Thursday, August 7, 2014

Awe Inspiring Bisexual Men Coming Out Stories

A slightly different version of this first appeared in The Gayly as my July 2014 BiAngle column. 

Despite so many reasons, and so much opportunity, to erase our identities, many bisexuals refuse to be silenced or rendered invisible. It’s a basic human desire, to be seen, loved, and appreciated for who we are. So to be true to ourselves, to allow the ones we love and the world at large to see us authentically, we come out. To make it easier for other bisexuals, and to dispel stereotypes, we come out.

Since male bisexuality is largely called into question by monosexuals, it’s particularly encouraging that there have been some especially awe-inspiring coming out stories this year by bisexual men.

Despite Jamaica’s harsh anti-sodomy laws and homophobic hate crimes, and despite his industry’s strong homophobic traditions, Jamaican dancehall publicist, Rickardo 'Shuzzr' Smith openly declared his bisexuality. Referring to his sexual identity, Smith said, “I was living a life that men deemed abominable, while others like me saw it as a blessing only few will ever be able to experience.” Smith explained why he felt a need to come out, “…if I'm to ever be who I truly am, and be truly comfortable with myself, in my soul, I must take a stance and speak against injustice, hate lyrics, discrimination and anything that may seek to reduce the life of one and their beliefs.”

Conner Mertens, Willamette University’s football team’s up-and-coming kicker, became the first LGBT college football player in the United States to come out publicly while still playing. He did so even despite the fact that the starting place-kicker position for next season was still undecided. Tweeting to his conservative hometown in Washington State, he said, “I made the decision that if I could prevent one person from feeling that self-hatred, loneliness, desperation and a thousand other emotions that I felt, I would. I will be damned if I let anyone tell you that you are wrong or weird or not normal… Love yourself and allow others to love you. Be who you are and know you're not alone." Mertens also knew that coming out as bisexual would ban him from participating in the Christian organization that had played a huge role in his life, and which he’d planned to be a large part of his future.

Tre Melvin, a young You-Tuber who purportedly has 2 million subscribers and 140 million views, hailed in 2014 by coming out as bisexual saying, “My New Year’s resolution is to fully, utterly, and wholeheartedly be myself from this day forward.” He made it a point to say, “And yes, bisexuality does exists - for you simple minded ignoramuses that think it’s impossible to be naturally attracted to both men and women.” Melvin added, that he’d “Woken up one too many mornings, hating myself, not even wanting to be alive because of what society tells me is right and wrong. No one should ever have to feel that way.” He lamented, “I never understand how people can be so hateful towards others for being themselves.”

Editor, publisher and author, Don Weise, who was listed among Out Magazine's "100 Most Intriguing Gay Men and Lesbians" of the year, came out recently as bisexual, saying, “There's a reason I haven't addressed my bisexuality publicly till now. From the time I first came out, the gay community at large hasn't been a place where I felt comfortable or confident expressing who I really am without the risk of being ridiculed or derided.” He further explained that he feared “becoming an outsider among outsiders.”

Twenty-tree year-old Pennsylvania school board member, Basilio A. Bonilla Jr., came out saying, “…honesty is something that I really do believe in and I felt it was important for me to be honest with not only my family and myself, but also the community I represent.” He explained that another reason why he came out as bisexual was, “…to make it a little easier for our future generations to know that it is perfectly acceptable and normal to be who they are regardless of what others may think.”

With these men as new role models, it’s hopeful that even more bisexuals will find their way to openly be themselves.