It is Bi-Visibility day today and to celebrate and raise awareness was are launching our new bi-monthly, bi-blog where we will following an anonymous account of an officer who will go by the pseudonym of Sgt Nicholas Angle. This is an interesting read so get yourself a cuppa and enjoy.
I am a bisexual woman and have known this since I was young. I simply couldn't put a name to what I was as I never took the time to fully learn about sexuality and identities, and it took me a long time to realise my own.
Growing up I wasn't really bothered with relationships or romantic things. Any crush I had would be kept strictly under wraps as it was more important that I read all the manga books in the library and collect all 228 Pokémon cards - I couldn't let romantic feelings get in the way of these missions. I focused entirely on my hobbies and hanging out with my friends, and if one my friends happened to be a crush of mine, then they would never know.
I always had something else I would much rather be doing or something new to explore, and in my mind any romantic intentions were put on the backburner. I didn't have my first kiss until 20, and didn’t have my first relationship until 24.
Of course, I would notice that some men and some women were attractive. I never really understood if the way I appreciated people's appearances was the same as when people appreciate art, or if I was feeling attraction toward them. It took me a long time to decipher between these types of feelings, and even to this day I am not 100% sure as to the distinction.
The reason I didn't focus so much on sexuality growing up was because I was too occupied with other aspects of my social identity, such as my nationality, my race, and my gender - visual cues that affected how others perceived me. My sexuality was one thing that could be 'hidden', and as such, it remained an afterthought for much of my childhood in favour of focusing on the aforementioned aspects of my social identity.
Once I moved to Scotland to start university, I thought I would try and figure out some more about this unexplored part of myself. I'd spent enough time letting it bubble up like an emotional Molotov cocktail, and now it had to be opened up.
I joined my university's LGBT+ society and found it to be a bust. Everyone I met was outrageously supportive, friendly, and open. They were terrific people who were always up for a laugh or hanging out, and made sure to let me know that if I ever needed to talk they were there for me. They were so much more mature and confident about who they were as people, and the majority of them had figured out their sexualities in relation to themselves as people at an early age. I was just barely scratching the surface and felt like a child in comparison to them. Sadly, despite their kind offers, I bowed out of attending any further events.
I felt like a fraud. I was in my first year of university where I met people who had already had sex, been in relationships, had ex-partners, and some even had children or fiancé/es. I hadn't even experienced my first kiss, and to be honest, wasn't very bothered about it. I felt that due to my lack of experience in my love life, I wasn't really allowed to belong to the LGBT+ society. Others who were in my position could, but for some reason I thought I was the exception. I knew that I felt attraction toward men and women alike, and I was now able to put a word to it. 'Bisexual', cool. I briefly entertained demisexuality as an option, but quickly discarded it as puberty had taught me very clearly that I didn't have to have an emotional attachment to a person to feel attraction to them.
There were plenty of people I’d sighted on my morning bus to school who I'd never see again in my life, but that didn't stop me from suddenly finding myself attracted to them. However, despite having been able to find a label to identify with, it still didn't change the fact that I was essentially just bisexual in theory. I still am. I have only ever had one partner my entire life (still together), and have never felt like I was missing out on anything by not having gone any further than second base with the opposite gender.
I have grown a lot in the past few years and know that sexuality is a broad spectrum. Everyone struggles with their identities, and it will take some trial and error for people to figure themselves out; we are, after all, continuous works in progress. There is no judgement in how people choose to identify themselves as long as they are at their core good people.
Everyone is welcome into the LGBT+ family. Still, there is a tiny, teeny voice in the back of my head that still worries about how people -- LGBT+ people specifically -- view me. Am I allowed to claim to be bisexual if I can't show people my 'past sexual encounters' receipts? Am I allowed to be part of the LGBT+ family if I prefer to keep my sexuality hidden and not yell my pride from the treetops? If I don't contribute to the cause as much as others? If I have more straight friends than LGBT+ friends? If I don't enjoy watching LGBT+ centric TV shows and much more prefer science fiction (live long and prosper, my friends)? How much of my bisexuality do I need to wear on my sleeves, and how much of my personal interests do I have to set aside in order to prove my sexuality? Obviously, none of it matters. I know this now, and need to continually work on quenching that teeny voice that whispers otherwise.
Since joining Police Scotland, I have become more involved with the LGBT+ Association than I have ever been in my past. There has been no trigger that made me think that I need to give back to the community, or focus more on my sexuality, or anything like that. I have simply reached a point where how people view me shouldn't matter. If I want to join the LGBT+ society, then why shouldn't I?
I want to socialise with people, and I want to be more active in a group which offers a lot of help to others. I may still on occasion worry about if I am 'bisexual enough', but at the end of the day it doesn't matter. Everyone has countless of things going on in their lives, and they're just trying to take every day as it comes. They're not going to waste energy in measuring up people's sexualities, a (admittedly) very irrational fear I held for a long period of my life.
Being part of the LGBT+ Association is like suddenly gaining a bunch of friends who all only have one thing in common. But, the beauty is that once you start getting to know these folks, you start fleshing out who they are as people and not by the traits they are identified by.
I am happy with where I have currently ended up in my life and how I have grown to accept myself more. I know there's still plenty of experiences left to have, but there's no doubt in my mind that knowing myself a little better will make them much better.