Humans of TCGMC: Levi Seefeldt
January 25, 2019: “I think bisexuality is tough because people from both communities see the negative. Straight people see me – as a cisgender male – see that I like men, and so I’m not straight enough for them. Gay men see that you also like women, so you’re not gay enough. It becomes this game of proving your sexuality to everyone.” Levi Seefeldt is a member of the Chorus and shares his story and journey about his bisexuality.
JOSH: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO TALK TO ME TODAY. I HEARD YOUR THREE MINUTE SHARE THIS WEEK AT REHEARSAL REGARDING YOUR BISEXUALITY. I WAS MOVED BY YOUR UNIQUENESS OF PERSPECTIVE – A PERSPECTIVE THAT, AS A GAY MAN, I OFTEN DON’T HEAR ABOUT. SO THANK YOU FOR YOUR COURAGE AND YOUR HONESTY. FOR OUR READERS, COULD YOU PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT HOW YOU CAME TO IDENTIFY AS BISEXUAL, AND A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR COMING OUT PROCESS?
LEVI: Thank you for those nice things you said. I guess my coming out/self-discovery really started my freshman year of high school. I don’t remember a specific moment, but I remember it was when my friends were going through puberty. I remember the guys in my class would talk about their attraction to women, and I was having those same feelings, but I was also having them towards other men. When we talked about celebrity crushes, I also thought, “This dude’s really attractive, but so’s Kierra Knightly…”
JOSH: — I LOVE KIERRA KNIGHTLY! —
LEVI: Yeah! Well that’s kind of how it all started. Then it was a lot of questioning and misunderstanding. At the time, I assumed it was either gay or straight, and those were the only two sexualities that existed. I grew up in a very small town of 1100 in South Dakota. In health classes, you hear about homosexuality and heterosexuality, and that’s it. It was a lot of uncertainty. It wasn’t until my junior year when I started going online and researching. And then college really helped, because I was away from my small town and discover who I was. My RA my freshman year identified as gay, so it was great to have those conversations with him about coming out and self-discovery.
JOSH: WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED COMING OUT, WHAT WERE SOME OF THOSE REACTIONS?
LEVI: There was a lot of support. I haven’t had a bad coming out experience. One thing that stands out is with my friend Taven. We were in the South Dakota 4H Performing Arts Troupe in high school. I told them, and I remember them using that moment to come out to me as pansexual. I remember feeling like I wasn’t alone in this, and that there were other people who understood that feeling. There was really nothing where I had people questioning my bisexuality when I first came out. I haven’t had to have those conversations until later in life, now that I’m 24. There are some people who still don’t understand it, but at least today I understand it more.
JOSH: SPEAKING OF TODAY. I’M VERY INTERESTED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT YOUR PLACE IN THE COMMUNITY TODAY. FOR EXAMPLE, YOU SING IN THE TWIN CITIES GAY MEN’S CHORUS. IN THE GAY MALE – OR QUEER MALE – COMMUNITY, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS OR REACTIONS GAY MEN HAVE IN RESPONSE TO YOUR BISEXUALITY?
LEVI: That they just don’t believe in bisexuality as its own sexuality. Instead, they just see it as a stepping stone to coming out as gay, which logically makes a lot of sense. I have no hard feelings for people who do that, but it makes identifying as bisexual a bit murkier for some people. Many people have only interacted with gay men who previously identified as bisexual. Some gay men say I’m “lucky” because I don’t have to come out. The people I’ve heard this from have the idea that I don’t have to come out because there’s a chance that I’ll end up with a woman and live a fairly heteronormative life. You’re “passing straight,” which gives you a lot of privilege. From the outside, it makes sense logically, but it’s extremely harmful because there’s a lot of questioning. You know you can’t identify as straight because that’s not honest, but you can’t identify as gay, either. It’s a weird limbo between the LGBTQ community and the straight community.
JOSH: I’VE HEARD ABOUT THIS FEELING OF OTHERNESS FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS. DO YOU EVER FEEL THAT YOU’RE AN OUTCAST IN BOTH THE QUEER AND THE STRAIGHT COMMUNITIES?
LEVI: I personally feel I can blend in with both communities, but on the whole, I think bisexuality is tough because people from both communities see the negative. Straight people see me – as a cisgender male – see that I like men, and so I’m not straight enough for them. Gay men see that you also like women, so you’re not gay enough. It becomes this game of proving your sexuality to everyone.
JOSH: HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN EXPERIENCE WHEN YOU WERE PERCEIVED TO BE STRAIGHT, BUT THEY THEN FOUND OUT YOU WERE QUEER?
LEVI: I guess it mostly came from the people I went to high school with. I didn’t come out to anyone until after high school, and even after I kept it under wraps. I think it surprised people.
JOSH: DO YOU EVER FEEL PRESSURE TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH A WOMAN BECAUSE OF THE ASSOCIATED PRIVILEGES?
LEVI: I’ve thought of the privileges, but I’ve definitely gotten to the point of being a human being who wants to be wanted by someone. Honestly, whoever that comes from is going to be the greatest thing that life could give me, and it doesn’t matter who it could be coming from.
JOSH: MY HEART. THAT’S BEAUTIFUL, LEVI. LAST QUESTION: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE WHO FEELS LIKE THEY MAY IDENTIFY AS BISEXUAL?
LEVI: I would say bisexuality’s definition would sound simple – being attracted to men and women – but it is a lot more than that. My bisexuality, how I feel attracted to women, feels a little bit different than my attraction to men. The force of attraction is different, but just as strong. To someone who might be questioning their sexuality, I would say to use the identify that feels most genuine to you at the moment. There is nothing in life that says that once you pick an identity, you have to identify as that for life. If you identify as bisexual now, and find in five years that you’re a lot more gay than you thought you were, that’s 100% okay. There’s an idea that once you “choose” to be gay, you have to stick with that identity forever. The identity, the label, is to help you understand how you’re feeling, and to help others understand where you are in your journey.
Josh Elmore (he/him), singer and member of our small ensemble OutLoud!, created Humans of TCGMC in 2018. He graduated from Carleton College with a B.A. in Linguistics and has since worked in sales, higher education, and, most recently, as a bilingual insurance agent (Spanish). Endlessly curious, he has dabbled in improv theater, stand-up comedy, sword fighting, the cello, and modeling for fantasy-themed photo shoots.