November 2014

Trigger Warnings: probably none

I’m not sure how well my story fits here, because I am really, incredibly lucky in a lot of ways. I have never been sexually abused. I am white. I am cisgender. I am more or less middle class, with two university degrees and a non-crippling amount of personal debt. The issues I have with anxiety and depression do not interfere with my daily functions. I live in Canada. I have been in a stable, loving relationship with the same person (of the opposite gender) for 13 years. I can pass as “normal” very easily. I have a lot to be thankful for.

But here I am, at age 28, discovering that I might be asexual.

Asexuality (or greysexuality) had never really occurred to me as a possibility, mostly because it was never mentioned when I was growing up. But the more I read about it, the more I identify with the terms.  I don’t think I have ever really experienced sexual attraction – I’ve certainly looked at a number of girls and boys and thought “Wow, that is a stunningly attractive individual”, but never “and I’d like to hop into bed with them”.  I’d always identified myself as bisexual on surveys, since I am equally capable of finding people of any gender attractive, but that attraction never really extends past “I would like to look at you for a while”. My current partner is the only person I’ve ever had a relationship with, and I would have been happy to keep it at a friendship level if he hadn’t wanted to escalate things. I followed his lead almost completely as far as sexual relations go, although I did initiate our first experience with oral sex because I’d overheard someone commenting on a different relationship that not having done it was weird.

I do engage in regular sexual activity, which is another part of the reason I’d never considered asexuality as a label that fit me. It’s an important part of the relationship, making sure that my partner feels desired and loved. He is a wonderful person and I like to make him happy, and sex is one tool to achieve that end. I would be perfectly happy to go the rest of my life without doing anything sexual, but that would cause a lot of tension in my relationship, so I keep doing sexual things. It’s a compromise I’m willing to make. My partner would be horrified if he found out that sex with him was about on par with doing laundry – I don’t mind doing it, and sometimes I even enjoy it, but it falls into the “maintenance” category and not the “recreation” category.

Another way in which I’m lucky is that I don’t mind being “in the closet”. I love my partner, and although I’d prefer not to have sexual relations most of the time, I don’t mind doing it for mutual benefit – when he’s happy, it’s easier for me to be happy too. I’m quite certain that he would react badly to my revelation, so I don’t mind keeping it to myself… well, between myself and you, anonymous internet people. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone in my experience.




Ontario, Canada

November 2014

Trigger Warnings: mentions homophobia, self-mutilation

My story isn’t so strange.  It’s not dramatic, amazing, astounding.  Nothing spectacular has ever happened to me, if you really want to know.  I don’t see myself as a victim of anything, to be honest.  My life has not been filled with the same sadness that others have known.  I create my own chaos, and if that confusesyou, if you’re wondering if I live in a bubble or if I’m simply mad, let me tell you how it happens.

Let me start at the beginning – at least, as much in the beginning as you can get with a story like mine.  See, I never cared very much what other people thought of me.  I was the shy girl, the quiet one, but nobody ever really bothered me.  I just didn’t want anything to do with them.  I also didn’t want to do anything with them.  In junior high, I watched my friends go boy crazy.  Such and such an actor was so hot.  They wanted to make out with him, feel his abs, have sex with his voice.

I never felt that way.

Boys meant nothing to me.  They looked human and nothing more.  Girls were the same.  Touching them didn’t appeal to me outside of giving hugs of platonic affection.  Having them touch me just seemed revolting.  My first kiss made me want to die, strangling in saliva with a boy’s tongue down my throat.  I told him I liked it, told him I thought he was sexy.  It wasn’t true.  I’ve told a lot of lies, you know.  You’ll see – I’ll show you what I mean.

Have you ever heard of the ‘power flower’?  If you haven’t, it’s basically a diagram of a flower with largeand small petals, meant to show you exactly how much power you have – just how much you’re worth to society, all represented in a pretty little picture.  Let me give you an example.  If you’re white, you colour in the big petal.  If you’re anything else, you colour in the small one.  Male?  Big petal.  Female?  Small one.  You get the idea.  And of course… if you’re straight, you colour in the big petal.  I drew a line between the big and small, and showed it to my best friend, and laughed.

She looked at me with horror in her eyes, said “so does that make you half gay and half les?”  The question, of course, didn’t make any sense, but it was the sentiment that mattered, and to her I couldn’t beanything but straight.  I told her I was joking and finished colouring the big petal.  Some time later, I sleptover at her house.  I asked her if she would be freaked out if, hypothetically, I liked girls.

She said yes.

I laughed and told her I was joking.

In a way, I suppose, I was joking.  Boys and girls were both ugly to me, but I didn’t have a word for it until I randomly came across the word ‘asexual’ on the internet one day.  Finding it was inevitable, I suppose – I’ve always lived on my computer, and I suppose I always will.  Funnily enough, it fit me just fine.  Having a word for what I was didn’t change my life – it just gave me a new word to hide away, a new part of me to shove down deep and never show to anyone.  For as long as I’ve lived, I’ve used laughter and jokes to hide who I am.  I am my smile.  I am sunshine and rainbows and glittering unicorns.

Only I’m not.  It’s not really me my asexuality has caused problems for.  Not the way I see it, anyway.  It’s other people I hurt when it comes up.  Like I said, I create my own chaos.

Remember my first kiss?  The boy with his tongue down my throat?  He didn’t just want to kiss me.  He wanted to touch me too, and see me, and when we had Sharpie fights he wanted to draw on places that weren’t just my arms or my stomach.  Told me I could do anything to him if I’d let him draw below the pant-line.  Now guess what I said!

That’s right.  I said there was nothing I wanted to do to him.

He dumped my ass two weeks later.  Being alone didn’t really bother me.  I was only fifteen, after all, andI never wanted that kind of contact anyway – not with him, not with anyone.  Truth be told, I didn’t give ita lot of thought.  I just wasn’t ready, hadn’t met the right person yet.  Logical enough arguments when you’re fifteen, and lots of the time they’re true.

In my case, I’ve never truly been ready.  I met my fiancée when I was seventeen, and got engaged at eighteen.  This was when my asexuality started to be a problem.  In our first months together, it was great – I had sex with her right away, and we were happy, and our sex life was booming.  And then it all stopped.  Putting more thought into it, I’d been doing it because it was new and exciting, but as soon as it stopped being new, it stopped period.  Sleeping with her didn’t interest me.  I did it because I had to, because I wanted to please her.  Even now, it’s to please her, although she doesn’t often ask me anymore.

All this time I’d been pretending to like it, to have fun.  Unfortunately, the biggest problem with lying about it for over a year was just that: it was a lie.  When I tried to explain how I felt, that it wasn’t her fault and she was beautiful and I loved her, she told me that obviously wasn’t true because I didn’t want to have sex with her anymore.  What happened?  It used to be so good between us, she said.  She couldn’t understand why I didn’t like her that way anymore and I couldn’t make her understand that it was me who was broken and it had nothing to do with her.

We fought.  She thought I was straight, that I’d like sex better if I did it with a guy.  I told her it wasn’t true, that I felt nothing for anyone but I still loved her.  I’ve never been the best arguer.

After it started coming up, I became more and more depressed.  All along I’ve had issues with depression,but every time this circles back around it gets worse.  So many times I’ve wanted to be alone so that it doesn’t matter that nobody gets to touch me.  It devastates my fiancée to feel unattractive, to think that I don’t want her, and there’s no way to justify that or to fix it.  To be asexual is not to be broken, but if you can’t make someone understand the way you feel it’s a damn good way to break them.  Breaking hearts is easy – I do it all the time.  It’s not being asexual that bothers me.  I’ve never cried asking why I can’t love, because I can, and I’ve never cried asking why I can’t be attracted to anyone because it doesn’t matter to me.

But it does matter that the way I am breaks my lover’s heart, that I make her cry because I can’t make myself want her.  It matters that sexually she wants me and I don’t want her, and that I can’t leave her because I need her and I want her in my life even if I don’t want her in my pants.  Simply being me is enough to destroy another human being.  See what I mean?  I create my own chaos.  The way I am creates chaos.  ‘Pretty’ is a dirty word.  I want to cut the pretty right out of my face, leave it hideous and disfigured.  I want to shave my head because the only thing people see when they look at me is my oh-so-beautiful hair.  I want to cut off my tits and rip out my womb and leave them for the maggots, and maybe that way no one will want me and I can finally look the way I feel.

If I do all that, maybe I can finally be the way I feel, the way I want to feel: alone.



Alabama, USA

March 2014

Trigger Warnings: mentions rape, victim blaming, bisexual erasure, suicide, school violence

I knew I liked girls in the 8th grade. There was this girl named Lauren and she made the day brighter with her smile. She was sweet and she made me feel good about myself. I’ve always liked boys though, so it made everything extremely confusing, especially growing up in a conservative Southern home. Not knowing what I felt and not trusting what I did feel, I spiraled into a deep depression. It all culminated in the 9th grade when I was so torn over my feelings for Lauren, who by that point had stopped talking to me because I was so depressed and “ruining her fun high school career,” that I started considering suicide. After a particularly rough night where I’d lied about trying to kill myself with a knife from the kitchen where my dog had kept me from plunging it into my chest and talked about how the judgmental stares from my fellow high schoolers about liking girls and boys made me want to blow up the cafeteria, my parents were given an ultimatum from the school guidance counselors: put her in counseling or find her another school to attend. It wasn’t healthy for me to love Lauren, they said.

Between the depression, the suicidal thoughts and my sexual confusion, it wasn’t a hard decision for my parents to make. I was taken to an Army therapist and my years of therapy began. I vividly remember the first meeting with the first therapist. I walked into the woman’s office in a daze, barely noticing the dim lighting and the red walls. My black Blow-pops purse, with the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Shake attached to a keyring, was clutched in my hands. They were alternating between shaking and sweating and I’d hardly slept the night before, dreading this meeting.

You would assume that meeting with a therapist would be more about the fact that I’d threatened suicide, lied about trying to take my own life with a knife, and expressed my secret desire to get rid of the stares and whispers that I was a freak who liked boys and girls by exploding a portion of the school, that’s what the therapist would talk about. You would assume I’d have sat down in the office and she’d have smiled at me and brought up “Why do you want to kill yourself? Why do you want to make the stares stop so badly you talked about blowing up the school?” but that wasn’t what happened. I sat down in the winged chair across the desk from the therapist, she smiled at me and said in a patronizing voice, “So you think you like girls? Why?” She then proceeded to ask me if it was one specific girl or if it was all girls. I hadn’t really thought about it that much, I just knew that Lauren made the sun shine brighter and made me feel less like a freak, even when she wasn’t talking to me. When I admitted that it was Lauren that made me feel so happy inside (as happy as I could be deep in the throes of teenage angst and an identity crisis), the therapist then proceeded to tell me that I didn’t know what I was talking about and chances were I was latching onto Lauren because she helped the depression go away. There was no REAL chance that I liked girls, it was all just a big misunderstanding.

This was in 2002.

I spent the next seven years blatantly ignoring other girls, I made a point to be friends with only boys and if I admitted it to myself, the girls I did allow myself to be friends with were not “my type.” At that point, they were not Lauren. I finished high school and moved onto college. I joined a sorority because of a friend and I was relieved to find that none of my sorority sisters were “my type” either. It made my confusion easier. I was still mortally afraid of telling anyone that I was bisexual because I knew the girls who were supposed to be my sisters would shun me. That ended up happening anyways after a party where I was brutally raped. They told me that the rape was my fault because I’d led the man on.

The rape on top of being bisexual made me terrified of telling anyone anything personal about me. I left my first university not long after being shunned by everyone I’d considered to be family. It took two years to be comfortable enough to leave home and go back to school. I had originally been an education major but when I returned to school, I decided to go for a major that I felt would make a difference in the lives of confused young teenagers like I had been.

I chose social work.

I quickly fit in with the other social work majors, learning the things that I wish had been told to me. Bisexuality was not something that was demonized– my whole life everyone always said you either like girls or you like boys, you can’t like both. It was so confusing to me that it was acceptable that you could be straight or you could be gay but if you were somewhere in the middle, you were the worst kind of person around. Truthfully, it made me feel like I was on a level with a child molester. And that wasn’t the case.

I’ve graduated with a degree in social work now, and I’m a big advocate of the LGBTQ+ community. Working with teenagers, I’ve been able to tell them that it’s okay to not be one or the other, it’s okay to be somewhere in the middle. It’s okay to be yourself. I didn’t have that growing up, but thanks to my own personal trials and tribulations, my desire to make a difference, I feel like I can and that I have provided that to those who need it.



Ohio, USA

March 2014

Trigger Warnings: none

Words have power. I’m pretty sure everyone has learned that at some point in their lives. I always knew I was different. When I was a teenager and all my classmates were more interested in each other than in school I was baffled at why it was such a big deal whether you had a boyfriend or girlfriend. I had a few crushes but looking back I think I was more attracted to their kindness to me, the social outcast, than anything else. I knew I was different but I didn’t know what to call that difference so I assumed that I was broken, flawed in some way.

I tried to pretend I was normal. That I just hadn’t found my “type” yet. I assumed that someday I’d meet someone who I’d want to have sex with. I tried to once on a summer trip. It didn’t work out quite the way either of us had hoped I think. He enjoyed what we ended up doing. I just wondered why that was supposed to be enjoyable. After that I closed myself away from relationships. I had decided that the heartbreak wasn’t worth the effort. I wasn’t comfortable with it. I ended up crying more times than I care to think about but I didn’t know what else to do.

By the time I was 26 I’d heard of asexuality but assumed it didn’t apply to me. Sure people didn’t turn me on but I could still masturbate and enjoy it, if only rarely. The thought had never passed my mind at all that I could be anything but broken. Then, one day in the course of an AIM convo, Jacke linked me to the AVENwiki. I didn’t pay much attention immediately. It’d be months later during a fit of curiosity and despair that I’d actually look at the site. I was dumbstruck. Sure I’d known about bisexuals and homosexuals. I’d known and accepted them but here was a site telling me that I in fact might be asexual. Things that I’d experienced and just taken for granted as being a strange quirk of mine were shared with other people. The relief I felt was palpable. I finally had a word to sum up my experiences. A word that meant I wasn’t as alone as I’d felt all these years.

I haven’t shared this facet of my identity with many other people yet. I’m not sure they’d really understand. The last time I tried was when I…came out I guess is the phrase, to my mother. She was very supportive and she was just as sure that my problem was just low hormones. By that logic I was broken again, just something that could be fixed with time or medicine. So I don’t talk about it with people I see in my everyday life. I don’t want to feel broken all the time. I just pass myself off as heterosexual. It’s easier than fighting to make people understand.



Pennsylvania, USA

February 2014

Trigger Warnings: mentions rape, depression, suicidal thoughts, negative stereotypes about asexuality, erasure of nonbinary genders, and homophobic slurs and murders.

When I moved to Maryland at seven, I picked up the nickname Tomboy.  When I moved to Pennsylvania at eleven, I figured out that Tomboy was supposed to have been a bad thing, because people used the same tone and expression to say dyke.

I got through middle school dodging questions about my sexuality because I didn’t want to lie but had no idea what the right answer was, and wondering why everyone else seemed to think that we were old enough to like anyone yet when we clearly weren’t.  That was for adults, like college students or something.  I kept getting the feeling that there must be a reason that everyone else seemed to think they could be attracted to people already, but I blamed it on them imitating TV, and I didn’t figure out until eighth grade that the boy friend I’d had in fourth grade who bought me a teddy bear with a stuffed heart for Valentine’s Day and promised a necklace for my birthday before we had a fight and stopped talking might have thought he was more like a boyfriend.

During middle school I also started going to a week long summer camp, and became friends with Rachel.  We found out that we both were writers at a workshop, and went back to my room afterward to share and critique poetry.  We ended up talking about depression and prejudice, and she told me that she was bisexual, and about an older gay friend she’d had who was beaten to death sometime before we met while walking to the grocery store.

I still said nothing about my own sexuality until we were fifteen, the summer before tenth grade.  We were roommates that year, and one day ended up talking about how we dealt with people asking about our sexuality.  She said she either avoided questions or lied to stay safe, and avoided dating.  I said I’d figured out how to mostly avoid questions or keep people from asking, which was convenient, because I didn’t know the answer.  She jumped about a foot in the air, demanded to know how I could not know, then started asking questions; who I liked, who I dreamed about, who I fantasized about; had I ever been in love?  I asked how I was supposed to know and what love was, and she told me if I’d ever been in love I’d know it.  Then she told me she thought I was asexual, and she had to go find someone else to work on a project, and left.  She spent the rest of that week and the next several years doing her best to never speak to me again, until eventually she just stopped coming.

Asexuality is not very well known, and was even less known in 2007.  I’d never heard of it before, but I had an English teacher who loved word roots, and I’m a writer anyway.  The prefix a- means not or no or nothing, and it matched perfectly with my never being attracted to anyone.  As soon as I heard the word I knew I was it.

Since hardly anyone knew asexuality existed, I’d never heard any “all asexuals are–!” stereotypes, but I didn’t need to.  I’d picked up the Hollywood standard “sex is love” assumption, and noticed that the only (adult) characters that weren’t attracted to someone were robots, lying, and particularly terrible serial killers.  It took about two hours to get from “I’m asexual” through “I can’t love” to “I’m a sociopath and need to die soon so I don’t flip out and murder my friends for calling me the wrong nickname or something.”  Simultaneous was “humans experience love; if I can’t love then I’m not human.”

I was worried that I’d fail, be caught, and people would be socially obligated to pretend they cared and waste time acting upset and watching me and prevent me from trying again, so I never dared actually attempt suicide, and I hated myself for being too much of a coward to do it.  A couple times I got close, but the pocket knife I owned wasn’t sharp enough to cut skin, and it wasn’t like I had bought the lamp in my room, so breaking that to get something sharp would be stealing.  Besides, my room was carpeted, and that would cost my parents money to replace if I stained it, and blood is known for staining things.  In my better moods I would joke that for needing and wanting to die, I was awfully good at making up excuses to live.

It wasn’t simple.  I knew that I was incapable of love (which was the part that I cared about; not being sexually attracted to anyone has never been more than an inconvenience), but at the same time I knew I loved my friends, and knew it couldn’t possibly be love since it was something I felt, and knew it must because I couldn’t imagine anything stronger existing.  I’d call myself broken and subhuman and frigid bitch and pretend I believed in God just so I could demand why me.  I smiled as much as I could and never said anything to anyone because it wasn’t the place of a monster like me to bother actual people because I was upset by what I was, especially since it ought to be upsetting.  I wished I’d be attracted to someone someday and knew I wouldn’t, and tried to imagine having sex so I could figure out how to pretend to like it but I couldn’t so I imagined being raped instead.  It wasn’t appealing but rape isn’t supposed to be so it was as close as I could get to believing I was normal.  My high school got a new counselor who picked random people to talk to to get to know the school, and when I left she told me everyone else she’d talked to had academic problems or relationship drama, and it was nice to talk to someone well-adjusted for once.  It was one of the very few times I laughed in high school.

Since middle school I’d been reading and eventually writing fanfiction, and during my senior year of high school someone reviewed one of my stories.  I went to review one of theirs, we started talking, and we became friends.  They liked a site called TVTropes–a wiki which categorizes patterns in media, creators and fans, and which is full of snark–and kept sending me links until after a few months I started reading them.

I had been avoiding any information on asexuality on the rare occasion I thought I might encounter some, because the last thing I wanted was to be reminded that I was inhuman.  But I read quickly, and about a month after I graduated high school I clicked a link without knowing what it was.  I saw the title Asexuality, closed the page, and caught the line “asexuals are not incapable of love,” before it disappeared.  I found the page again and read it all.

I don’t have words for how I felt; for three years I’d been subhuman and broken and evil and obligated to accept and encourage people to hurt me because that was still better than I deserved, and then in two sentences all of that was gone and I was human again.

Learning that didn’t solve my depression.  I’d been depressed for years before I heard of asexuality, and depression is common in my family; I likely would have been depressed no matter what happened.  But learning it helped a lot, and I’ve only rarely been suicidal since learning that I was okay.  I was allowed to want to be happy, instead of having to feel guilty every time I did.  (I should also note that it’s not that easy for many people; I’d been fighting the whole time between knowing I couldn’t love and knowing that I could, so finding outside confirmation just kind of tipped the balance.  Many asexuals don’t have that issue to begin with, and many others still feel inferior anyway.  I was too happy about not being evil to mind not being normal.)

I was happy just to know what asexuality was for a while.  I did try to tell several people that I was asexual, and got a variety of reactions; one of my friends took months to believe me because “asexuality isn’t evolutionarily beneficial,” some accepted it, my brother worried that it meant I’d always be single, my cousin told me I was too hot to not be straight and anyway he couldn’t imagine being asexual so it must not exist.  The friend who linked me to TVTropes already knew what asexuality was; everyone else I had to explain it to.

After about a year I started looking for some sort of asexual community.  They’re not common; one has developed on Tumblr and there are some small forums drifting around, but the first one I found and by far the biggest dedicated site is AVEN: Asexual Visibility and Education Network.  It has some pages with basic information on asexuality, and an attached forum.

I didn’t stay around the forum for long; it had a pretty standard internet culture of using insults to argue and tolerated some people that were just assholes, and I didn’t make friends with anyone immediately, so I wandered off in a few months.  First though, I found two things.

Romantic orientation refers to the love parallel of sexual orientation; if sexual orientation is who a person is physically, sexually attracted to, then romantic orientation is who a person is emotionally, romantically attracted to.  The words parallel sexuality as well: heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, demiromantic, and aromantic are the most common, though many more exist.  (I don’t recall seeing gyneromantic and androromantic used then, but they’re becoming much more common now.)  Everyone has a romantic orientation, though for most people it matches or overlaps with their sexual orientation and so isn’t obvious.  It’s also entirely possible for someone who is allosexual (sexually attracted to others/not asexual) to be aromantic.  I am demi-panromantic; gender is irrelevant to me (pan-), but I only develop romantic feelings for people that I already know very well (demi-), though I can often predict who I’ll develop feelings for much earlier.

AVEN also had a forum dedicated to gender, which contained an information/definitions thread, and introduced me to the concept of non-binary genders.  Since figuring out what asexuality was I had been sort of idly wondering about gender on occasion, because why not be sure?  But I never figured out an answer; I couldn’t figure out what gender was, so I would mostly just get frustrated, demand haven’t I had enough identity crises already? and then ignore it for a while again.  I noted the existence of nonbinary genders, and in particular of the three which AVEN listed at the time for not being any gender; agender, genderless, and neutrois.  Then I mostly went back to trying to figure out how to make sure everyone in the world knew what asexuality was so that no one would have to believe the same things about themselves that I did.  I haven’t really done much for that, but several of my friends have determined that they are asexual, demisexual or gray-a, or else talked to me when someone else they knew was considering it.

I’m 22 now.  I’m not very involved in any communities at this point, online or in real life, but my friends cover an increasing list of genders and sexualities, and I think of myself as at least linked to LGBT*+ communities.  I still haven’t figured out what gender actually is, though I’ve asked several people.  My conclusion at this point is that I’m probably agender or genderless, but I rarely say so since agender and genderless fall under nonbinary gender identities, which falls under transgender, and claiming to be a part of a group on the basis of not comprehending the entire point of the group seems more than slightly appropriative.

My sexuality has adapted slightly as well.  I still am not attracted to anyone, so I am still asexual, but I can now imagine myself having sex.  (I have not actually done so yet, but probably will eventually.)  Partly this is because I just have a better idea of what sex is than I did when I was fifteen.  The other factor is that while I have a sex drive, it’s very low; if I’m unhappy it shuts off completely, and since for years any thought about sexuality immediately led me to panic and self loathing, it was always off until I stopped hating myself for not having it.  Now that I know being asexual doesn’t make me a sociopath I am capable of sex and masturbation (although still likely to be completely distracted from either by just about anything).  This is not how all asexuals work; some have much higher sex drives than me and some never have any; some asexuals greatly enjoy and pursue sex and some couldn’t care less and some think it’s revolting.

I have had a professor use bisexuality and asexuality as examples of “how freaky sexuality can be.”  He apologized when I pointed out to him that I’d rather not be held up as a prime example of incomprehensible bizarrity.  Another professor said that only binary genders (men and women) exist, and started mocking what agender might be.  I told her I am agender and I don’t fit the caricature stereotypes she was inventing, and she told me that being agender is impossible.  Another professor, who already knew I was asexual, taught my class that “all humans desire sex” and not desiring sex is a disorder, and when I objected, told me that science had proven it was true.  She also claimed that asexuality is a totally different thing and what she’d said wasn’t about it at all, and it was my fault that she’d said anything because I challenged her in class.  Yet another professor said that sexual love is the best kind of love, real love can only come from sexual attraction, and people can only become morally good by sexually loving another.

The good result of the three years that I thought I was evil is that my confidence in who I am is now strong enough that these things don’t hurt me like they could, because I know they’re incorrect.  They still make me angry, and conscious of how much I’m an outsider no matter where I go, and they make me worry about everyone else who’s asexual and hasn’t had the chance to develop the belief in myself that I have.