bi pride

I’m 39 years old and still question how I define my sexuality.

When I was a kid I thought I was gay. I was definitely different. And open minded. So, maybe I was a lesbian?

My mother, who knew a gay person, told me that there was nothing wrong with being gay and, as a matter of fact, I should be a lesbian so I’d never accidentally get pregnant.

So, with my mother’s permission, I “fell in love” with a girl in high school: Ally, an out lesbian. I knew about Ally because, as the only “out” student, the school newspaper had done a story on her struggle to find acceptance. I admired her courage and thus, I admired her. I officially met Ally in an after school improv group.

“I’m an albatross!” Ally hollered in a cartoon bird voice as she flocked around the stage waving her arms.

Thomas, the group’s instructor, burst into laughter and I fell captive to her braveness. She was so comfortable in her own skin and didn’t care what people thought of her. I confided in my diary:

11/12/93
Dear Diary,

Tonight – no – this whole past month – I have fallen SO IN LOVE with the most… wonderful, funny, beautiful, different person I have ever known. I love her SO MUCH! Yes, her. Ally Moore. She’s a junior and I have NEVER felt this way about ANYONE – male or female – in my life. I wish she knew me well enough to like me. I wish we could be friends.

Ok, so I was a little dramatic. Sure, I’d been “in love” with boys countless times, but this was different, of course. This was real because it was with a girl.

I was quickly deflated by my BFF who was not buying any of it.

“You’re not gay. You only think you like her because you know she’s gay,” Erica schooled me.

“I’m bisexual,” I corrected her. She rolled her eyes.

I attempted to prove Erica wrong by going down on her the following year, but she still wasn’t convinced. I continued my sexual “experimentation” throughout high school and college, but doubted my commitment and so never pursued more than a hook up with a girl until I was in my 30’s.

I was now a sober drug addict. A year and a half clean, I still felt “different.” I had done all the steps, but I still masturbated to women. Maybe I was gay. I had to explore this.

I joined Tinder. It felt gross, but how else was I supposed to meet a lesbian quickly? There were a few cute girls on there. I messaged one. “Hey you. I see you go to UCB. Me too! I love a pretty, funny lady.” I hesitated before sending it. Oh, God. What if she thinks I’m a loser! What if she doesn’t message back! I sent it anyway. She did not write back. More doubt.

I got a message from another girl. She was pretty, and seemed smart. She asked me on a date. I broke into a sweat as I typed “yes.”

I sat nervously at a table on the patio at The Pikey and scanned Sunset Boulevard until I saw her approaching. My stomach felt sick. Why was I so nervous? Was this a sign that I was gay? I’d never been this nervous before a first date with a guy before…

Our dinner lasted two hours. She was smart, but didn’t seem to get my sense of humor. It came out that this was my first date with a woman, whereas she was a seasoned lesbian. I felt unexperienced and unworthy of her time. She was looking for a life partner; I was just trying to find out if I was gay at all. Our date ended with a hug. No hard feelings, but no hope for a future connection either.

Maybe there was just no chemistry. Maybe it wasn’t the right match. Maybe I’m just a drug addict without a drug, looking for something to stick in that God-shaped hole. Or maybe I’m just open minded?

I got back with my long-time boyfriend. I didn’t feel worthy of pursuing another female encounter. It was a similar feeling to the self-doubt I had about feeling worthy of a career in entertainment. I’m not ____ enough to be bisexual.

And so I continue to question. Am I bi enough to attend a festival of proud bisexuals?

I’ve lived in West Hollywood for 14 years. The answer is “yes.” One of the most beautiful things about our progressive city is that its residents accept people as they are. The self-doubt I was built with has been replaced by a reassuring hug of belonging. Exactly as I am. See you all this afternoon.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Bi Pride event will begin at 2 p.m. at West Hollywood Auditorium, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd. in West Hollywood Park. It will start with a rally there and then a “bi visibility walk” through West Hollywood. There is no charge to participate in the event. Parking is free in the five-story parking structure next to West Hollywood Library.

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