By Mandy Lewis, customer service advisor
I had my first serious crush on a woman many moons and camel rides ago in 1983 when I was 18 and in the army. I didn’t do anything about it; just admired from afar. But, as things do when you’re young, that faded and I later fell in love with a man, who went on to become my husband. I put the crush down to ‘one of those things’. I continued to be attracted to both men and women (to have both my husband and myself admire an attractive woman could be quite funny at times). While I didn’t see anything wrong with that, I became increasingly aware that I wasn’t sure how those around me would feel, so I put that particular conversation starter to one side.
I’d been divorced for several years when, in 2010, I fell ill. During my recovery I met a woman online and eventually, we met up in person and decided to make a go of things. I told my immediate family, but it was something of a non-event. My children didn’t mind, so long as I was happy and others felt the same. I have been very lucky.
Thirty years on from my first crush I still feel that my bisexuality is a non-issue, but I have learned that it’s not the same for everyone.
I have met with very little outright negativity from others.
On one occasion I was told that I was just greedy and on another, a gay man said he didn’t believe in bisexuality; we simply hadn’t made our minds up yet. I’ve also learned not to grind my teeth when I’m considered to be a lesbian if I’m in a relationship with a woman and straight if I’m with a man. I have, however, seen a lack of acceptance and understanding directed towards others, which has made me conscious of how lucky I’ve been and determined to do what I can, to increase awareness and support for those who have not been so blessed. You may have noticed that I don’t use the word tolerance as I dislike it with a passion; I have no desire to be tolerated, grudgingly or otherwise.
The world has changed from when I first realised I might be different, but if you can surround yourself with a supportive network of people, be they family, friends or support agencies, then do it. I do understand that there may be many reasons why it could be difficult but you can only truly be happy when you can be yourself.