October 11, 2020 ☼ blog post ☼ pride
Hello everybody! As you know from the post, today, Sunday, October 11, 2020, is National Coming Out Day. Every year those in the LGBTQIA+ community celebrate their identities, their community, and the hope that one day everyone can safely and happily be their authentic selves.
Many of you may be wondering why I have chosen to write a blog post on this particular topic. Well, let us get the record straight: I am not, nor have I ever been (anyone who wants to use that on a pride shirt, feel free). For the even more specific record I am bisexual/biromantic Aromantic asexual. In this post, I will explain my identities in basic terms and give a little background to how I discovered myself and got to the point where I was empowered to come out.
I realize I am breaking the thesis rule here, but there is a good reason. My bisexual/biromantic orientation won’t make much sense without the asexual/aromantic context. Besides, Asexuality was the very first thing I discovered about myself.
As a quick introductory lesson, Asexuality is an umbrella sexuality that is within the LGBTQIA+ community. The most basic, uncomplicated explanation of those who are Asexual is that they experience little to no sexual attraction. Now, this doesn’t mean that everyone in the Asexual community hates sex or doesn’t want to have it (Though there are certainly many individuals who do fall into this category). I could take up this whole post explaining the nuances of Asexuality as a spectrum. However, I will save that for Asexual Awareness week. For now, I will be specifically referencing my experience as asexual. Just keep that in mind as you continue.
I always new that I was different. In middle school and high school, sex was this alluring thing that everyone was talking about. Starting college was even more of a wake-up call to this fact. College is generally the time where people like to experiment. I was not at all interested in sex. In fact, I thought that the mechanics of sex were gross. I couldn’t imagine myself being in that situation. I figured that I was just a late bloomer. I experienced a significant delay in puberty and just chalked it up to that.
It wasn’t until the end of my first relationship in 2017 that I began to look deeper into my feelings and finally found a word for it: Asexual. I spent days researching and making sure I fit somewhere. Then, I joined Facebook support groups and started communicating with other Asexuals. It felt so good to finally find a word for my experiences. I didn’t feel like I was sick or broken, despite what the predominant notions of society were trying to make me believe. Of course, that wasn’t the end of my journey with Asexuality. It is a spectrum and finding where I fit within that spectrum is hard, especially when things seem to shift constantly. Three years later and I’m still discovering things about this orientation.
Discovering and accepting I was Aromantic was way more difficult than discovering my Asexuality. Perhaps its because as a girl, I was raised to see romance as one of my life’s biggest goals. I dreamed of cute dates and passionate kisses, the perfect wedding, sharing a house with a man and our six kids, etc. etc.
I was a sucker for books that weren’t necessarily romance books but had a subplot of romance. I loved the idea of magical beings falling in love, lovers defending each other in battle, and relationships that were immortal. Where I experienced cognitive dissonance was that though I loved reading the books and dreaming up scenarios, the reality of romance made me want to crawl out of my skin.
Almost every relationship I ever had ended because of me due to my disdain for the practicalities of a relationship. I hated being touched about 85% of the time, pet names made me uncomfortable, I hated the expectations of a relationship (talk every day, kiss, hold hands every second, etc.), and I always found more fulfillment in my fictional ships and scenarios. Almost every time I got myself into a relationship, I regretted it instantaneously. This was hard because I couldn’t just back out without making the person feel inadequate, so I would be miserable in a relationship before either breaking up or dropping off the faceof the earth.
I came across the term Aromantic a few months after I discovered Asexuality. Like Asexuality, Aromanticism is a spectrum that is included in the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s most basic and uncomplicated definition is that those on the spectrum experience little to no romantic attraction. Much like with my Asexuality, I’m still discovering where I fit on this spectrum. I have the potential to have some romantic attraction, but it’s a fickle thing that is directed towards fictional situations as opposed to real people.
I think out of the three orientations, finding out I was bisexual/Biromantic was simultaneously the easiest and most difficult of the discoveries. It was easy because, looking back at how I felt in childhood, it was pretty obvious that I felt things for girls as well as boys. It was the most difficult because, growing up in a Christian household and following Jesus myself, I grew up with a lot of anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric. With my Asexuality and Aromantic identities, I faced erasure, dismissal, and the ever-so popular “You just haven’t found the right one yet.” But I knew that coming out as bi would subject me to more violent ideologies of Hell and damnation.
I’ll get more into the religious implications at the end. For now, I’m sure you’re wondering how me being Bisexual/biromantic fits into me being Asexual and Aromantic. Well as I described in the above paragraphs, those on the spectrum can experience some attraction. Mine is more based in fiction and scenarios than actual people, but when I do experience these two attractions, I experience them for masc and femme peeps. I also experience other forms of attraction (which I’ll get into in a later post because this is getting long).
So, why am I telling you this? I’ve been this way for so long without letting that many people know. Well, it’s because I’m not ashamed. I’m not ashamed of not finding real people sexually attractive or seeing sex as repulsive in the terms of its mechanics and practicalities. I’m not ashamed of not experiencing romantic love or enjoying romantic relationships in practical terms. I’m not ashamed of being bi. I don’t believe God hates me. Who I am is not a sin. I thought that for so long, and that’s one of the reasons why coming out was so daunting for me. There are scores of evidence that contradicts the belief that homosexuality and other queer identities are a sin and while I’m not going into that in this post, I’m happy to point anyone in the right direction if their willing to learn.
I’ve reached the point in my life where I’m comfortable with my sexual and romantic orientation. Would it be easier if I were straight? Heck, yeah it would. Would it be easier if I were just Gay or even just Bi? Yep. But I’m proud of my orientations, as much of a struggle as they may be sometimes. There are so many people who can’t be themselves. They are taught to not be proud of who they are. They are exiled from their family, ridiculed, and abused, and even murdered. National Coming out Day is about celebrating what makes us unique. It’s a message that we’re not broken, shameful, or abominations. It’s about paving a way so that one day, everyone can share who they are without fear or consequence.
So as an ending to this incredibly long post that still doesn’t contain a fourth of my story, I bid you all a very merry National Coming Out Day!