People Who Helped Me Come To My (Bi)sexual Awakening: A Short Thank You List

I came out as a bisexual icon on National Coming Out Day last year, October 11, 2019.

As a freshly out bisexual Black woman, I’m doing all of the cliché things: searching high and low for bisexual merch to buy, tweeting about being bi, excessively using the rainbow emoji, and panicking about if anyone will love me. You know, the usual.

While doing all of these things, I realized that I wanted to thank the people who were, in hindsight, instrumental to my (bi)sexual awakening, which happened long before I came out to the internet (and then to my family mere hours later!).

At twenty-eight, I hope this is just the start of the life I was meant to live: a life of joy, honesty, and most importantly, hope. In order to do that, I have some people I need to thank. I figure that the best way to do that is through a list that holds no true order. These people, their art, and their existence in their own ways have allowed me to step and live so firmly in myself that it makes me emotional. I feel my most free and most raw; I feel like the best version of myself.

So let’s get to it. Thank you to…

Hayley Williams of Paramore and Good Dye Young

The love of my life and since 2005. I would marry her whenever she asked and commit to loving her like she has never been loved before. So, Hayley, I am ready when you are. I love the band Paramore and I have loved them since album one. I would marry Taylor York, another band member, too, to be fair, but this isn’t about him. Hayley has always left me feeling butterflies in my stomach and sighing like a love sick school girl. I never thought it meant anything because she’s a celebrity and back then that was my excuse. “Everyone loves celebrities! Girl crush!” I would say. In 2015, I decided after some quiet soul searching that the phrase was trash and attraction is fluid. When I came out to my friends, a few of them said, “Yeah, we’ve heard the way you gush over Hayley. It was sort of obvious.” And well, they aren’t wrong, I have no chill but I also have taste, and that’s what matters most. Which led us here to Hayley, a beautiful and talented human, and me, a Bi Icon who will probably be in love with her for the rest of my life. My future boo will have to deal.

Kehlani and her song “Honey”

I love this song so much. I was late to the party but at least I arrived and my outfit was cute, right? Before I came out and after, I’d listen to this song twice with each play and swoon, my insides went to mush and I’d close my eyes and dream of someone writing a song like it about me. I’d sing the word girl with glee because I’ve always hated when people changed the pronouns in songs and think to myself, I want to be loved like that, I want to be that pretty girl. At least, until I realized that I wanted to be with her as well.

Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita is simply put: a vision. She’s gorgeous and talented, of course, but she also seems like someone I would like to be friends with? It’s wild because I don’t have genuine crushes on my friends but I find that I would be happy to harbor a small unrequited crush on her and still be someone she’d like to get ice cream with and gush about her own crushes while I gas her up to go for it because she’s freaking Lupita Nyong’o and they’d be ridiculous not to feel the same way. Sure, I’d tell her she smells nice and looks pretty from time to time but I tell all my friends that because they do. She’d smile at me knowingly, because I never said I was good at keeping this crush secret from her, while we share a ride to some amazing event and then continue on with her story. Crush aside, because she knows I’ll phase out of it, we leave the car ready to pose for a few photos and head inside to dance until my feet hurt. When they hurt too much to stand, we’ll dance in our chairs and she’ll mention that she knows the perfect person for me to date.

Shanola Hampton

While everyone was gushing over other characters on Shameless, I was steadfast in my love for “V,” a regal legend who is the kind of neighbor and friend the Gallaghers don’t always deserve. Both V and Shanola are also really attractive, so, shout out to them for that as well. I stopped watching the show quite some time ago but my love for Shanola has never waned. She’s got adorable children and a handsome husband so I’m happy for her, truly. Husband and kids aside though, she’s a whole babe and this list couldn’t exist without her.

Alisha Wainwright and Madeleine Mantock

Whew. I try to mind my business; I swear I do, but ever since Alisha appeared as Maia on Shadowhunters and Madeleine on the Charmed reboot I have not known peace. And I LOVE IT. They are both so fine that it makes my eyes hurt a little. Watching Alisha on Raising Dion and Madeleine on Charmed has made it super clear: I have a thing for dark haired, passionate, self-assured women whether they’re protecting their child with superpowers or fighting evil as a half demon-half witch with their sisters. Plus, as with every woman on this list, they’re gorgeous and so out of my league. The reason I paired them together is because I didn’t want to say the same thing twice: Please thank your parents for me because they did what needed to be done. I’d slow clap but I think that would be going a touch too far. So, if you’re ever looking for a cute black girl with great taste in music, a wide smile, a soft heart, and great boobs, it’s me, I’m here. I love you both, okay, bye.

A few of my Twitter mutuals who shall remain nameless but they know who they are

How do they know? I told them I was attracted to them long before I came out. A thing to know about me is that I flirt with everyone because you have to keep the mind fresh and since I believe absolutely no one (outside of actual grandpas in my DMs) is interested in me, I don’t get my hopes up because it’s not a matter of if I will be rejected but when I will be rejected. In knowing that, I turned to a few of my queer friends on Twitter to ask them questions about when they knew that they weren’t straight and they were so kind and supportive when I was questioning myself years ago. When I came out, they were some of the first people to send me hearts in support because they are genuinely happy for me. And, sure, they are still absolute smokeshows but what’s even more important to me is the friendships we’ve cultivated once my little crushes faded. Thank you for being my first IRL female crushes. I couldn’t leave this article without shouting out my wives and husbands on Twitter! I love you all.

In all seriousness, being out isn’t easy, so I don’t want to pretend it has been a bed of roses, but I love living as I do now. I’m a Black, disabled and cute, iconic bi woman who is ready for both love and heartbreak, for adventure and quiet nights at home watching my favorite movies with a person I care deeply for. Now, whether that person is a man, woman, non-binary, or no gender at all, is not a concern for me. Whatever is meant for me is meant for me. Until then and for always, being Bisexual is lit!

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Keah Brown

Keah has written 1 article for us.


  1. i would absolutely join the cult of Our Lady of Shanola Hampton. so incredibly beautiful and such a talented actor. can we get a show of just her and svetlana?

  2. Yes yes yes to this list!

    Kehlani & her song Honey do it for me, too.

    I had a dream Lupita Nyong’o was dating me and I will never be the same lol.

    Now that Charmed is completely ignoring Mel’s lesbianism, I am watching purely for Madeleine Mantock. She is amazing.

    P.S. Solidarity from a fellow disabled queer :)

    • Hi hello I am also in the “watching Charmed pretty much only for Madeleine Mantock” club. She is perfection. So glad to know there are others who feel the same.

  3. Keah Brown for Autostraddle? I am *totally* here for this. Disability representation, bisexual and a gorgeous smile! Yes, fangirl here.

  4. Congratulations! What a huge milestone, and a brave thing. Welcome to the Bi-palooza!

    P.S. It was Grace Jones (like, generally and forever), and the combo of Jennifer Gray and Patrick Swayze in “Dirty Dancing,” that tipped me off to my budding queermo-ness. :)

  5. First, let me say that I’m 98% lesbian (there are 2 or 3 men that I find myself attracted to, maybe not enough to want to sleep with them but there is definite attraction).

    Secondly, Lupita. Is. EVERYTHING. She is grace and joy and light and intelligence and did I mention everything? I don’t think I could be friends with her for long because I would probably fall in love with her in a matter of days if not seconds. There would be longing looks that I would have to snap myself out of just before she caught me. Any time she hugged me I’d have to make sure not to hold on for too long. Anytime she spoke of a crush my heart would be on the floor. I would eventually need to distance myself for a bit to take time to reconcile my feelings so that maybe we could be friends, but I would never tell her how I felt because putting it into the ether would be far too scary and I would be beyond devastated if she knew and didn’t reciprocate. *sigh* I might be a little bit in love with her now.

    • Love that this was my same thought process when writing about her. She’s perfect!

  6. Oh hey Keah, I absolutely LOVED your book “The Pretty One!” I have a disability and most people wouldn’t consider me “conventionally attractive” so I could relate to many of your essays! I also could relate to learning to love yourself and just having fun in life! That’s exactly where I’m at right now! A big congratulations on coming out and a harty welcome to our club! :). I eagerly anticipate more writing from you! I’m a fan girl, LOL!

    • Hey Jessica! That means so much to me! Definitely planning to provide you with a lot of things to fan girl over in the future :)

  7. Lupita Nyong’o is on a list i like to call “People I love but would never want to meet because i have nothing to offer them”

    Like, i cherish their existence so deeply that i won’t even fantasize about wasting their time with my friendship. And that’s not a dig on me! I’ve got plenty to offer…just not to these people.

    Other members of this list: Michelle Obama, either Williams sister, Betty White, Beyonce, Kristine Lily, that teenager who skied to the south Pole and left a sandwich there for all the dudebros who told her to get back in the kitchen, Helen Mirren, etc.

  8. This list is extremely accurate for me as well. I used to LITERALLY tell myself I was not bi because “I don’t want to sleep with Lupita, I just want to pledge my sword to her and spend my life fighting off her enemies in exchange for her smiling at me every once in a while”

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