Coming Out: An Ace Perspective

 

It’s near impossible to have a conversation about asexuality without it derailing into a vocab lesson and a duel of dictionary definitions. There’s the mitosis jokes. And the misguided concerns about my health. And the arguments about “human nature” and desires and needs. 

The first conversation is always the most difficult; it never feels like you’ve revealed anything about yourself. You’ve only managed to rattle off a definition that is, more often than not, still totally foreign to the other person, even if they now have a surface understanding of the word.   

I think that must be why I’ve found myself in this backwards, out-but-not-out limbo. I am asexual. I am fine saying it here. I am fine plastering it all over the internet. I’ve even stood on a stage here at Davidson and talked about how it feels to be asexual and imagine yourself as “broken” somehow (in between a few musical numbers). I vouch for its legitimacy as a sexuality at any given opportunity, which has actually given me a good network of asexual friends who share my experiences. I tell strangers and acquaintances when it comes up, like it’s no big deal.

And yet, I’m dating someone who has no idea, I’ve never bothered to tell my family, and I’ve skirted the topic with some of my closest friends, but never really gotten to the meat of it.

I have no idea if people of other marginalized sexualities feel this way too. Do we all save the most important people for last? The ones whose judgments we care about and fear the most? You’d think it would be easiest to start with the people who you know care about you, but instead when I approach those people, I find myself transported back to that place when I was still questioning my sexuality, thinking I was weird and broken, and the fear sets in that they’ll see me that way too.  I’m scared that their entire perception of me will change, with just one fact that doesn’t even make up the whole part of me.

Sometimes I’m most afraid that they just won’t understand. It hurts when I think about how intimately they know me in other ways, and then I think that my sexuality will be the one thing that creates a barrier between us.   

It helps a bit, I think, to talk about being asexual in spaces like this. The internet’s a great place for shouting into the void. I get to practice talking through my sexual identity, and if someone on the other side of the void happens to hear me and learn something about themselves, then I’m glad to have made a connection, even if I’m still not “out” to certain family and friends.  

Asexual Awareness Week 2015: Oct. 19 - Oct. 25 Asexual Visibility and Education Network Other Asexuality Resources