As our society confronts its history of systemic racism, I am finding the courage to speak my truth and tell my story publicly for the first time.
From a young age, I’ve been deeply and consistently attracted to members of the opposite sex. But when I was 16, I suddenly found myself also attracted to members of the same sex. First it was a friend in high school, then two of my professors in college.
At the age of 20, struggling with these feelings as a student at a fundamentalist Christian college, I found the courage to confide in my parents that I was gay. Instead of affirming me, helping me to be honest and sorting through my strong feelings of same-sex attraction, they got angry, berated me, and insisted that I would be cured once I started actually having sex with women (I was still a virgin at the time).
As a good fundamentalist Evangelical kid, I waited until marriage to have sex for the first time, when I was 25 years old.
Divorcing after ten years of marriage, I found a new partner, who happened to have been exclusively lesbian up until that point. She made me feel understood and accepted in every way. Unfortunately, when I told my parents about her past, they again berated and judged me, throwing me out of their house and shunning me and my partner for a year until I broke up with her.
Since that time, I have had other partners, though only women, and I’ve found great satisfaction in physical intimacy with all of them. Still, my feelings of attraction toward other men have continued.
Watching the movie Kinsey and reading more about the diverse spectrum of human sexuality has helped me recognize that I am bisexual, probably a 1 or 2 on the Kinsey Scale.
I don’t honestly know if I will ever be intimate with another man, but I think it is important to acknowledge and accept that side of my identity and personality and be proud of it.
My parents claim to love me, more than anyone else in the world does. But the truth is they don’t, because love is accepting and embracing and being proud of another person as they actually are, not as you would want them to be. I’m almost certain that my parents would respond the same as they have done in the past if I ever chose to have a male partner. Unless they have a dramatic change of heart and values, they would continue their pattern of rejecting, shaming, and shunning.
I don’t know what the future holds, for me, my intimate relationships, or my relationship with my parents. What I know is that every act of courage and truth contributes to making the world a little bit more just, peaceful, and safe for everyone. That’s ultimately why I’m telling this truth of mine publicly for the first time.