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“I’ve been identifying as asexual for over a year now and my parents have gotten to a place where they just… kinda accept that they can’t change my mind. My problem is that I’ve been on a few dates with a great guy whom I know my parents will like, and I REALLY want to tell them about him, but I’m 96% sure they’ll say something like "See? You aren’t really asexual after all!” What should I do?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Kara Kratcha as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Kara Says:

Dear Friend,

I think the best thing to do in this situation is to provide your parents with a little more information about what asexuality is and what it is not.  Of course, this approach assumes that you have a relationship with your parents in which you can communicate openly and respectfully. That’s not always the case, so I’ll provide some other options after I walk you through this conversation under ideal circumstances.

It seems like your parents are a little confused about the difference between asexuality and aromanticism.  Asexuality is the sexual orientation of a person who does not feel sexual attraction to people of any gender. Aromanticism is the romantic orientation of a person who does not feel romantic attraction to people of any gender.  Some asexual people are also aromantic, but they aren’t the same thing. Figuring out what romantic attraction even is can be difficult, and explaining it to someone else can be even more difficult, so you can check out the AVEN wiki page on romantic attraction if you want to read more before introducing this concept to your parents. You could also share with them this piece I wrote for The Parents Project that explains asexuality to parents!

Based on your question, I’m assuming that you are not aromantic.  If that is the case, you can explain to your parents that asexuality and aromanticism don’t always go together.  Tell them that in your case, you don’t experience sexual attraction but you are attracted to the guy you’ve been dating in other ways, including romantically.  Here is a useful chart about different kinds of attraction from Tumblr user cannibal-rainbow.  While attraction is often way messier and more complicated than any chart makes it seem, working with these definitions might help you and your parents communicate about what you’re experiencing and how you can identify as asexual and still enjoy going on dates with this guy.  If you do identify as aromantic, you can still have a slightly modified version of this conversation.  Explain that you do not experience sexual or romantic attraction, but this guy is important to you and you would like them to meet him.

If that doesn’t get the point across, you could try asking your parents if their relationship is based entirely on sexual attraction.  I’m guessing they’ll say no.  Ask them what they like about each other and their relationship.  Explain that you also want those kinds of things out of a relationship, or tell them specifically what you like about the guy you’ve been seeing and the relationship you have with him.

If these kinds of conversations aren’t feasible within the relationship you have with your parents, you can try a couple of other things.  First, try a truncated version of the above conversation.  Say, “Parents, a new person has come into my life and become important to me.  Can we all have dinner together some time?”  This leaves the nature of your relationship ambiguous, which leaves your parents to make their own assumptions.  Alternatively, you could just casually bring him over to your house like nothing’s up.  However, I don’t think these are the ideal approaches to this situation.  I tend to think that more communication is better, but it sounds like your parents may have invalidated your identity and experiences in the past.  You might feel more comfortable having a shorter conversation or no conversation at all, and that’s okay.

Whatever happens, remember that you define your identity, your experiences, and your relationships.  Hopefully your parents respect what you have to tell them immediately, but you don’t need their validation to keep being who you are.  You’re great, and I believe in you!

Much love,



Click through to read more about Kara and our other Second Opinions Panelists!


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“Hi! I’m a female junior in high school who asked a girl to prom last week (she said yes!) but I am not out as bisexual to my parents. My parents are both conservative and neither pro-gay nor anti-gay (at least, I think!) They believe I’m going to prom alone, and I’m struggling with whether I should come out before prom or afterwards. If I tell them before, I risk them flipping out and disallowing me from going; if I tell them after, they might think I was lying/being dishonest about prom. Help!”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Kristin Says:



The reason that I shouted “lie!” at your face is because I cannot bear to think about you not getting to go to your prom with this wonderful girl that you’ve asked and who has said yes! This is a wonderful thing! I am so excited! I want to go to prom again! AHHH!

The reason that I hesitated with my initial impulse is because, like you, I don’t want your parents to think you are being dishonest. However, I don’t think this is as simple as plain ol’ “dishonesty.” It isn’t like you are telling your parents that you are sleeping at a friend’s house so you can go to a party and get drunk and they won’t know. That’s a lie that could put you in SERIOUS hot water because you are directly disobeying them, you are potentially putting yourself in a dangerous situation, and a million other things. Maybe this is also one of your prom plans, if it is I DID NOT OKAY IT, PARENTS.

The lie you are potentially going to tell (that you are going alone instead of with your lovely date), is being told because you want to have the experience of going to prom. The feeling nervous about what to expect, the wondering what you should wear, the hoping you’ll make out before the night ends, the dancing together to a song that you’ll hear on the radio 15 years from now and still feel those same glittery, stomach-squeezy feelings you had on prom night. You deserve that, and if you think that it might be taken from you, I think I am going to stick with my gut on this one: lie.

Then, when you do come out to your parents, include those feelings and that decision. Tell them that it killed you to be dishonest with them, because you want them to know that they can always trust you, but that you were so afraid that an important memory and experience might be taken away from you. They should be able to understand that, and, even if they are upset with you at first… I think it is something that they will be able to wrap their minds around over time.

I wasn’t out to my parents or myself when I went to my junior prom, and I took a girl as my date. I told my parents we were going as friends, and I really thought we were… even though somewhere deep down I knew I would love to spoon with this girl and probably kiss a whole bunch. Coming out – whether to yourself, your parents, or anyone else – is a tricky business, and it means making decisions when and how they make the most sense for you.

Oh, and two more things:
1.  If your parents are upset after you tell them, let them read this post. I think it will help.

2.  If you want to know what it looked like to go to prom with a girl before being out to yourself or your parents in 1997, here you go:

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“Would it be bad to come out to my mom via email? Is it unfair not to do it face to face?”

-Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Nope. Not at all.

I think it’s a great idea because it gives both of you the space you need to process things. If you’re mostly concerned about her feeling like it didn’t mean as much, include that in your email!

I get it. As a parent, you want your kid to be able to talk to you about everything and you want the satisfaction of looking them in the eye and feeling in that moment together. BUT LIKE as the human coming out to their parent, it’s fucking hard. It’s hard to say what you feel and how you feel it and why you want them to know what you feel and how you feel it. And what if you forget to say something, or you say something wrong. Or what if they respond poorly and then you don’t feel comfortable talking about it at all??

I think letters are always a good idea. If you want, you can send the email and say “Please let me know when you’re going to read this, I want to be there, but I’m not as good with words when I’m saying them out loud.” OR you can say, “I really wanted to tell you face-to-face,  but I was afraid I’d chicken out, so I wrote it here, I want to talk to you as soon as you’re done reading.”

There are endless options when it comes to clarification in letter form. You can clear up how much you love your mom. You can clear up how much you value her support. You can clear up why it’s taken you a minute to say something. You have a great amount of opportunity.

I vote do it.

Kristin Says:

Absolutely, 100% do it. If you are worried that your mom might want to have face-to-face time, know that she will get that time and tell her that she will get that time in your email.

I will give you a sample start:

Dear Mom,

I love you and I want you to know that I am only writing you this email because I want to make sure I say things the way I need to, and because talking about important parts of ourselves can be difficult at times. I want you to know that this email is just the very first step for you and I, and that I would love to talk to you more and answer any questions you have, and also totally hug you and things like that after we get past this first step? Cool? Cool.


I love you, Mom.


You know?! Just lay it all out there. That is the beauty of an email or letter. It gives you time to say what you need, it gives your mom time to process (you can put that in there, too!), and it isn’t a final, one-time experience.

Coming out is a journey that only begins with that first statement of identity to another person. Conversations happen, moments are shared, and experiences and dialogue build over time to shape your coming out process.

Remember this is only step one.
Send that email.

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"I recently came out to my parents as pansexual. They took it surprisingly well and I am truly grateful for that. But I can’t help but think that they just acted like they were fine with it and secretly judge me for my sexuality. All of this makes me extremely anxious, what should I do?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Hi, me, how are you today? I am fine, thanks for asking, me. Love you, me.

This question isn’t ACTUALLY from me, but it may as well be bc those are all my feels. I don’t know where it comes from, maybe we all just get so worked up about stuff that once someone reassures us of their feelings, we are still freaking TF out in our brains because our worked up feelings haven’t gone away yet?!

I’m no brain doctor (or whoever knows this stuff), but that makes the most sense to me. We build something up and up and up and up and in our minds there is no possible way to feel good about it, so, the person is like ‘holy shit that’s great’ and even though they totally mean it, we are like ‘IT’S NOT GREAT. IT ISN’T BECAUSE I ALREADY THOUGHT YOU WOULD NOT THINK IT’S GREAT.”

OMG I just realized it’s like when you’re falling in love with someone and you’re like ‘god i hope they like me as much as i like them’ and they’re like, ‘i like you so much i can’t stand it’ and then you walk away and you’re like ‘i bet they don’t like me as much as i like them’ and it’s an endless cycle based on nothing because we are all afraid. BUT WHAT ARE WE AFRAID OF.

Here’s what we should do. From this day forward, let’s all give each other the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume people are telling the truth. Let’s believe the people we care for most. Let’s recognize when we feel like our loved ones aren’t being honest and take a deep breath. Remember that we could be wrong, they might very well love us unconditionally.

Kristin Says:

You know, my therapist and I once had a conversation that I believe applies directly to your question, Anonymous. Do you think I have to pay my therapist more if I am using her guidance on the internet? …Shhhh, no one tell her.

The long and short of what my therapist told me was that I wasn’t allowing for other people to have more than one emotion simultaneously. She asked me to think about my own feelings on certain things in my life, and recognize that I could feel confused and excited all at once, sad and hopeful in the same breath, joyful and scared together in the passing of just one second. One single feeling doesn’t occupy the entirety of us at a time… we are pretty complicated beings. And, one single feeling certainly does not negate other feelings that are happening simultaneously.

I tell you all of that, Anonymous, not because I don’t believe your family. I do — I think they are being great because they love you and support you. And, maybe that is ALL they feel, and like Dannielle has suggested, you just need some time to adjust and accept that. However, that might not be the entirety of what you are experiencing. You might be picking up on some nuances in their responses or behavior — perhaps they are being supportive but they are also unsure of certain ways that they should talk to you now, maybe they are confused about certain terms or identities, maybe they are scared about certain things but don’t know that they can share this with you. That is all part of the coming out process — for you and for them.

The important thing to know, though, is that if they are unsure or confused or scared… that does not mean that they cannot also be full of love, support, and excitement for you. My advice is to allow them that complexity. Accept what they are telling you, and if they have moments where it seems they are more unsure than excited, talk to them and remember that doesn’t make their support disappear.

I promise you that they are not judging you. They love you, and at most they are seeking out answers that will help them to understand you even more.


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