For someone as touchy about being confined to cramped quarters as I am, coming out of the closet and telling my husband that I am a bisexual last year seemed like it would be a pretty freeing experience. So it was, for about five minutes.
Don’t get me wrong. My husband was incredible about the whole thing. He’d had some suspicions all along, as had a good number of my friends as I would later find out. The problem was never him… it just feels like it’s almost everyone else.
When people in today’s society think you’re straight, well, then for them there’s really not much to think about. I mean, sure there’s the common soap opera gossip of what man or woman the person is currently dating, but there don’t seem to be a lot of common assumptions of how a straight person lived other than, obviously, they are attracted to people of the opposite sex. End of story.
I thought it would be just as cut and dried when it came to my own bisexuality.
I mean, when you break down the word, quite clearly bisexual means I’m attracted to both sexes. End of story, right? I thought so. But no, before I knew what had hit me I was getting it from all sides. Many straight and gay friends and family were in shock, horror and disbelief. Before long, I was termed a “swinger,” a name I know many claim for themselves, but one that does not apply to me. You see, I’m monogamous. It’s me, my husband, and that’s all there is to it. Sure, I’ve been in relationships with women in the past but, once I met my husband, I fell in love with him and made the decision that it was going to be him and only him from then on.
Seems like an alright decision, right? Well, I’m still in a bad spot. The straight and gay people who’ve expressed problems with my sexuality say that in order to be bisexual it’s quite clear that I must be with both a man and a woman, otherwise I’m not really bisexual, but rather straight. And yet I’m still for some unknown reason equally attracted to both sexes? Right, that makes perfect sense. And the bisexuals I talked to — I was sure they would be all cool with me. I am, after all, one of them. Not that simple. When I finally started meeting other bisexuals I found that most of them were into the lifestyle of having multiple partners — often all at once.
Now, don’t get me wrong, many of these people were wonderfully nice human beings; very compassionate and understanding, even welcoming. However, many of them started to ask me a common question, “If you’re not with a man and a woman, what’s the point of you being bisexual?” Point? I wasn’t aware that my sexuality was supposed to have a point. I mean, when God created me, He just made me attracted to men and women, like he makes lesbians attracted to women, gay men attracted to men, and straight people attracted to the opposite sex. I’ve always felt that the point of my sexuality, if it has to have one, is love; not polyamory or polygamy.
So my poor claustrophobic nerves just went from a closet to a box. Not really moving up in the world of freedom. Line of thinking: I’m a bisexual, therefore I must have multiple partners. Not so. I’m happy with who I am, happy with the relationship I’m in and, while I respect decisions others make as well, their decisions don’t have to be the same as mine.
Now that I think of it, I think I really do believe that there is a point to my sexuality after all. I just recently remembered the story in the Bible where Jesus was being asked which of a blind man’s parents sinned in order that he became blind. Jesus answer, essentially, was that the reason the man was born blind was not because of any sin, but rather so that the love of God could be made perfect in that person, and God’s presence could be known.
Quite frankly, I think it’s the same with my bisexuality. It’s not a sin, and not because of any sin. I believe that the reason I am bisexual, and the reason that I am monogamous, isn’t because bisexuality is better or easier than any other orientation or because being monogamous makes me more loved by God than any of my polygamous friends. Instead, I was made the way I was so that God’s glory could shine through my life. And maybe, just maybe, my life will help encourage others in their own walks with God. That is my prayer.
Church planter, evangelist, ally and California native Katharine Leigh (Clark) Royal was educated at Azusa Pacific University, where she met her husband, Rev. Micah Royal, with whom she founded ministries in both California and his native North Carolina, to which they eventually relocated and where she continued active and enthusiastic ministries including an anti-bullying initiative called Operation Bullyhorn.