So your partner came out to you

Because of my visibility in the Christian community as a bisexual person of faith, I’ve had friends, family members, and strangers confide in me. After watching a Canadian film on Netflix called Almost Adults, I was finally given the words to some feelings I’ve had for a long time.

The general plot summary of Almost Adults is as follows:

Two 22-year-old best friends, both women, are living together and trying to navigate the mess that is life. Cassie breaks up with her long time beaux Matthew at the start of the film and turns to her best friend since childhood Mack (Mackenzie). Mack is navigating how to come out to her friends and family as a lesbian, and let’s just say it’s a bit bumpier than expected. It’s a light hearted, but true to life, look at what it’s like to achieve a new normal.

The part I want to highlight is when Cassie is talking to her GBF (gay best friend) Levi. She talks about how she feels hurt, lied to, and a little stupid for not being told sooner–and for not recognizing it herself. Levi says something rather poignant that is good to remember if you’re in a similar position. He says, “Nothing’s changed. She’s still the same person.” Cassie says, “So now she’s gay.” Levi’s reply is brilliant and beautiful, “She was always gay.”

If someone you care about just told you they are other than straight, they are trans, they are asexual, bisexual, pansexual or whatever; it’s important to remember that they are the same person. They are the person who makes you laugh and smile, who’s jokes make you groan, who you’ve shared many inside jokes with.

If anything, they’ve let you in deeper.

It might feel like they’ve kept you at a distance, like this is out of the blue, or like you want to ask a million questions. My unsolicited advice is to let it sit for a while, carry on loving them, do something that you know you’ll both enjoy and revisit the topic after you’ve had sometime to examine why you feel what you do.

This week, I was placed in the unfortunate position of feeling obligated to explain my sexuality to someone who cares about me. I felt like my life was not valid, like I was not valid. After all, a heterosexual person isn’t required to explain how they know they’re interested in the opposite gender, they don’t have to have an intricate grasp of theological and sociological theories to prove that they are not broken. When a person comes out to you, asking them questions can be very damaging. They are in an incredibly vulnerable place and the only thing they need is reassurance.

Thank them for being vulnerable. Acknowledge that it was likely terrifying to say anything in the first place. Ask them how you can be supportive. There’s a time for talking about you and your feelings, but right now isn’t it.

Find somewhere to get personal support. GLAAD offers many resources and does as well.

Above all, remember why you love them. All of those reasons are still there, it’s the exact same person it was five minutes before they told you.

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