Dec 23 2013
Hi! So I recently came out as demisexual to my family, and my Mum seems to not understand the concept, no matter how much I try to explain. She wants me to 'leave my options open' and asks me why I have to label myself. I've tried to tell her that at this point in my life, I'm sure what my sexuality is and that I have to 'label' myself to feel like less of a freak. Do you have any advice on what else I could say to make her perhaps understand more, or at least acknowledge and respect my choices?
I think you’re definitely on the right track—by their teens, plenty of people already know their sexual orientation, and it’s certainly good to know there are others like you out there. It sounds to me like your mother doesn’t care about the concept as much as the fact that you’ve adopted the label (I think a lot of mothers might actually be pro-demisexuality if they took the time to understand it, seeing as demisexuals are less likely to indulge in one night stands and other risky behaviors).
One thing which might bring another perspective is this: in a society where everyone is assumed to be a certain way (ie: heterosexual), people who are in any way divergent (ie: not just homosexuals, but also gray-asexuals and demisexuals) feel like they’re freaks because they’re not the same as the norm. So since you’ve found that you’re a little different from everyone else, it’s nice to know that there are others like you. And the way you find others like you is by using certain words: labels.
Sometimes mothers are concerned that being “different” will make life more difficult. I think this is crux of a lot of parent-child disagreements. For example, if you came out as gay, even if you had a really supportive mom, she might be upset that it would mean that life will be harder for you. So maybe you can reassure your mother that demisexuality isn’t necessarily going to make your life hard in the same way that being LGBT will (it might make dating harder, and there are certainly other problems, but you probably don’t need to mention those).
Also, you can tell your mother that you areleaving your options open. Labels change because our sexualities might change over our lifetime. If something new happens, you can re-examine and see if the label still fits. Labels are just tools, so they can be discarded when they’re not useful anymore. Also, you can tell her that if you meet someone nice who you get along with, you’re not going to reject them or something like that because of your label. The label is simply a way to understand yourself better, and it will make you more confident going into relationships because you’ll know that the way you work isn’t something to be ashamed of.
Hopefully all of that helps. Ultimately, parents are just hyper paranoid of obstacles in their child’s path to having a happy, fulfilling life. Right now, your mom sees this as an obstacle. So show her how this is actually something that is a stepping stone to a happier life, and it should work out.