No matter which part of our beautiful queer family you belong to, coming out can be a daunting experience.
In addition to a lot of the concerns LGBTQ folks express about coming out, there are unique difficulties in coming out as bi. And a lot of coming out resources don't talk about them.
Nevertheless, many people also express 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 in monogamous relationships and happily out. Being monogamous doesn't make you not bi; it just means you're monogamous.
"Won't people think it's a phase?"
One difficulty of coming out as bi is the perception of choice. There are those who are willing to accept that a gay or lesbian friend or family member cannot help their orientation and so are willing to accept their same-sex partners. They are seen as helpless victims of their orientation who cannot help who they love.
These same people will often perceive bi people as greedy or indecisive. The problem is that the only way to change this perception is to have more bi people out and visible. You are far from alone. Recent research shows that 52% of the LGB community is bi.
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 it may be the first thing listed on your Facebook profile. You get to decide who you are out to, and that should be true for everyone.
Bi folks face an extra hurdle in this respect. It's not always obvious to people when we are bi. 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 you will find it easier to remind people that you are indeed bi. The better news is that the more we remind people that we are indeed bi, the less they will assume.
Everyone goes through this process differently, and it is easier for some of us than others. Some of us have known we were bi as long as we can remember; some of us 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 lot of people rooting for you.
Check out bi.org's amazing online community of Facebook and Twitter, or check if there's an amBi chapter where you are (or maybe start your own).
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 gives you profiles of real-life bis around the world. There are so many more of us than you think.