Stage three: And now….
(To something completely different!)
By David Clarke
If you have made it to this point, you have certainly come a long way. You have come out to the world and are now ready to enjoy yourself as a great member of the LGBT community. So, all that’s left for you to do now is go out there and enjoy yourself. That shouldn’t be too hard, right?
Well, there are still some choices you will have to make. Being LGBT is of course not all that you are. It’s just one aspect of your life. So, you will still have to decide how you want to live your life and who you want to be. If you decide to have a traditional life style, find the one and settle down behind a white picket fence with 2.5 pets and an adopted lucky bamboo. That’s great! And it is more common within the LGBT community than you might think.
And there is of course the other side of LGBT life which means being out on the scene, enjoying your life and likes to the full and becoming part of LGBT culture. This is something that we will talk about a little later though. Before we do that we want to focus our attention on two groups of people who are sometimes less visible in the LGBT community and might feel that they have to fight stereotypes even from within the rainbow lines.
So here’s to the B and the T in LGBT! 0.5, Fence Sitters, Greedy People: Will you just come off the fence? I am sure that if you’re bi, you have heard at least some of those ones before. And it’s not nice in a way – just because your sexual preferences are slightly wider than most people’s doesn’t really justify all the prejudice, does it?
But where does it all come from?
Well, let’s start in stage one again: the confusion thing. How many of your LG friends actually thought that they were bi when thy first started re-defining their sexual identity? Being “bi” became a label for the confusion that they felt because they were attracted to the same sex. Well, there is a small but important word missing here: it’s the word “too”. Many people might use the “bi” thing as a stepping stone in their coming out before they realize that it is not the case that they fancy the same sex TOO. They just fancy people from their own gender. So, when this step is finally made, that’s something to be proud of, no doubt. But what some people tend to forget at times is the fact that for some people fancying both sexes is not just a phase before they finally admit to themselves that they are lesbian or gay. They genuinely fancy both genders.
It has nothing to do with sitting on fences or not wanting to admit to be gay. It’s just a completely different kettle of fish and that kettle can have a lot of different shapes and sizes. Some people might be more attracted to one sex than to the other. Some might be right in the middle. Some might be open to multiple partners at a time. Some might look for the love of their life and just not know which sex this person will have.
So, what does all this mean for bisexual people coming out? Not much else than to anybody coming out as LG or T. You will still have to go through the same stages and you probably will have to go through the same little pitfalls as everybody else. There is one little additional choice in store for you there though. Not all bi people feel comfortable with the rainbow idea and will want to stay out of the LGBT community as much as possible. Others will see themselves as an important part of the rainbow and will make this choice in their lives.
And Bisexuals definitely add a bit of flavour to the soup of the LGBT community because they remind the wider population of one thing that goes for so many in life. Sexual orientation is not black or white either; it is a continuum. The gayest or the straightest person might have a little bit of that “other thing” in them. It’s just somewhere in the middle. And if that’s seen as sitting on the fence, then the best thing to do is just to enjoy the ride.
Transsexual, Transgender, Transidentity, Transvestite, Trans person. Not sure if we missed one there, if so: apologies!
But here we are with another very important group of the rainbow people.
We’ve said it before but there is something different for this group of people because it’s not about who they are attracted to. It’s about who they feel as. It’s about gender identity, not sexual orientation.
And that again poses a lot of questions that might be very different to the ones we have encountered already. And some might be very much the same.
So, what if you discover one day that the person you see in the mirror every morning (hopefully??) just doesn’t have the right gender?
Confusion is an essential part of the mix as well, so the stages in the coming out might be surprisingly similar.
It’s about discovering this new part of your identity, to allow this side to grow and to define itself. Maybe you find out that it is not so much the actual body that you’re after when you want to be part of the other gender. That’s called Transvestitism. Means you like to dress as the opposite sex for different reasons but don’t want the body bits to go along with it. If it’s not the clothes alone you want, if it is the life of the other gender, the physique and all that comes with it, then that’s what’s called Transgender, Transsexual or Transidentity. Or maybe you see yourself as being part of both genders like in the old idea of Yin and Yang.
Or to none of them really.
In any case you will have to make choices of how you want to integrate this knowledge into your life.
Is it enough for you to know and not carry anything to the outside?
Do you want people to see a bit of what’s on the inside as well? Who should see? Who will you tell?
Do you want your physique to change permanently at some stage?
Do you want boy bits or girl bits?
Will you take hormones to make your body change?
Will you go under the knife?
So many questions that only you can answer for yourself. It’s all about finding the way that you can be happy with yourself and the path you have chosen. Get all the support you need, the time you need and don’t forget to have a bit of fun along the way! Explore, discover and enjoy. Run with the little absurdities like which toilet to use.
Hey, it’s not you who has a problem there; it’s a world that seems to have this urge to put everything in boxes. Even people at times.
At the end of the day it’s not about that at all.
It’s just about being you!
David is the youth officer with Gay Wexford and the author of the coming out guide on the Youth page at GayWexford.com. For more details of Gay Youth Wexford see their facebook page or send an email to email@example.com