By SOPHIE STONE.
So your friend has just come out to you as bisexual. Congratulations, you have a brave friend who trusts you enough to tell you things like that. Feel special.
So now what? Well, that’s really up to your friend. At the moment you might be the only person they’ve chosen to tell, or want to tell. If this is the case, respect their wishes! If you tell people when they don’t want you to, you will destroy their trust.
It may seem crazy finding out someone you’ve known this whole time is bi, but it shouldn’t change anything between you and your friend. No matter what someone’s sexuality is, they still have the same personality, the only thing that’s really changed is that your friend has opened up to you about being bisexual.
If you’re planning on ending your friendship with this person just because he or she is bi… well, you’re kind of a terrible person. Soz! Consider volunteering at a charity or something to help reclaim some of your absent soul.
There’s a fair bit of stigma around being bisexual, as many people appear to believe that it doesn’t exist, that you are either straight, or homosexual. This is a complete myth: there are far more sexualities than the binary straight or gay.
While it can be difficult for some people to understand this, that is no excuse to deny the existence of bisexuals.
If your first thought is that your friend can’t be bi, that he or she must either be gay or straight, consider doing some research into bisexuality. Just because your friend likes pancakes, doesn’t mean they can’t like donuts, or any other sweet food… OK, yes, people are more complex than food, but still. This terrible analogy sums up bisexuality, or at least in the sense that liking a woman doesn’t prevent you from liking a man, etc.
Maybe you’re a really cool, supportive friend. Nice, bi-five! However, maybe you’ve taken this a step too far. What do I mean by this?
If you’ve offered support, awesome. If you’re trying to set your friend up with another bisexual behind his/her back and have tattooed the bi flag onto your chest, you’ve probably overdone it. At least you can rip apart your shirt like Superman and confuse the hell out of everyone (most people won’t recognise the flag) though you might get a knowing wink from bisexuals scattered around, so that’s cool.
Least of all, don’t make fun of your friend. If he/she knew and chose to keep it from people for a while, there was probably dread involved in coming out to you, but the bravery shone through and he/she did it anyway. If your friend hasn’t known for long and is still figuring things out, it’s a confusing time.
It’s hard enough with friends supporting you, let alone without anyone.
Here is a list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to help clarify what to do in this situation.
Ask whether your friend wants to keep it under wraps or not.
Let your friend know you care no matter what, and that you’ll be supportive.
Offer to go with your friend to Rainbow Youth or another local organisation which provides information and support.
Ask if your friend is ‘faking it’, or cast doubt.
Tell everyone you know.
Ask which gender your friend ‘prefers’.
Stop being a friend.
Try to set your friend up with other bi people without discussing it first.
Make fun of your friend.
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