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Welcome to Ask Trevor
Ask Trevor is an online, non-time sensitive question and answer resource for young people with questions surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity. Browse the published letters or submit your own letter.

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Hope you are having a great summer!

Bisexual with a boyfriend.

Question:

I came out as bi while being with my boyfriend. I’ve been with both genders before an I was very sure. And now my boss ( a proud lesbian) keeps telling me that I’m going to be a lesbian too . I’ve been feeling depressed and upset because I love my boyfriend and hate the thought of not having him with me in the future. I’m not sure if its because if these thoughts but lately I haven’t been sexually attracted to any gender and haven’t been turned on by my boyfriend . I don’t know how to over come and accept being both while still being in a good relationship.

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Howdy.  First off, that’s frustrating.  It must have taken a while for you to discover that you’re bi and then come to terms with it.  And then it probably took even more time to debate the risks of coming out as bi right while you’re dating a guy who, for all you know, might not have been cool with that.  After finally becoming confident in your own journey of self-discovery, and after finally becoming so accepting of yourself as bi that you’re willing to tell your boyfriend about it, WHAM!, your boss makes a few little comments to you and throws some of your thoughts right back up into the air.

Your boss’s comments almost certainly have nothing to do with you.  It’s highly unlikely that your boss is carefully considering your particular circumstances, analyzing the way you walk and talk and dress and work, and then coming to some sort of mathematical conclusion that you are destined to be a lesbian.  That can’t be what’s going on here.

What’s going on here is that your boss is stating certain general observations about some gay and lesbian teens, then saying that you must be exactly the same as them.  Think about this: many gay and lesbian teens who grow up under circumstances where everyone assumes they’re straight naturally start to make the same assumption – that they’re straight, even though they’re not.  Once they begin to make little discoveries about their same-sex attractions, they may well begin to consider themselves to be “bi” until they fully discover their true sexual orientation.

Your boss may well have gone through that exact experience, making it the only relevant experience she has on this issue, and it may well be the reason she thinks it must apply to you, too.  As if there’s no such thing as bisexual people or something!  Nonsense.  Simply because some gay and lesbian teens begin their coming out process by describing themselves as bi surely does not mean that all of us are gay or lesbian.  Tons of people settle on the term “bi” for their entire lives.  You may well be one of them, and your boss does not actually have any true, personalized insight into whether you are or not.

Now, it’s not always easy to put labels on our feelings, particularly when they relate to our most basic human instincts and desires.  You’re right in suggesting that sexual attraction is a big component here, but it is also important to realize that describing yourself as “bisexual” does not necessarily mean that you are or ever have been sexually active.  Your sexual orientation comes from deep within you, and it involves more than just physical attraction, but also emotional and romantic attraction.

When you think about the people you like a whole lot, such as your boyfriend, you don’t have to conclude that you are or are not bi simply because you aren’t fantasizing sexually about that person at that particular moment.  You might also be emotionally drawn to that person or otherwise romanticize about being around them, and that, too, might lead you to a conclusion about which label fits you best.  Or you might find that you just don’t like using these simplistic labels at all.  It’s your decision, and you only have to make that decision if you feel like it.

There’s this nifty seven-page PDF called “Bisexuality 101” that you might find helpful.  It offers common questions and answers, perhaps even some that you didn’t even realize you had yourself.  It also provides some useful ideas on how to think about bisexuality issues, plus it has a list of books for further extended reading on all this stuff.  The PDF is here: http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/BisexualityResourcePacket.pdf.

Can we go back to the boss again for a sec?  There’s another issue here to address, and it’s about bosses in general.  You see, bosses are powerful.  What they say always seems to matter a whole lot, especially when they speak to someone less powerful.  You know, employees like us.  If you want, you could ignore the advice you get from a friend, but it’s much harder to ignore advice coming from a boss.  Bosses have authority, credibility, and most importantly, they decide if we get a raise.  We want our bosses to like us.  In short, our boss’s very title – boss – makes everything they tell us seem more worthy of our time and thoughtful attention.  Even when they give us non-work-related advice.  And even when that non-work-related advice regards an issue as complex and personal as our sexuality.

 

Your boss should probably mind her own business, but hey, she’s only human, and she might even think she’s helping in some way.  Maybe she’s just trying to relate.  Even though she might mean well, she’s doing way more talking than thinking here, and her being the boss and all seems to be making you give a lot of time and attention to thinking about what she’s said to you.  Our advice is this: try your best not to take her little comments too seriously.  If the label “bisexual” or “lesbian” or any other label is going to be assigned to you, it’ll because you say so.  Not her.

Definitely keep us updated on AskTrevor.  We love hearing from you.  You can even tell us about specific stories or events to get some feedback as to how things go.  I trust that you already know about LifeLine and TrevorChat.  If you ever feel like you’re being pressured to explain yourself so much that you just can’t take it anymore, message us on TrevorChat or call us at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR.  We’ll talk you through it.

Until we hear from you next, good luck with the boyfriend, and try not to think too much about the boss’s non-work-related comments when you’re not at work.  Or even when you are.

Cheers,

Trevor Staff