Writing From Factor X

July 2, 2012

Simplifying The Outing Process

Filed under: Coming Out — Sciatrix @ 8:48 pm
Tags: ,

I’m currently preparing to move to another city quite far away from the one in which I currently live. I don’t know anyone in my new city yet, and I’m leaving behind a supportive, awesome friends circle where I’m already out to people and the asexuality isn’t an issue. Ideally, I would like to create a new supportive, awesome friends circle in my new city, so I am already planning how best to go about doing that.

This has gotten me thinking about coming out. Obviously I’m going to be doing a lot of outing myself in the near future as I get myself out and about meeting people, so I may as well think about how to do it as easily and stress-free as possible. I tend to be someone who worries a lot, so coming up with plans for handling future awkward situations is something I find comforting. Alas, coming out isn’t something you can do once and never have to bother with ever again—Siggy has an excellent piece on this you should probably check out—so it pays to think about efficient ways to get it over with.

Occasionally I am jealous of gay people who can sometimes come out relatively tactfully just by mentioning the gender of an ex or a current partner. So I started channeling that feeling productively by thinking about low-key, easy ways to come out while not having to direct the conversation immediately into Asexuality 101 unless I really want it to go there. I often like doing Asexuality 101, but not necessarily when I am trying to socialize and get to know someone better.

I have a history of outing myself really, really unsubtly by hauling the conversation over to where I want it to be and announcing my asexuality with all the finesse of a wolverine with a toothache. This was fine when I was more anxious about the whole thing than I am now, but not really what I want to be doing in the future.

Recently I had an awkward outing that went hilariously well—in part, I think, because I assumed that the friend I was outing myself to already knew I was ace. (In my defense, we have at least one mutual friend who did know and they had made several jokes/asked me several questions that made more sense if I assumed they knew. Also, there was the whole thing where I mentioned not getting crushes on anyone some time previously.) I wore a shirt with a Kinsey Scale joke on a mutual trip and this friend asked about it, having mistaken the “X” on my shirt for a chromosome in mitosis. In the process of explaining the joke I revealed my actual identity, causing the friend to go “ohhh, so THAT’S what you identify as.” And then we proceeded to talking about how awesome science was and getting on with our trip.

I’m still considering whether to frame that success as “act as if people already know you’re ace” or “don’t bother with it until the subject comes up organically.” In the case I just mentioned, my friend is a coworker I see almost entirely in the context of work, and I’m not necessarily always comfortable mentioning my sexual orientation in a work context for a variety of reasons. This friend was also aware of asexuality before I outed myself to them (which is part of why I thought I had been out—most people don’t discuss it unless they know full well I’m ace!), and that pre-knowledge made the whole thing much easier in a way I’m not necessarily used to experiencing.

Well? Any thoughts from those of you who are used to finding tactful, low-key ways to let people know? This is a big enough part of me that any friends I make will have to find out sooner or later. I’d rather make the telling as easy as possible.

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