Outness with Family- is it different to be out as bi, than gay or lesbian?

When I came out to my mother 3 1/2 years ago, I told her I identified as bi or queer, I never used the word ‘gay’ and corrected her use of the word in reference to me.  I knew things could become more difficult later on if I didn’t start out with the truth.  I wasn’t sure she got it, but decided not to push it too much right away.  Several months later, I was in a relationship, my first relationship-relationship with a woman.  I told my mother.  This is how the conversation went:

me: Mom, I have some exciting news for you!

mom: okay.

me: E and I are dating!

mom: [silence]

me: isn’t that exciting?

mom: [pause] well, I guess so. [long silence]

me: did you have a question, mom?

mom: well, I guess I just don’t believe the whole gay thing with you.

me: well, I’m not gay, I’m bi.

mom: I guess I don’t know what that means

me: it means I can fall in love with someone of any gender.

mom: [long pause] okay, well, the other day when you sent me that email, I was really upset. .. (this email had nothing to do with my sexual orientation, and the conversation just went on from there)

 That was a hard conversation for me, and the last one we really had about my sexual orientation and her questioning it.  I dated E for a year and a half, and we lived together.  My relationship with my parents was tenuous during this time, and when I told them we had broken up and I was moving out, they were practically ecstatic.  Our relationship has been easier since this time.

This leaves me in somewhat of a bind.  If I am dating a man, do I tell them?  Let their imaginations go to that place of marriage, etc?  Do I only tell them if I am dating a woman, and preserve the slight amount of queer identity I have with my family?  I feel like I have already failed myself and my personal beliefs and politics by not telling them about the man I was dating last summer, and now, as I think about seeking out dating women, I feel as though it would be really horrible to tell my parents about it.

And, there is the question of my younger brother’s wedding.  Who should I take? How can I go about not feeling invisible as a queer person, and also not feel like I am lying about who I really like?  It seems like the only way around this is to wear a button, or come out to everyone.  Might be inappropriate and silly to do at a wedding.

Sometimes, I think it would be easier to be a lesbian.  But I am not a lesbian.


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