Happy National Coming Out Day

Mom, Dad…

Bio-family, surrogate family…

Friends, colleagues…

It’s high time I told you. Stopped dancing around it or acting like the record would settle itself. It’s not exactly secret, but when I faux-casually mention it in passing on Twitter it’s not the same as going right out and saying it. Because my sexuality is a part of my identity, and I couldn’t live with myself if I wasn’t forthright to the utmost degree.

I am panromantic asexual.

Yes. That’s right. I am a hands-off Captain Jack. SWF seeks good companion who doesn’t mind stopping at hugs.

I’ve had it better than a lot of queer kids. I didn’t expect my mom to understand or accept it, but I knew she wouldn’t kick me out for it. But the not being interested in sex part, that bugged the hell out of me for years. I knew it wasn’t just a matter of self-esteem or body image–women of all shapes find partners, and I’ve been propositioned plenty. I could be up to my ears in physical relationships right now if the urge was there… it just isn’t, and has never been. My mom has come around to accepting I may be gay or bi but I doubt she’ll ever make sense of not giving a flying fuck about sex.

I considered for a while I might be trans, and quickly ruled that out because even though I’m mighty tomboyish at times, I am definitely cis. I thought my sex drive might be too low, but my libido is just fine, thanks. I like friendships and I like love, so the idea of relationships doesn’t turn me away either. I just listen to people say “but I don’t want to die a virgin” and just. cannot. get. my. head. around. it. Sex has always ranked roughly last on my list of priorities in life.

(brainiac6techgirl @ deviantart)

Oddly, I have fandom to thank for this bit of self-discovery as well. Over the summer I got into BBC’s Sherlock series. Now, Moffat and Gatiss hold to the Holmes-is-asexual interpretation themselves (listen to the commentary if you don’t believe me), but it was really the way themes of self-identity and asexuality were unpacked by fanwriters, many of whom are themselves asexual and speak from first-hand experience, that finally allowed things to line up for me. Of course. It all made sense. All these years identifying as straight, bi, gay or “decline to state” had made me feel alien in my own skin, like I wasn’t fulfilling some essential part of being human, hadn’t matured, was missing some critical factor. It took reading a fanfic told from the perspective of an asexual character by an asexual author for me to connect the last dots.

(Also it helped that I’m a poorly socialized, vain jerk like Sherlock. I won’t lie.)

Then I worried if being asexual meant I couldn’t be in the queer club, because holy christ, if you think a lot of people believe homosexuality is some delusion of the mind, try casting around for people’s understanding of not having a desire to have sex at all. For a few weeks after this all clicked for me inside my head, I didn’t just feel different, I felt mutated. No one is going to understand! Everyone’s going to assume it’s an image thing! Well, fuck that. I’m here, I’m queer, and I am the same traditionalist romantic who doesn’t date casually that I’ve always been. Nothing has changed except I’ve finally found a label for that part of me I’ve struggled to define up till now.

This is my sexuality, and being able to own that at long last feels so damn good.

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  • Jonathan M  On 10.12.11 at 12:29 am

    Congratulations on your pomosexuality and good for you!

    I definitely see what you’re getting at with your final paragraph. The assumption that everyone wants constant and increasingly complicated sex is assumed to be so universal that I imagine coming out as asexual is tougher than coming out as a furry because while furries have ‘weird’ sex… at least they’re having sex!

    It takes real courage to challenge that particular taboo and I really admire your desire to do so. You rock!

    • Kris Ligman  On 10.12.11 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you so much. I knew I would be coming out to a mostly-supportive crowd, but it was still tougher than I could ever have expected. I mean, I think anyone engaged in any kind of non-normative lifestyle faces very real challenges, and in some way I feel a little fortunate compared to what many others go through. But it’s still really surprising and humbling to receive comments like this, unprompted, so… thank you!

  • Alex R (@elenielstorm)  On 10.12.11 at 6:04 pm

    KRIS. Thank you for writing this. I have identified as asexual for a while now but I haven’t been brave enough to say anything… even among feminists and progressives so many people don’t know what asexuality is, and I felt like I would owe everyone an explanation… so even yesterday I only came out to a few people. But you have inspired me to be a little braver and a little more open. And I’ve realized I don’t owe anyone anything. So thank you.

    • Kris Ligman  On 10.12.11 at 6:22 pm

      Alex! I really had no idea someone else was in this boat with me. While you’re thanking me for this post, thank yourself for this comment, because this was hella brave as well.

      To tell the truth, this post went through a lot of drafts, and many of them came off sounding defensive or that I was trying to “justify” my asexuality. That’s when I knew I really HAD to just flat-out say it, with no apologies or lengthy explanations. Sexuality should require neither. But that didn’t make it easier to do and I don’t blame anyone in a similar position for grappling with it as long as or longer than I had.

      • Alex R (@elenielstorm)  On 10.13.11 at 1:30 pm

        <3 <3 <3

        I commented right before I went to bed, and I definitely had a long moment of trying to sleep and thinking, "I should really ask Kris to remove my comment." BUT NO. I got over it!

        If you ever want to chat about ace stuff (orrrrr anything really!) feel free to email me!

  • LadyG  On 10.16.11 at 11:06 am

    Happy (belated) Coming Out Day. I think one of the hardest things to do, sometimes, is just be who we are.

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