Chad Charest (he/him) identifies as asexual. I had the honor to ask Chad about his experiences coming to terms with this label for his identity, how he came out gradually, and what advice he would give to others in a similar situation. Thank you for sharing your story, Chad!
Adopting the Asexual Label
From the age of twelve, Chad was on medication for depression and anxiety. Through substantial counseling and many years of different medications with ups and downs, he got to a point that he didn’t feel he needed medication at the age of twenty-seven. Until that point, he assumed that his lack of sexual attraction was due to the medications; however, sexual attraction did not spontaneously appear even though he was off his medications and feeling stable. It was then that he adopted the label “asexual.”
This label is flexible for Chad. He has considered many different labels, from Aromantic to Demisexual to Grey-Asexual. He wonders if he hasn’t found “a person that makes me feel that way.” But even if that person does appear, Chad doubts he will ever leave the asexual umbrella.
Once Chad felt comfortable owning the asexual label for himself, he was almost immediately ready to share this with others. He made no official announcement, but he never hid his interests. He shared posts for asexual content, followed public asexual pages, and casually brought it up in conversation whenever pertinent. He never felt like he needed to keep it a secret, and his mental health felt stable enough to deal with anyone who wanted to question it. For him, this gradual coming out was a non-event that worked well for him.
If anything could have been done differently, Chad only wishes he had been willing to accept that he was asexual earlier. Although he knew what asexuality was, he didn’t make the connection that it could pertain to himself since he assumed the medications he was on were limiting something that was “supposed to be there.” Now he knows that the asexual community in particular is very open; he is confident that if he had claimed the label and felt differently later, nobody would have batted an eye.
Chad’s Advice on When to Come Out
“Do it your way, your time, your schedule. It’s your life. Get into communities you’re curious about. Tell them you’re curious. They tend to be very supportive.
Most importantly, once you decide to come out, anyone who doesn’t support you doesn’t matter. Their support was conditional all along if it changed when they learned something about you that was always you. They didn’t support you; they supported their idea of you.
Though, this is coming from someone who came out as an adult. As a kid or a teen I understand it can be a lot harder, especially when your parents are still financially responsible for you and depending on the groups they belong to. Come out in small doses to those you trust if you can and want to. Even those small expressions of yourself in semi-secret can make all the difference.”
If you live in British Columbia and would like support understanding your identity or sharing that identity with others, Tricia McGarrah is a queer-identified Registered Clinical Counsellor who offers online sessions to adults (18+).