Five basic ways to be supportive
of someone who's coming out as bi
Accept bisexuality as a valid choice of identity.
Don't assume that they are on their way to coming out as lesbian or gay.
Don't tell them they should be choosing between straight or gay.
Let them know that they can choose to identify as bi.
Help them to separate out their real, personal situation
from the stereotypes of bisexuality.
Much of the difficulty that faces a bi person coming out is simply dealing with all the misleading information they may have accepted and internalised. They need to know that in fact...
- some bi people are happily monogamous
- some bi people are happily polyamorous (polyamory = non-monogamy with integrity)
- different people find different solutions to making their relationships work
- you don't have to have exactly the same feelings for men and women to call yourself bi
- you don't have to go only by your history - feelings count too
- there are many many different ways of being bisexual
- it doesn't mean they are greedy, confused, sex mad, selling out, or somehow wrong.
Help them to recognise and deal with homophobia in mainstream culture.
If they're coming from a straight background, this may be new to them, and they will need help in dealing with homophobia as they would if they were coming out as lesbian or gay.
Help them to recognise and deal with biphobia in
lesbian and gay culture.
If they previously identified as lesbian or gay, they will probably have internalised lesbian & gay culture's prejudice and stereotypes about what it means to be bisexual. They may be scared to come out to their lesbian and gay friends as bisexual. They may fear losing the community that's supported them in dealing with homophobia in the past.
Put them in touch with other bi people.
Although the self-identified out-bi "community" is small compared to what's available for lesbians and gay men, there is enough there to make a huge difference to someone just coming out as bi. At the very least, let them know what there is. (See
UK bi resources page and
for a few starter links.) If possible, encourage them and support them in making contact.
Everyone finds their own answers. But if you can supply these five things you will have done an enormous amount to support someone coming out as bi.