When I Came Out as Bi, I Felt So Alone. Twitter Saved My Life.

"Coming out was the hardest thing I ever had to do," says Vaneet Mehta. "However, entering the LGBTQ+ community presented a new set of challenges."

vaneet mehta
Vaneet Mehta

I started having feelings that were not straight when I was 10 or 11. I don’t say “bisexual” because I didn’t even know that word—that identity—existed. Growing up in Southall, a densely populated South Asian area in West London, all I knew was straight and gay. Straight was the good one. Gay was the bad one. So I wanted to be straight.

I first learned of the term bisexual—well, bicurious to be exact, when I was 17. My friends were talking about this girl who said she was bicurious, and they all mocked her. They laughed while saying, “Why doesn’t she just say that she’s gay?” So on top of my internalized homophobia, I then had internalized biphobia. I didn’t believe bisexuality was real. I thought it was a lie people told themselves and was always used as a stepping stone to being full-blown gay. This was particularly damaging because at that time, I began to find myself really physically, but not romantically, attracted to men.

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To be honest, my lack of romantic attraction likely had to do with the fact that I hate hypermasculine men. Growing up, all I knew were masc men. All this changed when I fell in love with my best friend—a straight guy—at 24, which, obviously, did not turn out well. But at that point, I could no longer deny that I was clearly physically and romantically attracted to multiple genders.

Coming out was the hardest thing I ever had to do. It was an incredibly difficult journey, but I finally felt free. However, entering the LGBTQ+ community presented a new set of challenges. Gay people were telling me I was just gay. Straight people didn't believe I was bisexual either.

Since I was still a virgin when I came out, I also thought that maybe I wasn’t bi, since I hadn’t done anything sexual with any gender. I figured I couldn’t be sure. (Still today, I haven’t had sex with a woman, but I now know that doesn’t make me any less bisexual.)

The year I came out, there wasn’t even a bi float at London Pride. I was like, What the hell is that about, and remembered thinking maybe I’m not valid since I didn’t see myself represented, even in the LGBTQ+ community. I was in constant self-doubt.

Thanks to Twitter, I not only learned that bisexuality is valid, but that there's also a huge and thriving bisexual community. Yes, I know Twitter is a hellscape, but I do have to say it kind of saved my life because I would have never found my bi community without it. I would have continued feeling so alone.

After coming out, I started tweeting about bisexuality and following other bisexual activists. I didn’t think I’d become a bi activist myself; I sort of fell into it. I wrote about my bisexual coming out experience in a piece on Medium.

Soon after I discovered Monstrous Regiment, a small print publisher based in Scotland, and submitted my (updated) coming out story for their upcoming book. My story was accepted and is now published in their bisexual anthology: The Bi-ble: New Testimonials Vol 2. I also started volunteering for Rainbow Films, a QPOC run production company. Not only was I working behind the scenes, but I also shared my experience of being a bisexual man of color, which is in the documentary called Pride and Protest. I met so many incredible people within the community and started making connections through Rainbow Films.

As my platform grew, I kept using my voice to amplify bisexual voices and call out biphobic trash. I think Twitter can make for some great educational moments for people who are more ignorant as opposed to downright bigoted. Still, it gets tiring and downright depressing seeing constant negativity towards bisexuals. (That said, I have no qualms blocking people. Some people just need to get out of your space.)

vaneet
Vaneet

That’s partly why I created the hashtag #BisexualMenExist that trended earlier this year in multiple countries. (I think it reached three or four in the U.K. and five in the U.S.) It wasn’t as much to tell monosexuals that bi men exist. It was a reminder for me—and other bi men who see this hatred and bigotry—that we’re not alone. We exist, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of bi men across the globe.

I’m incredibly proud of the impact the hashtag had and the visibility it created. I think it helped foster a greater sense of community. I also think it showed that there are a lot of us, and we deserve spaces for ourselves. Injecting ourselves into broader LGBTQ+ spaces isn’t great as they haven’t always been the most accepting of us. I think bi people are reaching the point of exhaustion and just want physical areas where we can be comfortable and not have to fight for room. While there are a growing number of bisexual communities offline, they often struggle with funding; this needs to change.

Nevertheless, change is happening! Last year we had Bi Pride UK, the first ever bisexual pride in the UK, and it was huge! I hope we can continue upwards and gain the support and resources we need to thrive.

Growing up, I didn’t know bisexuality was an option. That’s why now, I do everything in my power to make it known that #BisexualMenExist.

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