Edge of Everywhere

Half-Out

Posted on: February 10, 2014

Hello, blogosphere. Long time no see. I can’t believe it’s been more than 5 years (about 5.5 now) since I first realized I was asexual and started this blog in the fall of 2008. I have come a long way, especially in the past year, in terms of fully owning my asexuality letting go of the fears I have around it and around being out (particularly the fear of not being considered as a potential partner by anyone if I come out to them). I’m out to my best friends, members of a support group I’m in (unrelated to sexuality), and a few other people. I want to be out to more people, but I tend not to bring it up, out of a combination of not knowing how to and not knowing how the conversation will go/not wanting to deal with uncomfortable and prying questions.

Something I’ve become more comfortable with lately is identifying as queer but not specifying where exactly I fall on the spectrum. Before I knew about asexuality, my strongest sense was that I was just not heterosexual, and the hardest thing for me about not being out is being assumed to be heterosexual, because it makes me feel misunderstood and like an impostor who’s going to be revealed as not knowing the secret hetero handshake (which is how it felt when I briefly tried to date heterosexual guys).

So with some people in my life, I’ve done what I see as coming half-out – as queer or not-heterosexual but not specifically as asexual. In a creative group I’m a part of, I was recently poked fun at for my lack of knowledge about an aspect of heterosexual sex. I got embarrassed and frustrated and sarcastically blurted out “Sorry,” adding “I’m not even into guys!” That was the end of the conversation, and now I assume those friends think I’m gay. And I’m okay with that for today. I could see myself being in a relationship with a woman, and if I were, people would assume I was gay, just like they assumed I was heterosexual when I had a male partner. I have no control over what people assume without having more information. But I immediately felt better when I knew they didn’t assume I was heterosexual anymore. And someday, when I feel comfortable, I want to tell them I’m asexual because they’re important to me and so is my identity. But I know there’s no point in pressuring myself–the idea of making my lack of sexual interest a topic of conversation, especially in a group setting, is still incredibly uncomfortable to me, and that’s okay.

In a conversation with a mentor recently, I mentioned not being out to the aforementioned group of friends, and I felt an immediate switch in how she talked to me–in a good way. She likes to talk about guys, but after that, instead of assuming I was like her and would relate to her experience, she explained what her experience of a particular situation was like as a heterosexual woman. And it felt really good to be acknowledged as having a different experience and not being expected to know what hers was like. It’s not super important to me how much she knows about my sexuality; the experience just confirmed that I am definitely more comfortable at this point aligning myself with queerness, whether or not it feels comfortable or relevant to bring up asexuality specifically.

1 Response to "Half-Out"

Whoa, a new post on your blog! This definitely calls for a comment. I do the same thing. Not like my being queer ever comes up in conversation, but I have been to a couple of queer meetup group events. (Labels are weird. I’d feel fake at an event called “lesbian”, even if most of the exact same people were there.) I’ll admit, I’m scared to tell potential partners I’m asexual. Although if I was ever at the point with someone where this would be an issue, that would be progress!

I guess I feel somewhat resigned to people assuming I’m straight. I was talking to some people in my art group about my online dating attempts, and they were telling me stuff to do that only applied to straight people. When I thought about telling them that I wanted to date women, I suddenly realized that I had straight privilege to those people, and I was very apprehensive about giving it up. Not proud of that, but oh well.

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