The first bisexual character I remember seeing on tv was The Todd on Scrubs. For those of you who never saw the show, imagine if Pepe Le Pew was a surgeon. During one episode some of the female doctors suggest to him that he might be gay, and use his abusive actions towards women as a way to mask this.
Maybe they should have contacted HR, but that’s another story.
At any rate, by the end of the episode, he realizes that he’s simply so horny that he’s attracted to everyone. There’s a scene that’s stuck in my brain to this day, of Todd walking down the hall, checking out the ass of everyone he walks past. Someone asked him, in disgust, “What are you?”
He responds, “I’m The Todd.”
This introduction to the theory of bisexuality probably isn’t why it took me 35 years to figure myself out. But it sure as hell didn’t help.
I’m turning 37 years old next week. And I am just now coming out as bisexual.
I am not being brave doing this. I am incredibly privileged in many ways. I am surrounded by friends who are wonderful, accepting people. Many of whom are part of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m married to a man, so I pass for straight unless I tell someone I’m bi. While I don’t belong to an organized church, I’m a Unitarian. My day job is wonderfully supportive. And I don’t talk to most of my family anyway, so it’s not like I’m alienating any of them.
That’s part of why I waited so long to come out. For a very long time, it felt like some people were claiming to be bisexual because it was trendy. And maybe some people did that.
It’s not trendy to be LGBTQ+. You are or you’re not. But for a brief, shining couple of years, it was considered cool. And people got a lot of attention for coming out. That’s great, I loved that.
I didn’t come out then. Because I didn’t want anyone to accuse me of lying. Of stealing attention from real members of the community. Because that’s what it felt like for me like I wasn’t really a member of this community. Like I wasn’t welcome. Because Cupid spun my wheel and landed on a man, a wonderful man, I did not feel welcome in this community.
It never stopped me from being an ally. It never stopped me from supporting LGBTQ+ rights. It just left me very confused about some relationships I’ve had in the past, that I would have sworn were just friendships.
Friendships with a beautiful girl with thick brown hair and the brightest smile I have ever seen. Who I still miss every day. Who still has a little part of my heart.
All that aside, I didn’t come out. It took me until last year to figure out that yes, I was bisexual and yes, maybe I should let people know that. Because as much of a party as Pride should be, it sure doesn’t feel like a party right now.
Because the ’20s are feeling more and more like the 1920s, and our society is going backward. Pride is taking on a whole new meaning for me this year, which is why I’m coming out now.
Pride, like a lion’s pride.
I have more to say on that in a moment.
First, though, I want to talk about coming out in your late thirties. I guess coming out any time is weird. Coming out when you’re a full-blown adult has its series of issues. For me, it feels like having a project half done and just now realizing there was a second half of my toolbox I’d never even opened.
It also feels like looking back at that first half of the project and seeing a pattern I wasn’t trying to make come out clear as day.
It’s taken me over a year, and some deep talks with my therapist, to come to terms with this. That I can’t go back and make different decisions, and I don’t know if I would if I could. I am married to a wonderful human being who is my partner in every sense of the word. The fact that he’s got boy parts isn’t a part of the equation. And that’s something beautiful to realize all by itself. To really and truly love the soul of a person, independent of the body, is a treasure.
Which brings me to my next point. Maybe we should just stop holding people to social expectations based on their private parts. Maybe it’s time we stop expecting men to act one way and women to act another way, even cisgender people. Maybe our strengths, weaknesses, and interests don’t have a damn thing to do with gender or sexuality. Maybe makeup is for anyone who wants to wear it, sports are for everyone who enjoys them, and I don’t need a goddamned pink jersey to support the Steelers. Maybe, and stick with me on this one, we should stop judging people before we get to know them as individuals.
Now, I need to talk about transgender people. Because frankly, we all need to be talking about transgender people. Because they need our help. Especially the kids.
Transgender teens and adults are at risk every single day in America, not just during June. They’re at a higher risk for suicide. They’re at risk of being attacked, abandoned by their families, and fired from their jobs. And we can’t let this happen. We have to stand up and support the trans community. We have to rally around them, like a Pride, and defend them. And, here are some ways we can all do that. It doesn’t matter if you’re trans, if you know someone who’s trans or if you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community, or if you’re an ally. Trans people need our help right now. And here’s what we can do.
Contact your local representatives on every level and ask them what they’re doing to support trans rights. Especially if you’re in a state that is actively making it illegal to be transgender. (Looking at you, Florida.)
If it’s safe for you to do so, attend protests and rallies in support of transgender people. Attend a drag show if you can and are comfortable doing so.
Support trans creators, especially if they’re from one of the states cracking down on them. If you, like me, are super broke, support them by sharing their content and kind words.
Support LGBTQ+ charities, like The Trevor Project.
And remember this. Lots of companies are going to put out rainbow-colored content this month. And that’s fun. But they don’t get credit for that if they’re supporting Republican politicians and lawmakers. They don’t get credit for that if they’re not supporting their workers. And they sure as hell don’t get credit for that if they take all their rainbows down on July first and don’t say another goddamned word about LGBT+ support until next June.