I remember, as a teen and into my twenties, thinking “maybe I’m gay?” It would have explained my lack of sexual attraction to members of the opposite sex. Although, the problem was that I was not sexually attracted to members of the same sex either. I was conflicted and confused at my desire to flirt with and be close to guys, but with very little interest to be sexually active with them. I was different and I had no idea what was different about me. Others saw it in me too, and through comments and remarks, it felt like they saw homosexuality. Was I gay? Stereotypically (for the era), the way I dressed and how I acted, perhaps I was gay. The pieces of social normality did not fit together for me. Being cisgender (or cis) required me to dress and behave in a certain way. I did not fit into the social norm. So, was I gay? I hated struggling to fit in as a cis female from the late 70’s and well into the 2000’s. My gender expression had nothing to do with my sexual identity. However, up until recently, gender and sexual identities were fused together. So, growing up, my gender expression misrepresented my sexual identity.
Self-identity is hard. Although, typically through finding one’s unique sense of self, other identities tend to fall into place. Then there are times during the expedition of one’s self, wherein identity can become even more confusing and blurry. Asexuality was not supported within my natural network of family and friends, mainly because no one knew about or understood it. Gay, however, was. Being gay would have been so much easier for me.
I thought if I could just turn the gay on inside me, flip the switch, everything would be great. I wanted to be gay. I really wanted some stupid “How to Become Gay for Dummies” manual. Shockingly enough, there isn’t one. I knew what I needed to do, no manual needed for me. But, I could not get past basic flirting. I did not want to be romantic with girls. I really did not want to cross any kinds of sexual lines with a girl, where I might with a guy. As gay as I wanted to be, I just could not be gay. Kinsey scale, for me, tilted heterosexual. As much as I tried to get it to flow the other way, it would not budge. Sadly, I was not gay.
As identities were finally seen as separate parts that build up a whole, it became easier and easier for me to find definitions of self. I want love and romance with a member of the opposite sex, and I really love being a girl. Finding the asexual spectrum felt like coming home.
Life is complicated, and my parts feel extra complicated. I have an identity, and it is confusing. I do not owe anyone an explanation, but I also want others to understand. Asexuality is not as easily explained, or as comprehendible, as being gay in my personal world. Being asexual continues to feel outcaste, lonely, and isolated from normality. I had wished to be gay. It felt like I was typecast as gay, stereotypically speaking. I would have had struggles, but I felt at least I would have known who I was, and have a partner I felt right with. But, I am not gay, and as cool as it would be to be gay, baby I was not born that way.