“Sexuality is about who you are and how you experience the world. It’s not boiled down to who you date, who you have sex with, or who you end up with.”
I’ve known my whole life that I’m attracted to women. I quickly discovered that I like men too.
Despite my inner knowingness, I’ve struggled to believe this core part of my identity; that I’m bisexual.
As I work through my feelings with my therapist and start believing that I belong in both gay and straight spaces, I begin to validate this irreplaceable part of my identity. I’m guided into experiences and relationships that come from within me.
There’s still a lot of confusion around being bisexual in a predominantly heterosexual society that wants to impose definitions and labels onto you. But I’m finding acceptance within myself, and learning to trust that my feelings, attractions, and relationships are all valid parts of who I am.
Throughout the month of June, HBH joins individuals and organizations in the celebration of Pride Month: a time to uplift and embrace sexuality and gender diversity in our communities.
Pride Month reminds us of the importance of visibility, community, and acceptance. To celebrate, we’re sharing lived experiences from LGBTQ+ people learning to find acceptance and love within themselves.
In the following story, you’ll hear one individual’s lived experiences of coming out as bisexual, what it means to explore same-sex and opposite-sex relationships, and finding support from a therapist along the way. This is not a case study, but rather a story from a real individual resulting from a candid conversation.
I’ve always been attracted to women.
My closest friends growing up were always boys. It wasn’t until high school and college that I began to form close friendships with women.
As a teenager, it was made clear to me that heterosexual relationships were typical and expected. I taught myself how to be a girlfriend and appeal to boys. I learned a lot about one side of my sexuality, but exploring exclusively heterosexual relationships left this really empty space inside of me.
My internal voice would fill me with doubt. I thought to myself, I’m actively participating in these heterosexual relationships, so is my attraction to women valid?
I ended a very loving, long-term relationship with my boyfriend after graduating from college. It was at that point, I knew I needed to come out.
Coming Out As Bisexual
I don’t think your sexuality always matches your interests or activities, but I’ve always been drawn to queer people and queer spaces.
As a twenty three year old woman newly living in New York City, I felt like I was in the right place at the right time to explore my sexuality.
Identifying as bisexual helped me find people with similar experiences, to enter queer communities with.
Visibly, I was probably the straightest looking person in some of those spaces. But I had to remind myself that LGBTQ+ spaces include bisexual people no matter what they look like or where they are on their journey.
Don’t get me wrong, I held a lot of anxiety and confusion inside. Being told or expected to label yourself as homosexual or heterosexual creates a lot of isolation, and self-doubt. It can be easy to slip into negative thought patterns around not being gay enough, or not being straight enough for outsiders to accept you.
People don’t always realize that bisexuality is a whole, fluid identity. We don’t have two sides, and we don’t need to be measured by our relationships, with any gender, to be fulfilled people.
How Therapy Supports My Journey
Having a safe and supportive relationship with my therapist helps me better understand myself, in order to accept and love myself.
I’ve struggled with feelings of depression and anxiety throughout my life. I didn’t have an outlet to talk openly about my feelings- gay feelings, straight feelings- to make sense of my sexuality.
Therapy gives me the space to explore my identity, and recognize how early experiences, external opinions, and internal messages have affected my life.
I’m still learning to accept myself, and trust that my sexuality isn’t a conclusion or something that can be measured.
Sexuality is about who you are, and how you move through the world. It’s not boiled down to who you date, who you have sex with, or who you choose to end up with.
How You Can Find Support
Belonging to the LGBTQ+ community can be a tremendous source of strength, but it also comes with a unique set of obstacles.
From homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, to the dental of civil and human rights, many people in the LGBTQ+ community face microaggressions and discriminations on a regular basis.
Given that sexual orientation and gender identity are core elements of our identity, the social stigma and discrimination surrounding members of the LGBTQ+ community can lead to and exacerbate mental health challenges.
That’s why it’s essential to choose an LGBTQ+ affirming provider, who understands the nuances of the LGBTQ+ community, and who you feel comfortable opening up with.
Finding the right therapist isn’t always easy, but it can make a huge difference in your life. Everyone deserves to walk along the path of self-acceptance and self-love.
At HBH Therapy, many of our therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists specialize in LGBTQ+ affirming treatment. We offer counseling services online across the state of Massachusetts, and in-person, from our Amherst, Franklin, West Springfield, and Wilbraham offices.
Contact us today at (413) 343-4357 to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists and start your journey to self-discovery.