“I’m g-g-g-g-gettin’ bi. I’m gettin’ bi and it’s something I’d like to demystify. It’s not a phase; I’m not confused; Not indecisive; I don’t have the “gotta choose” blues. I don’t care if you wear high heels or a tie, you might just catch my eye. Because I’m definitely bi.” – “Gettin’ Bi” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Today, September 23, 2017, is Bi Visibility day. Last year on this day I remember spending time thinking about who I was. I was still in the closet then. Scared to come out. It wasn’t necessarily that I was afraid of rejection by people I loved and respected but I think I was afraid of being my authentic self. To be our authentic selves requires vulnerability and I wasn’t quite ready to be that kind of vulnerable with myself and others. At the same time, I was sensing an urgency to embrace my identity as a bisexual male. 2 1/2 months later I came out and finally did just that and every day since, I have experienced gratitude for being free of that aspect of my hidden, false self.
This past Labor Day Weekend I attended the GALA Retreat at Camp Red Cliffe in Hunstville, Utah. GALA is an organization whose mission seeks to “Providing sanctuary, spirituality, and transformation: For persons of ALL sexual orientations and gender identities through our shared faith experience in Community of Christ building bridges of understanding”. In the months leading up to the retreat I experienced a wide range of emotions. I went from being excited and couldn’t wait for it to arrive to feeling nervous about the experience and almost canceling my registration, to being excited and filled with anticipation again and so on. Additionally, I also struggled with the retreat theme of “Blessed are the Queer in Spirit” which hindered my anticipation for the event. In fact, the only reason I followed through with attending was that I was traveling to and from the retreat with a friend and didn’t want to cancel on her. I did follow through though and attend the retreat and I was blessed.
I will readily admit that I was withdrawn and resistant to fully dive into the experience during the first part of the long weekend. Even within the LGBT community, there is prejudice towards the ‘B’ in LGBT. So, I wondered if I would experience any of that there. I wondered if I would feel like I fit in. I wondered if I would feel like I belong. And, quite honestly, I knew that there might be an age gap so I wasn’t sure if I could relate. All these thoughts influenced my experience during the first part of the retreat. But as our first full day rolled on, my heart softened and the tension I felt began to dissipate. I heard the personal stories of so many who were present. People who shared their stories of coming out. Who shared their own journey. Those who shared stories of not feeling like they could come out yet. We also heard stories of allies and their journey as people who supported those of us who were LGBT. More importantly, I heard the stories of those whose experiences I felt connected to. These stories invited me to let go and be. They were powerful, heart breaking, and inspiring!
The GALA Retreat was an important experience on my journey in life. Through it, I was able to experience a safe, welcoming place to be me. I discovered a new tribe that I could call friends and companions on the journey. On this day, I hope that all my bisexual brothers and sisters around the world can be given the space to be themselves in their community. I wish for them to have the courage to be their authentic self and embrace their identity. More so, I wish for everyone else to have the courage to look us in the eye and see us as fully embraced human in society. To my follow bisexuals on this Bi Visibility day, I see you! I love you! May you be able to be the ‘you’ that you were created to be without fear, always!