Tuesday 6 December 2016

It was hard fitting in with the old labels of sexuality

As half the young people in Britain say they are neither gay nor straight, married writer Anna Hart explains why being bisexual comes with its own special problems

Anna Hart

Published 23/08/2015 | 02:30

Middle of the Kinsey scale: Anna Hart had relationships with both men and women before marrying her husband Sean.
Middle of the Kinsey scale: Anna Hart had relationships with both men and women before marrying her husband Sean.
Anna and Sean on their wedding day.

I was 19 when I realised that my sexuality wasn't as straightforward as I'd thought. It came out of the blue, one of those 'SURPRISE! You thought you knew yourself. Turns out you don't, HA!' moments that life throws at you, when I met a beautiful girl at a student party. She had red hair, sang in a band and had an encyclopaedic knowledge of John Waters movies, and we fell hard and fast for each other. My feelings were simple: she was amazing, I was lucky, we were in love. The complicated bit was deciding what to tell people about it.

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Coming out as gay, whilst far from easy, wouldn't have been a serious problem; my friends and family are thoroughly open-minded and loving. The snag is that I knew I wasn't gay: my first love had been a 17-year-old boy. I wasn't yet 20, but the old labels of sexual orientation had already failed me.

As someone who struggled with this in their teens, I'm now happy to hear that half of 18-24-year-olds in Britain confidently say they are neither straight nor gay, but somewhere in between. The research, by YouGov, asked respondents to place themselves on the Kinsey Scale, developed by the US biologist Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s.

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