I never thought I’d be coming out as bi on this blog. Then again, mom blogs talk about everything these days, right? At least, the good ones do.
I may have started out blogging about nursing and potty training, but times change and I’m no longer the mom of a baby or toddler. Now, our child is a beautiful, brave middle schooler who proudly came out as nonbinary and gay at the age of 10.
I guess it’s no wonder I’m coming out, too. Better late than never! And before I go back to the very beginning, let me tell you something cool about Xage’s coming out story: it’s intertwined with my own.
You see, part of Xage’s coming out story involved me responding to hints they were dropping… by dropping a few hints of my own. It was a delicate dance, with neither of us wanting to tip our hand too soon.
“Here are a few necklaces I used to wear in my 20s… thought you might like them!” I’d say, oh so casually, as I dropped rainbow and bi pride accessories into their palm and then bolted out of the room. I did this at least twice over the span of a couple of weeks. It was enough to make Xage wonder.
Xage grew up knowing their dad and I are strong allies and good friends to the LGBTQIA+ community. They know about the many Pride parades we’ve been to with Xage as a baby and toddler – and they know that the best bars and night clubs are queer ones.
I’m sure it was the jewelry hand-me-downs that tipped them off that day; I knew that it might. Having rainbow jewelry doesn’t seem that odd for me, considering I’m a unicorn and rainbow aficionado from way back. But having bi pride jewelry? That seems oddly specific.
That’s probably why, at bedtime on January 13, 2021, Xage started with a tentative, “Mom, can I ask you a question?” in the dark.
“Of course!” I chirped, not knowing what was about to come. Then, after a pause, I heard a soft voice ask “Mom, you gave me a bunch of bi pride stuff. Are you bi?”
I didn’t even hesitate. I had a strong hunch they were about to come out to me, and if me coming out first would help them in any way, then I was game. I had a feeling this day would come; I just didn’t think it would be when they were only 10 years old.
“Yep, I sure am, honey. Always have been. Do you have questions about that?” was my cheerful reply. They said yes, but before they asked anything more, they came out to me in return. My beautiful baby shared their true inner self with me. I still tear up thinking about it.
Xage started out so tentatively and then, as I asked questions and responded with love, support and celebration, they grew more bold and sure of themself. It was an incredible experience – one of my all-time top five favorite parenting moments for sure.
Even as I was curious to learn their story, Xage was inquisitive about mine. They had many questions for me: does Dad know? Who else knows? Are you out? Why aren’t you out? Have you had a girlfriend? Do your friends know?
Yes, anyone who was close to me in my late 20s/early 30s except most family, sort of but not really, it’s complicated, yes, and some do, many don’t were my answers, respectively.
Right away, Xage was adamant that I should come all the way out, too. They were 100% supportive, encouraging and positive. They told me I need to come out and be my true self, once and for all.
When I said, “but coming out doesn’t really change anything – Daddy is a man and I’m married to him, so I’m basically straight-passing right now,” Xage was insistent that made it even more important to come out. It is too important, they said – you have to come out and be yourself.
I agreed with them. I told them I’d come out in June for Pride month. And so… here I am!
My bi story
I was definitely born bisexual, which for me meant attracted to both boys and girls. I knew I was different by the time I was Xage’s age.
I came up in the 80s and being bi was not a thing yet. I didn’t know the word for it until embarrassingly late – maybe my late teens. I had no LGBTQIA+ books, TV shows or movies to reference as a kid. There were no female bi role models that I was aware of. I heard maybe David Bowie and Mick Jagger might be bi, but that was mostly just giggled about or mocked.
With no LGBTQIA+ role models or means to educate myself, I struggled with my innermost thoughts and believed they were probably sinful. On some level, I feared I was a freak. I prayed for God to fix me and believed that my bisexuality was a temptation I had to battle. I pretended to like – and dated – only boys. I didn’t tell anyone how I felt about girls for many years.
When I got to college, I had a strong urge to go to the Gay & Lesbian Student Union (again, no real bisexual representation at that time). Unfortunately, I was too afraid to go in without knowing someone first. I hung around outside several times but never went in; I always chickened out. I felt I wasn’t queer enough to go in there – after all, I was “only” bi. Plus, how did I even know I was truly bi? I had only dated boys.
I was a closeted, clueless, shameful, insecure mess of a bisexual. I had no one to talk to about it.
I finally came out to my best friend about a year after we graduated from college. She was supportive – but she was also Christian. I had a few friends who were gay, and I now know that I could have come out to them, but I didn’t know that at the time. Again, I thought I wasn’t queer enough OR possibly that I wasn’t even queer at all. What if I was wrong about what I was thinking and feeling (and dreaming about… sheesh. Honestly, looking back, how could I have ever doubted my bi-ness?!)
The advent of the Internet in the early-mid 90s made it a lot easier to get information, research things and meet like-minded people. I soon became fully convinced of my bi-ness and determined to meet others like me. Finally, by my late 20s, I had bi friends and someone to talk to about this stuff. However, by that time I was also married to a straight dude.
My late 20s/early 30s were peak bi-ness for me. Some would say I made up for lost time. There are definitely more than a few blog posts – and possibly even a whole book – that could be written about that time in my life! Lots of learning, exploring and experimenting took place. I’ve always called myself a late bloomer, but I see now that was in large part because I was closeted and in the dark about my true self for so long.
Looking back, I can see that my main problem early on was a complete lack of awareness or visibility of other bisexuals. It’s so different today! I still love it every time a new celeb comes out as bi, pan, nonbinary, queer, etc. In the immortal words of a fellow Mama Bear (amazing parents of incredible LGBTQIA+ kiddos):
Visibility saves lives, 100%, believe it. Every time we fly a flag, wear a shirt or jewelry in public, we confront bigotry as well as affirm individuals and allies in the LGBTQ community. It’s a powerful “weapon” and we wield it with love.
With visibility in mind, I know that coming out is the right thing to do. I feel I’ve done others a disservice by staying in the closet this long. Put another way, I know that I can help shine a light by coming out. And even though I still don’t feel quite “queer enough” as a bi woman in a straight-passing relationship, coming out will help with that, too. I’ll probably blog more about that another time.
For now, I’ll just say thank you to my sweet enby for inspiring me to write my story. This coming out post is dedicated to Xage – my strong, independent, bright, sensitive, loyal, passionate and creative coming out buddy. I never dreamed when I got pregnant that one day my baby would grow up to be a coming out coach – and that they would help me, their own mom, come out of the closet!
Xage is an amazing bright light to all who know them. So many of their school friends have come out since Xage made it feel safer to do so by being the first in their class to come out as nonbinary and gay. Xage inspires, motivates and helps people daily by being their wonderful, amazing, true and out self.
So with all that said, how can I do any less as their mom?! How can I stay in the closet and remain silent about something so important to Xage? So yes, world. I’m bisexual and always have been. I was born this way, just like Lady Gaga.
I am happy and proud to be a queerdo like my kid. Now, maybe you can see why I love rainbows and unicorns and Pride so much. Yes, it can be a scary world at times and there are haters, but we don’t keep our eyes on the haters. We keep our eyes on the lovers. Love will always win.
If you have a parent/child coming out story too, I’d love to hear it in the comments below or over on Facebook. And if you haven’t come out but want to, let me know if you want to borrow my awesome coming out coach for an inspiring chat! It just may be the nudge you need.