I have a very vivid recollection of a memory of 2010. I was going to sleep over in the house of a guy I was dating. With me, I took three books I was reading at the time: “On My Own: The Art of Being A Woman Alone,” by Florence Falk; “Living Alone and Loving It,” by Barbara Feldon, and “Single: Arguments for the Uncoupled” by Michael Cobb. The guy looked at my books and shook his head; “you read such books.”
“What is wrong with them?” I asked.
“They are stupid.”
“Not to me.” I replied firmly and shook my head back at him.
Mind you, this was not a person whom I was having a serious relationship with, or intended to in the future. Also, I needed these books after getting over both my depression and the fact that I had to be married (or at least very committed) before the end of my 30th year of life (both of which ruined my two previous relationships with a man and a woman respectively). And those books helped me to be okay with a casual relationship.
A few years later, I decided to publicly embrace the fact that I was bisexual after moving to Chicago. It was long after my relationship with the guy I just mentioned fizzled out. There were plenty of reactions when I did. Another ex I was out to said that it was “stupid” to come out because “being bisexual is not the same as being a lesbian,” and when I countered by saying that it was not the same as being straight either, he laughed. There were people who questioned it along the lines of “Do people need to know?” There was the former male friend who told me that I was doing this out of laziness for becoming prettier to men (I wear no makeup and I am not precisely a thin woman, to put it mildly). “Shut up about bisexuality and start figuring out how to loose weight and wear more makeup so men find you more attractive,” he would say. There were the ones who said stately or impliedly that “all women are bisexual anyway.” There were some who said “You will loose friends and the chance of having a husband, and you are in your mid 30’s already,” or else: “This was cute when you were in college, but doing it at an age you should be settling down shows immaturity.”
The first statement was true. When I was in Chicago, I made my first circle of friends and I was not totally out. Upon letting them know I had no interest in getting married, one of them judge mentally asked me “How old are you?” A few months later, when I came out, they mysteriously disappeared from our group in one of the apps we used, and I would never be invited again to outings with them.
And then, there was my mother. First, it was that my stepfather should not know. Then that my stepsiblings should not know. Then that we were in the Trump era, and now that I am working in an organization that has Catholic in its name (even though we live in queer-friendly Chicago). However, it all boiled down to my mother hoping that I would stop talking about my bisexuality and be more of her ideal daughter. Which I found ironic, because she had supported my decision against marrying and having children. Why the resistance now?
Why am I telling all these stories? Because the more I became familiar with these situations, the more I felt that my bisexuality was an act of resistance. Yes, granted, I still like men, and I will be a bad feminist and have a relationship with a man if I met one worth having a relationship with. But my coming out as bisexual is part of my resisting doing womanly things just because I should do them. I am not actively looking for women for relationships either. I am a quirkyalone. But at least I have no fear in flirting with women; fantasizing about them and considering to have a relationship with one like I used to. Saying that I am bisexual, like saying I am autistic, is, for me, a part of fighting for being myself in this world and not becoming the women that magazines, society, media and my family tell me I should be.
Now, I am not saying that everyone who is bisexual should say it out loud or being political about it. But for me, being out and proud is important because I am tired or being ashamed of who I am, and redoubling my efforts to appear as someone who conforms to society roles because I should as opposed to because I want to.