My birthday today marks the 25th anniversary of my coming out as bisexual, a major milestone in my life.
I hid my bisexuality for a decade before coming out in 1991. Ireland was not a welcoming place for LGBT youth in the 1980s. Nor were most other places.
I discovered soc.motss, the gay newsgroup on Usenet, in the late 1980s and I lurked there for a couple of years, half-intending to come out but never quite finding the courage. Then my old friend Éamonn came out to me—to my utter surprise—and I immediately came out to him. Then I sat on everything for a few months. Eventually, late on the night of my 26th birthday, I told my assembled friends. The next day, I came out on soc.motss. To this day, I have many friends from soc.motss.
Over the next six years, I dated mostly men. I met Emma in 1997, through her Bi-Seeking ad in The Stranger, and fell in love with her. We married in 2000.
People tend to assume that I’m straight unless I tell them otherwise. "Nice to meet you. I’m bisexual" doesn’t work for me in most situations.
Such assumptions are a common problem for bisexual people in long-term relationships, be those relationships same-sex or opposite-sex. It’s bi invisibility—unless one comes out again and again, one is assumed to be homosexual or heterosexual but not bisexual. Lingering prejudice and lack of social accepance in both the straight and the gay communities mean that many bi people remain closeted about their bisexuality.
Being out hasn’t always been easy for me, but it was important to me then and it’s important to me now.
Update: HRC released A Resource Guide to Coming Out as Bisexual.