I've known I was bi since I was 16 but I hadn't allowed myself to identify that way...
During my last year of primary school, I moved from a very multicultural area in central London to the outskirts of London. It was during this time that I had issues with my identity as a black child, as I went from a school with a majority of BAME people to a school with barely any. I suddenly felt really different and I couldn’t understand why.
At high school I met my first black lesbian friend, she was of Jamaican heritage like myself and her family was also Christian, like mine. She was the only person I felt that I could fully relate to at that time. We were used to hearing homophobic dancehall music and language at home. She bravely came out to her family at 15, but she was rejected and kicked out of her family home and has lived alone since; she is my role model.
Although I was inspired by her bravery, her experience did deter me from coming out for many years.
Last year I met my partner and told him I was bi. He reacted very positively, prompting me to apply for a role at Stonewall so I could learn more about myself and others in a safe and inclusive environment. I was hiding my sexuality to most people at work and at home, only coming out when I felt comfortable or that I could relate to someone. Being in an opposite-sex relationship made it easy to not correct someone if they thought I was straight.
Working at Stonewall, staff are reminded to reflect on how they can be role models in their own communities beyond the workplace. After what happened at Pulse in Orlando, I felt invisible and my pain was hidden to some people.
So I made a vow that I would tell everyone I could about my identity. To my surprise, my family and friends were supportive and positive.
This year is the first year I can celebrate Bi Visibility Day out and proud of myself! This day is important to me as bi people are not often discussed in a positive way, or accepted by some people in society. It gives bi people like myself the opportunity to stand up and be role models and tackle negative stereotypes and bias.
It has taken me many years to reach this point and every day is a journey towards self-love and acceptance. I am finally accepting myself and what being me brings – as a woman, as a black person and as bi.