I am 16 and identify as an ace lesbian – but I don’t want to ‘come out’ to my parents | Ask Annalisa Barbieri

It sounds as if your sexuality and orientation will be no surprise to them, says Annalisa Barbieri

I am 16, and identify as an ace lesbian (NMLNM, or non-men loving non-men). I have questioned my sexuality since the age of 12 or 13, thinking I was bisexual. I downloaded TikTok, which allowed me to explore my identity more and interact with other queer young people. Until this summer, I questioned my identity multiple times a day (exhausting and not affirming), but I slowly began to feel confident in labelling myself as a demi-romantic, asexual lesbian (I like to use labels). However, that feeling didn’t last long. I felt dysphoric a lot of the time, and I hated my breasts. Fortunately, after about a month, I rediscovered the term “demigirl” and it just fitted. I am also trying out she/they pronouns, but haven’t told anyone. My gender is quite fluid – some days I feel more neutral, other days ultrafeminine.

I am open about my sexuality at school and online, and would happily tell most people that I am gay, but don’t want to “come out” to my parents. I think it’s a combination of fear, not of rejection (they are supportive of the LGBTQ+ community), and the fact that I hate the idea of having to “come out” if you are queer; I don’t want to contribute to our heteronormative society. Should I tell my parents so they have time to process it, or should I wait until I have a partner to introduce to them? Also, I feel obliged to inform them of my pronoun change, but I don’t want to be the one to teach them how to use she/they pronouns. I wish they would educate themselves. If I tell them my gender and/or sexuality, I don’t want them to perceive me differently. I know how they react is not in my control, but ideally our relationship will stay the same or improve.

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