ever received, and it is one I will never take for granted.
It is hard to imagine a point in my life when I would give up writing. I know without a doubt it is one of my greatest passions and, without it, I am not sure I would have ever become as confident, appreciative, and happy as I am today. I have grown so much from the scared, insecure, and melancholy person I was all those years ago, and I cannot wait to see what growth, connections, and progress the coming years have in store for me as a proud bi writer and man.