George V. Reilly

25 Years Out as Bisexual


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.

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