I just turned 40 a few weeks ago and have had a crisis of confidence. I've identified as a gay man since the age of 9 and have built my personal and political identity around protecting the rights of people to express their sexual and gender identities, however different from the norm they may be.
In the last two years I've become curious about women emotionally and sexually, find myself enjoying straight porn more -just as much for women as for men-, and have felt trapped by it. Exploring a bi side would become public and would be an almighty culture shock to my friends and family. Politically, it shakes the entire house I've built my professional and personal foundations upon - and I couldn't bear for people to think 'see, it was a phase', as it cheapens the journey I've been on all these years. What advice can you give?
Hansa, 40, Grad Student and Mother-
I just read an article by a man in a similar situation to you and it speaks for itself. Besides that, I seriously doubt that anyone important to you would consider the last 30 years of your life to be a "phase". After all, you're experiencing an expansion of your sexuality, not a negation of your past.
Stephanie, 28, Grad Student
I recommend explaining your feelings to your friends. Anyone who doesn't try to understand probably isn't worth your salt. Your potential identity change is far more common than you might think-- it comes up in our conversation group frequently. Coming out is always difficult, especially for fluid identities. We often find ourselves coming out over and over to people who make assumptions based on past partners. Of course, being true to yourself is way better than being a feigned "gold star"!
Rose, 27, Nonprofit Communications
I suggest starting with one or two of your closest friends, perhaps ones that you know to have a more nuanced understanding of sexuality than just "gay or straight." I think they may respond better than you think. They may be surprised and may have questions but they will accept you. Then move out from there into your wider circle. Along the way there may be some people who don't respond well. You can try to educate them, but if they don't want to listen, and it's too painful for you, it's healthy to distance yourself.
Cameron, 27, Writer and Community Organizer-
Over half of bisexual men once identified as gay. It is people like you who have the power to disprove the “bi now, gay later” rhetoric. As someone who has built their personal/political identity around protecting the rights of people with sexual/gender differences, you should vehemently refuse to be trapped in a closet. Come out! Make it public! Shock people! Show everyone you know that if bisexuality is a bridge, it goes both ways. True queers are free to explore their sexuality at any age and being true to yourself is far more important than what other people might think.