As a bisexual man, expressing your newfound sexuality can already seem impossible to live with and communicate. When I first realised I was bisexual, it was a feeling of constant shame and continuous questions whirling around like:
- “What the hell do I do with these new thoughts?”
- “What’s the point, I can keep this to myself”
- “Do I really like the same sex?”
- “What will my partner, friends and family think of me”
- “Why do I feel so guilty”
- “This isn’t ‘normal’”
Coming out as a bisexual dad comes with an extra serving of confusion, shame, fear and self doubt. I could write a whole article on toxic masculinity, but from my experience, when you’ve grown up with the idea of being a ‘man’ meaning not showing emotion, being ‘hard’, and making sure you lose your virginity to the opposite sex as early as possible, being a dad (or even just male) makes it feel harder to come to terms with the idea of liking the same sex.
Being bisexual felt like a ‘secret’, a dirty secret that I couldn’t share with the fear that my family and friends would disown me and judge me for having these feelings. Now, I can look back and just think about how damaging it was to me holding this weight on my shoulders on a daily basis. But at the time, I started to realise that for me, not coming out or continuing to suppress my sexuality was becoming toxic and affecting my mental health in an unexpected and cruel way.
No one should have to feel worthless, undervalued and forgotten. I kept thinking to myself “When is the right time? When does a moment appear when you need to reach out to others?” So, I decided to get some support first, and joined a men-only mental health online platform called Be a Brother (which sadly isn’t around anymore) that helped similar people in my situation. It empowered me to talk to other men, in a comfortable and encouraging environment. This was something that helped me significantly, and made me feel ‘normal’ and not wrong for having these feelings for once.
After a few of these sessions, I started to feel more confident to share my new secret to a select few family members and friends. I started off with telling one of my closest friends, then my partner, and finally my mum. This was officially the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, but, I was surprised how much support and understanding I got by opening up. It won’t be the same for everyone, but for me, it helped lift a huge weight I’d been carrying around.
An important step for me in my journey was keeping an open dialogue with my partner. Coming out in a ‘straight’ relationship (in my case, marriage) makes things trickier. You have to navigate a very sensitive subject in a respectful and carefully thought-out way with someone you love, dealing with questions like “Why?” and “What do you want to do with it?” even if you don’t have the answers yourself yet.
But I did know I couldn’t keep this to myself anymore, as it was hurting me in so many unexpected ways. It was good to get an understanding and agreement with my wife so we both knew where we stood. We tackled questions together like whether I wanted to continue to tell others, or even to act on anything. I made sure to always keep an open dialogue with my wife so if anything did change we would discuss it, and make sure we were both feeling comfortable and understanding of each other’s decisions moving forwards.
As my daughter is only two years old, I haven’t given much thought to how I will approach telling my daughter in the future just yet. But when the time comes, one thing I do know is that I won’t keep my sexuality a secret. I want to be a proud, open bi dad, and if the conversation comes up, I’ll make sure that she knows that all variations of love and sexuality are equal, and encourage my daughter to be true to herself along the way.
Now my sexuality is not a secret anymore, I have felt more confident in finding ways to be myself. At the end of the day, needing to express my new identity wasn’t just about expressing myself sexually — I think sometimes people assume that you will go out looking for ‘it’ straight away and your life will be this chaotic mess afterwards. For me, it was more important to embrace my values. Sharing my sexuality with my wife allowed me to be more spontaneous, embracing my cheeky side and showing others my vulnerability.
Once I took those small but massively brave steps of coming out, I started to feel this huge shift happening, to get excited about the potential of expressing my sexuality and finally being true to my identity. I tried life-modelling for the day. I ran a creative mark-making workshop at the LGBTQ+ community centre in London. I even attended a Pride Parade with my family, which was exciting. It can be the smallest of things, but finding something that satisfies your newfound sexuality and identity is vital.
Through coming out, I realised I do not need to justify to anyone what I like and why I like it. I’m aware that more of my friends and family will discover through this article that I’m bi, and that’s OK — I’m doing this because I hope it helps others. I’ve reached the point of saying “yeah, I’m bi… and?” without worrying about judgement or what questions might follow. I no longer feel guilt or shame – I have found a way to own it.
He / Him | Instagram