Acceptance is a tricky word. I am bisexual. I am Black. I have been bi for as long as I can remember.
I came out to some of my family years ago, and though it was not a complete surprise that I was queer, to hear me say it was another story. I was not disowned, but I understand the boundaries. My family loves me. They show me in many ways everyday. They care about my life and my well being, but they do not always understand me. Even in my queer community I have had to deal with bi-phobia, exclusion and misunderstanding from some of my lesbian and gay friends. The transgender community has helped more folks understand that identity is expansive which has helped in some ways with folks accepting bi identity in general. This is my story of acceptance.
I love my Auntie F. She is one of my aunts I came out to and she is amazing! She is one of the BEST cooks of Southern cuisine in the world. Her cornbread dressing is my absolute favorite and when she found out I couldn't eat it during this past Christmas due to allergy induced migraines, she went out and found some gluten free flour and made me my own special pan. She is a charismatic prophetic Christian minister who anoints folks head with holy oil and also loves watching and loudly commenting on sports, especially basketball and football. We completely disagree on queerness in general, but she still loves me and respects my perspective on queerness, God(dess), and life—although I know she is secretly praying for my salvation. At the end of the day though, she is one my secret weapons because, no matter what, she is there for me, and her prayers are powerful and protect me often.
My mom is a quiet supporter. She shows me true love daily and I know she respects the choices I have made to be an artist and cultural worker. We don't talk a lot about my love life in general but I know if I would bring someone home for her to meet, she would treat them with true loving kindness. That is her way. She is a powerful force of compassion.
My siblings and cousins let me know in many ways that they "see" me and love me. I have never felt judged by any of them. They have their own varying opinions about queerness, spirituality and other things but I see them as strong allies and I see them as strong comrades. I feel free to be who I am with them.
My chosen friends and community-at-large are a reflection of diversity on all levels. I feel completely free to shine in all the ways I show up in the world. They are my sounding board, my safe haven and my wings. We are family.
My relationship with God(dess) is everything. No matter what anyone feels, says, judges or thinks, I know I am at one with the universe. I know I am accepted, I know I am loved and nurtured. I know I am "perfectly and wonderfully made."
Bisexuality is not a binary. It is a complex, nuanced and rich expression of identity. I am extremely proud to be bi. I love and accept others and I am truly happy I have learned to deeply love and accept myself.
Imani Uzuri is a vocalist, composer and cultural worker