Being newly closeted because I’m in a new environment

I don’t really want to be overly specific, but basically, I started volunteer working somewhere, so my “co-workers” (who are all volunteers too, it’s a completely volunteer situation) are all sort of more casual and like new acquaintances/friends, but most of them are significantly older than me, and I feel very awkward about being asexual, all of a sudden.

I’ve been quite open about my asexual status within the past year-and-a-half, to most people, especially people I like and trust as friends.

But I want my co-workers to respect me, so I don’t want to bring up my asexuality, just in case they judge me in any of a number of ways.

I’ve been, however, growing increasingly aware of how uncomfortably back in the closet I’m beginning to feel. I feel like I’m hiding somewhere. What my sexual orientation is shouldn’t be relevant to my job, but because of the very friendly and social environment this new volunteer job has created, it feels like it is relevant, like when people talk casually about their heterosexual marriages and children, I should be able to talk about my life too.

And the crazy thing is, I have good reason to believe these people might all be understanding and accepting and fine with it if I came out. I just… don’t know. I have no clue. Their average age, especially, is what is making me extra uncomfortable – I am prejudiced that the older the people are, the less likely they are to accept that I am correct about the label I’ve chosen to apply to myself. They might assume incorrect things about me. Etc.

For the first time since realizing I was ace, I feel like I can trust and enjoy the company of a new group of people who are all dedicated to the same volunteer cause that I am, and at the same time I just… don’t trust them enough. And I wish I did. I wish I wasn’t so scared.

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7 thoughts on “Being newly closeted because I’m in a new environment

  1. I know that feeling… It’s so hard to trust new people sometimes. Honestly, I struggle with sharing things that are crucial to my identity, including with people I’m close to, because the more important those pieces of me are, the more I fear being rejected or invalidated for them.
    On a more constructive note, if you want to test the waters, you could try the old “bringing it up in the abstract” trick and see what kind of reactions you get.

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    1. Exactly. 😉 I feel the same way as you, I think. And yeah… idk… it just never feels like the right time to bring it up in the abstract. It seems like if I do that, I’m already 60% on my way to coming out. I’m not ready yet. 😛

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  2. Sorry to hear about this situation. 😦 I definitely know that feeling of wanting to come out and be open about who you are, but just not quite feeling like you can. I hope things get better!

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  3. Update: I came out as asexual & probably aromantic to a few of them! 😉 Not sure if they understood what it means, but I explained a tiny bit and they were accepting. Then one of them changed their facebook profile pic the next day to an “I Am an Ally” picture thing and said they did it because their brother is gay and they came from a conservatively religious environment and it’s a huge deal in their family – but the ally thing she posted as her profile pic actually mentioned asexuality in the text! It acknowledged intersex people and a bunch of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, in explicit words. And I mentioned to her, “Yay, your icon includes people like me – asexuals!” and she replied positively. So overall, I’m happy and more comfortable in this volunteer work environment now, since I’m not nearly as closeted. Everybody still doesn’t know, but enough of them (about 5) do.

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