I started questioning my sexual orientation when I was 15 years old. When I came out to my mom as a bisexual, she said it was just a phase. Since I had a serious boyfriend at that time, I sort of forgot about my bisexuality and didn’t think about it for years, until now at age 20. I noticed that I was pushing women (my own gender) out of my life and it got me wondering whether I was doing so because I like them and that scares me.
I decided to go to the local LGBT Center – thank God we have one in my small city (Kherson, Ukraine). I met lots of lesbian girls and a few days ago, they asked me to hang out and play guitar with them. It was fun and I even met a girl who I liked. As the evening wore on, we were already sitting closer to each other and holding hands. I kissed her a lot and we danced slowly…it felt great.
But the next day when we went for a walk, it was very different. I had all of these thoughts in my mind, imagining myself hugging and kissing her, but I couldn’t make a move at all.
Is it possible that I was just drunk that night and that’s what caused my behavior? Or maybe I am so afraid of my feelings that I freeze up any time I think about touching her? She and I are pretty different and don’t have things to talk about, which makes it difficult for me to spend time with her.
I suspect that you’re dealing with internalized homophobia. That’s when you take all of the anti-LGBT messages that society – school, church, the media, etc. – has pounded into your head for your entire life and you believe them.
Experts say that internalized homophobia is like Stockholm Syndrome. Named after the city where a bank robbery took place in the 1970s, this syndrome describes the mindset that drove the robbery hostages to defend, identify with and admire their captors.
Like Stockholm Syndrome, internalized homophobia is a type of self-preservation. If you grow up hearing from all sides that non-straight feelings and behavior are only for bad people, you try as hard as you can not to be “bad” in the eyes of your friends and family.
I want you to give yourself a major pat on the back for recognizing that you might be avoiding women due to fear of underlying feelings for them. That was some excellent insight. But you didn’t stop there; you plucked up your courage and went to the LGBT Center. And then you partied with a girl you liked! Lera, you’re doing a fantastic job finding out who you are and what you like.
Keep going to the Center and hanging out with new friends. If you’re not ready to kiss other women yet, that’s OK. Please don’t feel like you have to rush into anything. It sounds like this one isn’t the girl for you but maybe you’ll want to kiss someone you have more in common with. As for figuring out how you really feel, see if there’s a coming out group at the center. You might also ask the staff if they can recommend a bi-friendly therapist who will help you with coming out.
Are you a bi lady in need of some good advice? Write to Tiggy Upland at firstname.lastname@example.org. This advice column is for entertainment purposes only. The columnist reserves the right to edit the letters for any reason. Find more Ask Tiggy on www.biresource.net.