Until now, at the age of 46, I believed that I was a straight cisgender woman. I’m not.
Why do you need to hear about it? Because it reveals a significant problem with our society.
Over 20 years ago, I escaped the cult that brainwashed me from early childhood with extremist conservative views and a bias toward hate and fear of “others.” I went out into the world confident that, since I’d shed this indoctrination, I knew exactly who I was and what I wanted. I was a woman, and all women desire sex and relationships with men. Except for the occasional lesbian, of course, but the vast majority of women want men, so odds are I’d be one of the majority. Right?
Oh, so very, very wrong. Not just because I’m about to tell you about the multiple layers of queer that I am, but because the basis for my assumptions was just factually incorrect.
My assumptions weren’t conscious thoughts at the time but rather a lens I didn’t know I had and therefore didn’t know to question. Looking back at my younger self with much greater wisdom, I can describe what was going on in my head.
I thought that I was this strong, intelligent person who already knew how to look within and recognize thoughts and desires that weren’t my own. I thought I would never again keep and act on spurious ideas someone else instilled in me.
In reality, I had unknowingly left the cult with an assigned identity and an assigned role in society so ingrained in me that it was indistinguishable from my own thoughts, desires, and life goals. What seemed to come authentically from within was still just the product of my brainwashing.
I made myself desirable to men, dated men, and built a life with a man in a 17-year marriage.
Having recently completed two years of deep, solitary work on myself, I see that I have never been a woman. I have never been attracted to men. I have never been attracted to women, either. I have always been nonbinary, aromantic, and asexual.
What struck me the most about this discovery is that I can now remember knowing in my tween years that I was nonbinary and asexual, though I didn’t have language for those concepts. These memories are of a time…