Q Center

October 28, 2013

Coming Out as Ace

How should I tell my mom I’m asexual? I feel like she won’t understand that it actually exists or she’ll just think I’m trying to get attention or something. 

So AVEN actually has a great FAQ section for family & friends, and a lot of the questions presented are questions that you might encounter in trying to explain how you’re feeling to your mom. It might even be a good resource to hand over to her if you’re having trouble getting your point across and are needing to step away from the conversation. I didn’t have to do this with my mom, but a few of my partners have looked at the relationship FAQ in the past and it was really helpful for them. As I’m sure you know, asexuality is horrendously underdiscussed in any popular medium, even within the Q community (and especially in the LGBT one, because I do find a distinction there). It’s a strange topic to broach in the context of queerness because most people don’t have preemptive associations with it as an identity, but that doesn’t mean there’s no judgement, as you are very cognizant of. I think the best way to handle this is the same way I handle any coming out/re-education (my last entry might be helpful for you for this reason): start at their level and build your way up. Introduce asexuality at its core, and gauge her response. Move from there! If you know your mom responds better to statistics, hit AVEN up some more and show her the community. If your mom responds better to very personal sincerity, just try to have a candid conversation with her about what it means to you that you identify as asexual.

If she says something that hurts your feelings, take a deep breath and tell her it did and why, and what is ACTUALLY correct. For example, the bit about identifying as asexual just to get attention is actually mentioned in the AVEN link, but if she accused you of that what I would say (and this is very much from my actual perspective, I just want you to get the idea of what I mean), “It makes me uncomfortable that you think my identification as asexual is something I fabricated for attention. It’s something I’ve been very aware of since 8th grade, and it never went away. It’s never been something I wanted attention drawn to in the first place; finding out that asexuality was an actual thing helped me through a lot of internal struggle, but I feel very safe in the community. I shared this with you because I love and trust you, and I need you to respect that this is what feels right to me.” Again this is very much based on myself, but I think there’s a good mixture to find in being candid about your experience and introducing this very new idea in a somewhat logical way.

I hope this helps, I have had to explain asexuality to so many people under so many different circumstances and it is never not tiring and frustrating. It just takes patience and perseverance and a lot of focus on mutual respect. Good luck!