I’m actually very fortunate. My parents didn’t expect my siblings and I to just default to whatever they believed religiously. And while I’m not “out” to my parents, I am comfortable expressing my religious beliefs to them. Perhaps in the future I could use religion as a frame to explain my identity, but for now I just take comfort in believing.
I say I’m a Buddhist because I feel that my personal beliefs align best with the teachings of the Buddhas and Buddhist teachings. Buddhism has three “jewels”, the Buddha, the written Buddhist teachings, and the Buddhist community. It’s believed that with those three one can obtain “enlightenment”, which I interpret as “perfect understanding” that allows one to be free from fear and shame. I accept the Buddhas as teachers but I am struggling with the latter two. Buddhism is an eastern religion so most of the teachings have an eastern mindset and are in other languages. Ideally I would find a teacher who could help me translate the teachings and a community to support me, but because of my location I don’t readily have those things. If I wanted to join an Temple or Abby I would have to travel all the way to the other side of the country and I don’t have the financial means or support to do that. I don’t think it’s impossible to obtain enlightenment on my own, but without the teachings or community support the task is very daunting. I’m basically stumbling around in the dark.
This reflects my journey to discovering my sexuality and gender as well. Ideally I would have been instructed or taught about sexualities, discover my identity much sooner, and have a supportive community once I was sure of my identity. Settling into my identity didn’t magically make me asexual/agender. Thinking back I’ve always felt this way and it’s comforting to have a name for it. It would be like growing up thinking I was Christian or another dominate religion and then realizing that my personal beliefs actually align with another religion all along, only unlike beliefs I can’t change my sexuality. Beliefs can be stubborn, but with new knowledge and experiences beliefs can change.
As a Buddhist my goals are simple, to live a peaceful life full of compassion for others and to be free of fear and shame. As an asexual I want to live a life full of compassion for others and to be free of fear and shame.