So why on earth would someone who identifies as bisexual and is technically out be afraid to tell their family they are dating someone of the same sex?
That’s been a common question in the last few months related to a character I wrote. My character Cal in Feathers From the Sky has a very loving family who has known in theory that he identifies as bisexual since he was in high school. Now at age 26, he is basically coming out again or in a new way, because all his family has known about him is that he dates women. They’ve never once seen him with a man.
Coming out can be scary no matter how supportive your family might be, because losing that loving family is not something you’d ever want to consider.
When I wrote Cal’s character, I wrote from my own experience as a bisexual woman. According to my mother, I’d only been with men. Yes, I knew she was supportive. I knew she could no longer kick me to the curb, but she could shut me out of her life. Being cut off from her and her love and acceptance would’ve been horrific. She was the foundation of my childhood, the woman who made all things right when everything around me went to shit. To lose the women who had always helped me rebuild my world would’ve been tantamount to a disaster.
I did come out, but I was “old” when I did it. For a long time, I was happy allowing my mom to think she had raised a heterosexual daughter. But then I started writing M/M Romance. I was facing the truth telling of coming out in so many stories I’d written as well as read, and yet I was, in essence, lying.
Was I scared? Hell yes, even though my life was stable. I didn’t need to rock the boat. Yet, I wanted to rock it, because I wanted my mom to know the real me, especially as she was getting closer to the end of her life.
So when people say they just don’t get why Cal was so nervous, I want to ask those people how they felt prior to coming out to their families. My suspicion is that many of those people never had to do that. Because coming out is essentially what Cal was doing again, even if his parents and siblings knew in theory that he was bisexual. In reality, he was straight to them, at least from Cal’s perspective, which is truly what matters. If he ever experienced any sort of bisexual bias, he was even more justified in his concern. Bisexuality is hugely misunderstood, and the stereotypes of being confused, undecided, gay-for-you, or being easy are never far behind the admission, “I’m bisexual.” Cal thought his parents were on the “he’s confused” wavelength, and in the story, his own father admits to that even.
In the end, how the individual feels about exposing this part of themselves is the most important thing, not what other people think you should feel or do or say. You should never be forced or coerced to come out. Coming out happens in small stages. Cal sharing Philip with his family was one of those stages, possibly one of his last stages.
As for me, when I chose to tell my mom about my bisexuality, she wasn’t surprised at all.
And she still loves me.
Never once did I think my fear or rejection was unjustified though.