“My parents are freaking out because I’m not married yet, and I don’t think either they or I can stand it anymore,” they sighed. “My parents are so scared I’m going to miss my childbearing years. They’re forcing me to get married.” Their eyes suddenly grew darker, and they looked down to gaze into their tea. Without looking at me, they continued, “I can’t do it. I have got to get out of here. I have no choice but to leave. I mean, I want to leave China.”
I wanted so badly in that moment to say I was bi. I had already looked up that word in the English-Chinese dictionary months before. The official translation was shuangxinglian, literally translating as “double sex love.” I didn’t know the slang for it yet.
Growing up in a small, rural town in Colorado during the 80’s and 90’s meant that I had very little real life exposure to anything queer. Despite that, when I reminisce about my youth, I knew I was different by the time I was 13. I suppose I could thank Anne Rice and Anais Nin
When I was trying to come out, not only to myself but my family as well, I was grappling with the data around being bi and what I could see around me in terms of any kind of bi-ness–which was absolutely nothing. At 36 I had never met anyone using the bisexual label. Bisexuals are the largest group under the LGBTQ umbrella….but nearly 70% of us are closeted….What?!….Where are these people and why are we all living like this? Short answer: To save myself.
I was immersing myself in a Muslim community for the first time. I was still learning the basics of what it meant to eat Halal and fast during Ramadan. I soon learned what people were saying. Like never before in my life, my gender was a cornerstone in most social interactions.