Coming Out as Bisexual in the Insurance Industry [792 words]

In February 2018, I committed to out myself to over 50,000 people, almost entirely at once, as part of an education initiative at a Fortune 100 insurance company. In truth, I had made my decision nearly a year prior and was just waiting to be asked!

I don’t go out of my way to hide my sexual orientation. As a bisexual, though, the opposite is almost always true: I have to go so far out of my way to be seen that I typically don’t bother. After all, I’m a working mother, married to an amazing man. People assume I’m straight. Just as, if I were a working mother, married to an amazing woman, they would assume I was a lesbian. My identity as a bisexual is constant. My visibility as a member of the LGBTQ community is another matter.

Now You See Me…

When my employer’s LGBTQ Employee Resource Group (ERG) launched, I got involved right away. I posted messages of support on the company intranet. I sent thank you notes to ERG and corporate leaders. Although, at that time, the ERG focused on employees and events at the company’s headquarters, I kept showing up to meetings. I consistently pushed for more programs for the Midwest. As an Indianapolis-based employee, I felt we had a significant need for education, advocacy, and home office support. I became as involved as possible, coordinating our first-ever entry in the Indy Pride parade. I attended ERG leadership meetings, planning events, and even a very fancy East Coast gala.

…Now You Don’t

It wasn’t long before other ERG leaders complimented my “allyship.” Despite my passion and persistence, they didn’t see me as part of their tribe. I didn’t know if I should correct them or just say “thank you.” I felt like such a fraud as I struggled to be out at work – even within the Pride ERG!

To be fair, my experience with coming out as bisexual has always been a stressful one. Many gay men and lesbians have told me bisexuality doesn’t really exist. Many straight people have told me bisexuality is deviant and hedonistic. People, both gay and straight, tend to assume that I’m confused, attention-seeking, or “being political.” They ask awkward questions like, “So…how does that work, exactly?”

For those thinking this only happens in the Midwest, think again. I’ve had these conversations in Indiana, sure, but also in New York, Massachusetts, and California. In my personal life, as a working professional, and even at LGBTQ events, I am almost always compelled to address damaging stereotypes about my marital fidelity and mental health.

Many people tell me my identity is not relevant. Well-meaning people tell me I should keep it to myself, even when it feels dishonest to do so. I am told to step back into the closet, as though my identity and lived experience were shameful or imaginary.

Finding Courage and Inspiration

But in April 2017, I attended the Out Women in Business conference, a one-day gathering of professional LGBTQ women and nonbinary individuals. This event triggered a turning point in my career. In one session, Out Leadership’s Stephanie Sandberg presented a “supermodel slideshow” in which she highlighted a series of lesbian and trans women business leaders around the world. Then she told us about Inga Beale, then CEO of Lloyd’s of London.

What got my attention was not that Ms. Beale and I worked in the same industry. It was the fact that she is an out, bisexual woman – who happens to be married to a man. In her experience, colleagues were more accepting of her after she married her husband than they were when she was in a prior relationship with a woman. Feeling that she should be accepted on her own terms, and not as a function of her partner’s gender at any point in time, she decided to be more visible. By forcing the conversation, she makes a conscious effort to shed some of her privilege. In doing so, she makes the world a little safer for people like me.

For the first time in my professional life, I had a role model for being honest about myself to others. It is hard to overstate the impact of seeing someone like me who made it. All the way to the CEO spot. In a conservative industry, no less! I resolved then that I would no longer “keep to myself” about who I am. Because I, too, want to make this journey easier for the next person, and the next, until we can all be easily seen. So when young people look for role models, they can see themselves in us.

Permission to Reprint

Permission to reprint articles by Amy C. Waninger is hereby given to all print, broadcast, and electronic media, provided that the contact information at the end of each article is included in your publication.

Organizations publishing articles electronically must include a live, clickable link within the body of the article to: 

For print publications, please mail a copy of the publication to:

Lead at Any Level, LLC
11650 Olio Road
Suite 1000 #391
Fishers, IN 46037

Permission to reprint articles by Amy C. Waninger is granted at no charge with the agreement that:

  • The author’s full bio (see below) is included with each article.
  • One copy of the publication in which the article is published is provided to Lead at Any Level.
  • A fee of $300 per article will be expected for articles published without the closing bio and contact information. Contact for an invoice and payment instructions.

Permission is also granted for reasonable:

  • Content editing and addition of industry-specific examples
  • Length
  • Change of article title

For reprint permissions of other Lead at Any Level authors, please email

Amy C. Waninger Author Bio

Amy C. Waninger is the Founder & CEO of Lead at Any Level, where she improves employee engagement and retention for companies that promote from within. Amy offers assessments, advisory services, and training on essential skills for inclusive leaders. She is the author of eight books. Learn more at

Also available for download: profile photos, extended bios by industry

5 responses to “Coming Out as Bisexual in the Insurance Industry [792 words]”
  1. Susan Lindner Avatar

    Beautiful story. And a great opportunity to remind entrepreneurs, like us, to also get certified as an LGBTQIA+ business!

  2. Jessica Bussert Avatar

    *smiles* I enjoyed reading this. As a fairly passable trans woman in a long term lesbian relationship I find that I get more acceptance when people just see me as a lesbian than I do when they learn about the trans aspect. The world always seems to want to pull us back closer to the middle of the bell curve. This is unfortunate because often the most wonderful things come from visits to the edge.

  3. Lisa Avatar

    That’s awesome!! Congrats on supporting your sexuality! I think being bisexual is egalitarian since we love both sexes.

  4. […] member of the LGBTQ community is a moral imperative. Being out ourselves makes the path a little safer for those who follow us. For many people, though, safety is paramount. Not everyone can be a trailblazer, at least not all […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.