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Used to think I was romo... but only b/c of no information.


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I grew up in the bad old days, pre-internet.  The sex ed we got in school was worthless.. there was only one mention of homosexuality even, and that was only to demonize it.  No, this wasn't some bible-thumper crazy-religious private school, it was a public high school... in a small town, in a rural area, in an era where being gay was basically considered a crime against humanity.  Non-hetero orientations like ace and non-binary genders were at least a decade away from general awareness.  

I always knew I was different.  I didn't swoon over boys, obsess about clothes, consider getting a boyfriend the be-all and end-all of existence, wear cosmetics, or have any real connection to my birth-gender, unlike the other girls in school.  But since there was no info available, I had no way of framing my experiences, so I was stuck identifying as female and hetero only by default, even though both identities felt wrong to me.  

I discovered asexuality in my mid-20's, and that was a huge 'Eureka!' moment for me.  But it didn't give me all the needed answers.  A few years later, I added Agender to my list of identities, and that gave me a few more needed answers, but not the whole picture yet. 

It wasn't until earlier this year that I began doing some looking into aromanticism, based on posts on AVEN from aromantic posters whose feelings seemed very much like my own. And yep, so much of what I read felt like I was looking into a mirror.  

 

Why is it that it has taken 40 years for me to finally be able to describe myself accurately?  Damn the lack of information during my formative years, back when it would have been so helpful! 

 

How many here grew up identifying as hetero, male or female, and romantic only because they didn't know of any other options?  Hetero, cis, and romo only by default.

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I identified as normally straight until a couple years ago when I found AVEN, and only until a few months ago I identified as hetero grey ro/ace. The amount of times I got told that I'll find someone to fall in love with or have sex with was really getting annoying. After finding AVEN it was basically like a big relief 

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I grew up not knowing much about orientations and gender. While they didn't taught me at school that being gay would be wrong etc., they didn't taught us that there are other orientations than straight. I first heard about gays when a couple kids my age started using the word in a disgusted way saying things like "ewww that's so gay!". When I started to doubt my straightness, I thought straight and gay were the only orientations, but I didn't want to be gay because of the earlier mentioned kids, so I pushed the thought away whenever possible. However I changed schools and there was an openly gay boy in my grade and no one judged him, actually he was liked by most people and I also made friends with a bisexual girl which was the first time I found out that not everyone is straight or gay. The acceptance of these two then kind of made me accept my doubts of my own orientation and I stopped pushing those thoughts away, but none of the labels I knew seemed to make sense, so I came to the conclusion that I'm probably just a confused straight girl who just hasn't met the right guy yet... until I stumbled across asexuality online and soon identified with it.

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I had the same sort of sex ed you seem to have had, UncommonNonsense--although calling it "sex ed" is, truthfully, an unwarranted generosity, because it was essentially several weeks of the famous "don't have sex or you'll get pregnant and die" spiel from Mean Girls. I was already accepting of the fact that I was "weird" and different from most other people for a number of reasons besides my disinterest in relationships, so I just assumed that it was just one more facet of me being the Weird Kid who wasn't into everything the other kids were--after all, I didn't listen to country or go to a Mormon church like them, so why should I care about relationships like them? (Because that kind of logic makes perfect sense in grade school.) When I got into high school, I finally had friends who weren't straight and cis, but for the longest time I thought that because I had no inclinations toward the "same" gender in terms of relationships or the "other" gender in terms of myself (at least at that point...), I was obviously just the Token Straight Cis Friend, who just happened to forget to ever do anything that could ever be construed as straight or cis. I didn't find out about asexuality or aromanticism until my senior year of high school, and it wasn't really a big revelation or anything, more of a feeling of "Oh. That explains a lot." Gender was more of a gradual thing--I'm pretty sure I used to be cis at some point, but by the time I started asking myself, "What even is this gender thing, anyway?", it had already kind of sprung a leak and drained away--first into demigender territory, then flat-out agender, now who the heck even knows.

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Despite having hinted being both trans and bi when I was a child I did not knew the word for trans before I was 12, when that happen I identified with it right away and had alot of problems because back then transgenders was something only adults "did". My sexuality was more messy while it also was more easy because of my parents. I had never heard of transgenders who was anything beside straight. Even one of the transperson I knew at that time (I didnt knew many) was sceptical of me liking anything else beside the typical straight-binary way.

 

So I was okay with being trans but I figured I had to be binary, straight, obvious hetrosexual, hetroromantic and sure a monogamyous person.

 

its funny cause today I identify as a non-binary, non-hetro, non-romantic, and non-monogamyous person. xD

 

I think the reason I identified so was because of lack of awareness. as mention I did not want to be anything beside "straight and orginary" when I was trans cause I thought I had to be in order to get acceptence. it was first later on I started to identify as bisexual and questionate if the ordinary life was what I wanted or what I was supposed to want.

 

for the aro part... I did not knew it existed. I thought everyone experience romantic attraction so obvious i would do as well. 

When I turned older around 17 I had an asexual friend and I think aromantism might had been mentioned, however for a long time aromantism would only be something for asexual people, which lead me to think I couldnt be aromantic unless I was also asexual + the fact I also had squishes and other type of attractions like sensual or aesthetic. So I would actually see myself as more hyper romantic who was into anyone, but now i know you can see someone at the buss and think they are hot or good looking without it means you have a chrush on them and such.

 

 

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Well, everyone used to think of themselves as straight.

 

If straight is the thing that's considered "normal", kids will think they are straight, as people do see themselves as "normal". Even if they are in fact LGBTQ+.

To realize that you are not like others you have to:

  • compare your feelings with others
  • notice they want to (or not want to) do something that you don't (or do)

I went to and arty, quite liberal "hippy" school. We did not have any sex ed at all. We have learned about anatomy, pregnancies and pre-birth development but that's it.

I used to be mildly obsessed with queer people...and then I realized its because I am queer people.

People cling to the idea of straightness. When I was starting to question my sexuality, I did not ask myself "what if I like girls"? (Everyone seemed to like girls. Women are so sexualized in the media, I thought it was because everyone felt the same attraction to them :facepalm:) I asked myself what kind of boys I am into. It was heteronormativity at its purest form, I expected myself to find a guy I liked...someday, maybe. If I had to. And it was scary, because the only "boys" I kind of liked were these very androgynous twinks in anime? (Its not like you had to squint). But in real life? Not really. In real life, gay guys were men, with boy faces and boy bodies and boy behaviour...and I was confused. I had to have a type, in real life, real people.

And then as I was more and more exposed to queer culture, I realized that what I actually liked was butch girls. It wasn't easy, as there is almost no representation. This was the mid 2000s, you did not really see any young and attractive butch women or gender non-comforming people in movies. Even now, its very rare to see a butch girl...I think I can list maybe five characters, and I do watch a lot of queer themed cinema.

 

As for aromanticism, I have kind of guessed what's going on based on personal observation. I think it would have been a lot easier if there was any  aro community that wasn't AVEN, as in there people quite often blurred asexuality and aromanticism together-for someone who is both, it probably is hard to separate. Anyway, for a quite sexual person, it was quite alienating, it made me question myself more than it made the pieces fit together. For me it was the tumblr aro community that finally felt like relief, even with the ongoing keyboard karate over the ongoing Discourse.

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I thought I was just too young for most of my life. After it became apparent that this was not the case, I started wondering if I had crushes on certain people. I thought everyone else was like me. It took me awhile to realize that what I thought were crushes were not crushes, and that it's pretty clear to most people when they have a crush on someone. 

I was into this series of books where again and again, the main characters would start off not interested in a relationship. Each time, I would kind of think "that's me!" And then they always ended up in a relationship. Grrr. 

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I always assumed I was straight and had never heard of asexuality or aromanticism until my final year of school. Finding asexuality was a eureka moment but realising I was aromantic was a very long process of realising that thinking someone's really cool and wanting to hug them is not a crush haha. I actually felt pretty normal until I started being in relationships and that was a HUGE no no in my books.

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I agree with @UncommonNonsense that my upbringing was devoid of much information about these things (we're about the same age). I just assumed I wanted a girlfriend because that was the default thing everybody wanted to do. This is why visibility is so important. People need to understand that there are alternatives and you can be happy being single too.

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  • 1 year later...

I thought I was hetero, cis, and romo by default. Gender and orientation wasn't taught, so we all seemed to learn from media which was inconsistent and incomplete. I saw a show on asexuals many years ago so I had something to relate to though it wasn't an exact fit. Then I kinda forgot, so when a few years ago someone I knew was talking about International Coming Out Day or something like that I would be the boring person to write cis hetero straight, but before I started typing I remember thinking "but I'm not' which is when I remembered asexuality and promptly stopped caring again. Knowing about different genders, sexual and romantic orientations, and attraction types would probably have helped so much growing up. 

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