You know that first long climb on a roller coaster ride? That feeling of rising higher and higher to the click-click-click sound?
If you’re a lover of roller coasters like me, you know the best part comes after the climb, when you take that awesome plunge downward. I love the drop, and every time I scream my head off. But sitting during that slow trip uphill, waiting for the drop, drives my patience to the limit. It’s scarier to me than the ride itself.
Being in the closet is like that first roller coaster climb. Questions like this keep going through my head: When is this going to end? What am I doing? Why did I get on this ride in the first place? When does it get better? I’ve been in the closet for a while now and the claustrophobia is starting to make me sick — not to mention lonely. I’ve been running from this for a long time, and now I’m done with it. So I’m taking the plunge: I’m coming out of the closet and down the first drop — screaming, I hope, with joy.
I’m Christian and I’m bisexual. Those identities are both inside of me, combined in one person. I’ve struggled with suicidal ideation because my religious upbringing taught me that I couldn’t have both of those things dwell within me. My conservative church tradition does not look kindly on people coming out. But my God is love. And I believe that God is bigger than what my conservative church background taught me.
God is my Creator, and God does not make mistakes. So now I’m walking towards God and health by telling the truth. I believe God wants the truth in our lives, and that this is how we cultivate relationships.
I hope, in coming out, that I’m also walking toward a Christian community where I belong, where I’m home — surrounded and accepted, like family. I have several Christian friends who already affirm me, and for the life of me, I don’t know what I’d do without them. But I have a hunch that I don’t even yet know the faith family that’s waiting for me on the other side. While I may lose friends today, I believe I will also gain a whole bunch of priceless Christian friends I can’t even see yet. I mean God is big enough to provide, right?!
But then there’s also the issue of bisexual erasure. As I’ve considered coming out, I’ve also realized that bi-erasure exists. I experienced it in action. Sometimes I feel like I have to convince myself that I’m actually real: Gay people rarely talk about bisexual people; straight people usually focus discussions of sexuality on gays and lesbians. Allies tend to forget about us. I mean, being bi is just a big old hot mess sometimes.
But I keep hearing from others that telling our stories is the way to freedom. I keep hearing that sharing our testimonies is how we grow and change, connect and love. I keep hearing LGBTQ people say that coming out was the best thing they ever did. I keep hearing that hiding and pretending is harmful, dangerous and unhealthy. I keep hearing that it’s so much better to be real and live out your identity.
I hope they’re right.
After coming out, I may be kicked out of my living situation, my church, and my conservative friendships. But I have to believe that my future siblings and parents in Christ have my back. I need them to. And you know what? They need me too. We can’t live as islands — and I think I’ve been living as one while being in the closet. I believe God loves me. I believe God wants me to live as a whole person, not as a partial person, or a deceptive person, or a fake person. God designed me with that desire, need, and craving. I believe God wants me in community.
I’m at the top of the roller coaster. The ride slows, almost to a stop. My lungs fill with air. I hold my breath. I look down. I can see the bottom. I’m waiting. Here. I. Go.