I have always been bisexual. I have always felt attracted to both men and women – whether they’re cisgender or transgender. However, I only felt comfortable saying it out loud a few months after I turned twenty. And during those twenty years, I’ve spent twelve to thirteen of it studying in Catholic schools and following the conservative views of society. There is nothing wrong with studying in a Catholic school. However, it remained one of the reasons I felt like I couldn’t tap into my true self.
The disadvantage I’ve experienced when studying in a Catholic school.
I’ve learned that Catholic schools won’t teach you anything. Sure, they’ll teach you math, science, and of course, religion. But, they won’t teach you about sex, misogyny, and homophobia. They won’t teach you about the real world. They traumatize you with the image of hell. If you’re not the way you’re supposed to be, your soul will forever burn in the pits of hell. God loves us all. He rights the chosen, not chooses the righteous. But, adults traumatize us with mentions of the Devil as a way to stop us from being our true selves. Isn’t this the same religion that hides sex crimes against children?
When you get out of a Catholic school, you’ll be thrown face-first in a warped vision of the world. At the time, I was already questioning why I felt the way I felt. But, I never got the answer. Thanks to my wonderful parents, I knew of gays and lesbians. I knew that boys can like boys and girls can like girls. Although my parents taught me everything I have to know, I never really knew that people can like both sexes or none at all. I didn’t know that people can feel that they’re trapped in their biological bodies and would want to go to the doctors to finally be themselves.
“Don We Now Our Gay Apparel.”
I didn’t know about bisexuals, pansexuals, and transgender people. Of course, I wouldn’t have any clue about the asexual spectrum either. As much as I advocate for the LGBTQIA+ Community right now, I never really truly understood everything up until I turned seventeen. I was in college, writing a paper about Isagani Cruz and his stark hatred against the community. Published on Inquirer’s August 12, 2006 issue, he had an opinion piece titled, “Don We Now Our Gay Apparel.”
It became another proof that homophobia still exists in our society today. He failed to see that such displays of bigotry translated into acts that concretely violate human rights, fundamental freedoms, values whose universality, and primacy a former Supreme Court justice should know how to grasp and uphold. He claims that he dedicates his scathing homophobia to homosexuals who do not conduct themselves decorously.
So, how should we – queers – act?
His sense of propriety meant conforming to the destructive and restrictive stereotypes that our conservative society has established for the LGBTQIA+ Community. This includes gays being meant to serve men and women in parlors, comedy bars, and the butt of the jokes in a movie or TV series. Aside from that, the fetishization of lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders in pornographic materials.
At 17, I was writing about that – researching about the LGBTQIA+ Community. Reading up on who they are and who they felt attracted to, I realized something. And, I started learning about myself. I found out that I was bisexual. Continuing to learn about the stereotypes, discrimination, and crimes against the LGBTQIA+ Community, I got scared. If I went out of the closet, would people hate me? Would my conservative family and friends accept me?
Am I bisexual? Oh, shit. I am.
Then, I started looking back at my life. I found out that my first puppy love was a girl. She was my best friend when I was nine. We would spend our recess and lunch breaks together. Once we get home, we would spend hours talking over the phone. One Friday afternoon, I realized that she had started spending her time with a pair of other girls. As a clueless nine-year-old girl, I got mad at her, causing a stupid fight. As a clueless nine-year-old girl, I didn’t know that I had feelings for my best friend, and I had gotten jealous.
This happened again when I was fourteen. I was spending time with this girl, and I found her pretty. Although we didn’t get into a fight, I felt some sort of hatred whenever she talked about a guy she likes. I never really understood it at the time. So, I focused all my energy on liking boys and getting boys to like me back. Of course, this admittedly backfired on me. If I could turn back time, I would punch my fourteen-year-old self across the face along with the boy who took my first kiss.
My boring coming out story, lol.
ANYWAY… A week after I wrote that paper, I went back and continued reading about bisexuals. I went on the internet to study more – to learn more about myself. Even when I finally had the conclusion that I was indeed bisexual, I didn’t come out of the closet due to fear and anxiety. Then, at 18, I met a guy. I was confused. I didn’t want to seem the way I do – a little bit bitchy – but I felt confident when I’m with him. Although I felt bad and bruised, he made me feel as if I could float on a puddle of clouds.
He made me that corny. He didn’t know a thing about my confusion regarding my sexuality. Aside from that, he also remained clueless about my past feelings on my former friends. Then, a chance for me to finally come out appeared right in front of me. A friend of mine – ehem ehem – approached me for an LGBTQIA+ campaign he was doing for Village Pipol Magazine. Yes, the same magazine that I’m currently the editor-in-chief for. At this point, I was already 20 and had already graduated from said Catholic school – nothing could stop me from being my true self.
So, I came out through the campaign.
“I haven’t told people about my sexual orientation because I don’t really know how. So, Pride Month for me is extremely important because it makes me feel [like] I’m not alone. This supportive and beautiful community heard my voice, my struggles, and my stories. And, I will happily do exactly that for young people who are still struggling with their own identity. So, be happy and be gay!”
I posted it on all my social media accounts. I put three two-letter words as the caption, “hi i’m bi.”
So, how did my boyfriend react?
Prior to posting that, I came out to him and my mama. Of course, my mom was supportive. She also told me that she won’t change a single hair on my head. My boyfriend, on the other hand, had a different reaction that blew my mind. He pranked me. Then, he proceeded to tell me, “Babe, it’s a part of you. I loved you because you’re you. And, I won’t force you to change anything about yourself. If that’s who you are, so what?”
It’s confirmed. I really am in love with a man. Even when that’s the case, it doesn’t make me any less bisexual. If he was a woman and I’m in a lesbian relationship, it still doesn’t make me any less bisexual. Although I gained nothing but support, I would receive unnecessary comments from conservative people and disgusting remarks from repulsive men. Those comments would either invalidate my identity or fetishize my sexuality.
Being a bisexual in a long-term heterosexual relationship usually comes with bi erasure.
“Don’t you have a boyfriend? Why would you do that to him? Why do you have to say you’re bisexual?”
“So, technically… You’re straight.”
“Bisexuals don’t exist. It’s just an excuse for you to be unfaithful to your boyfriend!”
“You’re not oppressed because you can be in a straight relationship.”
“Your poor boyfriend.”
“It’s just a phase.”
I’m sorry to say that I even encountered an ounce of negativity from my own queer community. Queer women thought it was unfair that I could take advantage of my straight-passing privilege since I’m dating a man. It was frustrating and painful. People think that they could erase my bisexuality. It’s like all of a sudden it disappeared and no longer became an issue. It’s as if I could just choose to no longer be attracted to women. Although I love my boyfriend and I would very much hope to stay with him until we get old, comments like those feel as if my entire identity was erased.
I felt this sudden pressure to conform. Because I look straight. If my boyfriend and I walked hand-in-hand, it would look normal. But, if my gay friend walked hand-in-hand with his boyfriend, people see them as a gay couple. And, that’s “not normal.” That love should be celebrated. Yes, it should. But, it’s like people erased my bisexuality now that I’m in a committed relationship with someone. Because I finally “chose” a gender – but that’s not what happened.
I’m either too straight or not gay enough.
I fell in love with a man. For the first time in my life, I saw a future with someone. Not because he was male, mind you, but because he was the funniest, kindest, and most generous man I have ever met in my entire life. When we first met, my mental state was at rock bottom. I had my own issues and he did everything in his power to support me. He helped me rebuild my spirit, courage, and self-confidence.
The support and care I received from him made me an entirely better version of myself. I never get jealous of a girl he would interact with because he made me feel like I’m the only woman he’d ever love. He made me feel like I’m the most beautiful, most intelligent, and the best woman he’ll ever have in his entire life. So, why be jealous? Although I’m not perfect, he made me feel like it.
My internalized biphobia.
Despite my advocacy fighting for equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ Community, my heterosexual relationship occasionally made me feel like a bad queer person. It made me feel like I’m not a member of the queer community because I appear straight to the outside world. I’m afraid that, eventually, being straight-passing will make the whole community turn its back on me. Turns out, I still suffer from internalized biphobia.
With that said, I started reading articles from the internet about the same issue. Unfortunately, the erasure of my bisexuality and the guilt that comes with it remains extremely common. Bisexual clinical social worker Sonalee Rashatwar even said, “This biphobic nonsense perpetuates this idea that bisexual women are secretly straight and bisexual men are secretly gay. Because we can’t imagine a cis-heteropatriarchal world that doesn’t center and pedestalize cis male pleasure.”
My journey to queerness.
Recently, I even cut my hair really short just to be considered “bi enough.” The hope to “figure it out” or “find an answer” still exists. However, I learned that it remains a pretty rigid idea steeped in heteronormative expectations. And, I should not fall victim to that. (But, I really do like my hair, I feel hot in it. I will probably keep it short for a long time). But, yeah. It put this pressure on me to declare one thing and stick to it. It’s as if gender and sexuality aren’t fluid. Which, it is. Gender and sexuality are fluid and those can change throughout one’s lifetime.
My journey to my queerness doesn’t have to involve sex outside the relationship, or even sex in general. I didn’t have to have sex with my boyfriend for me to find out that I’m bisexual. I merely noticed that I feel attracted to other genders – it became the extent of this exploration. The act of coming out to myself or maybe just saying, “Holy shit, I’m bi. I don’t know what that looks like yet, and that’s okay,” felt extremely affirming.
I fell in love with a man and that doesn’t make me any less bisexual.
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.