I couldn’t tell you the moment I began to refer to myself as bisexual but I know that it was not early enough. I walked in the London Pride parade in the summer of 2016 and it made me think back to how I came to find my ‘label’. My first romantic kiss was with a girl and even then as far as I knew I wasn’t gay so I must have been straight, right?
Looking back I wonder why I didn’t look for that ‘swings both ways’ name badge earlier on but I realise it was because I really did not see that the girls I thought I admired- I in fact fancied. It is only on looking back at my relationships with certain girls that I realise the feeling I got from being close to them wasn’t friendship but sexual desire. And that is purely and simply down to the fact that I was not educated on it. I was privileged enough to have sex education at school and the type that wasn’t shrouded in false facts. My American friend told me of how they’re barely taught about sex in school and what they are taught is brief and used mainly to dissuade the act in the first place, so for me to have had a real ‘man inserts penis into vagina’ talk was good. Until I realise that we only learned about sex between a man and a woman. I knew about gays and lesbians but I didn’t know how that ‘worked’, I didn’t even know there was such thing as an asexual person until my late teens. Why are we not taught as children of the realities of sexuality? Less children and young adults would go on to be bullied for being ‘different’ and more people would have a chance of love, at life.
School can be a horrible place and I personally spent two years of it alone after being bullied. I was bullied over something I wrote in a letter to a friend, imagine if I had acted on my queer urges? I watched people come out as gay and heard the chants and slander of these people and maybe that dissuaded me of my own sexuality. My first sexual partner was a boy, we spent three years together and ended when I was 19. I remember talking to my best friend about my sexuality, she was understanding but it was all ifs and maybes and she even said ‘I don’t think you are’. I knew though that I was well and truly bisexual and I acted upon it.
It seems strange now to think there was a time that I really did not know my own sexuality. I knew there were gays and lesbians but I found out so late on that you could be in between or any part of the LGBTQIA spectrum. As with everyone, your teens play a big part in your development as a human being and things happen that helps you ‘find yourself’, for me finding my label was a huge part of that and it is one that I now wear proudly.
Although I have been openly bisexual for many years now, walking in the London Pride parade was the literal display of that puzzle piece, that part of me that I found after years of wondering. The parade was held shortly after the horrendous shooting in a gay club in Orlando and a couple of days after the UK voted to leave the EU. It was a dark time (as we often found 2016 to be) and the London Pride parade was just what we needed. The sun was shining, everyone was happy, the crowds cheered, we laughed and our amazing Pro-LGBT mayor Sadiq Khan led the festivities. It was a day full of love and one that made me forget how much prejudice the LGBT community faces, from attacks and murders to bombardments of questions and challenges. I felt that I wanted to be a part of the education of our community, so after a few years off from writing, I decided to write a novel that represented the LGBTQIA community. My novel is written now and I’m in the editing stages (save me).
‘But why does the character have to be *insert marginalised persons here*?’ asks the straight, white, cis man. Because represenation. Because children, teens, even grown person adults need to see themselves represented. Because it will help stop that straight, white, cis man growing up thinking they are all there is or that they are the norm. There is no norm anymore, the norm is now a rainbow like the colours of the LGBTQIA flag but it’s still hidden under blankets of shame, misrepresentation and poor education and this needs to change.
If you’re still looking for your own sexual orientation or you’ve found it but are worried about others knowing, be true to yourself and keep going, you’ve got this.
Keep an eye on Pride in London for upcoming events, if your company doesn’t get involved in the parades please attend as a spectator, if you are part of the community you will feel love that you may not find in your day-to-day and if you are not you will see why it is so important to spread the message that Love is Love.
Hug a gay today ❤