As far as we can observe, the ancient cultures of the world had no word for the color blue.
Ancient Egyptians were the first to coin the term, alongside being the first to create a bright blue fabric dye. Before this, blue was kind of lumped into shades of green, with no separate identifiers.
But the color blue still existed.
Language can be so abstract, and yet so vital to our evolution both as a society and as individuals. And it begs the question: how can we truly understand that which we cannot name?
When I was about seven, my best friend told me what a crush was. I was fascinated, and decided to have one on her cousin. This of course did not last, and I had crushes on lots of boys as I grew up in my evangelical churches and homeschool coops. That’s what you did – you liked members of the opposite sex, and if you liked members of the same sex, you were gay. And that was bad. Those were the options, and I was told that if you were a Christian…you didn’t really have a choice between the two.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized I’d had crushes on girls too, for all those years. I’d been seeing the color blue – with no way to name it as such. Turns out, the church doesn’t teach much about bisexuality – even to discourage its practice.
A few years ago, when I was able to name my attraction towards women for what it was, it still didn’t affect me as much as you’d expect. It was 2015, and I’d just left an abusive home; my thoughts did not dwell on processing my sexuality, but rather coping with depression and C-PTSD. And right about the time I came out of that traumatic fog, I found myself happily in a relationship with someone who happened to be a man.
Identifying as bisexual comes with a unique set of challenges. If you’re in a relationship with someone of the same gender, people qualify you as gay or lesbian. And if you’re in a relationship with someone of a different gender, you’re assumed to be straight. For the last few years, I’ve found myself experiencing the latter.
But it wasn’t just the assumptions of straightness that ate away at me – I get it, we live in a heteronormative world. Which just gets amplified within most religious environments. Rather, it was my own personal insecurities; my own identity had to battle the little voice inside me that said a woman married to a man could just never be queer enough.
Well, little voice, I’m calling bullshit.
Sexual orientation is not about who you’re currently partnered with, or your sexual history. Full stop. Our culture at large has a much too sex-as-an-act centric view of everything. Who you’re having it with, how good it is when you’re having it, or setting up complex rules concerning not having it. No one has to have sex to prove they’re straight, yes? I’d always be the first to express these sentiments to others, and am finally learning to accept it for myself.
I identify as a bi woman, which came as no surprise to myself, my partner, or quite frankly literally anyone else I’ve told.
Another question arises though – if I have already found a partner, why bother coming out publicly? Hah. Well, I’d like to introduce you to my inner dialogue from the past six months:
- I always want to bring my most authentic self to the table. And as this is part of who I am as a person, to hide it has felt increasingly stifling (not that I’ve ever directly tried very hard to hide it…ten points if I never directly told you but you figured things out).
- I want to be more involved with the queer community, to help foster spaces that are more bi-inclusive. I know many bisexuals who have been hurt by LGBT+ gatekeeping, and I want to help fight against that.
- My greatest desire is to be seen as a safe space for anyone questioning their sexuality, especially those who, like me, come from a conservative background. I want to help people sort through what I had to sort through, and divorce queerness from shame.
- Bi erasure is a prevalent problem. I’ve been given the privilege of safely being able to come out publicly, and I want to humbly accept that gift. While using my voice to speak against discrimination – until everyone can have that feeling of safety.
When I was young, I didn’t have the language to understand myself. The girl I followed around every year at VBS, desperately trying to garner her attention and adoration – she was never in the same category as my best friend’s cousin. Simply because he was a man, it was a crush. She was not.
But now, I have a word for blue. Yes, I’ve been seeing it all along.
I am a bi woman, in a straight passing relationship.
But I am not invisible.
Thank you, friends, for seeing me.
Happy Pride 💖💜💙