Review of 'Confessions of a Bisexual' by Charmeé Taylor

“The biggest thing I wish I had in those early days of coming out was someone to cheer me on and make me feel less lonely"

Review by Anushree Nande*

TW: racism, biphobia, mental health


What does an eLiterature interactive memoir even look like? Look no further than Confessions of a Bisexual by Black bisexual actor, writer, and content creator Charmeé Taylor (Party Trick Press, 2021) which dubs itself “an interactive memoir for baby gays” and attempts to provide some sort of scaffolding for a complex journey that is anything but linear or even bound to a set amount of time.


Even the simple fact that coming out isn’t a one and done deal isn’t common knowledge to many just embarking upon their sexuality journey. The mainstream media often portrays coming out as a pinnacle moment after which everything magically falls into place. Unless you have been through the process yourself or know folks who have, it’s very easy to exist under this misconception. But as Taylor points out, that isn’t the case at all but not enough are talking about it.

Photo by Party Trick Press


“…the coming-out process is not this singular, glorious moment, but in fact a continual, re-traumatizing experience.”

And, what she doesn’t so much say as show through this book, this means that many baby gays do not have the tools or the support system to navigate through those experiences. Confessions of a Bisexual provides a window into these tough experiences with personal, often vulnerable insights but also with humour and a chatty writing style designed to put the reader at ease and feel like they’re in the presence of a friend, an older, wiser sister who is looking out for you—which is exactly what she wants this book to be according to the opening chapter.


I wanted to see myself in TV shows, films and books, and it seemed like no one was having conversations about representation of bisexuals

“The biggest thing I wish I had in those early days of coming out was someone to cheer me on and make me feel less lonely. That’s what I hope to be to you: a friend to see you through the anxiety, rage, sexual frustration, hope, and excitement.”


Through a curated playlist, and a workbook that accompanies the main text and walks you through writing prompts like “What feelings come up for you when you see the words ‘coming out’?”, “What does safety look like for you?”, “What does validation look like for you?”, “What are your earliest memories of shame?”, and “What does ‘queer enough’ mean to you?”, and through the sharing of her personal experiences, her stumblings and doubts, her victories big and small, Taylor brings her “100% big sister energy” to the table to help others starting out on their own journey of sexuality exploration.


Like how to learn what your safe spaces and support communities look like and figure out how to take the first step towards building them. Like how not to bow under the pressure of “labels” and take your own time to figure out what you want and like, even if it’s fluid and changing. Like how to work hard to make space for one’s feelings and for oneself, even if they are messy—especially so—and half-formed and confusing.


Learning how to balance seemingly conflicting pieces of one’s evolving identity is hard enough without the accompanying trauma, religious trauma in case of Taylor and the resultant need to systematically unlearn all the harmful ideas sowed into one’s mind from a very young age. The author knew she was bi as early as eight years old, but what do you do when you have neither the language nor the voice to express and explore this identity or if another identity forbids it and allows no intersection? Growing up in a very religious Christian environment meant that she didn’t find either until very recently. And as a Black bi person, it was, and sometimes still is, even harder for her to navigate the tricky intersections of the spaces she was residing in. She is refreshingly honest about not having all the answers and accepting that she’s still making mistakes and learning along the way.


“I wrote this book because when I came out, I felt lost. I wanted to see myself in TV shows, films and books, and it seemed like no one was having conversations about representation of bisexuals or the incredibly scary and thrilling journey of being bi,” she says.


Taylor decided to publish with the women-owned, digitally focused Canadian indie publisher Party Trick Press which allows readers to choose what they pay for its titles. The press prioritises diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, and the author is excited for the book’s “far-reaching possibilities for those who are just starting to explore their own sexuality.”


“My favourite part of releasing this digital interactive memoir is that everyone who reads it can feel safe and seen in the comfort of their home or on the go without the fear of being outed. Coming into your sexuality is deeply personal and readers can go at their own pace with me, their honorary big sister, cheering them along every step of the way.”



 

Charmeé Taylor (she/her) is a proud bisexual actor, writer and content creator floating around on Beyoncé’s internet. She is based in Los Angeles CA but is from a small town in Pennsylvania called State College, where she attended Pennsylvania State University and Studied drama. She has written for Salty, Hello Giggles, Bisexual Resource Center and Unicorn Zine. She centers most of her work on relationships, coming out later in life and bisexual representation in TV and film. She was lead in a short film titled Lucky that premiered at HBO’s Outfest and won the Love is Love category at the Queen Palm film festival. When she's not creating astrology memes, you can find her drinking iced oat milk matcha lavender lattes under the LA sun listening to the same bisexual moody playlist on Spotify.


*Please note this review was written by a cishet woman of colour.