Saturday, June 30, 2018

Stephanie Beatriz on the Truth of Being Bi

The Wild Reed's 2018 Queer Appreciation series continues with an excerpt from actress Stephanie Beatriz's recent GQ article in which she shares her experience of being bisexual.

I’m bi, and I'm getting married this fall. I’m excited, nervous, terrified, and so fucking happy. I’m choosing to get married because this particular person brings out the best in me. This person happens to be a man. I’m still bi.

To be bi is a continual series of coming-out moments – first to yourself, maybe as you leaf through old magazines and stare at a picture of Rita Moreno’s legs and come to terms with badly wanting to touch them (this is me). Maybe next it’s to your sister, who warns you in no uncertain terms not to tell your parents until you're serious about a girl because they will flip the fuck out (this is . . . also me). Then maybe you come out to your college friends, who will ask jokingly if you are gay or straight, this and every weekend (you guessed it: me). Maybe you then muster up the intense courage it takes to come out to your parents, who calmly ignore it. And then you’ll brace yourself and come out again and again and again to every person you’ll ever date. When does it end? When do you get to stop telling people you're bi? When do people start to grasp that this is your truth? When do you get to slide easily through life with everyone assuming your sexuality correctly? When do you start seeing yourself reflected positively in all (hey, even any?) of the media you consume?

You’ve guessed the answer, haven't you?

Bisexuality often needs an explanation. It isn’t something you can often “read” on a person, and because of that bi people sometimes feel like an invisible part of the LGBTQIA community. People’s sexuality is often defined by who we’re partnered with at any given moment, which can be a frustrating limitation for me. I’ve had countless tiny “coming out” moments in my life, often simply to explain to someone else that they have misjudged my sexuality based on who they saw me dating. Now I have a small platform of visibility, because I’m on a fun and (if I do say so myself) damn good television show. I’ve chosen to use that platform to speak openly about my bi-ness, because of other people who may feel invisible and unsure of whether or not to come out as bisexual.

A lot of stuff rolls around in your head when you’re wondering about whether or not you should come out as bi: If I pass as straight, why should I have that possibly uncomfortable and maybe dangerous “I’m bi” talk with my family, friends, community? If I’m in a same-sex relationship, shouldn't I “stay gay” and not upset the status quo? How much detail should I give people about myself and my sexuality? (Because, to be honest, sexuality is an intimate thing that I’m still in the process of discovering daily – that's the nature of all of our sexualities.)

Here’s the thing about sexual drive that some people like to deny: It’s around even after you commit to one partner. You may still want to fantasize about people, want to kiss them, to fuck them. Or maybe you do none of the above, but the kinds of people you were and are attracted to are still the kinds of people you were and are attracted to. I know I’m bi because I’ve stared at the shine from a girl’s hair much longer than you would if you were just admiring it because you wanted to know what conditioner she uses. I know I’m bi because in high school, I once stalked a very adorable blond boy so much I knew exactly when he would be at the water fountain between 3rd and 4th period classes and used it as an opportunity to get close enough to check out his JNCO-covered butt while he leaned over to drink.

. . . Speaking from personal experience, it feels so fucking good to be out. It’s still scary sometimes – I feel like an outsider so often. But those moments of discomfort are worth it, because living authentically gives me so much joy and feels so honest and good. In October, I will marry a heterosexual man. We’ll make vows that I will take very seriously – till death do us part. But I’ll be bi till the day I die, baby, and I vow to myself to always sing that truth.

– Stephanie Beatriz
Excerpted from "Stephanie Beatriz Is Bi and Proud as Hell"
June 21, 2018

NEXT: Queer Native Americans,
Colonialism, and the Fourth of July

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Bisexual: "Living Consciously and Continually in the Place Where the Twain Meet"
Bi God, Somebody Listen
John Schlesinger's Sunday Bloody Sunday: "A Genuinely Radical Film"
Alexander's Great Love
"This Light Breeze That Loves Me"

Image: Elizabeth Weinberg/GQ.

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