Ok, I reblogged multiple aro/ace stuff…is this about beranyth? Beranyth is responding to the idea that people have to think they’re straight until they’re adults.
Indeed, it is important to let people know that sexualities and labels change and that there’s nothing wrong with that. But that’s something people ought to know growing up, including when folks identify as straight. It’s not something to suddenly start bringing up when someone comes out as aro/ace.
Identities are not fluid. Identities can be fluid or static. The fact that some people stick with one non-het orientation and never change it shouldn’t be suspect.
Hope you don’t mind if I chime in on this.
Anon, I think it’s important to avoid doing just that, and here’s why: nearly every single aro or ace person I know or have even read discussions about who are out to their parents, guess what they’ve been told? That it’s a phase, that they can’t say that, that they need medical or psychological attention, that it’ll change when they meet the right person, that they’re selfish and just rebelling, that they’re just trying to get attention, that they’re not an adult and have no right to make that kind of decision yet…the list goes on and on. And this stuff doesn’t stop for adults! I know people in their thirties who are still being told they “just need to meet the right person,” as if they haven’t had a chance to ~go out in the real world~ or whatever.
It’s by far the rarest response to actually….support them.
I can’t even begin to emphasize how important that support is, either. This is an extremely vulnerable time for anyone, and having your family trying to undermine your very identity and deny the words that make the world make sense to you can just be devastating. And even if it’s not outright denying it, even if it’s just the implication that they wish you were something else or feel you don’t know what you’re talking about, it can go so far to crush our self-worth and security in a place we should be safe.
And that’s where it gets extra gross with kids. Trying to force yourself into a gender or sexual identity that you don’t belong in is damaging. It fucks you up and will continue to fuck you up even after you come to terms with yourself. The idea that kids should be kept in a Straightness Box until adulthood is poisonous and suffocating. Also, my post specifically addressed aro/ace kids and teenagers, because I’ve seen a lot of allo LGB+ people perpetrate this idea too, that people who feel they’re aro/ace can’t be legitimate until a certain age and have to keep trying to be allo in the meantime.
But really? Supporting them doesn’t mean they’ll suddenly feel locked into that for the rest of their life. Trust me, every minute we’re pushed to question ourselves and every minute we’re told we don’t belong. ”You may not actually be ace or aro” is not some deeply-hidden secret, it’s the message beaten over our heads every second of every minute of every day.
And I’m going to be blunt here: ”Sexuality is fluid” is bullshit, plain and simple. Sexuality can be fluid, identities can morph and change throughout a person’s lifetime, but for the most part they don’t—and the person themselves should be defining that. The agency to reconsider what they call themselves should belong to them and them alone. None of this “Oh, you think you’re that? Well….that can change.”
"Sexuality can be fluid” should only be used in support of people who do chose to identify as something they didn’t before, but never, ever, ever to undermine what they feel they are now. I’m not going to pretend “sexuality is fluid” is weaponized only against aro/ace people, either. It’s used against pretty much anyone who isn’t straight, and almost always to drag them back to a cishet mold.
There’s a reason no one says “sexuality is fluid” to someone who says they’re straight—even kids! People take their word for it and leave it at that (and, y’know, force it on them before they can even talk, but that’s another rant). We believe it without needing convincing, while aro and ace people can live for decades and still be told we “just need to meet the right person.”
And to tie that all back to your suggestion: “your identity may not always be there” is just an all-around shitty thing to say to someone who has probably gone through hell to figure themselves out, worked through the million doubts that followed, and worked up the courage to actually tell their parents, often with full knowledge that they’re risking their safety by doing so. Kids who go through this don’t need to hear “well that might change (and I hope it does),” they need love and support and defending and a voice to help quiet the demons that have probably been eating away at their self-worth all their life. And honestly, showing that you have faith in their ability to know themselves and choose their own identity will do so much more for their ability to redefine themselves in the future if they decide, than it would be to try to cast doubts right off the bat.