My coming out story
Olivia Dawson remembers her experiences of coming out as bisexual
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I began to realise I was bisexual when I started secondary school. Noticing things about girls that I would usually only have noticed about guys. The colour of their eyes, for example or the way they walked. Small, irrelevant things that I was picking up on all of a sudden made me very, very confused. I was only thirteen, for God’s sake.
Acknowledging that I might be different and actually accepting that difference happened at two separate times. I thought about it and dwelled on it for a grand total of eight months, during which time I had never felt more alone. I had no-one I could confide in; no-one that would understand. At least that’s what I thought. How could you blame me for thinking that? In an all-girls school where “gay” and “faggot” were thrown around as insults on a daily basis, and standing out from the crowd in any way was already frowned upon.
No way. This was one secret I was keeping to myself. That was until third year.
Choosing who to tell
Ah, third year. What a not-so-fond memory. My decision to “come out” was not one that was made because of how comfortable my peers had made me feel or because they were such decent human beings. No, I decided to come out because at that point I really couldn’t care any less about what they all thought of me. And so it began…
I remember telling the first few people and none of them actually caring that much. A few were shocked; a few saw it coming. Telling select people at my own pace was the best part of it all. Unfortunately, that didn’t last as long as I had hoped it would.
Word got around, as it always does, and girls began twitching. I could tell just by looking at a person whether they had heard the big news or not. I was able to shrug off the stares and the whispers because at that point my sexuality wasn’t the only thing they could’ve been gossiping about.
The excitement died down pretty soon after my big reveal. There was obviously some more important news to gossip about so things carried on as normal. Until P.E. class, of course. That’s when the reality finally sank in. Everyone might’ve been okay with me being bisexual in theory but when P.E. class rolled around, shit got real.
I’d love to know how many of those girls in my class, not just in third year but in every year after that as well, would have gotten changed in the shower cubicles or in the other changing room if I was in the room with them. Praise the good Lord I was just as self-conscious about getting changed in front of other people as they were so I had always gotten changed in the shower cubicles anyway. Phew, dodged a bullet there didn’t you, girls!
That’s the thing with being openly not-straight. Just because I could potentially be attracted to a girl I am now a threat to ALL GIRLS. I don’t think that stigma will ever fully go away. Not only am I constantly trying to make other girls feel as comfortable and unthreatened as possible (even if there is no fear of me being attracted to them at all), I am also trying to be friendly and approachable without them thinking I’m coming onto them.
Finding that balance is bloody hard. When people find out you’re LGBT they oftentimes become very big-headed all of a sudden. It’s as if they’ve become some sexual Goddess overnight that must be had by any individual who is attracted to females.
Trust me hun, I want to get as intimate with you as I do with a fucking rock. Many people thought I was lying. Many people thought I came out for attention. Until we got to the changing rooms, of course. Then I was definitely bi.
Many people thought I said it because it sounded cool. How can being part of a minority group that is continuously victimised be in any way “cool”? Nonetheless, these were some of the accusations I encountered.
Finding that special one
It was only when I actually got with a girl for the first time (I was fifteen, btw) that people realised it wasn’t a joke. Since then I’ve been with one other guy and one other girl; the girl being my current girlfriend of almost three years. Yep, six years on and still bisexual.
Having gone through the whole “coming out” process once already, I decided not to announce my sexuality to anyone when I started college. They would find out eventually, more than likely through Facebook. And what was I supposed to say? “Hi, my name is Olivia and I’m bisexual. You are?”
The only way anyone in college found out was through meeting my girlfriend or asking if I was in a relationship. Then again, I’m sure there were people who knew people who knew I was bi and chose to announce that for me. I don’t care though, that’s one less job for me.
The only really negative experiences I’ve had since coming out in secondary school involved lads. They say girl-on-girl action is sexy but when they actually see two girls holding hands on the street, all of a sudden it’s disgusting.
I’ve had slur yelled at me in the streets, I’ve had a bottle thrown at me; I’ve even been spat at for holding my girlfriend’s hand. That doesn’t affect me because I’m strong enough and confident enough in myself to not let it. However, not everyone can laugh it off the way I do. In fact, that sort of abuse is what has led to the suicide of many LGBT teenagers. That’s not right.
I’m sure many people don’t understand my sexuality and I’m sure many others don’t accept it. I’m not asking you to understand but I am asking you to accept.
I don’t believe anyone should have the power to influence a chapter of someone else’s life story. If you agree, vote yes on May 22nd.