"Telling my parents I am bisexual was the most difficult thing I have done in my life, but when I did they just thought it was a joke, for them it is the mix of ‘you are just in a phase’ and ‘it is because everyone is gay now days’. I do not know how to talk to them about it because they will just say ‘you are not, you are just confused.’ How should I handle this?"
When I came out to my mother as a college student, I received the same lines thrown back at me – “It’s just a phase,” being a particular favorite. I let the matter go for a while, not bringing my sexuality up in front of her in the hopes that she just needed time to process this new information. Just as it had taken me years to come to terms with my bisexuality, it was only fair to take a step back and give my mother the opportunity to wrap her mind around it as well.
For those who can’t grasp the concept of someone being attracted to people that span the gender spectrum, I like to explain it as follows: a straight man may be attracted to blonde-haired women, red-headed women and brunettes, but he may ultimately choose to date a blonde; that doesn’t mean he is no longer attracted to red heads and brunettes, however. This is similar for many bisexuals: we may be attracted to people who are the same as us and who are different from us, but many ultimately decide to date and possibly marry just one individual.
The myths and misconceptions around bisexuality are plentiful. Fortunately, we are living in a time where bisexual visibility is booming and there are many resources you can utilize to help educate your parents on what bisexuality is and isn’t. Media sources like The Huffington Post, The Advocate and now even GLAAD are posting numerous pieces on bisexuality and the bisexual experience on an almost weekly basis. Scroll through some of the stories on these sites and choose a few to share with your parents. There are some great pieces out there explaining how bisexuality isn’t synonymous with polyamory; why bisexuality isn’t a “choice”; and more pieces dispelling the myths about this sexuality than anyone can count!
There are also more and more bisexual celebrities coming out of the closet. Actress Anna Paquin recently appeared on Larry King and answered his questions about bisexuality to the applause of the greater bisexual community. Why not share the video with your loved ones? They may be able to understand you a bit more as a result. If they’re not into entertainment, you can also point to out and proud bisexual politicians, like Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema. Perhaps the more people in the public eye your parents recognize and accept, the easier it will be for them to accept your bisexuality as well.
While my own mother is still not completely comfortable talking about my bisexuality, she now acknowledges that this is who I am; it may have taken us years to get here, but we’re here now and I know you can get there with your parents, too.