Bisexuals in Vancouver had our bi-monthly Wednesday night Meetup this week. It was a powerful, highly-charged evening where all those who attended got to play out two very strong currents running in each of our heads: stand or hide.
Here is a letter I wrote in response:
Dear Loving Family Member,
I have not told you Who I Am because I already know that you won’t be able to love me if you really knew. I already know (and am living with the reality that) you would see me as a lesser person because of it, and I don’t want you to see me as such, so I will keep the fact that I am a lesser person to myself.
Of course I have never even asked you what you’d think of me if I revealed that I had this capacity to love people regardless of sex or gender. I don’t have to. I won’t even give you the shadow of the doubt. I won’t trust that your love for me is stronger than your disdain for this capacity I have to love all.
I am going to pre-judge YOU, and your capacity to love ME. I am going to skip the dialogue and trial, as I already know and accept the verdict, concluding on my own with no input from you that I AM GUILTY AS CHARGED.
I am unacceptable to you. I know this because in truth I am unacceptable even to myself.
I agree with you: this is capacity of mine to love people regardless of sex or gender is way too disturbing to be mentioned; Who I Am is so toxic that I promise to pretend to be someone else when I see you. I’ll bury this part of me forever to save you from the trauma of me. I’ll pretend to be the person you want me to be so you can go on living in the comfort of your bigotry and intolerance. I’ll do that for you because I love you and do not want to burden you with the aberration which is me.
I will walk around all day, every day FULLY OWNING my as yet unsupported belief – which I now see as a fact – that I am indeed unworthy of being loved in your eyes. This I will carry for you, and everyone else who finds this capacity to love so deplorable.
I do not blame you for your own views, and will love you despite them (although I know you cannot give me this in return). I understand how entrenched you are in your own bigotry, intolerance, and hatred of those who have a capacity to love all people, and I do not want to disturb you or cause you any undue discomfort in your ignorant views, even though they are a direct condemnation of Who I Am.
Your Loving Bisexual Relative
But dear hiding bisexual friend, as you sit there acting as someone you are not, ensconced in this facade of warmth and love of your family (which you believe they are not truly offering you), comfortable in your own self-condemnation, having a picnic together in the park on a sunny Sunday afternoon, along come a couple of young women holding hands. They are flirty and kissing and obviously in love. They come walking right toward your family picnic.
Someone quietly points out the lesbos. Grumblings begin, a disparaging remark or two ensue. The power of your family’s condemnation of those two young women suddenly becomes palpable to them, and now they are fearful as they walk by your table.
They look over at you, searching for a possible sign of acceptance, an ally in the midst of this disdain being directed at them. But you can see that from their perspective, you are one of them, siding with them, eating with them, actively condoning their intolerance, your energy being put into the same pot of judgment and bigotry as theirs, and a little corner of your soul dies as a sacrifice to saving your family unit.
You want to jump up and tell those two young women that you do not condemn them! You are one of them! You support them! You are a sister too! But you can’t do that. You need to save your family from all the ugliness of Who You Really Are, and all of those who are like you.
Instead you take it all on the chin: it’s okay; my family is not that bad really, I know this. These are good people. You can’t blame them for not understanding; they are not capable of accepting non-heterosexual love. This does not define them as people (although it defines you in their eyes).
On your way home from the picnic you are convinced more than ever that you need to hide. You don’t want to be those two young women, feeling such condemnation from you own family – or any other. You want to spare yourself that ordeal. Oh, wait a second: you’re not sparing yourself, it’s the others, your family you are sparing. They are the ones who need protecting, from you.
And maybe you can protect yourself too, from yourself. Maybe you’re not really bi. Maybe there is something wrong with you. Maybe you really should seek psychological help, become more disciplined and stop desiring what it is you desire. Maybe you should be stuffing yourself into a box so that this bloody capacity to be with both sexes can once and for all be banished from your psyche. Maybe you should take some action about yourself: force yourself to straighten up!
Now you’re determined to keep this part of you under guarded lock and key – forever!
Is it any wonder that bisexuals have such severely elevated levels of mental and physical ailments?
But that’s okay. We can sacrifice ourselves for the good of everyone else; keep our ugly secret about loving all, desiring all, being open and free to all, safely and securely packed away in a closet in the back of our minds.
We are truly not fit for this world.
Or are we?
There is nothing wrong with acknowledging, acting upon, and fully owning our capacity, need, desire to love beyond sex, gender, age, race, creed or colour. This is the gift, the joy, beauty, and divine expression of Who You Really Are.
This is what you have come here to express.
You have a choice: sacrifice yourself for the world, or be the change you want to see.
Yes, these issues are big. Yes, they have real impact on the world. Yes, this is life. It’s not a dress rehearsal. This is the real thing, with real challenges, real issues. Your best friend may not talk to you; your wife may leave you; your family may disown you.
So be it. No one said this is going to be easy.
You stand strong in the Power and Majesty of Who You Really Are regardless. You stand strong, along with every other human being who has had to stand up to bigotry and hatred throughout history. You stand strong in the Power and Majesty of Who You Really Are and you stare down the face of fear and proclaim your truth to the best of your ability, even if your voice shakes, even if your knees quake, even if your mother runs screaming from the room.
You do this because anything less means that you condemn yourself. And that is simply not an option.
There is nothing wrong with you.
There is nothing wrong with you.
There is nothing wrong with you.
Can you accept that?
Please watch Morgana Bailey’s emotional Ted Talk on the subject of hiding, and the consequences of not being who you really are.