I was born bisexual. I find myself physically and emotionally attracted to both men and women. These are facts about me and will not change, however much I am told by other people that I am just confused or am secretly homosexual.
I don't even especially like using the term bisexual as I am of the firm belief that I could fall in love with someone no matter what their sex, gender or orientation were. But for ease I use it.
Being a teenager is confusing enough without having people tell you that you have to fit into a box. What if you don't fit into the boxes that are available? What if you want to pull two or three of those boxes together and make a fort? When I first became aware of sexuality I immediately felt there was something wrong. I knew there were gay people and straight people and I thought that was it. To fit in with friends at school I would act straight, and I wasn't lying, I did find the latest pop starlet or actress attractive. But there was something else, something unlike what the other boys were talking about. I found the leading men and boy bands attractive too.
I have to say that I am lucky and was born into a generally liberal and accepting society; if I had come out as gay I am sure I would have been supported. But when I approached someone I thought I could trust with my concerns they said I was just confused and was probably "going through a phase", and that I should "come back once I had decided one way or the other". At the time I wasn't developed or confident enough to realise that people who knew more than me about some things did not necessarily know more about everything, so I believed and trusted the advice I had been given.
A recent survey published by the ONS said there were roughly 220,000 people in the UK that class themselves as bisexual. Yet during my formative early teenage years I didn't even know that it existed.
Fortunately the internet was around during those confusing years which helped me find the information I had been searching for. Finally I was able to find like-minded people and read about how I wasn't confused or going through a phase, just different. I remember the first person I came out to was via MSN Messenger. As I gradually told more and more of my friends I felt more and more comfortable in myself. Like I could stop hiding and embrace who I was. Despite all this I never directly came out to my parents, I lived my life, brought guys and girls home and after a while they figured it out and just started talking about it like they had always known. I have always felt guilty for that.
Unfortunately, despite all of my friends being completely understanding and wonderful they were not the only people that I had to deal with. As I grew older and branched out into different communities I uncovered attitudes and prejudices that I could not even fathom. One particularly awful night out ended with me being followed into a toilet in a city centre bar by a group of straight men who said they were going to rape me because obviously I liked dick.
I have on multiple occasions been told by people who identify as homosexual that I am gay and just not brave enough to admit it. Or that I am in some way a poser and am acting the way I do for attention. To those people I would always ask whether any other area of their lives was binary? Were they always either happy or sad and nothing in between? Did they always pick the exact same type of person as their partner? Is it ever really that simple?
This attitude can be especially isolating when you are being told you are a f****t on nights out with friends, but then that you are a poser by members of the gay community.
There are as many different types of desire and love as there are people. Everyone feels and wants different things. There is no such thing as "greedy" when it comes to sexuality. In fact when it comes to me I find it very hard to hold down a relationship with either a man or a woman as often people find it hard to believe I can be in love with just them and not be looking for someone else to quench my insatiable lust.
Despite being proud of who I am, and my friends and family being proud of who I am, I am choosing to write this article anonymously. I work in a hyper masculine industry that is remarkably sexist and homophobic. I am not brave enough to bring that sort of attention to myself. Of course that is a shame, but I can only hope that we're moving towards a society that's more accepting of any and every sexuality.
To me having an opinion on someone else's sexuality is as pointless as having an opinion on whether someone else is left or right handed. I don’t have to deal with prejudice very often, mostly because I avoid situations in which it would come up. Just please believe me that I do exist, my sexuality is real, and I'm just as much capable and deserving of love as anyone else.
The author's name has been changed
Contact Stonewall for information or support www.stonewall.org.uk
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