Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash

I’m a member of the LGBTQ community, specifically identifying as bisexual. Thus far, in my life, having this lifestyle and this moniker have brought me very little. When you don’t specifically fit somewhere, you don’t fit anywhere. I’ve been the target for disparaging remarks from both the gay and straight communities. I’ve been unfairly judged and ostracized by romantic partners. I’ve been working through a LTR breakup recently, and I learned that my partner’s step-mother considered my bisexuality to be “selfish.” I’ve had partners start crying on the phone when they’ve learned this about it. I’ve had accusatory fingers pointed at me from family members.

Its no wonder I didn’t come out until I was in my 30s.

Despite all of the negativity I’ve faced, I choose to remain strong in the face of my judges and juries. Some time ago, much like with my mental health, I decided to refuse to be silent about who I am. I want to put away the shame that I’ve been carrying for being attracted to men and women. I want to be a model for other people trying to come out. I want to stand proud, and wave my banner as hard as I can.

To date, the most positive experience I’ve had in regards to my bisexuality has been enrolling at Flatiron School. While I was perusing their website getting and getting excited about applying, I found that they were very interested in offering financial help to underrepresented communities in the coding field. All of a sudden, my sexual orientation was being viewed as a commodity, and not a detriment.

I spoke with my admissions officer after being accepted into the program, and the conversation went something like this.

Me: “I wanted to ask you about your scholarship opportunities… I noticed that you have a scholarship specifically pointed towards LGBT…”

Officer: “Thats wonderful! I’d love to submit this to the board for review. Just fill out this quick survey and we’ll let you know!”

Whoa.

This is the first time where I’ve identified my sexuality to someone and not felt objectified or sexualized. I heard from my admissions officer not two days later, saying I had been approved for the scholarship. I was told that all the good words my officer had put in for me had made this decision a no-brainer.

Wow, Flatiron. Just wow. Before school has even begun you’ve made me feel fully accepted, intelligent, and capable. The rewards from this program have started and I haven’t even started.

I was recently privy to a survey conducted by Stack Overflow, that is basically a giant data cull about the state of coding today. You can check it out here. I found the disparity between the straight/gay community to be substantial. Currently bisexuals represent around 6% of coders worldwide. This means that me, as well as my brothers, sisters, theys, thems, are vastly underrepresented, and the models that we build on today are not meant for us. I hope to change this.

As we push forward in our programming education, the thing that is constantly on my mind is “What can I do for my community?” I’m very privileged being a white cis male, and I’m very privileged to be able to attend a school like Flatiron. I intended to pay that privilege forward and help lend a voice to those in my community who do not have one.

What can I do to help someone who feels alone? What can I do to provide community to someone living in a small rural town, where community doesn’t exist? What killer app hasn’t been made for someone like me? How does my life differ from everyone else’s, and how can I celebrate that?

So many questions that I hope to help answer, well, in about 3 months. For the time being, all I need to get through is project week in mod 1. In the meantime, never forget that I am a person. Mislabeling me is hurtful, as it makes me feel like I don’t matter enough to have your attention. “Half-gay” is not a thing. It’s also hurtful. I’m not “half-gay”, I’m fully bisexual. I’m not over-sexualized or promiscuous. I probably have higher standards for who I associate with in that regard than you do. And… my heart is on my sleeve. It is now, and always will be. Being bisexual has aided me in being able to love with my whole heart. Every little bit. For better or worse. And despite all the pain and trauma that I have faced in my past, and my present, I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

I am .bi

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