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Chris Kryzan

November 1998

Hi Chris,

I am a 17 year old bisexual guy. I've always been attracted to both sexes for as long as I can remember. I am out of the closet to a few select people at my school, all of them my friends.

Here's my question. When I get to college, I will want to pursue relationships with both men and women. But, I was wondering if I should come out of the closet fully and not keep it a secret, because when straight women find out, they probably won't want a relationship because they want a straight man. And, when gay men find out, they won't want a relationship because they want a gay man, not a middle person, such as myself.

WHAT SHOULD I DO?!?!?!?!?!?

Mark

******

Hi Mark,

It was good to hear your question, because it sparks a lot of thoughts...

First, it turns out that a lot of gay teens will identify -- at least publicly -- as bi-sexual for some period of time. That's often because it can seem "less bad" than coming out as gay, both for the people they come out to, and even to themselves. Eventually, most of these guys come to terms with their true sexual orientation and come out as gay.

However, from what you say, it sure sounds like that is not the case with you. The gay guys that will say they're bisexual will usually wind up admitting that they really are attracted to other guys, but maybe have had a girlfriend, etc. It's clear that you really feel an attraction to both sexes, and that is the definition of bisexual, more or less.

If homosexuality throws some part of the population into a tizzy, bisexuality can throw even more people into absolute fits. That's because it's harder to understand, I think -- it's not as cut and dried as liking guys or liking girls. Some people inter-pret others' bisexuality as something akin to a sexual addiction -- like sex with anyone or anything, no matter what. But they're wrong, and it's out of a lack of un-derstanding that this arises.

By the way, Kinsey's famous study suggested that everyone's sexuality falls on a spectrum, and he identified the two ends as being "absolutely heterosexual" and "absolutely homosexual," with most people falling somewhere in between. More recent research, however, suggests that sexual orientation is much different for men than for women, and while women may indeed fall across this spectrum, for men, the results are bimodal. That is, most men are either exclusively homosexual or ex-clusively heterosexual, although some percentage of the male population is certainly bisexual.

It's important to remember, though, that bisexuality is just as "normal" as hetero-sexuality and homosexuality. The fact is, some people are simply just attracted to people for who they are, regardless of their genitalia. Some people have relation-ships with men and women at the same time. Others will simply fall in love with someone, and it happens that this time they are a guy, or a girl. Anne Heche de-scribed herself pretty much along these lines when she said she found herself looking at Ellen DeGeneres and simply falling in love with who she was, and that she just happened to be another woman.

So this all leads up to your question. Should you come out in college?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, because I say this a lot, the ultimate answer, obviously, has to come from within you. It's your life and you are the only person who can determine whether it will be better or worse by coming out. I hon-estly believe that for most gay men and lesbians, coming out holds the key to a more honest, more whole life.

But your question is different, clearly -- it's clear that you are comfortable with who you are. But should you run the risk of alienating someone who might be a potential boyfriend or girlfriend?

I think, once again, that being open about who you are holds the possibility of greater happiness. That's because it's best that people get to know you for who you are, whatever that includes. If you're not open about it and find yourself in a relationship with someone who can't handle your bisexuality, then you're probably not going to be happy with them. If they can accept it, then they are accepting you, and that's important for any relationship that is going to work.


E-mail any questions you want answered to chris@outproud.org

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