When I was a teenager I thought I was gay and while I now know it's a common thing for teenagers to question their sexuality, as a hippy, already socially awkward 14 year old in a small town in North Yorkshire there were no visible gay people or any queer culture at all, which just added to my social unease. Also, this was before the internet (thank goodness for the internet now!) When I was 16 I went to work at a local theme park and there encountered my first lesbian couple but I didn't identify with them at all as they were quite butch and I was very feminine and had long blonde hair (Remember that at this time I was a bit like Jon Snow from Game of Thrones). I met my first boyfriend J there and I remember thinking, 'Oh, I'm obviously not gay any more' although I still continued to admire girls. I then went out with S, then S (both guys) and then I met Matt and we have been together since. I'd never heard the term bisexual before and didn't know what it meant although I was and have always been bisexual. The best definition of bisexual comes from Robyn Ochs and it resonates with me. The bisexual umbrella picture is also helpful.
So where does this fit with my life now? As I said I've always known I was bisexual and I've always admired other women as well as men and Matt has known this for a long time. However it's only been in the past few years that I have claimed the 'title' bisexual and thought of this as my identity. And it's only in the past few months that I have felt brave enough to tell other people and to be out as a bisexual woman. Part of this is down to a wonderful group in Manchester called Biphoria who offer a safe space to talk with fellow bisexuals and although nerve racking at first, it has turned out to be a blessing in disguise (the chips and friendly chatter in the pub afterwards help!) I am so much more confident in who I am now and this has had a huge impact on my depression too - I'm much healthier and happier now than I was 12 months ago.
So what does this mean for my life going forwards. Well essentially nothing has changed in my relationship with Matt. We are still in a loving monogamous relationship and that won't change - I chose him 20 years ago and I still choose him now. Society sees us as a straight couple but our family (and yes that includes the girls) know that we aren't.
This post was meant to wait until September 23rd but I've decided to share it now instead as it feels right. I'm pretty sure I will post more about bisexual activism and visibility on the day itself though.
I'm aware that I may be (for some of you anyway) the only out bisexual* you know so feel free to bombard me with questions and opinions although please do try to keep them polite :) I will literally answer anything so if you want to ask something but are shy then change to anonymous and I'll still answer them. Feel free to ask on facebook too or in real life. If you want a private answer then you can email me lynseysearle [at] gmail [dot] com.
And a big thank you must go to family and friends for accepting me as I am and to those people who I sent 'I'm feeling sorry for myself' emails. You know who you are.
*Out, white, monogamous, married to a man, cis(1) female bisexual - I can only answer questions from that perspective!
(1) identified as female at birth and still does. Opposite of cis is trans.