While I’m on the topic of coming out, it occurs to me now that I’ve never said anything much here about when I first ‘came out to myself’. Mine was the relatively common experience of one lacking the vocabulary to properly describe all things non-heteronormative. I had one word at my disposal back then, ‘gay’, and so I used it. (It was only later that I’d learn of the existence and meaning of other terms like those which include bi-, pan-, a-, cis-, trans-, -queer, and the like.) I had many reasons to suppose that I must have been ‘gay’. Among other things there was, of course, the vague way I didn’t seem to share my peers’ interest in sex. I remember too an experience I had on a class trip in high school. We’d gone to a park where there was one of those big human chess boards. Those of us who were there at the site of the board split into two groups for a match of boys against girls. I stood at the side and watched, knowing well that I simply had no place on either side. That was something beyond all doubt. But what was that? I later determined that it was of course my being ‘gay’, because really I didn’t have anything else to call it.
I recall now a line from The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” It didn’t take me too long to realize that I was mistaken, although it took a few years to understand how I’d been mistaken and to be able to better articulate my understanding. For instance, like many asexuals I eventually learnt what asexuality is from Wikipedia, where it has for a few years now been listed together with other sexual orientations, and in an important way that is what led me to begin identifying as asexual. However, before this I had nonetheless perceived that, as I could later say, the whole heteronormativity thing wasn’t working out for me: that is what I had been able to recognize and admit to myself then. It was frightening. After all, the most basic assumptions I’d had about what I’d do as an adult involved getting married and starting a ‘traditional’ family and that sort of thing. It didn’t seem that this would be an option after all. More generally, there was a sense of what I was expected to do and be which was greatly at odds with my very nature. That is in fact unchanged, or rather it has grown more pronounced as my adult life has indeed begun to diverge visibly from such expectations.
I’m not complaining about that. As regards myself, the only thing I wish is that I’d more clearly known sooner, for it would probably have saved me a fair bit of trouble, or at least spared me certain especially useless troubles in place of other ones from which I might have gained something more beneficial. Things being what they are, I hope now to be able to deal with those troubles.