A couple of days ago, we drove across the 520 bridge and looked at the construction going on. They are building a new 520 bridge parallel to the old 520 bridge. It made me think of the way this floating bridge is constructed, section by section, and how that is a metaphor for Colin’s coming out. So I started talking to him about it! Our conversation touched on the following…
Colin, hasn’t your coming out process been like the 520 bridge being built? Before you could do away with your old life, you built a support system for your new life. That is kind of like the new bridge being built next to the old bridge. Can you tell me what that was like for you?
Well… I guess it’s been hard in some parts, and easier in other parts? What answer do you want here, woman! 😛
It also occurs to me that as each section goes up, your coming out process has been like that. A step forward in understanding who you are one section at a time. In fact, you first came out as bisexual, yes? So the first section is that first coming out. Maybe something like:
1. Come out as bisexual in 9th grade
2. Decided to go to Camp Ten Trees in August of 2011 (between 9th and 10th grade)
3. Coming out as questioning in January 2011 when we filled out the application for camp
4. Deciding you wanted to live life as male at camp and be called Colin
5. Coming home and letting everyone know you were, in fact, male
6. Discovering you were pan-romantic
7. Figuring out you were asexual
Did I leave any sections out? Can you tell us what it was like for you to go through these steps? Oooh, I think a bridge section might be changing your Facebook gender and then I changed you from daughter to son. What do you think? Maybe more sections would be struggling with anxiety and stuff like that? What about starting therapy? Testosterone? Discovering AVEN? So many questions and such a continuous process of coming out!
I figured out I was trans in sixth grade when somebody called me a dyke and I had no idea what the hell that meant. I looked it up and found the term lgbt, and from there I looked up the meanings of the letters and found the term transgender. My response, as a sixth grader who hardly ever swore, was to go into the bathroom, look at myself in the mirror wearing my most fitted sports bra, a boys t-shirt, and basketball shorts, and said, “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.” I then decided, nobody needs to know, and though I referred to myself as male, and called myself Kol – it didn’t turn into Colin until ninth grade – I just didn’t tell anybody.
Ninth grade is when life decided that it did matter. In ninth grade I met a girl who was bisexual, who liked me, and, since I was already aware I liked girls, but had never had a reason to come out since it hadn’t applied before that point. So, I agreed to be in a relationship with this girl. I actually came out for the specific purpose of making it so we could have an out relationship, though only to a specific group of friends and my mom and dad. Three days after I came out – and two and a half weeks into our relationship – she broke up with me. On Facebook. Publicly, on Facebook. So much for just a few friends knowing. Everybody knew, even people I hardly talked to knew because her new boyfriend she had broken up with me for had posted about it on his Facebook as well. My entire school knew. I made new enemies, as well as new friends who were like, “Oh my g’d, she’s out as bi! That’s amazing!” Safe to say, I was not out as trans at this point. The up side of this was the girl I had been crushing on since the beginning of eighth grade talked to me the Monday after the Facebook fiasco and, blushing bright red, told me she had a crush on me and that she was not sure if with the end of my last relationship so soon I would want to do anything if I returned her feelings, but maybe possibly? And I was like, yes! We ended up together for eight months.
That Thursday, at choir, I told one of my friends that I was bisexual and she looked at me and said, “So you want to have sex with girls?” And I was like, “No.”
“So then you’re not bi.”
“But I like girls. I know I like them.”
“But you don’t want to have sex with girls so you’re not bisexual. Bisexual means you want to have sex with boys and girls. So you’re not bisexual because you don’t want to have sex with girls.”
“… I don’t want to have sex with guys either.”
She just kind of looked at me as if I needed to be put in a loony bin. The conversation ended and never got continued. At the time, I just assumed a sex drive would come later. I didn’t think much of it, just thought it was fucking weird that suddenly all of my friends were like, sex. Hormones. Oh my g’d. Yes.
I’m not going to talk about the relationship with my girlfriend much, but she was not out as pansexual, which is how she told me she identified, and I immediately took that up as my identity when she explained what it meant to me. The course of our eight month long relationship was her coming out to her friends, and consequently telling them about me and her.
In January of our relationship I told her I was trans. We were texting before school, and the conversation went somewhat as follows.
Me: Do you ever feel like you’re not in the right body?
Her: As in do I wish I was a guy? No…
Her: Are you telling me that you think you’re trans?
Me: If you’re still alright with us being together, I would really like it if between us you could call me Kol and male…
Her: Of course I’m still going to be with you! That’s what pansexual means, silly. Kol, I love you.
It was at the end of the week I came out to my best friend for forever. It was also around this time I found out about Camp Ten Trees, a camp for LGBTQ teens and allies. I managed to convince my parents to let me go sometime in March. It was one of the best decisions of my life.
In February me and my mom were talking in the car, and I got on a rant about how I didn’t want my girly shit and I was so annoyed with the concept that I had to have long hair and want to show my boobs off and –
“Do you want me to enroll you in Gender Therapy?”
… HOLY FUCKING SHIT. As a transman that wasn’t out yet I was just like, oh my g’d, she knows, fuck, fuck, fuck! I managed to talk her out of the concept, but it terrified me that she knew – how the hell did she know?
In March, after my parents had agreed to let me go to camp but I had still yet to tell them I was trans or fill out the paperwork, I was doing laundry, and as I was folding it, made a pile of all the clothes I no longer wanted. This pile consisted of all of my dresses, skirts, frilly clothes, feminine cut pants and shirts, and anything really remotely feminine. This wasn’t that weird, I didn’t wear any of it that much, so it didn’t really matter. What then happened was my mom decided she could go through my stuff and take what she wanted. It was like, the girly shit was going to haunt me and I didn’t want it to, and so I started to argue with my mom about it and, somewhere through out the argument and me utterly flipping my shit I yelled at her, “Because I’m trans!” That is a really good way to silence a conversation. I pretty much immediately took it back as much as I could, and said something along the lines of I’m genderqueer and I identify as mostly male but still kind of female and blah, blah, blah, and, can I go to camp as Colin – which I think I found that name like three days previous. We filled out the paperwork, and that was pretty much it. See! You can’t fool your mom for long! But you know it was about economics for me. There were clothes I could wear since we were about the same size. Plus you steal my tops all the time. Even now.
At camp I didn’t have to pretend anymore. I was just Colin, I used male pronouns, I was male, and nobody messed it up, and when they did it they apologized, and never got it wrong again. When I got back and my mom asked me what I wanted to do, it hit me really, fucking, hard.
I couldn’t pretend anymore. I physically or mentally could not pretend anymore.
So that day, August 20th 2011, I came out to everybody. I talked to my school district, I made two posts on my Facebook page – one with a picture – and changed my name and gender, talked to the pastor of my mom’s church, and talked to the youth group leader of that church. A bully who tormented me all of eighth and ninth grade just unfriended me and started avoiding me. I was now too weird – or something – for her to bully. I lost some friends. I had an amazing support structure, but I wanted to start over.
So I switched school districts to the Seattle Public Schools district, and enrolled in NOVA – the next best decision in my life.
A month or two into school I found a fanfiction that broke my brain. It was of a pairing I liked, with one explaining to his partner that he didn’t experience sexual attraction, and that he really, really loved him, but when they were having sex it just… didn’t do anything for him and he just kind of felt… empty. In the tags it said ‘asexual’ and I was like… this involves a thorough investigation. What did I do? In that fandom I started reading fanfics that had an asexual character in the relationship. Via one of these fanfics I found out about AVEN and stalked it, but didn’t make an account until just recently because at the time I didn’t want anybody to know. In November I told my best friend squish that I met at NOVA that I was asexual, and then we had a conversation about love that I wrote a paper about and used for an assignment in one of my classes. I came out in my school’s queer group. When over winter break I asked out a girl from school who I then dated for five months, I told her I was asexual and how it would affect our relationship. She said she liked me a lot, and she didn’t care. I started to broach the subject with my mom during the month of December with tons of failure because she kept on cutting me off and not letting me explain. So I sent her this private facebook message.
Hey mom. Because you are impossible to talk to this about in person (in which I will explain why later in this text) I am sending you a message on Facebook. Alright. I’m asexual. Asexual literally means not sexual. And as such, I am not attracted to the idea of sex, other people having sex, me having sex (G’D NO. NEVER.), reading/watching sex, or anything sex related such as wanting to date somebody for more than just their mind, emotions, and actions. The reason this is impossible to talk to you about is because the FIVE TIMES I have attempted to talk to you about this, once I say something along the lines of “I don’t want to do anything with anyone,” you quickly follow it up with something along the lines of, “But there will be somebody.” And I have no response to that. Because there WILL NEVER be somebody in that respect. I am panromantic, which means I am romantically attracted to people, so yes, there will be relationships, and who knows? Possibly somebody I marry or have as a life partner. But every time I address asexuality with you there is a lack of understanding that leaves me feeling awkward and unsure how to proceed. Alright. There. So, if you’d like to continue this conversation, I’d prefer it to be in person. But I’ve gotten the wheel turning, I guess. Cool. So yeah, I’m asexual. Impossible to talk to? Only when you don’t say what you’re talking about! 😉 You never said, “I am…” You’d be like, “What if I have a friend who…” I understand that was your way of softly getting into the topic. HOWEVER, dear, I’d like to say an asexual teenager is every parent’s dream child. Don’t you think? No worries about teen pregnancies, STDs, etc. Only kidding a little. As straight forward as you can be sometimes, there are others when you talk around the topic for days. And as we established, when you do that, you tend to lose me since I can take only so many words before my brain starts farting.
I think the rest of my family just eventually found out when I talked about it random times later in the school year.
Around April I came out as polyamorous, because I don’t define love between two people. I often have multiple crushes at a time, so why can’t I have multiple loves and or relationships at a time? It made sense, and, with consent from all involved party’s and people explaining what they honestly feel, it works.
It’s what got me really thinking about my two major as of now past relationships. Both were remarkably squishy. I discussed it with my ex that I’m on really good terms with and we agreed that our five month long relationship was really squishy. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot. A lot, a lot. I wrote a fanfic with a character that feels this way, and I wrote it before I even had the words to use because nobody understood. And after attempting to have this conversation with four different people on AVEN at a variety of times since I finally made my account on June 12, and finally, my fifth attempt with an AVEN squish friend that I became facebook friends with had the conversation with me and I figured a shit ton out. Or more so, figured out the words behind what I feel.
A squish is a platonic crush.
The key word being, action.
Heh, heh. Talk about still coming out, will you. I haven’t actually told this to my mom yet, though, we did get in a huge discussion about a word that I’m about to use earlier today.
I identify as three types of romantic. Panromantic because I find people attractive not based on gender or lack there of, but on personality. Lithromantic because I am attracted to people, whether it be because they are aesthetically or mentally pleasing, but don’t wish to pursue a relationship with romantic action with them. And platonicromantic because I want somebody I like as a friend, that I’m platonic with, to be in a relationship with romantic action but not romantic feelings or attraction.
Because two of these are new words for people out there, and my mother, I am going to explain.
Lithromantic means you feel attraction but not a desire, need, or want to have a romantic relationship, returned feelings, or romance with.
Platonicromantic means you want somebody you’re just friends with to do romantic things with you such as dates, cuddling, kissing perhaps, and other romantic things with, but isn’t romantic.
So like I said, action is the key word.
So… um… this is actually kind of terrifying. Coming out. In a blog post. Well. Mom? What say you? Answer it by answering this:
How is the bridge today? The bridge is strong and stable while the new bridge is being built, dear.