I have a lot of gay friends who are friends through my boyfriend. Recently some of them heard that I was asexual, and they started quizzing my boyfriend when I wasn't around. This is pretty nasty for reasons I'll get into later. But what's odd is that I've known them for years and been out the entire time, and they only realize now?
Mind you, I don't come out to each and every one of my friends by sitting down with them to have a "talk". Rather, I'm out on Facebook. I say asexuality-related things a few times a year, and I have photos of myself at SF pride. I'm carrying the X in "ASEXY". How much more obvious can it get?
It's possible, and understandable, that some of my friends just don't pay attention to Facebook. But I also think that people have to be paying very close attention, or the idea of asexuality just bounces off their head. I say "I'm asexual." on Facebook, and people just carry on. Then someone else says, "Did you hear, miller is asexual!" Then suddenly they realize that it's a real thing, and it's important. I wasn't just vaguebooking.
But in fact, I did the same thing before I was out to myself. I learned about asexuality before really learning about asexuality. I had asexuality explained to me years before I realized asexuality was a real possibility, but I had promptly forgotten it.
I had asexuality explained to me by T-rex:
See the full comic at Dinosaur Comics
I don't remember reading this comic but I know I read it. Back in my freshman year of college I was really into Dinosaur Comics, and I read the entirety of the archives. Which means I read this one as well. But I must not have thought much of it. It's just another one of T-rex's ideas (T-rex is enthusiastic about ideas). Utahraptor himself corrects T-rex's attitude: "You're treating asexuality like an amusing trinket, rather than a real sexual orientation", but this still failed to penetrate into my head.
What it took was not merely a reference on a popular webcomic. What it took was seeing a whole community of people discussing asexuality.
And for my friends, numerous references on Facebook weren't enough. Only when it's part of the gossip does it seem significant.