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Articles tagged with: AIDS

Jul18

My coming out story: realizing my bisexual identity

Tuesday, 18 July 2017 Written by // Joshua Middleton Categories // Social Media, Gay Men, Youth, Mental Health, Health, International , Living with HIV, Media, Joshua Middleton

Joshua Middleton is now out as bisexual and feeling good about it. Here Joshua explains how he got to this point.

My coming out story: realizing my bisexual identity

Yes you read the title correctly; this is my coming out story. I have recently come to the realization and acceptance that I am indeed bisexual and I’m excited to share this new part of my life with all of you.

For years I have had both romantic, sexual feelings, and experiences with those of the same and opposite sex. Up until this moment I have identified as heterosexual because I was still in the process of exploration, discovery, and acceptance of what these feelings and experiences meant to my own life. I believe sexuality is fluid and evolving on a spectrum but regardless where anyone views themselves on that spectrum or how long it takes for someone to reach that point of realization and acceptance of one’s sexuality, we all deserve love and respect no matter who we love.

Through years of HIV advocacy I have grown closer and closer to the LGBTQ community and always have considered myself an ally. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized I too am a part of the LGBTQ community. For so long I attempted to suppress my feelings and experiences which I believe greatly contributed to my ongoing battle with depression. Despite my strong outer appearance this battle got to the point of contemplating suicide many times. Fear overtook me as I imagined the stigma and discrimination I could possibly face for coming to terms with my conflicted feelings I’ve felt for so long. Because of this, I could never open up and have a relationship with a man but the fact is I have the capacity to have romantic and sexual feelings for both sexes and I’m excited to have now realized and accepted my sexuality so I can fully express myself. I am also happy that I did not become another suicide statistic, a continuous health issue amongst LGBT youth. Rather I was able to hang on and pull through ultimately allowing me to reach the moment I am at in my life now.

"I’ve grown in my spirituality and a true understanding of my God and that He truly loves me for who I am and despite whom I end up falling in love with."

It’s been a hard process for me to come out and come to terms with the feelings for both sexes. The fact I come from an ultra conservative Christian home didn’t make things any easier. Furthermore, the traditional religious teachings of my religion made it even harder, I was in an internal battle with myself. However, since then I’ve grown in my spirituality and a true understanding of my God and that He truly loves me for who I am and despite whom I end up falling in love with.

For years only one person close to me has known the feelings that I was having and respected my journey enough to not state publicly what is a very private and intimate matter in my life. However, recently I felt like these feelings inside were becoming stronger and stronger, they could no longer be ignored or pushed to the side.

I then proceeded to tell a person I consider my mentor, she’s like a sister to me; many of you know her and that is Maria Mejia. She was the first one I reached out to when I was diagnosed with HIV. I felt I could trust her and she really helped reassure me that it is ok to feel what I was feeling, above all she reminded me that I have to put my happiness above all. I couldn’t continue to sacrifice how I felt inside to please others at the cost of my own happiness. Following the conversation with Maria I shared with fellow administrators in the two HIV support groups I help moderate. And after that was the biggest moment of all, telling my family and friends.

It was the moment I feared for so long. Despite not knowing what these feelings and experiences meant before and barely coming to terms with my sexual identity, it was nerve racking. My parents never knew about these feelings or experiences and I was afraid of what they might think. Fortunately, both of my parents, all of my family, and my friends have been very accepting and I look forward to your support as well as I embark on this new chapter of my life.

Since coming out and meeting others who identified as bisexual at the time over the years I’ve also realized the high levels of discrimination against bisexuals, both from the hetero and LGBTQ community. I’d like to clarify: I am not greedy, a cheater, a liar, an attention seeker, a ‘promiscuous’ person, incapable of maintaining a long term relationship, going through a phase/confused, or undecided. I’m simply Josh. I’m bisexual, and I’m ok with that. I am not the poster child of the bisexual community but I do hope that my experience will help others in their process of coming out.

It’s finally time for me to express my feelings of how I feel inside. My sexuality doesn’t change who I am or my goals in aspirations in life. On the contrary, this new chapter in my life is simply an expansion of my story and one that I want to share with all of you because I feel it’s important that you fully know me and what I’ve come to learn about myself as I walk through this journey of life. In the near future I’ll be hosting a FB live to discuss this new chapter of my life further and to answer any questions you may have. Follow me on FB at facebook.com/pozitivehope for more details as to the logistics of this live feed

I hope everyone has a great weekend everyone and I look forward to speaking with you all again soon!

**PS Happy LGBTQ Pride to ALL!** (Excited to be attending and participating in my first ever LGBTQ Pride here in San Diego this weekend :D)

This article previously appeared at Joshua's own blog, PozitiveHope, here.

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