Roughly 20 years ago I began identifying as bisexual. It wasn’t the movement. I didn’t know about it then. Rather I had been writing same-sex stories as a bard in the Xenaverse and a personal acknowledgement that I had been attracted to both men and women throughout my sexual life. I wasn’t attracted to someone at the time other than my husband, but I had not been entirely open with him about my sexual history prior to meeting him. It felt like I had locked a part of myself away.
I spent the next six months coming out in bits and pieces to him. I started to share more details about past relationships, and the sex of my partner would be an incidental part of those details. I started writing more detailed sex in my stories. I began making friends with lesbians who were writing similar fandom stories.
Then I sought out in-person LGBT community connection. I participated for a while in a Bi Women’s book group I had to start myself. I joined a social group, the “Women Here and There” (WHAT) which was lesbian and bisexual women gathering a social spots. By the end of the second year though, I felt only pushed out, marginalized. The WHAT group had become something of a singles mingle. Most women didn’t accept my bisexual as valid because I was married to a man. It seemed that my bisexuality would only be accepted if I “took up” with a woman.
There was no way, after experiencing that reception, that I was even going to attempt to come out to my parents, in-laws, or other family. My coming out stalled. I continued a somewhat anonymous life online, contributing writings, but very little personal life. Only a couple people knew I was married.
In my writing I was able to be wholly “me” expressing my same-sex attractions through the veil of fanfic and a few short stories with original characters. I ended up with a short story in a charity anthology. I decided I wanted to create an original novel. I worked at it for a year, got a draft, but then sat on it for quite some time before deciding to seek out a publisher.
Why was I reluctant to publish? It came down to the fact I’ve have to have an author biography. My spouse had been enormously supportive of me being fully myself. I wouldn’t have finished the novel if not for days and nights when he cleaned dishes, or tended our son, so I could keep writing, revising, and editing. I went to a couple conferences about the “business” of publishing and he stayed home. My author bio needed to be authentically me. He supported me not publishing under a pseudonym, which also meant that anyone looking me up on the internet would find my book. The content would cause assumptions about me. That could make life difficult.
But I did it. I wrote the author bio that was really me: writer, mom, wife. The content was marketed as lesbian, two women leaving men for love with one another. I thought of them as bisexual, but the story line dictated the labeling. My second lesson in LGBT: actions define you. If you’re not engaging in sex with a same sex partner, you’re not lesbian or gay.
My in-laws wondered if I was planning to leave my husband for a woman. But in a weird twist, every woman in my extended family bought and read the book. They began sharing the book with everyone they knew. It was, and to some extent remains, surreal to think about. I had cousins of my husband, and friends of my sister, contacting me through them asking for autographs, offering to help organize getting my book into their local bookstores who represented me at local Pride festivals, selling a few copies consignment style. Again, surreal.
My second novel took four years to make print. By then, my first had sold strongly enough that royalties afforded new laptops for my husband, son, and myself.
Now, it’s been more than 10 years since the first book. I’ve finally penned a book with a self-identified bisexual woman character — two actually. And in wanting to market it as such, I received comments that few of my current readership would read such “crossover” material. I have my fingers crossed that the world has changed in ten years. Hopefully it will be the idea of a story with my writing style which will entice readers to my new book, letting the content open their eyes and minds.
One of my draft readers: “Really enjoyed this story. I have never read a story with more than two people in a relationship of any sort;however, read this story to complete.“