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?