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When David Hines of Ambridge was growing up in conservative Somerset County, he remembers hearing "how sick or evil it was" to be gay. When his family moved to Florida in his 10th- and 11th-grade years, he discovered his attraction to boys.
"But I was still very seriously turned on by girls," he says. Then his family moved back to the Pittsburgh area before he had a chance to explore his identity.
At 25, he had his first relationship with a man.
"This is it," he realized. "I am bisexual. I am very comfortable with that."
Still, he says, it wasn't until he attended an eBIcenter meeting that he realized others' experiences were less positive. "I didn't really know how much of a blind eye is turned toward a bisexual orientation, particularly in the gay and lesbian community. After that, I decided to stick around and hear other people's stories."
"I guess I have a bit of a mission" now, he says. "Allowing people to be who they are, love who they want to love ... I'm going to help. It's nice to know that there is a support for it. I don't want to see anyone not accepted for who they truly are."
Concludes Paula Brewer: "The gay and lesbian community for a long time said not coming out, staying in the closet, is the equivalent of death. We encourage anyone who can safely come out to come out. It's a healthier way to live. But you have to have community before you can come out in a safe way."