There are many reasons why you might be considering coming out as bisexual.
You might be in love with someone and want to share that relationship with the important people in your life. You might hate keeping secrets and want to be free to be yourself.
You might be troubled by your sexuality and need to talk it through with someone. You might want to start exploring new relationships, and share your experience with your family and friends.
You might want to tell an employer you are bisexual and that you want them to tackle biphobia in the office. You might be out to your loved ones already, but want to come out more widely to increase the visibility of bisexuality in society.
There are all sorts of potential coming out situations, and many different motivations for coming out.
Coming out as bisexual is a very personal decision. It needs to feel right to you to come out. I don’t mean that you have to feel totally confident and comfortable about coming out – almost everyone will have to work through fear in order to come out. But it needs to make sense to you – it needs to be something that you want – that you hope will make your life better.
You may want to be out to some people and not others. That’s fine – it’s up to you who you come out to, or indeed if you come out at all.
Accepting risk is an important step in the process of coming out. Your family might reject or think less of you; your same-sex friend might be uncomfortable around you; you could face discrimination or be treated unfairly.
But risk has to be balanced against reward – and the rewards of coming out are usually significant. The level of intimacy in your relationships can increase; you can feel liberated from feelings of shame and worry, and you can experience a new freedom to explore your sexuality and find new relationships.
We also have to consider what the risks are of staying in the closet. For many bisexual people, the time comes when the pain of remaining closeted is greater than any potential pain of coming out. It may seem safe to be closeted, but hiding your bisexuality can increase feelings of shame and low self-esteem.
Spirals of negative thoughts about our sexuality can go on and on when we don’t share who we are with others. By not coming out, we lose out on the love and support that a good friend, partner or family member can provide.
The process of coming out is often uncomfortable, sometimes painful, sometimes full of intense emotion, sometimes nerve-wracking. It can involve working through embarrassment, fear and shame.
Coming out as bisexual can also be a powerful way of making a difference in society. Think back to your teenage years – did you wish there were some openly bisexual people in the public eye who you respected? Or how about in your personal social sphere – what if you had known a bisexual person who was living a happy life – a family member or friend?
The chances are that like me, you had no positive bisexual role models when you were young, and this impacted your self-esteem and led you to believe that it wouldn’t be possible for you to live a happy life as a bisexual. Well, perhaps you could be that role model to others. Being out and open about your bisexuality offers someone else the chance to look at you as an example and understand that it is safe to come out and that you can lead a fulfilling life as a bisexual person.
Whatever the reason is that you’re thinking about coming out, it’s worth remembering that coming out usually has a very positive impact on your life, and many bisexual people discover that the things they feared might happen as a result of coming out, never actually happen. You might even change the world.