I’m in first year and only just came to terms with being bi this summer when I moved out. I am really happy with my sexuality but I feel like I cant tell anyone here because I live in Mac Hall, the all girls residence, because it was where I could get a single room. I wish I could be me but Im afraid the other girls will be afraid Im attracted to them. How do I explain that because I’m bisexual it does not mean that I find all women attractive and that I am not interested in any of them. Should I avoid telling them all together?
Thanks for sharing this important question.
It sounds like you’re concerned about being your true self, but that you’re also worried about making your residence mates in Mac Hall uncomfortable.
Now, when it comes to coming out, the most important thing is that it’s something you do at your own pace; when you want to and when you’re ready to. Coming out isn’t always a dramatic event. Often as not it’s a process, you might come out here and there, to this person or that, and one day you might find yourself coming out to a friend in your program, the boy in class, and the girl next to you in the library.
If coming out to your buddies in rez is something you’d like to, or feel you need to do, you can start small. There are some important questions you might want to ask yourself beforehand, and this post has some good ones.
Getting back to your dilemma, let’s talk previous experiences.
Have you told anyone else who’s close to you, like family or friends, that you’re bisexual?
How did you do it?
Are there things about those experiences, if you’ve had them, that you can draw on in this situation?
It might be good to come out to one person that you trust and feel safe with first. Look for someone who seems open to new things, who’s compassionate and understanding, or seems interested in social justice issues. You might look for folks in your residence who are sporting ally pins or rainbow insignia – this doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be supportive – but most individuals wearing these sorts of symbols understand that they are showing support for the LGBT+ community. These kinds of people are likely to be open-minded and understanding.
If no one of this general description jumps out, you might try starting conversations around LGBTQ+ issues to get a feel for other people’s thoughts on it (how about the debate over same-sex marriage in the US, or how adorable is this music video by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis?).
Even you decide to have a heart to heart with the most outspokenly gay-friendly, super-sweet, rainbowy, ally button-wearing girl in your rez, she might still need some education about what bisexuality is and isn’t.
Do you feel comfortable answering questions your friends may have, or addressing popular misconceptions about bisexuality?
If you are, let people know that you’re happy to answer most questions, up to a point. Sometimes folks will ask inappropriately personal questions- often it’s just because they’re curious, but know that any question that makes you uncomfortable isn’t a question you have to answer.
Unfortunately, there is always the possibility that some of your new friends/residence-mates may freak out at first, and perhaps think that you’re attracted to them. If you’d like, you can explain gently that friends are friends. Just because you’re attracted to the same sex doesn’t mean that you’re attracted to everyone of the same sex, just as straight people aren’t attracted to everyone of the other sex. Be prepared to educate and reassure your friends, they mean need some time to digest the news. Be patient with them and take care of yourself too. Reach out for support if you need it.
At the end of the day, it’s your decision to come out to your residence mates. If you decide to come out, be proud of yourself for taking a courageous step towards visibility. If you’re not ready for it yet, don’t sweat it- sometimes the closet is a safe space to hang out in.
If you’re interested in talking to other folks who may be working on the coming out process, there’s a great resource on campus. CampOut is a peer support group for LGBTQ+ folks that meets in a confidential location at U of G, it’d be a safe space for you to build bridges and share your story.
If you’d like to talk about this more, you can always give us a call. We’d be happy to help you brainstorm some strategies for tackling this important issue.
We’re open on Mondays, 3:30-6pm, Wednesdays from 6-9pm, and Fridays, from1-3pm.