It Gets Better: Amber Heard

Bisexual actress Amber Heard has talked about coming out to her parents as part of a panel discussion at the SXSW film & media conference in the USA.

Amber gave a high profile and powerful coming-out speech at the GLAAD quarter-century celebration in 2010. GLAAD is a USA queer campaigns group simiiar to Stonewall in the UK.

Her story is one many bi and indeed gay or trans people will relate to in the fear that can come with having that conversation.

At the panel “Making Change On And Off The Screen”, she said, “I’m from Austin, Texas. My dad is an out-of-central-casting Texan. Big barrel hat, handlebar moustache, loves his guns, good southern man. And I was raised in a religious home. Naturally, being an outspoken, militant feminist, lesbian, atheist, vegetarian. I remember when I told them about my relationship, that I was in love with this woman. I remember at the beginning of that it was just tears.”

“They didn’t know how to process it because we hadn’t built the infrastructure for acceptance and tolerance. For them, it was being thrown into a binary system of processing it: negative or positive.”

“I was getting an award and I asked my parents to drive out to Dallas. And I look up and I see them sitting front and center, my dad with his cowboy hat, and here I am getting this ‘gay’ award,” Heard says. “I was giving a speech and I had written something and I just looked at them and I said “Here’s everything. I don’t need a speech, this is the speech right there: My parents, in five years, look at the journey.”‘

Many bisexual people struggle with the question of coming out to family members.  If you are in a relationship you can worry both about their reaction in general but also about whether it will be seen as a declaration of unhappiness about the person you are with currently, adding an extra layer of stress compared to coming out as lesbian or gay.

For advice and ideas try reading Getting Bi from BiPhoria.