I, Claire Bohlig, am bisexual.
To some that is the most obvious thing about me, my room has an embroidery hoop that just says ‘BOOBS’, I wear rainbow socks, displayed over my bed is a bisexual pride flag, I haven’t missed a pride in five years. To others it is a surprise. And to my parents, well... they will probably never know.
I always knew I wasn’t straight, I just figured nobody truly was. My parents never talked to me about LGBTQ+ issues and who was I to know that not everyone felt a special tingle when they thought about Derek AND/OR Lucy? I guess it wasn’t until I was older I realized I was special, in both a good way and a bad.
I remember middle school I was on Tumblr, and I found the word bisexual. At the time it was defined as someone who likes both men AND women. Here was my solution to the Derek and Lucy conundrum! Here was MY word! Delighted, I quietly began to become comfortable and allow myself to tell my best friend at the time, who, after being explained the meaning of the word, also came out as bisexual! Huzzah! All was good in the gay world of Claire!
Emboldened, I brought up the topic of bisexuality to my father, a man who has been with me through eating disorders, self harm, depression, anxiety, and possibly more laughable, acne. After the definition was listed he casually stated, “I don’t believe in that, it’s just not possible.”
I never broached the subject again.
My family doesn’t know about my sexuality. Sure, my cousins ask about my girlfriends and my cool aunt commented on my instagram post from pride, but my parents, my brother, my family, doesn’t know.
I like to joke I pass as a straight person. Nothing about me tends to scream QUEER. I’m a quiet, mousy, nerd who knits in their free time and enjoys analyzing public transit systems. The majority of my long term relationships have been with men, and I am currently deeply in love with a person who identifies as male. This makes introducing them to parents and grandparents easy, unawkward, and smooth in a way introducing a female identifying person, and becoming the official rainbow sheep of the family, would never be.
I feel like that in the process of passing as straight, I miss out on being apart of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m not the women I see holding each other in the street that make me feel accepted. And I’m never going to be the one in any queer group who has had the toughest time accepting themselves. So maybe I don’t belong in the community.
Highschool is highschool, and after living happily as a bisexual and dating a whole spectrum of genders, the bubble was going to burst. That old best friend who I confided my outdated definition of bisexuality to told the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) that I was transphobic because of my identified sexuality. Bisexuality at a latin root meaning means two, while the new word floating around, pansexuality*, meant all. All genders since gender is better comprehended as a spectrum. Pan was considered the more inclusive option, and the GSA took it upon themselves to personally exile those who identified as the, unfairly labelled, transphobic Bi.
I lost all my queer friends that day. A community who was to be accepting, quickly dumped me to the curb. It wasn’t until I approached every single transgender person in my highschool and personally apologized and redefined explicitly to each person my bisexuality as attracted to two OR MORE genders did they allow me to rejoin.
I didn’t go back.
Here I am, four years later, and I still haven’t talked to my ex-best friend. It isn’t that I hold a grudge about it, they have grown also, but I just can’t trust them. It may be cold, but I can live with that.
My bisexuality is mine and it is something I am proud of. It is something I found in middle school and clung to to make all the feelings the world told me was wrong, feel right. It’s something I might never admit to my father. It is something I’ve never had to feel physically unsafe about. It is something I have to educate others on. But it is something that allows me to contribute to a beautiful, rainbow community wherever I am.
I, Claire Bohlig, am bisexual.
* I love all my pansexual friends and bi-pan solidarity is the only thing that has kept me going at times, what you find as your label, is your label, and I will never try and take that from you, just do the same for me.