How to Come Out as Bi: 7 Tips for the Newly-Minted Bisexual

Updated on February 7, 2018
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Jorge is a bisexual guy who has mentored other LGBT people over the years. He likes to share his experience with others.

Call headquarters, there's another one on the loose.
Call headquarters, there's another one on the loose.

Coming Out as Bisexual

Have you noticed recently (or maybe ages ago) that you're attracted to both men and women? Well, congratulations! You may indeed be bi. How do you come out as bi to everyone in your life, though?

Well, this is assuming that you even want to. There's nothing wrong with keeping it to yourself for awhile. You're not obligated to let everyone in the universe know what you like, anymore than people have to declare their preference for blondes over brunettes.

Of course, we live in a society where people make a big deal out of the sexuality of others for some reason. If you've met a special someone, then this might complicate things even more.

When it's time to come out, you will know, though. It's when you're having to dance around the topic or even make up stories to avoid people finding out. At that point--if you're in a safe environment--you might want to start letting people know the truth.

Here are some tips to help you on this journey:

Tip #1: Probably, Nobody Cares

The most sobering thing that you may face when you come out, especially as a bisexual person, is that actually nobody cares.

Now, some people may show resistance to your sexual orientation--like your parents, maybe--but deep down inside, most people actually don't care who you like. They're wrapped up in their own lives. You may have struggled for years to come to terms with your orientation, but they didn't have to go through that with you, so don't expect a dramatic explosion.

If you get nothing but ho-hum reactions, this may not be very exciting, but on the bright side, knowing that people mostly don't care might give you the courage to admit what you like.

On the other hand, if someone does seem to care a lot about your bi-ness, this is a sign that they are overly-invested in who you may be attracted to. Usually, these are people who have a certain image of you in their mind and don't want it to be changed or "tarnished." All the more reason to come out to them; they need to know who you are, not who they think you are.

This can be tough sometimes because these types of people may resist it. This is common in parents, who often project their hopes and dreams on their kids--which may or may not include a certain orientation, as weird as that sounds.

Rest assured that 90% of people won't care, though. Even those people that you see on the news holding picket signs and yelling about how "homos" are going to burn in the underworld for all of eternity are an extreme, extreme minority. Even most homophobic people don't actually care that much if someone is gay or bi.

So relax.

Hold hands all you want, nobody cares.
Hold hands all you want, nobody cares.

Tip #2: Start By Coming Out to People Who Are Also Members of the LGBT+ Community

If you're going to get good at something (even coming out of the closet), you'll need to practice first. The best way to practice is with people who have been in your shoes.

Come out to your gay and bi friends first and gauge their reactions. Most of the time, you will find acceptance, which will help you muster up the courage for conversations with potentially difficult people later on.

This will also let you come out initially with some degree of privacy. Usually, you can trust other LGBTers to not "out" you without permission (though it's no guarantee).

Make sure to ask people about their experiences coming out, too, so that you might be able to learn from their mistakes.

One pitfall you should note here is that if you are coming out as bisexual after previously thinking that you were exclusively gay, you may face some resistance from people in the LGBT community, unfortunately.

There are people out there that make their orientation a huge part of their identity, and they might view you as a "traitor" or may accuse you of being a "fake gay." They may even equate being gay with having a certain political position.

This is of course ridiculous. Don't take this to heart too much. These people are only a minority, so try to brush it off if you do encounter them.

Tip #3: Come Out to Strangers

The next step is probably to come out to strangers. This may seem dangerous, but actually, 90+% of the time, no stranger is going to care who you like. It's the people close to you who are probably going to care. If you're not sure how to come out as bi, then give it a go with these random people first.

Just as it is with coming out to other members of the LGBT universe, coming out to strangers may be good practice. This doesn't mean you have to yell, "I'm bi!" to people who are standing behind in line at the coffeehouse, but you can simply make a mental note to stop censoring your conversations when you talk about a girl or guy you like.

Something as silly as saying, "Yeah, I haven't dated for awhile, but none of the girls or guys around here appeal to me," in context is enough to communicate your point casually.

"Hey, everybody! I have something to tell you!"
"Hey, everybody! I have something to tell you!"

Tip #4: Remember That You're Coming Out Mostly For You, Not For Them

That's right.

Hardly anyone except you is directly affected by your sexuality. I would argue that the point of coming out is to solidify the reality of your situation to yourself, more than simply to communicate it to others.

It's about changing your mental habits and making your orientation mundane to yourself. It helps you shift from that state of, "Oh my Buddha, I'm bisexual!" to a state of "Yup, that lady is hot. Yup, that guy is, too. What's for lunch?"

Keeping this in mind, don't take people's reactions to heart too much. The point isn't really the reaction; it's that you admitted something about yourself. They can take that how they want.

Tip #5: Avoid Getting Pissed at People Who Try to Invalidate Your Orienation

Yes, people like this still exist. Occasionally, you'll run into someone who is like, "Bisexual? Well, you're dating a [person of the opposite / same sex], so how are you not [straight / gay]?"

Basically, these are the types of people who live life in neat little boxes. Heck, you could argue that "bi" is yet just another box that means very little, so we all do this to some extent.

If someone behaves this way, it has more to do with them and the way they see the world than with you. It's nothing personal. So they don't believe that you're bi. So what? Are they going to ultimately be able to affect who you crawl into bed with? Probably not. Just laugh and wave it off.

"You know what? I don't think bi people exist. You must be secretly gay. I also don't believe that zebras exist. They're actually a type of horse that God painted with stripes."
"You know what? I don't think bi people exist. You must be secretly gay. I also don't believe that zebras exist. They're actually a type of horse that God painted with stripes."

Tip #6: Get Ready For People to Spill Their Own Stories

Once you come out to someone as bi, beware of the torrent of confidences that may gush out of them. Lots of people are bi or have had feelings of same-sex attraction before. Believe me, LOTS of people.

When you come out, they may suddenly feel like you're a safe person to discuss that kind of thing with, a kindred spirit if you will. Get ready for the person you least suspect to say, "Well, I guess I'm a little bi. There was that one time, in the locker room..."

Beware that this can get gross real fast if it's a relative, but they are trying to relate to you so endure it if you can.

Tip #7: Avoid Becoming a Label

There's a common narrative that sexuality is this rigid and unchangeable thing. While I understand that this is probably a reaction to the many decades and centuries that Western medicine spent trying to turn gay people straight, the fact is that sexuality is not a black and white thing all the time.

It's not like human beings fit neatly into one of three boxes, or even a graduated scale.

One day, you may be attracted to a woman. The next day (or minute), to a man. You're bisexual as long as you have a persistent capacity to be attracted to both.

And if it turns out that you're not actually bisexual, well, that's okay, too! The worst thing that we can do to ourselves as human beings is hold onto some label and make it part of who we are. Instead of the label being used to describe us, we start trying to mold ourselves around the label.

Being bi doesn't have to be an identity, any more than if you liked tall people more than short people. It's just a descriptive phrase, so don't take it too seriously (and other people won't, either).

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    © 2018 Jorge Vamos

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