One very difficult thing to do, for anyone of any marginalised orientation or gender identity, is coming out. Whether or not to do it, how to do it, when, where, and to whom? There’s a lot to consider and it’s no easy task. Since coming out as asexual is a little bit different to other types of coming out, this post will mostly be aimed at that for Ace Week, but some of this advice can be applied to any type of coming out.
The reason coming out as asexual is a bit different is because, generally speaking, asexuality is related to sex, and for a lot of people that’s a very private topic anyway. It doesn’t really affect the more public areas of your life, at least not in the same way as being in a same-sex relationship or being openly trans, for example. Asexuality really is ‘the invisible orientation’, and that can be both a good thing and a bad thing. A lot of people could probably go their whole lives without ever talking to their parents about their sex life, so your asexuality might never even come up in conversation with them, and you might be quite comfortable with that!
But if you want to be loud and proud about your asexuality (or at least just open about it – you don’t have to be a flag-waving fanatic like me!), then you will likely need to do some coming out. How you do this is totally, 100% up to you, but I’ve offered some pointers below that you might find helpful, just in case you need a hand.
1. You don’t have to
This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give, really. Especially with Coming Out Day earlier this month, it can feel like there’s a lot of pressure to be honest about your identity and just blurt it out. But that’s only something you should do if you think it will enrich your life in some way, and you should absolutely never do it because you feel pressured to. It has to feel right.
There are lots of different reasons why you might not want to come out, and they’re all valid. It might not feel safe to, you might not feel confident enough, or you might simply not feel the need to. If you don’t feel like coming out would be beneficial to you, you don’t have to do it.
2. Coming out isn’t just a one-time announcement
The thing is, even if you have one big ‘coming out moment’ whether you announce it on social media, or gather people together at the pub or at your house, there will always be someone who missed the memo. Whether you meet someone new, or someone just wasn’t there for the big reveal, if you come out, you will definitely have to do it more than once.
3. Start with your inner circle and work your way out
After chatting to other aces online for a while (as many aces do on AVEN while figuring out their identity), you might feel ready to start telling the people around you about your orientation. You will want the first few people you tell to be ones you really trust, who you are quite sure will be supportive and understanding – whether these are friends, family members, partners, or whoever else might be an important person in your life.
4. Anticipate having to spend a lot of time explaining
Asexuality is one of those identities that a lot of people haven’t heard of, and even if they have, there’s no guarantee they actually know what it means. As a result, when you come out to someone, you will likely spend a lot of that conversation answering questions and having to explain what asexuality actually is. This might require a significant amount of patience on your part, but it will be worth it if the person you’re coming out to is genuinely interested in learning more. And you don’t have to educate them on everything – you can just explain the basics and send them some links to other resources where they can learn more.
5. Don’t just listen to me
I decided to keep my list of tips a little bit shorter than I had initially planned, because I’m not really an authority on this subject and I don’t want to pretend that I am. I am just one person, so I thought I would use the rest of this post to offer some resources from more qualified people and organisations.
Brian from Asexual Outreach created a list of 8 Tips for Coming Out as Ace.
Stonewall has some great information on coming out.
Pride.com published some really good advice for Coming Out Day earlier this month.
I can’t believe that it’s the last day of Ace Week already! This week has absolutely flown by. I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has read, shared, or even just clicked on my blog this week. It’s been a lot of hard work publishing a post every single day, but it has been so fun and so worth it to spread awareness about asexuality.
If you have any questions about anything I’ve shared this week, or you want to know more about asexuality, (or you just want to say hi!) then please feel free to drop me a message on Twitter or Instagram, I’m @StarJarBlog on both.