Bi-Visibility Day: Emma's Story
Publish Date: 13/09/2013
Emma, 16, from Lincolnshire shares her story about being bisexual.
When did you first realise you might be bisexual?
When I was 11, my Mum told me and my sister that we would be moving away from where we had previously lived all our lives. Along with the excitement and the initial fear, came not just the feelings of sadness from moving away from my friends but something else I couldn’t quite figure out. I had always been very protective over my best friend, guiding her away from girls I saw to be false or boys that seemed to show the wrong kind of interest in her.
It never really occurred to me that I might have feelings for her until it happened again. When I was 15, I became obsessed with a girl named Lauren and convinced myself that she was this pure soul that needed to be shielded from boys, who might have testosterone-driven thoughts when they looked at her. When less than a year after that, I started to feel the need to protect another close friend of mine, I began to wonder whether it might be more than friendship that was making me feel this way.
How did you come out? What was people's reactions to you being bisexual?
Coming out to my friends was relatively easy as a few of them are also LGBT teens and generally at my school, alternative sexualities are not discriminated against. #
One of my friends, having been raised Catholic, initially treated me differently and made me feel upset by doing childish things such as refusing to change next to me in PE and leaving me out of sleepover plans. But overtime she realised that despite me coming out, I was still the same person as I was before and all that had really changed was my confidence, which had become greater, meaning that I was generally happier.
Coming out to my Mum was hard because as she was raised Catholic, I generally had no idea what her reaction would be. It’s not in her nature to be hateful but still her accepting reaction surprised me. Our relationship has now only grown stronger and I am closer to my younger sister than I ever was before.
What's the best thing about being bisexual?
The best thing about being bisexual has to be that generally you can judge a person’s character by how they respond to you coming out to them for the first time. I’m a fairly private person so would need to get to know someone before telling them but their reaction would definitely effect what I thought of them and whether I continued to be friendly towards them or not.
Have you dated both opposite and same sex people? If so, what have you found to be the main similarities and differences?
Personally when I date a boy, I like the feeling of being safe and protected by them; the idea of the blond, tanned and buff Prince Charming is attractive to anyone! But when I date a girl, I like to protect her and spoil her rotten. It makes me feel good in a same sex relationship to be the girl’s rock to fall back on and that’s the role I prefer to take on.
Have you experienced biphobia?
I’ve had people say they don't understand it and surely I must have a preference (I do currently prefer girls) but other than that I have experienced childish homophobic name calling but never biphobia.
Why do you think people seem to struggle to understand bisexuality?
I think people struggle to understand bisexuality because it is easier for straight people to dismiss homosexuality as a topic that they know nothing about and never will, while bisexuals may seem more relatable, which for those who are homophobic or know very little about LGBT persons, may actually seem ‘scary’ and too ‘foreign’ for them to comprehend.
It’s sometimes easier for people to dismiss other sexualities as inhuman than to get into the arguments for and against, some people are simply closed minded.
Do you have any bisexual role-models?
My bisexual role model will always be Phil, who was a mental health nurse at the psychiatric unit which I have previously been an inpatient. While sexuality was a topic that neither of us were actually allowed to talk about, LGBT patients gravitated together him and from what I have of a gaydar, I’m fairly current his sexuality wasn’t heterosexual.
Either way, his honest and caring nature as well as open and friendly persona made him liked by all. He has also influenced me musically and got me into The Smiths and Black Sabbath as well as reintroduced me to playing guitar.
What advice would you give your sixteen-year old self?
Being 16 at this moment in time I will answer this question as what I hope to be like at 21. I hope to be more confident in myself and be more comfortable when talking to people, knowing that if the subject of sexuality does happen to come up, I can answer honestly and am prepared for any answer.
For more information on Bi Visibility Day visit http://september23.bi.org/
If you would like to share your experiences of being bisexual, or around any other issue such as coming out, hate crime or your healthcare experiences email firstname.lastname@example.org