Story by gaby

These stories and poems by bisexual+ youth were collected by Bisexual Women of Color (BIWOC), a Bisexual Health Awareness Month (BHAM) campaign partner. BIWOC is an organization whose mission is to provide emotional support, resources, community, and a safe space to discuss intersectional issues that affect bi women of color. They welcome all with multi-gender attractions, including but not limited to: bisexual, biromantic, pansexual, queer, fluid, and questioning.

gaby
age 16
bisexual / polysexual
cisgender girl
black
england

It was when I was 14 that I started to identify as bi; before then, I identified as straight instead. The thing is, the more I look back on those years—the years before I ID’d as bi, the more I’m convinced that I knew somehow that I wasn’t exclusively into guys.

I had a big crush on a guy when I was about 10 to 11. It was my first ever crush, and so I was really excited about all the new feelings washing over me. In some ways, I definitely had my own insecurities about crushing on him. It’s obvious to me now that the societal expectations of relationships I was then aware of had already shaped who I felt like I should’ve been into. The guy I was crushing on, Cam*, was shorter than me. Right now, height is not a concern to me at all. Sadly, however, 10-year-old me felt differently about that. I was worried that people would think we wouldn’t suit simply because of how our heights differed. I probably would’ve denied it then if you were to ask but I was really bothered about those sort of things at that age.

So you can imagine just how disconcerted I was when I began questioning my very own sexual orientation. At first, I didn’t want to give those sorta thoughts a time of day. “I’m into Cam,”  I would remind myself before dismissing any idea of not being straight.

I have a very strong Christian background—the kind that is tainted with homophobia. Until recently, I would go to church every Sunday and attend to God’s word. I don’t share my parent’s beliefs, and I don’t think I ever have in my life. I’ve always struggled to have a faith in God. I used to pray all the time, hoping that I could finally become a true believer and avoid going to hell. Having a fear of god is the one thing I can be certain I’ve never had difficulty with. From what I was taught about God, pleasing Him was very important and the idea of me possibly liking girls wouldn’t please Him at all.

As I got older, I ended up distancing myself from Christianity. I realised it wasn’t for me. Doing so was a struggle, and it still is. My mum bases all her values and beliefs on the Bible. She navigates through the world with the conviction that her connection to God will rightfully bring her to heaven one day, and has raised me to do the same. Sometimes I become overwhelmed with the feeling of being a disappointment. I wish I could make her proud by following her steps but I know I have my own path to explore (as cheesy as that sounds). It was certainly scary for me to start going on that path. I didn’t have the comfort of knowing I would be safe, given no promises of guardian angels in my way.

Right now, I’m really glad that I started learning how to be independent and unapologetic. I’ve become willing to embrace the complexity that is me, and now I can truly do the same with other people, too. I’ve become strong, and I’m only getting stronger everyday. I think I have got to be strong, considering that my existence irks more people than it should. It has taken time for me to accept that being a dark-skinned, black, bi gal is great.

Seeing a lack of representation of people like me in mainstream media has made the process of loving myself a lot harder than it should be. What has helped me do so anyway, besides actively seeking out that representation (in blogs, mags like Rookie, and web series like Sidetrack), was by making a blogger and writing down how I feel and what’s going on currently in my life. My blogger offers me the ability to see how much I’ve grown alongside the ever-changing world I’m living in. It can be incredibly hard to want to live some days when I feel like the uglier side of history is repeating itself in its own ways.

But when I think to myself about how phenomenal I can be?

How much effort and power it must’ve taken me to transform how I perceive myself and begin to revere the roots from which hair grows to the roots my sweet Ghanaian mother loves to speak of. With a big heart, I just smile and remember ‘with time’.

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