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The Grey Shades of Gay

I was 7 when I knew.

I knew what others didn’t know or what they didn’t want to believe. I knew what the church said was a sin and what I got whipped and spankings for. I knew what was true and what was inside of me. And I knew that it was safer to hide it from everyone and try to deny it from myself and try to “purify” myself and try to…just be different…because I knew I was gay.

I knew I was gay.

Gay was the only term I knew when I knew. Titles like bisexuality, lesbian, and queer weren’t used in my hood in 1987 when I knew…

And the other terms caused an emotion of self-disgust so I couldn’t say them then and hate to say them now. Even when the young folks take pride in some of the words like F**, it just doesn’t feel right to me. And maybe it’s because when I was a child and heard the terms, it was always associated with hate, anger, and violence. And it stirred a fear in me that kept me off to the side and kinda self-marginalized, from the moment I knew–in 1987–to the moment I didn’t care–in 2014. For 27 years I knew and told a select few, who also knew and cared in a deeply positive way, versus not caring at all.

And now that I’m out, proud, and living my full life…with a wife and kids and a dog and all the things, there are still people who want me to go back in the closet. But not in the WHOLE LBGTQ closet…just the “B” closet–the Bisexual closet.

These people want me to be a lesbian…not a bisexual woman. See, bisexual people tend to shine light on a polarized (the polars of heterosexuals OR homosexuals) individual’s insecurities. See, being bisexual means that I am attracted to, sexually, emotionally, spiritually, and maybe socially, both genders. It’s a fullness that is rare in acceptance but common in self-experiences, meaning, many people are bisexual but they won’t act on it. It doesn’t take away the fact that it’s who they are though. And that…that sense of: why do you get to live this way, or what will happen if I love you and you want someone of another gender, and you are fair and playing by the rules… is all really centered in the polarized person’s insecurity of: Am I good enough for you (or for anyone)? Will you leave or abandon me? What will I do or who will I be if I have to be single again in this world that demonizes it? And so, instead of sitting with the vulnerability and insecurity, and self-doubt, they project into bisexual people and judge them by saying things like: You’re greedy. You just don’t know what you want. Or I don’t want to be with someone who is bisexual or…in my case, since you’re married to a woman, shouldn’t you just identify as a lesbian now?

And the answer is no. If I married a white person, should I call myself white. No? I married a lesbian and she knew who I was and how I identified. And I made a commitment of fidelity to her because I love her AND I’m still a bisexual woman. And anyone who tries to make me identify any other way is not just trying to understand me…but is more than likely, trying to closet me again…and not because it’s good for me…but because polarized boxes feel good for a lot of people. Black and white is simple…grey is harder to describe but so beautiful to look at…even in all the shades of grey.

We have enough flags, but if we had one more…maybe the bisexual flag should have multiple shades of grey…and I’d proudly wear it, swing it, post it, and call it mine.

Because, in 1987 I knew. And 36 years later, I can proudly say, I’m bisexual and I’m staying this way.

Happy Pride Month.

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