Yeah? Well, I’m Taking my Legos and Going Home

Today’s topic for me is one I only recently encountered. Having grown up where the LGBT clubs I came in contact with were more than happy to welcome all, it’s quite a shock to me to hear there are some who feel asexuals should not be included in the group.

When I was younger I didn’t know many people who were out, and from my limited perspective on the world it seemed the majority of people we plain, vanilla straight people with a smattering on the edges of gay people. From early on, I didn’t care about peoples orientations as long as they were decent people. I allied myself with what I believed to be a minority. As I grew older though, I learned of transgender, gender queer, asexuals, intersex, polyamorous and all the other people who didn’t fit into the heteronormative box.

I began to wonder, if there are so many people living on the “fringes,” how are their voices not being heard? And recently it clicked for me. We’re fighting among ourselves. The people who are oppressing and discriminating against the sexual and gender minorities don’t have to divide and conquer because people are doing that for them from within.

From bisexual erasure to excluding asexuals all together, it’s a wonder that we’ve achieved anything at all. We’re fighting for freedom and equality. Do the gays and lesbians deserve it more simply because they have more members. Aren’t we all really after the same thing? Equality, acceptance, the ability to live our lives as we see fit without someone trying to tell us we’re wrong?

There are a lot of similarities between the background stories of some asexuals and gays. Many of us feel alone and isolated, questioning our own feelings and believing there is something wrong with us because we aren’t like everyone else. And my lack of sexual attraction is no more a choice than theirs is for who they’re attracted to. There is usually a coming out experience for all and then the subsequent back lash from some of the people in our lives who no longer accept us.

There is also an idea beginning to pop up that asexuals are trying to piggy back on the success of the gay and lesbian movement. This makes me mad for some many reasons, but mostly because I thought we were all in this together. We’re a team working toward the goal of decreasing world suck (nerdfighter for life) and yet some are accusing asexuals (or others) of being the one holding them back in the three legged race. We’re not dead weight; we’re not riding the coat tails of others. Everyone brings something unique to this cocktail party. I’m not trying to say your cheese and crackers tray is mine but I bet it would pair well with the wine I brought.

My partner and I were talking about this post and I was trying to explain why some might feel like asexuals shouldn’t be included and why bi-erasure exists. The best explanation I had was to imagine a life where your nerve endings don’t reach your skin, therefore you do not have a sense of touch. I can explain all day what rough means but without feeling it for yourself you’d never truly know. Touch is so ingrained into who we are most of us cannot imagine a world without it. Or like trying to explain light to someone who cannot see. My partner mentioned it’s requires being able to walk in someone else’s shoes, to take a step out of their box and into someone else’s. Empathy, it takes empathy. So few people truly know how to do this anymore but without it we are lesser beings. Empathy is a dying skill in our society.

So, the next time you want to exclude someone and tell them they can’t play with your toys because they’re different or they don’t belong, remember they’re human and on some level we’re all the same. To the people who want to exclude asexuals: Don’t, just don’t. The whole idea of the QUILT BAG community is about inclusion and refuge from the oppression of being in a society that doesn’t understand. Who are you to say that my color isn’t included in the rainbow?

Article on the same topic.

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Different, Not Broken

Continuing on the topic of Asexuality, I want to address the misconception that Asexuality isn’t a sexuality but rather a disease or disorder.

There hasn’t been much conclusive research done on asexuality and back in the day before any research was done it was shoved under the umbrella of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (aka the Psychiatry Bible, which lets face it holds many things that have been debunked over time.)

Some information can be found here and here.

So without science to back up anyone’s claims, let’s proceed with the notion that everyone is a little bit in the dark when it comes to why and how asexuality happens and discuss why it’s so important for some people to try and put others into labelled boxes.

I understand from a scientific perspective why we as humans feel the need to categorize things. Categorization is how we learn and is indeed how we make sense of masses of information. (Link provided to supplemental material about categorizing and the science behind it.) Unlike a tool box though, where you can open it and call the tools within all sort of names, when you take this approach with people you run a very high risk of alienating them and hurting them.

If someone thinks my asexuality is a disorder, what do either of us gain by them telling me so? Please, let me highlight some words in that sentence: “someone thinks” and “my asexuality.” At the end of the day is my not having a desire to have sex injuring anyone? Does the label of crazy or sick make it anymore likely that I’m going to sleep with that person? And if my asexuality isn’t hurting anyone why is there a need to tell me I am wrong?

Asexuality is as valid an orientation as lesbian, bisexual or gay. It refers to a sexual preference. In my experience of roaming the internet and reading comments from the wide world of hypocrites, jerks and trolls, none have bothered me quite so much as some of the ones I have seen from people in the LGBTQA society about asexuals. In a group where I have felt safe for many years, it comes as quite a shock to my system to see people posting comments like: “Asexuals do not belong in LGBT. They are non-sexual people and don’t belong in a classification system used to identify sexual preference.”

Another comment I read said “LGBT is not a catchall for misfits.” As far as I understood the meaning and feelings behind the community, LGBTQA is an inclusive group that fight for the rights denied to sexual and gender minorities and fights against heteronormativity, social prejudices, religious persecution and gender stereotypes. Plus a whole slew of other things I’m sure. The point being, why would anyone want to take a refuge like that and close its doors in anyone’s face?

With all of that said, there were also many people defending Asexuals who were not asexual and many people from the LGBTQA community insisting the doors were open for all. There will always be people trying to shove others inside the boxes they have made in their heads instead of just building a new box or rearranging the ones they already have. I for one am trying out a little box burning, I mean it worked for the feminists and their bras right?!

I want to remove stereotypes from my life. Let everyone be who they are and let their actions and words define them not some label I have stamped out with my keyboard. I want people to not be afraid to claim identifiers they feel describe them because someone they know won’t understand. I am asexual, panromantic, polyamorous and non-binary.

Also, I like the acronym QUILT BAG. A friend of mine told me about it. I like it for its inclusion of all groups currently known.

Until next week, I leave you with this video: http://youtu.be/qO_Dk_Z2zRM

It is about bi-erasure and one girl’s struggles with feeling acceptance but the message at the end is for everyone in many situations.