Carnival of Aces August 2018: Stages of Coming Out
Welcome one and all, a little belatedly, to the August edition of the Carnval of Aces. It’s a little soon after last time for me to host, but I had an idea and there was a spot, so away we go. I do encourage everyone to visit the masterpost and sign up as host, though. All you need is a writing prompt and a little time at the start and end of the month.
Last month’s Carnival was hosted by WUT/tricksatops. The theme they chose was Then and Now, comparing a moment in the past and present when it came to asexuality, which was quite a nice format.
The reflection continues, in honour of Pride this weekend (I’m a little nostalgic), and the Carnival’s first-ever theme, coming out. However, we’re not focusing on the tip of the iceberg, sitting down with people to tell them you’re [insert orientation here].
Coming out, taken as a whole, is a complex emotional journey comparable to culture shock or grief. It has stages, is a catalyst for personal development. It brings with it a wealth of feelings, thoughts choices and, in the end, visible changes in how you live and relate to others.
So this August, let’s talk about the stages of coming out. For this, I’m using Vivienne Cass’s identity model.
Have a look at the stages of coming out and then see which of the following questions appeals to you:
- Identity confusion – first (uncomfortable) inklings of being different somehow.
- Identity comparison – seeking out information and thinking about being different, perhaps.
- Identity tolerance – finding similar people and engaging with rising doubts as identity slowly shifts.
- Identity acceptance – making peace with a shift in (a)sexual orientation, tentatively opening up to others and processing the emotions that come with the change.
- Identity pride – a sense of freedom, a wish to advertise the change in identity..
- Identity synthesis – braiding together the new identity with the rest of oneself to make a whole.
- Where are you at now?
- What was a time of healing or conflict?
- When did you change, though it may not have been visible to the people around you?
- Was there a stage you paused at or revisited?
- How much does this model reflect your experience?
- Is this a useful model for the asexual community to adopt to talk about coming out or are there better alternatives?
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Since this month’s theme is based on a bit of theory, here are some links to read a little more about it.
- Cass identity model on wikipedia
- A 2-page PDF explaing the Cass model to gay folks
- A webpage from the University of Washington’s counseling centre that explains the Cass model
- A page summarising several models for lgbtq development