Would you come out as a Bi in school?


Share this post:

Dear Brunch Bunch,

Would you come out as a Bi in school? Because I am afraid my peers would look at me differently.  



Dear GCB,

First of all, thank you so much for reaching out to us. You asked us what we would do if we identified as bisexual, but in all honesty, as none of the team identify as such, we would not want to misrepresent or reduce your range of considerations by speaking as if we have personal experience. Neither do we want to lay out only one way of navigating this topic as everyone’s priorities, circumstances, and life goals are different. 

We understand how difficult it can be to come out, especially since our society is still a largely conservative one. Before you get overwhelmed by this decision, try taking it step-by-step. First, who do you want to come out to and what is your reason for considering it in the first place? Based on your question, it seems that you are uncertain about whether you should come out—but other than the fear of your peers viewing you differently, are there any other reasons for your hesitation? Knowing these reasons can help determine whether or not you do come out.  

We at the Brunch Bunch have had friends who have casually let slip that they had a crush on someone of the same sex in a conversation with acquaintances, and also others who’d rather only tell their close friends. And this had to do with what their goals were in coming out. We’re not saying you need to have a goal per se, but the outcome you wish to achieve by disclosing this highly personal information could help guide the way you go about doing it. For example, our friend Sally* decided to just publicise her relationship with her girlfriend through an Instagram post, as she no longer wished to hide the truth. However, another of our friends, Meagan*, had a markedly different coming out process. She had to sort through who from her social circle she would come out to because she wasn’t sure if all of them would be open-minded. Eventually, she decided to come out only to those friends she was sure would understand, and not to the one friend whose reaction she was unsure of. This was because Meagan only wished to be able to confide in a few people at that time. By coming out selectively, she was able to achieve the closeness and trust she craved for with a group of friends who would be understanding, and prevent risking her relationship with a friend who might not react positively. 

But these are just two different ways to come out. Your process, if you wish to go through with it, should be specific to you and your goals. Find out your reasons for wanting to come out to your friends and what prevents you from doing it. As much as we wish we could give you a clear-cut answer, everyone’s situation is unique to them and thus you yourself have to decide the path you are most comfortable with.

Self-awareness is key in how you come to identify yourself. But, you don’t have to define your identity solely by your sexual orientation. Our identities can come from many different places—our values, our religions, our ethnicities, our families, our hobbies and passions, our friends, our employment, our interests, and yes, our sexual orientations—and these all play a part in defining us. 

But this, of course, leads us to a huge question. The one you arrived at: when a clash arises between all of these things that make up your identity, how do you resolve it? 

Reconciling Identity with Friendships 

In the same vein of understanding yourself, you may want to start making mental notes when you’re with your friends that will help you understand who they are. What do they talk about, what are their attitudes and stances on certain topics, how opinionated are they? If you came out, who would be supportive and who would be against it? Think through this carefully, based on what you know of your friends and your interactions with them. 

If you feel uncertain of the support from your friends should you come out to them, you can always test the waters by subtly bringing up topics related to gender identity and sexual orientation—how they react could be a good gauge of their response to you coming out. There are many ways to do this implicitly: you can watch a movie or a show with LGBTQ+ representation together and casually bring up the topic, or bring up some book or news you’ve read on the topic and see how they respond. Usually, it’s when people don’t know that their reactions are being monitored that they give their most honest opinion. Plus, testing their reactions through such implicit methods can take the pressure away from you, and make it a low-cost interaction from which you can easily choose your next steps. 

Admittedly, the factor of uncertainty in this is huge. A person could very easily think of themselves as liberal and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, but if confronted with a friend who is not heterosexual, they may act differently. As such, we do have to warn you to be careful. Conversely, they may also look at you more sympathetically than at fictional characters with whom they have no personal relationships, and whose feelings they cannot hurt. After all, these people are your friends. 

But even if your friends’ reactions to the topic isn’t what you wanted, it’s important to remember that they do care about you, and are often likely to listen if you patiently explain it to them. A lot of negative perceptions surrounding non-heterosexual orientations stem from miscommunication or a lack of understanding. If your friends mean a lot to you, then it may be worth sitting down with them to have a respectful discourse on different sexualities. This doesn’t mean to answer any invasive questions beyond your comfort zone or put up with rudeness or insensitivity. It is not your responsibility to educate your friends, we are merely suggesting that if any negative reactions affect you deeply then it may be beneficial to chat with them further about the topic and help them understand your perspective. Most importantly, convey to them that it doesn’t change who you are. Just as being straight doesn’t define someone, being bisexual shouldn’t either. However, if even your attempts to communicate with them bear no fruit, then it may be time to let go of the friendship. 

But whether you choose to tell them or not, and however it turns out if you do, remember that their reactions are not your responsibility. You can never truly predict how someone is going to react even if you did test the waters and speak to them exhaustively about it. Real life may end up being markedly different from what you expected. So while preparing for the conversation is important, understand that there’s only so much you can do, and whatever the outcome, you are not to blame.  

Choosing Your Own Route

Coming out has often been glorified as a way to help improve one’s sense of identity, but it is not for everyone, especially if you are not ready for it. If you are afraid of how your peers will look at you differently if you do come out, and if you are truly uncomfortable with it, don’t feel pressured to come out. Try to figure out if your fear of your peers looking at you differently outweighs the sacrifices you make in hiding away parts of yourself when you are keeping your sexual orientation a secret from them. If that fear weighs heavily on you, it may be best to delay your coming out until you are sure you can handle a reaction that you weren’t hoping for. While you cannot control your sexual orientation, you have control over your actions, and it is up to you to decide if coming out is important enough for you.

However, it also really depends on your priorities, and the fact that you asked this question in the first place seems to us like you are keen, or seriously considering, coming out. Indeed, should the benefits of coming out outweigh the fear, then it can be something worth doing. Conversely, if you do come out and your friends are unsupportive, you’re probably better off without them. 

But regardless of how your current friends react, there is always an opportunity to find friends with whom you will be sure to be accepted, such as LGBTQ+ communities—be it in real life or through the Internet (of course, be careful as well!). There are many youth-specific LGBTQ+ communities out there which you can join: The Bi+ Collective SG, Pink Dot, Prout, Inter-University LGBT Network, and Sayoni, to name a few. Talking to others who have had similar experiences as you do can help as a great support system, and you can perhaps gain more insight into how to plan your next course of action. 

Coming out is a significant event and it can possibly be life-changing as well, so as mentioned earlier, do contemplate it seriously, weigh your options, and choose what you feel is truly best for you. 

Wishing you all the best,

The Brunch Bunch

*name changed to protect identity 

The Brunch Bunch is a student-led advice column for information and entertainment. The column is in no way meant to or supposed to substitute professional help. Questions regarding medical conditions or requiring professional help must always be sought from professionals.