The Complex Problem of Bisexual Denial

Jamie Arpin-Ricci
5 min readFeb 2, 2022
(artwork by Jamie Arpin-Ricci)

When a close friend of mine came out to me as bisexual, it was a beautiful and exciting moment. For them, it was a moment of newfound confidence, freedom, and self-awareness. For me, it was the honour to be trusted with this news, as well as the joy of having another close friend who shared something of my experience as a bisexual person. Like myself, they were in a committed relationship with someone of a different gender, another unique (and often challenging) dynamic that I understood all too well. I was excited by where our friendship would go as we supported each other in being our fullest, truest selves.

A year later, my friend (having recently amicably ended her marriage with her husband) informed me that they were seeing a woman. Again, I was excited for them, as I knew how nervous they were about dating women for the first time and this new relationship was going very well. And again, we celebrated another step on her journey. A few months later, I reached out to her again with some bisexual resources I’d come across. Her reply was polite but very brief: “I don’t identify as bisexual anymore. I’m a lesbian now.”

While I fully supported her no matter where her journey took her and I’ve always affirmed the right for people to identify in ways that are genuine and helpful for them, I admit that I was taken aback- not so much by the change itself but by the fact that she had made no mention to me of the change before my email. Given we communicated frequently on the topic, it was surprising. However, I honoured her decision, celebrated her relationship, and life moved on.

It was perhaps a year later when I decided to ask her about how she came to this new sense of identity. At first, she was reticent to talk about it (and I certainly didn’t want to put pressure on her), but in time she confided in me that, in fact, her orientation had not changed- that she was still bisexual. She admitted to me that while dating in largely lesbian circles, there was a tremendous amount of pressure for her to drop the “bisexual” title. Many of the women…

--

--

Jamie Arpin-Ricci

Jamie Arpin-Ricci is a bisexual author & activist with more than 25 years experience living at the intersection of faith, sexuality, and justice.