In hindsight, I realize my attraction to females started around the same time adolescence started. I became just as uncomfortable around the pretty girls as I was around the cute boys. I rationalized it at the time by calling it envy.
I remember having a dream where I kissed a girl when I was about 14. I tried desperately to forget it. Of course, the more you try to forget something, the more you usually think about it.
But I found safety in the fact that I still very much liked boys. I found safety in the fact that I was most certainly not gay. It would be a few more years before the term â€œbisexualâ€ was even introduced to my vocabulary.
I mentioned in a letter to Jared that Iâ€™ve never really â€œcome outâ€ because Iâ€™ve never really had to. I said that all of my serious relationships have been with men. I havenâ€™t even dated many women, but then again, I havenâ€™t dated many men either.
I met the man who would become my husband (and later my ex-husband) when I was 20 years old. I admitted to myself that I was bisexual when I was 21. The time between when my ex-husband and I separated and my relationship with my current boyfriend became serious was only 5 months. My daughter was 3 years old and she didnâ€™t even know my boyfriend was my boyfriend until she was 4.
So in addition to not having to tell anyone else that Iâ€™m bisexual, Iâ€™ve never had to tell my daughter either. Iâ€™ve never had to say, â€œHey honey, we need to talk. . . Mommyâ€™s dating a woman now.â€ In many ways, that makes it easier for me. I have never been forced into that awkward position. In some ways (and this is largely related to my own anxiety issues), itâ€™s more difficult because Iâ€™ve never been forced into that awkward position.
We hear the word â€œchoiceâ€ a lot. I never chose to be bisexual, but I do have other choices that the L, G, and T parts of LGBT really donâ€™t. As long as I am dating a man, I can choose who to tell, and more importantly who not to tell, without it affecting my day to day life.
Maybe itâ€™s crazy, but Iâ€™m uncomfortable with that. Iâ€™m uncomfortable because Iâ€™m constantly questioning if and when and how . . . especially when it comes to telling my daughter.
Sheâ€™s only 7 right now and Iâ€™ve had some of the most wonderful conversations with her. She knows that some people are straight and some people are gay. She even knows that some people donâ€™t feel like the gender they were born and some of them take steps to change that. She does not know what a bisexual is and so she certainly doesnâ€™t know that her mother is one.
Itâ€™s feasible that I could go through my entire life never telling her. If I stay in my current relationship (or if I donâ€™t, but I never fall in love with a woman), I donâ€™t have to tell my daughter anything. But I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s right. I donâ€™t think it would be respectful of her or me to just continue allowing her to believe that her mother is straight for the rest of her life.
I never want my daughter to feel like Iâ€™m holding back a part of who I am from her. She deserves to know me as I am. I also donâ€™t think it gives the proper message. If I just donâ€™t tell her, I think it silently portrays the idea that this part of me is less valid than any other part of me. And itâ€™s not.
There are other reasons I think itâ€™s important to tell my daughter regardless of who I am dating and what my relationship status is. Maybe it will be her some day and how wonderful for her if she realizes that and thinks, â€œThis is okay. Iâ€™m okay. My momâ€™s like this too.â€? Maybe thatâ€™s just me projecting because I wish I would have had someone in my life to let me know when I was 12 that it was okay to like boys and girls.
Maybe it wonâ€™t be her, but maybe one of her friends will come out to her and the lack of reaction in her facial expressions will tell her friend that being bi doesnâ€™t make him or her a freak.
Maybe none of that will ever happen, but it will just help further my daughterâ€™s understanding that this world is full of all kinds of people who feel all kinds of ways about other people and that none of that makes any of them â€œweirdâ€ and that everyone, no matter how they identify their gender or sexual orientation, is deserving of love and respect.
After answering the if, Iâ€™m still left with the when and how. Every serious conversation Iâ€™ve had with my daughter was started out of the blue (usually on a crowded bus or in line at the grocery store or just before a waiter takes our order). Iâ€™ve never once intentionally sat her down to talk to her about LGBT rights or death or homelessness or breastfeeding or violent crimes, but weâ€™ve had conversations about all of those things because she brought them up. Sheâ€™d hear something from a friend or sheâ€™d walk behind me while I was reading an article on the computer or sheâ€™d see something on TV that piqued her curiosity and then at some random point, sheâ€™d start asking questions.
And it would be awkward and Iâ€™d stutter . . . and then Iâ€™d compose myself and wing it and come out of it thoroughly impressed by how well my little girl understands the complexities of the world in such a simplistic, real, and untarnished way.
I think the conversation regarding her motherâ€™s bisexuality will have to be very much the same. I donâ€™t think I can plan it because I donâ€™t want to force it, at least not now. Maybe in a few years if the conversation hasnâ€™t already presented itself, Iâ€™ll figure something else out. But for now, Iâ€™ll wait until my daughter asks me some uncomfortable question in the most awkward of places (do all kids have a natural talent for that?) and Iâ€™ll wing it . . . just like I always have.