Throwback Thursday: My Coming Out

Hey there, guys. As you may or may not have seen online recently, this week is Asexual Awareness week, and to me, that’s a pretty big deal. See, asexuality is a spectrum- one I happen to be a part of. I’m a proud demisexual/demiromantic, meaning I lack the ability to feel sexually or romantically inclined towards someone I don’t have a strong emotional connection with. Yes, I was raised to think ‘friends first’, but I didn’t quite realize just how much that statement impacted me until a few years ago.

Now, I want you to understand something. Just because I’m not attracted to people without a strong bond doesn’t mean I can’t recognize a handsome man or a beautiful woman. I just wouldn’t want to date or sleep with them unless I know them well and feel strongly tied to them to begin with. I don’t doubt my Borderline Personality plays into this, but that aside, it doesn’t change my reality. And my reality was far more complicated in my younger years.

When I was a young teen, I had my first interest in a girl (not my first interest in general, just in a girl). Confused, I brought it up to my grandmother, who told me it was just a phase. It wasn’t. I tried coming out to her again after that, and she just called it a phase again. She’s still calling it one over a decade later, just in general thinking the idea I ever liked a woman or dated a woman ‘part of a phase’.

My father, however, was far more accepting of me. In fact, when I came out to him, he already noticed I was showing signs of interest in other girls. To him, it was perfectly fine no matter who I fell for, as long as I was happy. In fact, back when Hurricane Sandy hit years ago, my dad helped me speak up to my grandmother about how hurt I’d been when she kept denying my feeling things for other girls as anything but ‘a phase’. I wasn’t necessarily happy with the timing (I’d just been coming out of the bathroom in a hotel room we were sharing when I heard them arguing), but I was happy he was standing up for my sexuality.

However, that was a long time ago. I ended up falling for another guy, and this confused me heavily. I was starting to notice I only seemed to fall for people I was friends with, too. It was so confusing! My parents met on a blind date and had instant attraction to some extent, but I didn’t feel anything really for people I wasn’t friendly with. Was there something wrong with me? Was it just a fluke? I honestly couldn’t figure it out.

It wasn’t until my late high school years, which I’d retaken a couple of times, to even hear about asexuality. It was my friend talking about it that lead me to doing more research on my own- because I never felt things like straight, lesbian or bisexual really ‘fit’ me. And then I found the word ‘demisexual’, and it felt like all the fog was clearing.

It took me a while to learn that demisexuality put me on the asexuality spectrum, but to be honest, that felt like a big fit too. I came out as soon as I figured it out to my dad yet again, who was just as openly accepting about it as when I came out thinking I was a lesbian because I’d fallen for a girl. We still converse about the attractiveness of actors and actresses (mostly actresses), but with a strong understanding that likely neither of us would want anything physically to do with them.

My grandmother still doesn’t get it. She regularly asks if I’m still going through that phase that I’m not straight. To be honest, she’s just happy I’m with a guy at this point, even if the likelihood is we’re not having kids anytime soon, and we’re both okay with that. My dad was never fussy about the idea of grandchildren- it was always my grandmother who I felt I betrayed in some way with my sexuality. She won’t accept I’m on the asexuality spectrum, though. I have a feeling she never will.

Tell me, my lovely readers: if you had to come out to someone, who would be your first choice? For me, it was my grandmother, who was my female role model at the time. My father was usually in bed ill, as he was in and out of comas for the years we lived with his parents. So, my grandmother was the next best choice, though apparently not for my mental health.

I want you to know this is a safe place. Whether you’ve come out before or not, whether you need to or not, I want everyone here to feel safe with who they are. Though my own coming out wasn’t that exciting, I know it can be far more painful and difficult for others. And, knowing that, I want to spread awareness of all sexualities, but especially asexuality today. It’s a spectrum, not a single sexuality- but it’s one that needs to be accepted and known. So please, if you don’t know much about it, do some research. Try talking to someone who comes out as it to you. If we all learn to accept these things, we won’t need awareness dates anymore… And wouldn’t that be amazing?

Soulful Saturday: Dad and Pride

Good afternoon, and welcome back to Soulful Saturday! Today, I’m going to be getting pretty deep. I’m going to be talking about two things that are important to me and are getting celebrated this month: the LGBTQIA+ community and fathers.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, first let me come out bluntly and tell you, I’m not straight. I myself am part of the elusive asexual spectrum. I identify as demisexual and demiromantic. And, if you don’t know what that is… Well, don’t feel too bad. It took me years to come to terms with.

My journey to figuring myself out has been long and dizzying. I’m lucky, as my father has been supportive of me the entire time. In fact, when I first came out to him… He was more surprised I thought it wasn’t obvious. I’ve always been easy to read, though, I suppose.

Now, there’s one thing you have to keep in mind: at the time, I came out as lesbian. I had never found a male attractive to me, and was only interested in the girls around me. Thus, I thought lesbian was the right role… until suddenly, it wasn’t.

I found myself falling for boys just as often as I fell in love with girls. It made me a confused mess- I didn’t understand my criteria that lead me to want to be close to someone. It wasn’t like I didn’t notice attractive people as attractive- even now, a hot girl is a hot girl, as is a hot guy a hot guy. But no matter how attractive someone is, I never feel aroused by them. I wouldn’t want to touch them at all.

And that’s when I finally figured things out: I didn’t care about gender, but I wasn’t pansexual either. I wasn’t bisexual, I wasn’t anything. Because for me, the only way I can feel aroused is if I’m in love with someone- and that only happens after I’ve come to trust them an exuberant amount, along with some unknowns still playing in the background.

Demisexual, as I noted, is a part of the asexual spectrum. To be demi means you’re only attracted to people you have a strong emotional tie to, essentially. For me, ‘friends first’ isn’t just a motto my parents pushed in my head- it’s the only way I can love.

Luckily, throughout this entire ordeal of finding myself and my orientation, my father would listen and has always supported my realizations. He’s so wonderful and open-minded, and he’s always cheering me on. That’s why, this Father’s Day weekend, I wanted to give a shout out to the man that’s always been open-minded and protected me from bigotry, my understanding father. My dad’s the first person who saw me as I was and never judged- and when others did, he’d confront them and comfort me at the same time. He’s seen all my pain and all my joy, and has always been on my side.

So thank you, dad. Thank you for watching over me as I walk down this confusing road known as life. I’ll never be able to thank you enough for all you do. I love you.

To my readers, I thank you as well- both for reading this long wall of text and for sticking with me so far. I hope I can continue to count on you again and again, and that maybe once in a while, you’ll find yourself able to rely on me as well!