Victoria F. (she/her) identifies as a bisexual ciswoman. In today’s Coming Out post, she shares how she had to challenge internal and external homophobia to accept her bisexuality as well as how she accidentally came out to her mother via a blog post.
Accepting Her Bisexuality
I struggled a lot with my sexuality growing up. As a kid, I grew up in a more traditional environment. My family spent time at church, and I learned homophobia through kids at school who bullied you for simply sitting on the swing wrong. Because yes, somehow even sitting on a swing incorrectly identified you as a lesbian at 9 years old.
Over the years, I never hated gay people but I had a strong negative reaction to the thought of kissing girls. If a friend asked me, I’d cringe and say how adamantly straight I was. But at night, I’d dream of kissing my friends, only to wake up feeling horrible and dirty. Homosexuality somehow became ingrained in me as wrong, and I never consciously questioned that until university.
When I was twenty and in my second year of university, I took a course on human sexuality. That’s when I started to really learn about my cultural beliefs and understand more about myself. I played spin the bottle and kissed a few girls at parties. After reading it in a textbook, the first label I resonated with was heteroflexible. And from there, I eventually went on to date my first girlfriend years later and embraced the term bisexual.
The terms are somewhat flexible for me. While the term I related to most changed once, it hasn’t changed since. Now, I don’t think it will change, but if the labels do change, it will be easier now that I’ve learned to accept those parts of myself to begin with.
Coming Out by Accident
I never thought I would ever be out and honest with my family about my sexuality.
With friends, I told them as it came up naturally in conversation. Once I had accepted it was true about myself, telling friends wasn’t a huge worry for me as many of them are very accepting and society as a whole is not like it was even when I was a kid. However, I never told my mother because I feared her reaction.
In the end, I came out by accident when my mom read a blog I wrote online about my sexuality. She told me that she read it on the phone, and since then it’s been a relief off my shoulders. As long as I’m happy, she’s happy for me. When I was younger, I’m not sure that would have been the case.
Over the years, my mom herself has grown, and as more queer celebrities have come out of the closet, I think it’s become easier for her to accept it. Had I come out as a teenager, I hope our relationship would have been okay, but I can never really know.
I don’t know if there is ever really a right time to come out when you’re afraid the person will reject you. But before you can have those conversations, I think accepting yourself is the most important step. And that can take a lot of time in my experience.
I’m glad that I finally did come out, but it took a long time. Coming out to myself was the hardest part because society had engrained homosexuality as bad in me so strongly, and I wish that hadn’t been the case.
With my family, I wish I had been brave enough to tell my mom myself and not so afraid of her reaction. But in the end, I don’t know when I would have done it and it happened a lot earlier since I did so by accident. In general, I don’t think about reliving and changing the past because it doesn’t do me any good. So while I would change it if I could, I’m happy it happened at all.
If you live in British Columbia and would like support understanding your identity or sharing that identity with others, Tricia McGarrah is a queer-identified Registered Clinical Counsellor who offers online sessions to adults.