Standing on the playground that day, it was clear I liked the little blonde girl who was playing in front of me. It wasn't in a "I want to be your bestie, jump rope and have a sleepover way," either. No, indeed, I liked her in the way I knew I was only supposed to like boys. I sat confused. How could this be?
Everything I had been taught in church told me being gay or lesbian was not only a sin, but it was gross. I wanted God to love me. If being a lesbian was disgusting, what kind of freak must I be for liking boys and girls? I prayed for God to cure me because I believed in my heart that people like me couldn't exist. I made a choice to keep my feelings to myself and tell no one.
In my teens, the only time I saw bisexual women represented was in porn. I didn't see bisexual women shown as normal, only as the objects of male fantasies. I didn't want to have threesomes for the entertainment of men. I just wanted to date women if we were mutually attracted to each other. It didn't seem like a hard concept. Yet, in the few conversations I had about being bisexual as a teen, I was told it was just a phase. I was going to burn in hell. Or I was treated like some sex vixen vying for male attention. So I stopped talking about it.
For years, I avoided relationships with wonderful women and hid the few relationships I did have. I worried that if people knew, they would think I was a bad mother, a swinger, a whore, and that my children would be teased. It wasn't until National Coming Out Day four years ago that I came out publicly. I had spent years being an "ally" to the LGBT community while I was unwilling to acknowledge my whole self.
I am still the same mom, friend, daughter and citizen. I take that back: I am better because I don't live a lie anymore. When I talk about the need for employment protection that includes sexual orientation, I can say, "yes, I mean me too." Marriage equality matters to me personally since one day I could marry a woman (even though I currently date a man).
I have come a long way from that playground in Wisconsin years ago. I'm not confused. I don't think I'm broken or that God needs to fix me. I feel whole, fulfilled and loved.
I am proud to be part of what is often called the "silent B" in LGBT community. I live my life in truth now, and that is priceless.
Laurie Bertram Roberts is a regular columnist for the Jackson Free Press. Read her other columns at jfp.ms/roberts.