• Telling my husband…. I’m actually queer.

    Telling my husband…. I’m actually queer.

    Telling my husband…. I’m actually queer.
    by: Annalise McDowell MSW Intern

    I’d like to think that my childhood has been rather exposed. Growing up, we attended the NYC Gay Men’s choir on weekends, enjoyed queer media and producers, and openly discussed how people grow up to fall in love with whomever they please. No minced words there- love is love. 

      Despite this upbringing, I had extensive experiences of avoiding my bisexuality throughout my young adult life. I would go so far as to call it internalized homophobia that I was experiencing, and I know I am not alone in this. I don’t hesitate to call it this, because crushes on girls often fed my insecurities, halted my participation in beloved activities, and perpetuated  “but not me” thoughts. Crushes pushed me to quit my childhood love for sports, overcompinsate in heteronormative relationships, and to maintain “safe” distances from my female friends. 

        I attended a conservative, religiously affiliated school in 9th grade. The education was phenomenal, but we followed strict routines, participated in religious rituals, and were taught strict gender roles and norms. I was an outsider from public school, on scholarship, so fitting in was difficult already. In addition, I often challenged ideologies and practices at the school, which only further ostracized myself from my peers. At the time, my “girl crushes” were not just admiration for movie stars or pop singers, I was experiencing that feeling with classmates and friends. Wow, I want to BE her. I often thought. They could do no wrong, and I experienced envy when they went to prom with their boyfriend, or awe when they got into their dream college. My denial of feelings, however, ultimately led to a wrecked self-esteem and weak friendships with female friends. 

        Fast forwarding to 2019, I was a senior at Kutztown University. I was dating a woman for whom I felt all those feelings from the past. However, I still refused to call it “dating”. We were just friends of course! The relationship ended, and I met my now husband a year later. 

        Yes, yes, I know. I spent my life avoiding my bi feelings, and then married a man. After about a year into our relationship, something clicked. Wow, I wasn’t jealous of those girls from childhood, I liked those girls! However, even then, I questioned whether or not it was even worth sharing the realization? However, telling my husband I was bisexual, or queer, has overall made us a happier couple, and embracing a new facet of my identity has made ME happier. Together, we enjoy pride celebrations, and have spirited conversations about sexuality, fluidity, and current events surrounding the LGBTQIA community. However, it also has generated some questions of doubt, from myself and others. Are you really bi?

        YES. Yes, bisexual people are still bi if they end up in a herterosexual relationship.  

    Despite the social privilege of “straight passing” bisexuality, bisexual people do have incredible disparities in their mental and physical health, compared to gay, lesbian, or straight indentifying indiviudals. Believe it or not, bi individuals make up more than half the country’s LGBTQIA population, which makes bi-related mental and physical health critical to supporting the LGBTQIA community. Bisexual people are far less likely to dislose their sexuality at medical or mental health appointments, resulting in higher anxiety, depression, and STI rates. Society enjoys the black and white checkboxes gay, straight, or lesbian terms have to offer. So gender affirming people, are typically assumed to be straight with cis pronouns. Unfortunately, both within the LGBTQIA community, and outside of it, there are a multitude of misconceptions surrounding bi individuals. Including that bi individuals are not queer enough, or are on their “way to gay”.  Additionally, bi-men are often immediately written off as gay, or even “too manly” to be bi. Personally, I struggle feeling “queer” enough for some queer spaces, or occasionally, the validity of my marriage is questioned by both straight and LGBTQIA individuals. 

    Not only does society love their checkboxes, it also loves labels, and simplicity in interpersonal relationships- an issue the entire LGBTQIA community has been combating since seemingly the dawn of time. After meeting other bi-individuals in heterosexual realtionships, I myself, have learned that the erasure of bi persons,  is not based in dismissive intent, its based in bi privilege. Homophobia, whether verbal, physical, or yes- even internalized- is sparing of bi individuals, because we are straight passing, or simply good at masking. This makes it 10x more critical for straight passing, bisexual individuals to advocate on behalf of the LGBTQIA community, because yes, we are queer enough to be included. 

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