November 2000

I've known I'm not straight for as long as I can remember. I was attracted to guys and girls in my kindergarten class when I was five years old -- maybe even younger than that, I just can't remember that far back. Of course, I had no idea what my feelings meant then, but I knew I had to keep them to myself.

I guess I always knew I was somehow different from everyone else, but it was surprisingly easy to convince myself otherwise. Or maybe I should say I just refused to address the issue. I went all through high school without ever having a sexual and/or romantic relationship. It wasn't until I came to college -- left home, high school, and old friends -- that I began to confront my sexuality.

I first turned to the Internet for help. Through chat and email, I was able to reach out to people all over the world and ask the questions that now seem so trite but were then upsetting, overwhelming, and bewildering. Gradually I came to realize there are all kinds of blithering idiots and scary weirdos online (and they're all very, very horny), but I managed to find a few genuine people and some informative web sites that helped me out. That, and a very close friendship with a wonderful girl, the first person I discussed my feelings with, aided my self-acceptance.

I've gone through several stages with respect to my sexuality. I've already discussed the first one, the head-stuck-in-the-sand, blinder-wearing stage. At that point I hadn't even made it *inside* the proverbial closet to consider coming *out* of it.

Then came the Internet stage, which necessarily confused me and forced me to begin questioning everything about myself. I didn't know what the hell I was, but I kept thinking and philosophizing and rationalizing until I was convinced I had it all figured out.

That led to the I'm-definitely-adamantly-100%-in-your-face-don't-try-to-tell-me-otherwise bisexual stage. I can't express with words the relief I felt finally to have a concrete identity, and I wanted to share it with the world. This is when I came out to my friends, and, for the most part, they still think I'm the die-hard bisexual I thought I was when I revealed myself to them.

But it's my latest phase I want to focus on (so wake up, I'm getting to my point). Something's been bothering me about my hard-core bisexual attitude, and recently I caved and decided to explore the problem. I've realized that "coming out" never felt quite right to me; I always dismissed it, thinking it meant I still wasn't wholly comfortable with my sexuality and that I would soon get over it. I thought the more people I told and the longer I lived with the label, the more comfortable I'd be with it. But of course it didn't work out that way. I didn't listen to myself. I ignored my instinct, which I've since learned I should *never* do. I tried to transform myself into something I wasn't, couldn't be, and didn't even *want* to be. When this hit me, I realized two other things.

First, I am and always have been a deeply private person. I can't be "open" in the sense that so many other people are because I don't consider my sexuality to be of general interest or that it's anyone's business but my own. I have a small, closely knit group of friends I've chosen to share my life with, and I'll discuss this kind of thing only with them. I would just as soon talk about my masturbatory habits with a relative stranger as I would my sexuality. It's ridiculous, it's inappropriate, and it's none of their concern.

Second, sexuality is a mangled, unruly, indefinite entity. It's fluid, which is obvious if you look at people who've gone through "bi-curious phases" and that sort of thing; experimentation is common and natural. Therefore sexuality is not classifiable, and the terms we have for the commonly recognized sexual orientations are not always (ever?) accurate. So why pick one? Humans, by their very nature, seek out differences because of a basic need to categorize things, so it's easy to see why we've created these terms for people's sexuality. They're qualifiers, just like ethnic and religious labels, something else to describe a person. And why does it matter to which gender(s) a person is attracted, anyway? It doesn't. Some people need a nice, neat name for their sexuality to further distinguish and identify themselves. Super. But I consider these terms unsound. I assumed a label for a good two years myself before I recognized their inaccuracy. I no longer need or want such a name, and I refuse to accept one.

So here's the bottom line, my most basic piece of advice to all who either haven't figured themselves out yet or who think they have but really haven't: just be natural. Do whatever feels right to you. Don't feel you have to accept the labels society and even "queer groups" try to force on you -- they're subjective and meaningless. Sexuality is based entirely on self-perception. If your gut tells you you aren't bisexual, you *aren't*. And the same goes for all those other cute little names. Love who you love, and let that be enough.



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