In the shoes of others

I'm a bisexual man

- I just turned 48 and I'm a bisexual man. I grew up in a really good family, but had a very homophobic father, so I was torn, and I think my father suspected, but never asked or wanted to really know. So I really really struggled with it and had suicidal thoughts many times because of my bisexuality. And I think it's good to talk about it because it takes the sting out of it... you know, I'm 48 and still not out to everybody. I came out to my family when I was about 40 and that all went cool, even my dad, you know, he was like « it doesn't matter, really »... I mean, he's questioned it, but said « it doesn't really matter »...

- Do you feel like he was more accepting today than he would have been if you were to tell him 20 years ago?

- Yeah, for sure. Because now I was a man, you know, in my 40s. Even through your 20s, you're still just a kid really, you're just learning. So I think he did question like « Are you sure? », you know, and I was like « God, dad, I'm 40 years old, I know! ». But he didn't want to really accept it. I mean, he's the type of man that went to "Priscilla, the Queen of the Desert" with my mother years ago, this is an Aussie movie about gay men dressing up as women, you know, and he grabbed my mom's hand and walked out. He was like « I'm not watching that shit! ». So I think that's because my father was like that, that I've really struggled so much, and even now when I'm 48, and I'm living in a house with other men, I haven't told any of them, because they're not accepting already, I can see you know, with the conversations we've had, that they're not accepting. Like my dad said « not everybody needs to know, only the people that you care about or the people that you want to let know, tell them » and he's so right. I was speaking to a gay man about this and he goes « The worst part about being gay is that you're coming out for the rest of your life. It's not just once, it goes every time you meet a new person, every time you make a new group of friends, every time... » and I was like « This sounds horrible! ». Unless you are really really comfortable with it or you're flamboyant and people go « he's probably gay », you know, he goes « You're coming out all the time! ». I don't want to have to go through that. And my dad made a good point: I don't have to. I just have to tell the people that I want to know and the people I care about.

- Yeah, because at the end of the day, we don't really need to explain that part of our lives, only when it's relevant in a conversation or to some people, and you don't have to say it all the time... I guess it's annoying when people will assume that you, as a man, have been dating women only and you might want to say that actually no, and don't really feel just comfortable and easy saying that?

- Yeah, I agree. I think that's exactly what happens really, because I've been in many relationships with women and fell in love with women four times. I've been in a lot more relationships, and there's only ever been one man that was like that. We met in school, I think the first sexual encounter was at about 15, and it was around the same time that I had a sexual encounter with a girl, not the same time, but around the same time, so I became sexually active when I was about 15 I suppose and that sort of blossomed from there and it's always been the same guy... he has always been there at the same time I've been in love with these women. He's always been there. Only a couple of the women ever found that out. But most of them didn't, and it was devastating for some of the women... I was really in love with this girl, and she found out and it killed me and killed her. Jesus, it was really hard, it was really terrible... and she said at the beginning of the relationship « I just knew there was something, I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew there was something! » and she was right, it's been there the whole time. So I think if I do get a relationship with a woman again, and I would like to because I think women are beautiful, I think they're the most beautiful things on earth and they're kind and they're soft... for some reason, most of the women I've ever been with have been really good to me. I haven't been right for them, but they've been very good for me. For the sexual side of it, for the friendship side of it, because I've made really good friends with them as well, really close... but I've been bisexual and they didn't know, so the next one, and I hope there is one (please God, if there is a God!), I'm gonna have to tell her, I have to try because I've never tried it before, I've never been upfront with a woman and it worked out or not worked out. It's always been a hidden aspect...

- You never clearly said to your partners « I'm bisexual »?

- I've never said it, unless I've been found out.

- Why have you never said it?

- I think I'm scared. Scared of being judged... maybe I find the most beautiful girl and she's not accepting of that. And that has happened to me, I was not in love but I was in lust with a girl years ago, and she broke it off because there was a rumor about me being bisexual. And it really hurt. I was like « Oh my god... », we'd already had sex a few times and it was real connection, but she found that out and then it was like « No! ». So I think I'm scared of that, but the next one, I've promised myself, I'm going to tell her because it's only fair for her, and I need to find out if it's gonna work... maybe she could just go « I don't care, it doesn't matter, as long as you're just with me » and I'd be like « Okay! ».

- Yes and that's the thing too, it's not because you are bisexual that you cannot be faithful to just one person, whatever the gender of that person is.

- Generally speaking I have to say, I haven't been faithful throughout my life. And that really hurt me in a way, I wish I had been because a few of the girls, I mean, they were angels, and I feel bad, no one found out but I still feel bad and guilty about that. But I do want to be faithful. I do want to be a man that somebody can rely on. This is going to be much harder, but I had thought about actually getting a boyfriend. But that would be much more difficult because it's not as acceptable. Clearly it's not as as acceptable as having a girlfriend, but it is getting easier especially for the people coming through now. But when I grew up, it wasn't at all...

- Maybe in Scotland and in 2022, it'd be easier, no?

- I agree. I certainly think it is easier for gay men and bisexual men growing now and being accepted. So I think 2022 is like you say is easier to be who I want to be.

- And in Scotland again, because if you were in Saudi Arabia for instance, it would be much more difficult.

- Yeah, there are countries in the world where it's still illegal.

- Yes, with death penalty in of some of them...

- Yeah, a few of them have death penalty if you're homosexual, like « God, that's so backward, it's just terrible! » I don't know. I would never go to those places anyway, I got no drive to go to Saudi Arabia or any places like that. I mean, they have a motorcycle race there, it's the very first one Moto GP, I would like to go and see that and that is in Saudi Arabia, but the rest of it... I think that this is a classic example of people being homophobic when they're hiding something themselves... you know, when you go to those countries and I actually do know this for a fact, where to buy alcohol is illegal, but just about any house you go to, they're all behind closed doors and then drinking. And it's the same with homosexuality. It's illegal there, but behind closed doors, of course, there's going to be homosexuals and bisexuals. It's a lot of crap! That's why I'm very suspicious of homophobia. I think a lot of times, it's people trying to hide the fact that they might be a bit themselves, or that they are so frightened of being seen like that, that they project this homophobia, you know « I'm a tough man and I'm not going to be that! ». I don't think it's like that with women so much, but certainly with men, you know, and growing up, that happened to me a lot, I used to get picked on and get homophobic slurs thrown at me and all sorts of things, I used to get bullied a lot. And I think it made me a bit harder too and it made me hide it more because I was afraid of that sort of things happening... it hasn't been easy, I've got to say. Somebody born in 2022 is gonna have a much easier time if they grow up bisexual... I was born in the 70s, it's not that long ago, but it's long enough ago that, you know... I was brought up when there was still black and white photos, you know? It was a pretty tough time actually. And school was really tough, you know...

- In what way?

- I got bullied a lot and I think I was scared of showing that side of me. Funnily enough, there was a few of us growing up that used to hang out with each other but I wasn't very clued into the gay scene or being able to tell. But I remember seeing a friend years later, we went to school together, and we were now in our 30s and he goes « I always knew », because he was himself. He was bisexual and he goes « I always knew you where » and I was like « How do you know that? » and he goes « Just the conversations we had. You're in the same place as me. ». And we're probably in year eight or nine, so around 14 or 15, and I was like « I just didn't click onto anybody », I think I just went through with filters. But maybe then these filters were forced, because I was scared, you know, my dad, all the people... kids are mean, you know. So yeah, it was tough. It wasn't an easy start on anything. And I think I've struggled with it all my life. I remember when I was about 24 and we had a party at my dad's house, my dad was away and my sister brought some friends over and they were all around 21, and I remember seeing this young guy, his name was Adam, and about two weeks later he hung himself. He was Jewish, and he was gay. And his parents wouldn't accept the fact that he was gay, they would not accept it.

- Based on their religion?

- I think it's part of religion, because when he committed suicide, they didn't accept that either. I remember thinking back at that, and going « Oh my god, I didn't even see that on him ». He was quite flamboyant, you know. I think I built these filters and I just don't see it, and I don't want to say it, but for some reason it's been driven into me. I remember feeling terrible for that young guy. And then my sister who was so upset telling me « Poor Adam has gone and done that, and now, his parents won't even accept the fact that he killed himself because his parents won't accept him being gay ». They buried him and they wouldn't talk about it, they just wouldn't. I'm not sure how the Jewish do it, but I think it was pretty quick, it was done in like a day or two... isn't that terrible?

- It's absolutely terrible, of course, not to get that acknowledgment...

- It's such a sad story, he was only 21 and he just wanted his parents to accept him. I remember my sister saying « He couldn't live any other way», he was like « I'm not gonna lie to the world! ».

- You cannot, it's like trying to not be heterosexual, it's not something that can be changed. It's a sexual orientation. There's research [you can look up the work of Jacques Balthazart if you are interested] finding out that our sexual orientation is actually defined during pregnancy, before we're born. There's a spike of hormones happening at a certain stage [before the embryonic stage, to be specific] that defines whether a person will be straight or gay. So far, they don't explain bisexuality, that is still ongoing, but basically, they are able to produce gay or straight mice on demand, because they can recreate or moderate this rush of hormones in a lab. So we now know that it's been defined before we are born and even before we started to be sexually attracted by anyone, and there's no way to change that [during the same experiments, they tried in all the ways they could think of, and didn't succeed to change any mice's sexual orientation]. In recent history, some people have invented what they call "conversion therapy", but it's pseudoscience, it's pure bullshit, it never changed anyone, the only people who will change after that are those who just pretend that they did, that's all, and we know it.

- And it probably make them make them more mentally ill to try and convert them...

- Exactly! It's like brainwashing essentially, it's really trying to push one idea in your brain but it doesn't work that way. It just doesn't.

- I remember seeing this only recently, it wasn't long ago in America, this young man in his 20s and they were trying to convert him to heterosexual and he just couldn't, he couldn't do it. And he said it made him worse. He had more anxiety, couldn't leave his room, didn't want to see the world, all these things because of this pastor yelling at him, and he filmed it, he was yelling at him trying to convert him back into being heterosexual. What a lot of rubbish!

- It's terrible, it's like trying to make a heterosexual person gay, it just doesn't work. It just doesn't, you won't feel attracted by these physical attributes or this energy or whatever that is.

- I agree completely. I just remember seeing his face and the poor guy was just disgusted, really. It's really tragic that people are sort of pigeonholed to be a certain way in life and if you're not, then you're not accepted. That's devastating to people, and young Adam took his own life, because his parents were trying to pigeonhole him into being a certain way and he just couldn't. And I guess the only way that he could really live was to die.

- That's sad!

- Yeah, but it was his way of being able to cope with living. There's a drug in Australia called Stilnox, it's a sleeping pill, but you can sleep walk on it, and people do, people have got into their cars and driven places and all sorts of stuff on this drug. And I took it one night, and I woke up in the morning on the floor, my neck was all lacerated, I tried to hang myself while sleepwalking. I could see my belt hanging from the door handle in the corridor, I was on the floor and I was all sweaty and there was blood and everything, I woke up going « Oh my god, what happened? » and I looked around the house and I had smashed up the house and then tried to hang myself. And it's all of this anxiety and... if I was mentally fit, which, I'm not 100%, I wouldn't do anything like that. Even if I took that drug I might do something like baking a cake, you know (laughing) or playing with the dog or something while sleep walking...

- Yeah, it's like something present in your unconscious or shadow part or psyche somewhere, it doesn't come from nothing...

- Yeah, and it's messed up. And that's not the only time, I mean, that's the only time that I did it and not known. There's been times where I've tried to deliberately do it, and there was one, the last time was October 2020. The lockdown, I was living in a terrible house, I couldn't go home to Australia because Australia wasn't letting anybody in, I was an alcoholic and I had ordered drugs online. And I tried to hang myself. And it's all because of going through life and trying to hide the fact that I was bisexual. I know for a fact that's where it all stems from. And that's why I became like this, to drink to excess and that's why I took drugs to try...

- To numb yourself...

- To numb myself. The problem with drugs though, and certain drugs, especially speed and coke and those sorts of things, is that my libido raises and then you get onto the porn sites and you're watching the homosexual acts and the bisexual acts and the lesbian acts and you're watching everything.

- Which I guess isn't the worst, because if you spend time wanking on websites, it won't really affect your health negatively, it won't be bad for anyone...

- Yeah, and that's all I did, you know... the only other thing I did was when I had this friend, and I would go out night clubbing or, you know, taking drugs and drinking or whatever, and then I'll come catch up with him later. And even when I had girlfriends at the time, I'd still do that. I don't think that was healthy, you know, and I don't think that was the right way to go about it.

- It's more like an impulse than...

- Yeah, and it was drugs driven. I wish that hadn't been the case. And it was a guilty thing too, like after we did the act. I'd go home feeling guilty and dirty, and I'd go home and scrub myself in the shower...

- Guilty of what?

- The guilty pleasure of having sex with a man.

- If it was with a woman, that would be different?

- It was completely different, I wouldn't feel any guilt at all.

- If you were to take drugs and go to see a woman to have only carnal pleasure and go home, that will be okay?

- Yeah, it was only the guilt only happened when it was with a man. And it's got to be because of school and my father. And I've spoken to psychologists and psychiatrists about this sort of thing, and that's where it all stems from. You know, it all stems from growing up with a dad that was so homophobic.

- Your background, essentially...

- And as much as I can say about my dad, he's a really good guy. My dad's a good guy. He worked really hard, had his own business, raised four kids, did really well, we all went to school, we all got fed ,we all went on holidays, we all had these great things. So my dad's a good man. It's just that he didn't know how to deal with... could you imagine growing up when I grew up? Could you imagine growing up when he grew up? He grew up in the 40s and 50s. That would have been tough, you know, really, extremely homophobic! Adelaide in Australia was really tough. They're tough guys. And he went into the Air Force for six years. So you know, he was just one of the lads. And I don't think he knew how to handle the fact that one of his sons, may be bisexual and then he didn't know how to deal with me. So I acted out I suppose and then got in fights and then got bullied and then... so, you know, if anybody needs help after coming out, they need to go and talk to somebody, they need to go and talk and just be honest and tell the doctor or the psychiatrist or the psychologist, what you're going through and they can try and help you get through it...

- Or to call a helpline for LGBT people, or even a more general helpline like the Samaritans here in UK... yeah, to talk basically, mostly if you don't have the friends or the support around you anyway...

- Yeah. You need to get it out. I recently told a friend in the Church here, he's a lovely guy, a really nice guy, it didn't really matter to him, he doesn't agree with it, that's not the way that he sees the world, but he goes « That's just part of life and the world », but he also said « I think it's good for you to talk to people about it, because it takes the sting out of it, the more people that you are able to express these thoughts and emotions to the better, because you know, the next time you do have a bad memory, it won't be so bad, because you've been able to talk about it with somebody »... I definitely think communication is the key, and anybody that tries to stop you from communicating, you know, they're wrong. They're just wrong. You've got to be able to get it out and talk through it. And there'll be people that you know, will try and stop you from being able to communicate. That's just the way humans are. Because humans can be dicks. We're awesome, but we're also assholes. (laughing)

- We can be terrible...

- We can be so bad!!

- I'm wondering, because after talking about bisexuality with the people that I know or encountered and who are bisexual, it feels to me that bisexuality can be kind of a spectrum. There's people using the term heteroflexible, who are mostly heterosexual but sometimes flexible about it, like a man who would usually sleep with women, but might sometimes do that with a guy for whatever reason that is, and there's people for whom gender just doesn't matter, it's really about the person, and the physical attributes don't matter at all, or they are attracted by all attributes. And there's people who prefer to be romantic with one gender and sexual with the other etc, I guess I've heard a bit of everything. What's your take on that? Like, how is it for you, and the people you've met?

- I guess I met a lot of different people when I was nightclubbing, I used to go nightclubbing a lot, but outside of the nightclub world, I didn't really hang around anybody that identified as heteroflexible. I mean, the flexibility way of saying it, to me, is just another way of saying that you're bisexual sometimes, or you're bisexual. Again, it's pigeonholing a little bit, you know, it's labeling, but we all do it, and it's just a part of life and it's, it's a way of being able to say or that person may be that way...

- Well I guess there's many reasons for people using this term, from a light and very occasional attraction, to like, someone who basically just wants to get laid, you know, like you're in a sauna and you truly don't care about who you're going to fuck, you just want to fuck. We had a conversation with some friends about how strange it is in a way, that when receiving oral sex, most of us care about the gender of the person giving us a real sex, which shouldn't matter, you know, it's tongue and a mouth in all cases, it's really strange that we might enjoy or be like « No, no, no! » just based on the person's gender. If you are in the dark and have no idea who the person is, and you know, there's certain setups where that could be a thing...

- I never even really thought of it that way. I do remember, I was in my 20s, maybe 24 or 25 I think, and I went to work on an island in Australia. The second night I was there, a girl knocked on my door, and she's cute, blonde little thing you know, and we went skinny dipping, and then I went to kiss her and she had a stubbly lip. So she'd been shaving, she was pretty, but she obviously had hairy lip. And I was like « Oh, I didn't like it! ». And I don't know if it was because it was a girl that I was kissing and she had a bit of a stubbly lip, or the fact that I just didn't like the feeling. But I have kissed a man since and it didn't worry me too much. I think it was the fact that it was a girl with a stubbly lip that I didn't like.

- It can be like any physical trait? Like, some people prefer only strong men, or someone who's a bit chubby...

- Yeah, I think that happens a little bit with me but not crazy. The men don't have to be attractive or anything at all most of the time, but the girls usually have to be attractive, I don't know why that is. But I've always done pretty well, I've always been lucky. Not, not lately, not for the last seven or so years since I've been in the UK, I haven't done well at all. I've done okay, but not that well. But when I was younger, geez, I used to get laid all the time! (laughing) But now, I don't do so well. I suppose I was quite fit, and I did a lot of boxing and looked after my body. I was reasonably handsome. And I always had a girlfriend, always had something going on. But now that I'm getting older, I think that's faded a bit and I've got a bigger belly, and I'm just not getting the same sort of attention as I used to. And that's another thing that's hard to come to grips with. The fact that you're not wanted as much, you know, when we're younger, I had choices. Now I don't have any. But to be fair, I'm not really looking after myself that well, and I'm staying in my room a lot, I'm not leaving my room much. I think that's partly COVID, partly because of my mental condition at the moment and my physical condition. So I've got to... I'm actually thinking about getting an electric bike, so you have to pedal but you still get assistance, and I want to get one of those so I can start getting out every day, because I'm just stuck in my room all day. And I used to love golf, so I was thinking of buying some golf clubs and then going to the driving range every day or every second day. That's the idea to try and get fit and healthy.

- With an electric bike and playing golf! (laughing)

- Yeah... (laughing)

- Okay, I took note of a few questions before this interview, maybe I should ask them now. When have you first started to notice that you could be attracted to both genders? Were you like five years old, eight...

- I'd say it was later than that. I think it was around 13 or 14. But it was around 15 that I had my first sexual encounter.

- And it was desired, like you wanted to have sex with that man?

- Yeah, and I suppose it was just human touch you know? And then I remember the first girl, Karen I think her name was, and that was the same thing. And you know in those days, in my late teens and early 20s, there wasn't so much guilt. I think there was guilt sometimes with the men, never the women, but the men. But yeah, I would say probably 13 or 14 years old.

- At a pretty common age where people start feeling sexually attracted, basically... okay. What's the most common misconception you've heard about bisexuality?

- The most common misconceptions... probably, I think, the one that if you tell people that you are bisexual, they immediately think that you want to sleep with them. Especially if it's a man. You meet women, and they don't automatically think that you want to sleep with them... I would presume, I don't think they do. Because I don't, you know. But with men, a lot of men, not all men, but a lot of men, as soon as you say that you're a bit that way inclined or they find out, they immediately think that you want to sleep with them. And I think that's a load of crap, because you don't, you know... I just think probably because they don't understand it as well. I think that's changing in 2022. But earlier, it was... I remember going to a psychologist and he was a man and he was churchy, and he said to me when I told him « You shouldn't be doing that, it's deviant behavior ». I was about 25 or 26 and that stuck with me a lot. Clearly, that's the wrong thing to say. I told my sister and she got really angry, she goes « Stop going there, he's not allowed to say that! ». He was a church going man that was a psychologist. And the worst part is I kept on going back to him, I wish I hadn't. I wish I hadn't given him that money each time. You bastard! He actually said that to people. You know, if he had said that to that young fella, Adam, he probably would have jumped off the bridge or in front of a car right in front of him, you know? So I think you've got to be very careful with what we say and how we judge. Because we all judge, it's just the way it is. I'd like to say that I don't but I do. And we've just got to be careful how we judge, you know? So that's a bit of a misconception too.

- Yeah, and it's also something I've heard from many homosexual men where their male friends tend to assume that they are attracted by them when it's not the case. At all. A straight guy wouldn't be attracted to all woman, realistically, it's not the case.

- Clearly. I think it's because men and certain men don't understand it. They think that it's all about sex, and it's not at all! Sometimes it is, but it's not all the time.

- Yeah, and that whatever your sexual orientation is, by the way. I was wondering what is the most comfortable environment for you to express being bisexual? Like, close friends, queer bars, dating apps, ...

- It's a tough one. Because it's not very comfortable for me, still. So it's never really been dating apps, although I have a couple of times said that I'm bisexual, but they're mostly apps about sex, you know, where you pretty much just hook up to have sex. So, on those ones, they don't give a shit, they just want sex. So I have said it on one of them. I met a friend two years ago and I've only just told him... two years. So I'm still struggling, I'm still trying to feel more comfortable with that, like I said earlier, by talking to you and people about it, I'm taking the sting out of it. So hopefully it's easier for me to express myself.

- I see... and it's quite annoying, like this person you mentioned before that told you how basically when you're bi or gay, you have to come out your whole life, and it seems like it's pretty much that...

- Yeah, and you don't want to have to, because every time you do you get judged by people and as beautiful as those people might be, they still gonna judge you. I've got a really good friend in Thailand and I told her and she's like « I don't care, I love you no matter what » and I just thought « You're awesome! ». But they've been brought up very differently, you know, they have LadyBoys and it's very accepting.

- And I've heard that many people in countries around Thailand go to celebrate Pride in Bangkok because it's apparently so much more accepting than in Vietnam or like, the countries around anyway...

- Bangkok is a different beast. It's huge, it... we're getting off the subject but...

- Yes, let's stick to it! (laughing) I have the the opposite question as before; is there places or situations where you will never say that you are bisexual and would even deny it if you were asked?

- That's another tough one. I think when I'm asked, I tell the truth, I don't think I would deny it. Because I've been asked in the past and I've told the truth in places where I've been very uncomfortable. Well, that's not entirely true because when I was working in the kitchen, I've been asked if I've ever slept with a man and I said « No ». And that was a lie. So I have, because the kitchen is like all manly and brothers and tough. And so I did denied it. And I've actually done that twice. I remember I've done that twice. I did it once in Manchester when I was about 27, and another time when I was about 35 in Australia. They would suspect, they were trying to find out and I knew was coming, so I just said « No! », but really I should just said « Yep! So what? You know, I'm doing my job, you do your job! ». But you know... that's not how the world works. And especially in kitchens, kitchens are really tough. And you've got to be tough. You know, you see Gordon Ramsay going off sometimes, and I think he goes too far, but it's actually like that, it's so high pressure and so I think I was scared.

- What were you scared of?

- I think I was scared of being outed, and I was scared of them thinking that I wanted to sleep with them all, you know? That's the thing, that's what they think, that just because I'm bisexual, I'm gonna want to touch their ass, start playing with their dick or whatever, fuck off, that's the last thing I would do, you know? And I think it's disgusting to think that people think that. But some people do. And men do. And then could you imagine work in the kitchen and then they start trying to hide themselves from you or... It'd be the worst feeling in the world! So, to answer the question I have. I have lied about it. And I have denied it. There you go...

- Okay. Is there areas in your life where you feel some inner conflicts sometimes due to your sexual orientation? Things that you feel right and not right at the same time, I guess?

- I have in the past, but not so much now. I think when I've had a sexual act, a homosexual act, that I do feel guilty, and I'm torn. The problem was, most of the time I did have those homosexual acts was after a night of taking drugs and drinking. So I don't think it was a healthy relationship I had with, you know... it was drug induced.

- Is it "drug induced" like drugs make you want to have sex with men or is it more like, what's the term, when you drink alcohol, you feel less ashamed or scared of doing certain things, so you will do what you truly want to do, I guess?

- Well, alcohol lowers your inhibitions...

- Yes, that's the word I was looking for!

- So that has definitely something to do with it. But drugs, and speed and ecstasy and things like that, your libido goes through the roof! And so if I'd take some, I would just want to have sex with men. Going back to the question before, I certainly think there has been times where I've been torn and I have been conflicted.

- Okay. When telling someone that you are bisexual, have you heard people saying things like « Oh, you're just homosexual, but you don't want to say it! » or that kind of comments, like people who sort of don't believe in bisexuality?

- I've actually heard the opposite.

- Yeah?

- When I first came out when I was around 40, I sent a message to all my friends in Australia and my family, and said « I need to tell you that I'm gay ». And a lot of my friends said « It doesn't matter what you are, you know, we'd love you anyway », and some stopped talking to me. My family gave me the third degree, my dad mostly, but my dad actually said « Well, you're not gay, you're bisexual ». And a few of my friends laughed at me, they said « Why did you send that, you idiot? » because all my life I had all these girlfriends, and then all of a sudden I said that, so...

- Why did you say « I'm gay » when you clearly you knew that you were bisexual?

- I think I was just a bit of a mess, and I said the wrong thing.

- Okay.

- And at the time, I probably felt gay because I was just looking at gay porn. But really, I'm bisexual.

- Okay. I was wondering, and I guess it's like some kind of sociological question here... we live in a day and age where more than two genders become more and more recognized, I'm talking non-binary, agender, gender fluid, etc. Do you feel like we should replace all uses of the word bisexuality by pansexuality, which is more inclusive, it includes non-binary people and basically everyone regardless of their gender... do you feel like we should do that, or does it mean that someone who defines themselves as bi, wouldn't be attracted to non binary, agender, two-spirits people etc? How do you feel about this two different words, I guess?

- I don't know... I don't think I'm that educated in the topic. I don't actively try and learn about it.

- Okay, maybe we can skip this question then. Next one! So, no one being born biphobic or homophobic, what do you think made some people biphobic or homophobic along the line?

- I think that's school and parents. Yeah. I think that's the influence they had growing up...

- Hum, something people repeat without questioning?

- Yeah. And I think there will always still be pockets of the world that will just be anti everything. Anti bloody everything. So yeah, I don't think it's just the way that you were brought up, you know, certainly nobody's born hating a certain type of person. Times are changing, but, you know... humans are funny beasts. I'm very lucky that I had a mother who was really good as well. My mom was really cool, but I do remember her when I was probably about 15 or 16 and she found magazines under my bed, and my mum even said to my dad, and I remember distinctly, she said « At least he's not looking at mens magazines ». But I told her years later, and even in phone calls now she goes « Have you got a boyfriend or girlfriend yet? » you know... but back then, she had a bit of it in her as well.

- It sounds like your dad and your mom, in 20 years time or like, in a few decades anyway, changed their minds about all of that, so it's pretty encouraging, it means that the older generation can change as well and stop spreading the hatred, if I may.

- I think so too, because they're beautiful people, my parents, so I think they probably really took it on board, like « We're not going to be that type of person ». And I think they would have met people, like my mom's in retail, and she said she's worked with all sorts of gay men, because they do a lot of window setups and all that sort of stuff, so they really are artists these young men, and I think that probably helped her as well. She worked and met people that were lovely human beings, but gay, or bisexual or whatever. So by the time I was in my 40s and came out, my mum was in her late 50s and she was just fine.

- Yeah, I do believe that when one discriminates, it's because they don't know the group of people they discriminate.

- Yeah, and it's just humans. Just humans trying to get along...

- Yes... Okay, let's add a bit of joy in all of that. (laughing) What is the best thing that being bisexual brought to your life? Or what is the best thing that you've learned from being bisexual?

- That's a good one, too.

- I guess I've heard many gay people saying « I'm proud to be gay ». And it almost sounds like it adds something to their lives that they are happy about?

- I had a friend once said « You're just greedy ». And I laughed and I was like « What are you talking about? », he goes « Well, you can't just have from one pie, you've got to have the other pie as well! »

- That's something I've heard a few times about bisexual people, that they were greedy or promiscuous or whatever term.

- Promiscuous is a funny word, because promiscuous, to me, is somebody that sleeps with multiple people in the same day. But well, I've kind of forgotten my train of thought. What was the question again?

- What are the good things that you think you've got from being bisexual?

- I would say, that I'm more open to people, and it doesn't matter whether they are bi, gay, straight, trans, it doesn't matter to me. So I'd say that's probably the best part, that I'm more open to people.

- Okay. And I guess I have a last question, it's been a very long interview... you're the first person who asked me to do this interview, which I'm very happy about, and I'm wondering what were your motivations for participating?

- I read your website and I thought that was really cool. I liked the fact that you said you wanted to hear from all walks of life, and I thought that was really nice. So many people are just so blocked off and don't want to hear and don't want to talk about it or anything. And I just thought it was I actually a bit of an open invitation, because you just said I'd like to hear from this and that...

- Yes, I think I wrote like prisoners and Imams and people who sell drugs and people who are blah blah blah...

- So yeah, I really liked your website and I hope it really works for you and that it goes well!

- Thank you! (laughing)

- Because I mean, if you get enough stories together, and people really look into it and hear people's life stories. I think that's really commendable, you know, it's really good.

- Yes... on the website, I wrote something like « It's easy to live an entire life without meeting certain people. » you know, like a porn star or...

- I've never met a porn star!

- Yeah? I did! And I think it's interesting to listen to everyone. I've heard a lot of judgment towards, for instance, sex workers. And surely, there can be different motivations for someone doing that. Like, I remember talking with a young guy who was gay and a sex worker. And when he told me that, he was a bit embarrassed and afraid that I would judge, or that's how I felt at least, and my immediate reaction was like « Okay, what motivates you to do that? Is it because you like it, or because you need money or other reasons? » and it was a bit of both in his case, but mostly because he liked it, and why not? You know, you don't want to judge that. Because he was quite young, I think he was still a minor, I allowed myself to tell him a bit about safe sex because it's so important, but whatever, I think it's a good thing to ask to whoever is concerned and yeah, let's ask a sex worker why they do it? What are the good and bad sides of doing it? It can only be interesting. And most importantly, to ask many people the same question, because you know, if we go back to the sexual orientation topic, as we know, there's people who truly feel ashamed of being homosexual, while there's people who are, like I said before, proud. And there's the whole range of feelings in between.

- Some people are really lucky that they're so proud. I wish I was like that...

- I understand... I guess your background and everything will shape how you feel about things.

- It's some of the acts that these people, porn stars and sex workers would have to be put through that. I feel for them in a way you know, I remember in Amsterdam, we went down the Red Light District, and there's this gorgeous blonde and this big man, really big, went in and had sex or whatever. And I remember we did a bit of a walk and then came back, and just as he was coming out, he's like « Yeah, high five! » with his mates and all that and she came to the window again, and the look on her poor face... she was horrified. She was trying to smile but you could just see that it was just like a broken smile like, and I just thought « You poor girl... », she's had to endure some sort of sexual act with this huge man. I mean... the sexual acts that they have to go through, they probably can't get it out of their brain for the rest of their lives. So I feel for them a bit...

- I guess it makes sense to have brothels, so at least sex worker can just refuse and say « No, not with this one! » with the protection of someone who's able to deal with an angry person who's like « I'm here for that and I will pay for it! » you know...

- I don't know if they have that in Amsterdam, because, you know, that girl was just in the window by herself, I didn't see any big dude behind to protect her or anything, so she probably just has to accept anybody that comes in to the door. Yeah. So you're right, a brother would be safer.

- That's probably one of the good sides of it, but anyways, that's completely off topic. Anything else you wanted to share?

- No, that's pretty good.

- Okay, well, I think we've covered many things. Thank you!

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This is a participation to a social project to promote empathy and fight discrimination.

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