Some days, I still can’t decide if I’m gay, or bisexual, and I’m starting to feel bad about it.
When I first came out to myself at 21, I remember repeating the words, “I’m straight. I’m gay. I’m bisexual” each night. I was like Arya Stark from Game of Thrones, with her list of names to kill. For me, it was not a revenge mantra, but a test, to see which words felt right. In the end only “I’m bisexual” really resonated.
I had only dated women before the age of 21. Soon thereafter after, I started to realize that my “appreciation” of men was more of a physical attraction. Specifically, this realization happened when a gay friend asked about the nurse I’d been dating, assuming it was a man, and I declined the opportunity to correct him.
During my junior and senior year of college, I ended up dating both men and women—mostly depending on who was showing me interest at the time. Confidence is a thing I fully recommend, and fully did not have.
When I moved to California at age 24, I put “interested in men and women” in my Tinder bio. Many men responded, but almost zero women did so. The few women that did responded ghosted me soon enough.
It has now been ten years since I last went on a date with a woman. A large part of the reason is my 7.5 year relationship with my boyfriend. I definitely do still find women attractive, but the overall number has faded with time. And I guess I’m confused about what bisexuality means to me at this point.
It surprises my gay friends when I tell them that I used to date women. Enthusiastically dated, I might add. And more than dated: I had a physical relationship with multiple women, and enjoyed myself in that department. And this was after having already hooked up with men. It didn’t feel like the sentiment expressed on Will & Grace that bisexuality is “just a pit-stop on the highway to gay-town.”
Yet I cannot help but notice how, as women have shown less interest in me, I too have shown less interest in them. So is what I find attractive just people who find me attractive? And when women stopped noticing me, was I simply mirroring their response?
I do fit the bisexual statistic of being more likely to hook up with someone of the same sex before hooking up with someone of a different one. My first experience was a gay one, and my first straight one came a year after that. But nowadays I mostly refer to myself as gay just to keep the conversation simple. Perhaps it’s a case of self-imposed “bisexual erasure.”
One thing I know for sure: whether gay, bisexual, or “definitely not straight,” my journey is my own. I don’t need to announce or renounce my bisexuality for the sake of a movement. I will live my life, see how my feelings continue to evolve—because no doubt they will—and remember past love affairs fondly.
Frank Arthur Smith is a queer writer and actor originally from Boston, MA. He previously worked in the writers’ room on Raven’s Home, the sequel to the hit series That’s So Raven, for Disney Channel. Prior to that, he wrote an animated pilot with Tornante TV (Bojack Horseman), developed a live-action series with Vice Studios (Fyre), and rewrote a horror movie with Fangoria / Cinestate (The Standoff At Sparrow Creek). He is currently working on episodes 4 – 6 of Open To It, an LGBTQIA+ comedy series that he also wrote, directs, and produces, featuring Laganja Estranja of RuPaul’s Drag Race.