BiSexual Health Awareness Month
March month is Bi Health Awareness Month. Created out of a need for awareness about the bi, pansexual, fluid and queer communities social, economic and health disparities. At Free Mom Hugs, we hope to provide resources, stories and inspiration to make the world kinder and safer for our Bisexual family and friends.
We are so fortunate to have members of the LGBTQIA+ community serve as volunteers and state leaders. Meet Cammeron Kaiser, one of our outstanding Oklahoma leaders who also identifies as Bisexual. We are so grateful for her story as we to continue the mission of Free Mom Hugs.
To empower the world to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community through visibility, education and conversations.
Growing up in the bible belt having attended a baptist church since the day I was born, instilled a massive amount of internalized homophobia in me. For reference, at 3 months old, I was baby Jesus in the Christmas pageant. I also went to the Christian school that was housed inside the church. The church/school I attended for around 30 years did not advertise conversion therapy, but it was (and still is) happening. Those of us who were buried deep in the closet were told things like “just because you think a girl is pretty doesn’t mean you’re attracted to her” and “we can all appreciate someone of the same sex who is attractive.” What they were telling me and what I was feeling inside did not match. What I learned was that something was inherently wrong with me and I needed to change or hide forever.
I remember specifically one girl in school who I could hardly even look at when we passed each other in the hall. I’d forget my own name and my face would turned red. The whole time I’d repeat the words in my head “it’s okay if you think she’s pretty, that’s all it is. Don’t take it any further.” It was a constant battle between my heart and my indoctrination. It was agonizing. I was friends with the entire LGBTQIA+ community in my high school and I was so happy for all of them. So why was I so conflicted within myself? Why was I not allowed to be happy for me as well? This would turn into a shame spiral followed by a frenzy of earning my place. If I was so ugly inside, I had to make up for that in my actions. I did not want anyone to see the ugliness that was just beneath the surface. This manifested as overcompensation. Volunteer for the most things! Make the best grades! Never break any rules! This overachieving, impossible-to-reach goal continued into my adult life.
I met a wonderful man in high school and we married the summer after graduation at 18. We had our first child at 19 and then went on to have two more children. I honestly thought hiding in a heteronormative relationship meant the “other” side of me was gone for good and I was home free. I had close friends who were in heteronormative relationships coming out as bi-sexual and I thought to myself “What is the point? You are married to a man and you sound like you want attention.” I was still fighting my own internalized homophobia. I later reached out to these friends and thanked them for showing courage and saying the words publicly. I didn’t realize the importance of their words at the time. One day my youngest child sent me an article about something called “comphet” and said I needed to read it. According to Wikipedia “Compulsory heterosexuality often shortened to comphet, is the theory that heterosexuality is assumed and enforced upon people by a patriarchal and heteronormative society. The term was popularized by Adrienne Rich in her 1980 essay titled “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.” This article was eye-opening for me. This phenomenon explains why so many marriages end in divorce. You are told this is the way you are supposed to be, you follow the rules, and one day you wake up and realize this is not the way it is. I discussed this with my therapist at length. It was time for me to stop denying such a big part of who I am.
Bisexuality often gets erased due to the heteronormative society we have been raised in. I have to remind myself often that I am not a fraud and my sexuality is valid even if I am in a relationship with a man. I often wonder about my younger self before I met my husband. I was in such turmoil covering up who I really was and who I really needed to be. I was denying my true self the chance to live! When I finally decided to acknowledge this important part of me, I did so quietly at first. I did not want people to think I was looking for attention or responding to me the way I responded to others. I told a few close friends whom I trusted. I told my children who responded, “Yeah, we know.” I then decided to make the big reveal to the world on our Free Mom Hugs OK state page with my fearless co-leader for Bisexuality Awareness Month. I want others who may have grown up with fear and shame to realize there is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. I want others who are in a hetero relationship to know they are not frauds and their sexuality is valid no matter who their partner is at the time.
The weight that has been lifted from my heart is enormous. There is, and never was, anything wrong with me. That is a powerful feeling.
For more information, resources or to get involved, join us at freemomhugs.org.