August 4, 2011


Before leaving college in the spring, I promised myself I’d come out to my parents again. I felt like I needed to. I didn’t want to come home and feel suffocated and unlike myself—not closeted, but certainly not as comfortable as I felt at Duke.

When I came out to my parents those years ago, we never got a chance to talk about what it would mean for me or for our family. They didn’t want to talk about it, and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t either. For reasons unknown, “bisexual” didn’t make sense to them and they didn’t want to talk about their daughter “being repulsed by men” and being a lesbian. So, we didn’t talk. I’d never had much of a talking relationship with my parents anyway; what we didn’t talk about didn’t exist.

But I did grow comfortable with myself and I did find the idea of talking to them about something that would eventually be important to me somewhat necessary. No, I wouldn’t speak to them in detail about these things, but I’d bring certainty into a topic that has been uncertain amongst us for about 3 years now. “Yes, mom, I like women. No, dad, I don’t hate men. I like them too.“ That’s all I really wanted to say.

Now I see, despite these years of my growing ease and sorting through feelings that I was never sure about, I can safely say with my comfort has come discomfort. All that I wanted to say to my parents has still stayed the same, but it’s not enough. I know for a fact it won’t be enough; not for them, and not for anyone but myself. I’m not bisexual. I’m not a lesbian and I’m certainly not straight. I’ve known this for years now. I spent the past year in college trying to figure everything out, and it’s all been in vain. I settled into a shell of asexuality but even doubt if that’s right for me. Biromantic is the only thing that seems accurate. But romantic attraction is easy to figure out and it doesn’t help the insecurities I feel when I’m attempting a relationship with someone, treading the unknown with physicality and that realm of sexual connection I have trouble justifying with purpose.

What if I’m asexual? What if I’m demisexual? What if I’m gray-asexual? What does that really matter? Again, I find myself shedding the labels that merely serve to confuse me and complicate what I find to be a very simple existence. And I tend to stick to what is simple. I used to think that, in general, I was a very indecisive person. I see now that I know what I don’t want, and beyond the scope of what I don’t want, I’m not too picky—I’m indifferent. And that’s how I am with dating most times. No, I don’t want to be Forever Alone, but I can’t bring myself to put romantic relationships above the other wonderful things life has to offer. It is this way of thought that probably led to my solidarity with the asexual/aromantic community, during my identity crisis (this sounds a bit melodramatic) a few months ago. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to be in a relationship, it means that I see the world as it is, uncertainties and all.

If only it were as easy as telling my parents, “I’m indifferent.”


  1. I think it's awesome that you're really being so mindful about all of this-it shows maturity!

    Good luck!

  2. I wish there was some way to convey all of this complexity to parents.

  3. I love this post first of all. Second, I think breaking it down to your parents in layman's terms is important but could be incredibly oversimplified. Honestly, my parents aren't really much of talkers and so whenever I think there's something that's important for them to know, I'll tell them the simple bones of it rather than get in to my complexities and confusions. That might sound awful, but if they can't understand the basics first (which is that you're not hetero and you're maintaining that assertion) they'll have trouble connecting with you on the big stuff.

    If they want to get beyond the basics, make it clear that you can take questions (only if you want to). You might see them actually try to reach out, and if not then at least you know that they're aware that your alternative sexuality wasn't a phase.