National Coming Out Day 2019: An Announcement
This post is a bit personal, and is probably the sort of thing I would ordinarily share on my Dreamwidth rather than here, but since I’ve been so open about my identity on my social media profiles and on this website for so long, I wanted to share it here so that everyone would see it.
Five years ago on National Coming Out Day, a friend of mine came out as asexual, which gave me the courage to accept my own ace identity. Now, five years later, I’ve decided that it’s finally time to embrace the other part of my identity that I’ve been stubbornly resisting for almost as long:
For even longer than I’ve identified as asexual, I identified as bi. As strange as it might sound considering the reality of homophobia and biphobia, bi was something easy for me to accept; it was something that fit within the alloromantic normative of the dominant culture. Asexuality goes against society’s insistence that sex is what makes someone human. Aromanticism goes against the equally pervasive idea that romantic love is what makes someone human. Lack of interest both in sex and in romantic love is like a diagnosis of double-robot.
In retrospect it seems silly that I should have still been so obsessed with what other people thought about me after being conscious and aware of how that obsession damaged me in terms of accepting my asexuality. But the fact is, I just was. You can see the signs of it going back as far as 2016, when I wrote this post for the Pack of Aces, and in 2015 when I wrote my piece for the Aces essay collection compiled by Austin Triggs. It’s patently obvious in both of those pieces how uncomfortable I am with the concept of dating and romance, but even so I refused to accept the label of aromantic. It was something about myself I just didn’t want to face.
However, this lack of authenticity about my identity has really been bothering me for a long time. There were little signs that kept popping up over the years, such as the visceral YES that I felt when I saw a tweet about how during the original Kinsey study, a number of Kinsey X and Kinsey 3 subjects indicated that they had trouble telling the difference between being equally attracted to men and women and being equally not attracted. (I can’t track that post down, unfortunately, but it rang very, very true for me.) Or the fact that I identify so strongly with Sailor Mars from the live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon TV series from 2003, who stated adamantly and repeatedly her disinterest in dating and all things romance, but had the strongest and deepest friendships with all her fellow Guardians.
The bottom line is: continuing to identify as biromantic has caused me a lot of stress and shame over the last few years, because I know I’m not. I know I’m not. I don’t think I ever was anything but an aro who couldn’t tell the difference between being equally attracted and equally not attracted, and just like lying to myself about being ace was making me miserable, lying to myself about this was making me miserable, too.
I am aromantic. I am asexual. I am not a robot. I am who I am, and that’s just that.
So, moving forward, how will this affect my writing? Not very much. I’m still going to be writing inclusive YA and NA sci-fi and fantasy. Not a lot is going to change apart from the FAQ section on my bio. I just wanted to be honest and upfront with you all, especially since I’ve been identified as bi in a number of interviews and articles.
I hope that everyone who’s coming out today has a good, positive experience. For those of you who can’t come out today, or haven’t accepted your identity yet, don’t let this day pressure you. You’re just as valid as everyone else.