In addition to many of the concerns LGBT folks express about coming out, there are unique difficulties in coming out as bi, and too often, “coming out” resources don't discuss them.
Nevertheless, people tend to report an enormous sense of relief after coming out. Spending your life lying about who you are is stressful and alienating. Working through that initial fear often leads to a much happier and simpler life in the long term.
"But what if I'm monogamous? Do I still need to come out?"
You never need to come out, but plenty of bi folks are both in monogamous relationships and happily out. Being monogamous doesn't negate your bisexuality; it simply means you're monogamous.
"Won't people think it's just a phase?"
One difficulty of coming out as bi is the perception of choice. Some people are willing to accept that a gay/lesbian friend or family member cannot help their orientation and so are willing to accept their same-sex relationships. They are seen as involuntary victims of their orientation who cannot help who they love.
These same people will often perceive bi people as greedy or indecisive, as though we could, if we really wanted to, live as straight or gay, and therefore, this faulty logic implies, we should. This is nonsense. The problem is that the only way to change this misconception is to have more bi people out and visible. Keep in mind, you are far from alone. Recent research shows bi people make up nearly 60% of the LGBT community.
You know your attractions. Go check out our bi 101s and arm yourself with knowledge. Feel free to educate those who question you and let them know that your orientation is just as "real" as theirs.
"When will I be done coming out?"
Probably never. "Being out" is a colloquialism that describes a lifelong process. You may be out to your closest friends and family, but not your coworkers, or the acquaintance you just met, or the person you’re interacting with online. You get to decide who you’re out to, and that should be true for everyone.
Bi folks face an extra hurdle in this respect. Bisexuality is not always obvious to people. If a woman is seen holding hands with a woman, most people will assume that they are lesbians. It will not cross their mind that one or both may be bi.
You will find people assuming your sexuality based on your partners or dating patterns over and over. The good news is that it gets easier to remind people that you are in fact bi. The better news is that the more we remind people, the less they will assume.
Everyone goes through this process differently, and it’s less difficult for some of us than others. Some folks knew they were bi as long as they could remember; others didn't figure it out for a very long time. Families, relationships, communities, local laws may all impact how, when, and to whom you come out. But know that there are a whole lot of people rooting for you.
Peruse our famous bis and see how many amazing bi people past and present have lived their bi truths.
Or maybe you'd like to see, read, and listen to more bi narratives? Go have a look at bi characters.
What Bi Looks Like provides profiles of real-life bis around the world. There are so many more of us than you think.