When Ylva asked me if I’d do a guest blog for Pride month talking about my experiences as a bisexual woman, I was thrilled they’d thought of me. It only took half a second before I knew I couldn’t talk about my bisexuality without also talking about how pivotal lesfic or f/f books have been in my journey.
So closeted, even I didn’t know I was queer
I grew up in a conservative Evangelical Christian home where bisexuality and queerness in general wasn’t an option. It was something other people did—definitely not me or any of the people around me. Besides, I was attracted to enough boys that I could ignore the feeling in my stomach when I saw an attractive girl or woman. And because it was the 90s and I was growing up in the purity culture movement, I wasn’t allowed to have sexual thoughts about anyone anyway, regardless of their gender. Instead, I was supposed to focus on holiness and nothing else.
Fast forward almost fifteen years and a funny thing happened when I was pregnant with my oldest. I discovered lesbian romance, thanks to this Jezebel listicle. I devoured every book on it except the last two, starting with And Playing the Role of Herself by K.E. Lane. Then I kept reading and soon I found I was only reading f/f romance and wasn’t picking up m/f romances anymore, even by beloved authors. Finally, my husband sat me down and said the one thing I never knew I needed to hear: “Do you think you might be bisexual? Because if you are, it’s okay, and you won’t go to hell.”
I might have been lonely, but at least had my books
That conversation with Neil kicked off one of the most important times of my life. I could finally acknowledge—even just to myself at first—that yes, I am bisexual. I’m attracted to more than one gender, I always have been, and there’s a damn good chance I always will be. Accepting my bisexuality was liberating and terrifying all at the same time because I had to reevaluate the lenses I’d been using to look at my life and the world around me and I had to learn a whole new relationship with myself.
While it was also a lonely time, because I didn’t really have any other queer people in my life who I could talk to, I did have books. Books by Melissa Brayden, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Jae, Meghan O’Brien, Karin Kallmaker, Gun Brooke, Radclyffe, and so many other amazing authors. I also started following other lesfic readers on Goodreads and some reviewers on Twitter because I wanted to know which books were worth checking out. Everything changed again, thanks to one little tweet.
The tweet that rocked my world
After getting especially excited about a book, I tweeted Sheena Lemos Eberson, founder of The Lesbian Review, to tell her that she should review it. She responded that *I* should review it for the site instead. That one interaction led to me becoming a regular reviewer at TLR three and a half years ago, which led me to find some of my closest friends today—queer women who are as passionate about reading as I am. All of a sudden I wasn’t alone in a sea of straight people anymore and, even better, I had people I could fangirl about books with.
Finding community hasn’t been without its challenges. Occasionally an author or reader has questioned whether I should be reviewing lesfic or allowed in lesfic circles because I’m a bisexual woman married to a man, but I’ve had far more defenders than detractors. I’ve been heartened to see the many authors and readers who put their foot down when they see it (whether directed at me or other bisexual people) and say biphobia isn’t something they’ll stand for.
My happily ever after
In a lot of personal ways, acknowledging, understanding, and accepting my queerness changed everything and nothing all at the same time. Thankfully I was married to the right partner when I was figuring things out, because my husband was 100% supportive of me throughout the whole journey. In fact, he continues to be my biggest champion, including supporting everything I do as a lesfic reviewer and a podcaster. I will always be grateful to him for having the courage to ask me if I’m bisexual, because I might never have been able to do it on my own.
I’m equally grateful to all of the amazing people in our reading and writing community who have also shown me love. Every day you make it clear I’m not alone and my life is better for it. I’m a woman, a wife, a mom, a marketer by trade, a reviewer and podcaster on the side, and underpinning it all, I’m a happy, proud bisexual woman. Thanks for embracing me.
Bio: Tara Scott reads a lot of f/f fiction. You can catch her regularly reviewing at The Lesbian Review and Lambda Literary, with the occasional guest review going up at Smart Bitches Trashy Books. You can also hear Tara talk about lesbian fiction with authors and other reviewers on her podcast Les Do Books. Hit her up for reading recommendations on Twitter (@taramdscott).
That was fucking beautiful. You’re lucky to be married to such an understanding husband. I will always support you and I’ll always have your back because it’s the decent thing to do. Being married to a man doesn’t make you any less queer.
Bi is bi. It doesn’t mean bi until you have a partner then straight or gay based on their gender. If anyone doesn’t get that they deserve to be called out. I am glad you have had such awesome and supportive people in your life. And I love your reviews.
What a beautiful open article you wrote about yourself.
What a great post. I‘m happy you found your place in the lesfic/WLW fiction community!
You are amazing and your story is so inspiring to so many! You are one of my favourite people on this community. Rach xxx
In so many ways this is my own story so a big thank you Tara.
Tara, thank you for your honesty and for all the great work you do. I know this will give other bi women inspiration to be out in our community. Bravo
Your reviews and your podcast were very instrumental in helping me through big changes in my life. So Thank You ! Thanks for being true to yourself.
And definitely my heartfelt thanks to your husband, who seems to be a great soul.
Holy sh!t. Thanks for sharing b/c this is (was) so entirely me. Feeling so seen right now.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful self through your post today!
Thanks, Tara for sharing this. No wonder you got hooked with lesfic, that is a great list of books, many of them my top favourites. Love your podcasts and reviews, keep up the great work!
Rock on, Tara! Thanks for this, and for sharing your story.
Thank you so much everyone for your kind words. It’s exactly this kind of support that makes me love our community so much!
Thank you for writing this. I too am a queer woman happily married to a wonderful man. It helps so much knowing others like me are out there and accepted in the queer community.
Your comments are wonderful. I struggled with understanding bi-people when I came out. I also grew up in the 60s but not on the coasts. I was too young for activism and rebellion but old enough to see the divides. It look a while for me to realize that nothing is a binary choice except living and dying. You love who you love. And it is love. I have always identified as lesbian but I now realize there are so many nuances that learning has become my norm.
Thank you for this powerful expression of your loving.
You rock Tara and so does your husband. You just keep doing you. You’ve got my support.
Thanks for writing this Tara! I, too, feel so seen after reading this. I knew I couldn’t be the only one out there! It’s been so great to connect with you occasionally on Twitter and know that I’m not alone in my love for lesfic as a bi woman married to an awesome guy. 🙂
Thank you for writing this beautiful piece, (as well as your many insightful reviews.) I genuinely had tears in my eyes finishing it at the depth of emotion. Serious high five to Neil for being a wonderful husband. 🙂