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An Open Letter To Epigones & Ors
Err...
torylltales wrote in asexuality
If there is only one thing we can agree on, it is that things got way out of hand in the recent 'Pride Parade' post. I want to apologise for my part in the ugliness; I would also like to apologise for some of the things I wrote, and especially the way I wrote them. I have never said, or meant to imply, that the past and continuing suffering of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transexual people is not deeply disturbing to any decent human, and I certainly did not mean to make light of or disrespect the struggles and triumphs of the glbt community.

What I did mean to say is that, completely apart from glbt struggles, asexual people also have to contend with the ignorance, wilful or otherwise, of the majority. It may not be an active oppression, but we are still as a community struggling for the wider community to even accept that we exist, let alone accept us as we are.

And I think this is the crux of the issue: Epigones was complaining that asexuals “invading” the hard-won spaces that glbt people have carved out for themselves was disrespectful because of the idea that asexual people have no claim to something they have not themselves worked to achieve.

However. According to research (which is, as a symptom of the larger problem of ignorance/erasure that we are struggling against, disappointingly scarce), something like one person out of every hundred will identify as having no sexual orientation, or as asexual. Compared to the one in ten that is quoted for the glbt community, we simply do not have the numbers to organise the kinds of pride marches and communal change that was effected and is being effected by the brave fighters and martyrs who have given so much to make the world a better place. We don't have any spaces for ourselves. We are unable to carve out any social niches, except in the corners where nobody else is standing. The point I am trying to make is that the glbt community have largely won their place. They have extensive community support networks, media support, legislation banning or redefining discrimination, and are even mentioned alongside heterosexuality in many if not most school health classes. In short, they are a long way along the path toward finding a place in the world where they are accepted and welcomed by society as a whole. Asexual people? We are barely beginning to tread on that path. It is only in the last few years that asexuality has begun to have any sort of positive attention by the media, and even in interviews with respected news networks, the representatives of asexuality are mocked and ridiculed. We have only two main places where we are free to be ourselves: AVEN, and here. If we step outside of our little box, we are immediately pushed back in. We do not have a place yet. But we are trying.

From one minority group to another, won't you find it in your hearts to offer some moral support?

Sincerely yours, in the hope that one day we might have a world where everyone is accepted, regardless of whether or to whom they feel sexually attracted (with the exception, I hope you'll agree, of paedophiles),

Torylltales.


P.S: On a personal note, since some people both in this thread and over on sf_drama have made some assumptions about me: I am not a straight person, nor am I "straight  asexual". I personally do not believe that such a thing exists; straight people are straight, asexual people are asexual. Heteroromantic asexual people are still predominately asexual. But that is beside the point. I AM Caucasian, but I strive to be conscious of that fact as much as possible, and I am extremely thankful every day that  I happen to have been born into a fairly affluent country where things like food and water may be taken for granted by ungrateful people. Again, I strive to be conscious of that, especially when I know I am talking to people who do not have such a good life as mine. Because I am mildly disabled, I am doubly conscious of how fortunate I am not to have a much more life-affecting condition, although funnily enough my particular disability suffers from the same brand of erasure and ignorance as asexuality, as it is largely invisible (due in large part to the early-intervention speech therapists and technicians to whom I am eternally grateful for teaching me how to hear and speak). In short, I try to be as receptive to my privilege as possible, in order to try to at least minimise the effect of it.

I try to live my life by two guiding principles: the first is calmness and control in the face of contention; the second is compassion for all people, regardless of circumstances. I am deeply ashamed that in this particular thread I broke both of those principles, firstly by losing my temper, and secondly by allowing that loss of control to guide my words to a level of callousness and thoughtlessness of which I never thought I would be capable. For that, again I deeply and sincerely apologise. 

~TT


"I personally do not believe that such a thing exists; straight people are straight, asexual people are asexual"

Just because you don't believe they exist doesn't mean they don't. My best friend is straight as an arrow. She enjoys dating men and being involved with them. However, is also asexual, in that she has no interest in having sex with them. I assure SHE EXISTS. And she is not a liar. She also wouldn't dream of claiming to be part of the glbt community, because she's not queer. She does, however, spend time with other asexuals.

Queer asexuals are very welcome in queer spaces. And that's the point you kept missing in the other post. But considering you don't think such people exist, I'm not surprised that you just don't get it. Until you realize that these people DO EXIST you probably never will.

But is the thing that mainly defines her life experiences her asexuality or her "straight-ness"? (Sorry for the akward word choice.)

I believe/know that very heteroromantic people like your friend exist and I know that there's this very strong and heated debate on whether they could be called "queer" or not.

I don't want to try to rekindle those flames at all, but as an aromantic asexual, I'm kind of wondering whether, apart from suppression and defamation (that, we can all agree, asexuals don't get as much as erasure and ridicule), it could also be an asexual's experiences which might decide whether he/she/ze would be seen as "queer".

In my daily work I often experience the feeling of "otherness". I'm a teacher, and I've recently started teaching sex-ed to my students. Something that gave me a bit of a headache beforehand was that, beyond the biological "how does this work" stuff, sex-ed also involves simple human-interaction-stuff, like "falling in love", "having a crush", "being (sexually) interested in someone" - and I simply have no idea what any of that truly feels like. So I'm talking to my students about something that a lot of them know from their own experiences, but I don't, which feels rather strange. (Not unmanageable in any way, but simply strange in the "yeah, I really am different" way.)
Another thing I'm often confronted with is students, and occasionally other teachers, asking about my marital status / whether I have a boyfriend / etc. I'm "out" as an asexual to my closest colleagues (which was met with friendly acceptance, but not really any kind of true belief, btw), but whenever I get confronted with these kinds of questions, I have to make the decision whether to lie, come out as asexual (with all the accompanying explanations) or evade the question somehow - a situation which I think a lot of queer people are very familiar with.
(And yes, my students will ask those questions, and no, because of the kind of students I work with, simply telling them that it's not their business is not an option.)

My asexuality defines me as "other" in these situations, and I have to admit, I often feel more kinship with people from the queer community than I feel with a lot of heteronormative straight people.

I'm not going to force my way into somewhere I'm not wanted, but I have to admit: I'd like to be part of a bigger group that also shares these feeling of being "othered".

i love the worst possible consequence you could think of is that you might have to explain things to people, truly that experience is totes equivalent to queer oppression

also what the hell kind of school do you work at

Does it really matter? She took a lot a shit from guys because she wasn't interested in sleeping with them. Eventually she found some asexual guys who didn't mind not sleeping with her.

She's hetero-romantic, she is not queer! PERIOD. End of sententence.

And that is the problem with straight asexuals co-opting lbgt spaces and pride events. Queer asexuals are very welcome at lbgt spaces and pride events because those spaces and events are about being queer.

If the asexual community wants to have their own spaces, then go out and create them. Then they can have straight, lgbt, all of the above, and non of the above asexuals participate. And those spaces and events will be about being asexual.

Just don't co-opt our spaces/events and claim them for your (general your) own, because it's not okay for straight asexuals (or any straight group of people) to co-opt the lgbt spaces/events as their own.

And that was the point that was trying to made, and kept being ignored in the comments of the other post.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
I'm gay and I work in education and being outed isn't just something that could be awkward, it could cost my my job if a parent decides to pitch a fit about it and the school doesn't feel like backing my up. Please do not compare your situation to mine.

And honestly, I find it hard to believe that your students could some how force you to answer more questions than you feel like answering.

You know, I wasn't going to comment here - I was planning on passively reading and making mental notes of how ridiculous this bullshit is and how horrible y'all are, but I really can't help it just now.

You're not queer unless you're homo or biromantic. Period, end of story, I don't give a fuck how much of an "other" you feel like. I think it's just great - by which I mean terrible and appropriative and wrong - that you think that getting friendly acceptance "but" and having to answer questions about why you're single means you're just as oppressed and othered as queer people. No, how about not.

Try this on for size: I can't come out. To anyone. I'm moving to a very red state where coming out to my potential employers (or my employers/coworkers when I get the job) would mean losing my livelihood, if not worse. Let's not start about how I feel about having to hide that part of me when I'm moving there with my girlfriend. I can't mention my girlfriend to my professors because if they're homophobes, they might lower my grades - have you ever had to worry about that with what you so obnoxiously refer to as "coming out" as asexual? I didn't think so. Oh, and let's not start on the hundreds of thousands of other people to whom my outing myself would be a death sentence, would mean rape, would mean harassment, would mean countless little persecutions. But oh, by all means, keep calling yourself "queer" even though you like the opposite sex and are therefore immune to the punishments society invents for gay and bisexual people.

I understand wanting to belong to a group, but you should really make or work with your own (AVEN, etc.) instead of trying to encroach on queer spaces and attach the label of "queer" to yourself when it doesn't fit and it's offensive and rude to the people who suffer a whole lot more than just feeling like an other because of their sexuality. Heteroromantic and aromantic asexuals are not queer and will never be. That's just the way it is.

P.S. Also, because of my sexuality, if I were a teacher and out, I would never be allowed to teach sex-ed. Ever. It would be national news if I tried and I would likely suffer death threats and other persecutions, to say nothing of everyone in the nation knowing my name as "that evil lesbian trying to indoctrinate poor, innocent children into being gay". How's that for feeling like an other?

"It may not be an active oppression"

/post

We don't have any spaces for ourselves. We are unable to carve out any social niches, except in the corners where nobody else is standing.

Using your numbers, that would mean that in a town of 50,000 people, around 500 would be asexual. I find it hard to believe that a group that size would be completely incapable of creating a meetup of some sort without outside help from other groups. Obviously, planning a large scale event would be difficult, but I don't buy suggestion that those numbers render you incapable of creating any sort of space at all for yourselves.

Actually that is an average across many different countries, so in a town of fifty thousand there might be six people openly asexual who are willing to declare it. As I recall, the first Florida asexuality meet have six or seven people in total. In the entirety of Florida.

well, that might mean an unwillingness to declare it or it might just mean that there are a lot of people who don't see the need to attend a meeting about asexuality (there are plenty of openly lgbt people who have never been an organizational meeting too).

and fwiw, I think the 1 in 10 number you site for the queer community has been disputed for quite some time now. doing a quick google, I'm seeing estimates in the US ranging from 3-5% of the population

Oh lord so now we are erasing queer asexuals so tht u can feel oppressed like just stop. The only asexuals that belong in queer spaces are u know the queer ones /end

'I am not a straight person, nor am I "straight asexual". I personally do not believe that such a thing exists; straight people are straight, asexual people are asexual. Heteroromantic asexual people are still predominately asexual.'

Ok, I do get what you're saying here. You don't identify as straight because it's a term that has the connotation that there is sexual attraction involved, same as gay and lesbian have those connotations. Fine. But if you don't feel any kind of even platonic attraction to a gender, you're an aromantic asexual. You are one type of asexual. You don't get to decide that asexual is a blanket term and heteroromantic or homoromantic aces don't exist.

You also must accept that if you're a heteroromantic asexual, you're just not going to be welcomed into queer spaces on the basis that you're hetero. You are part of the group that knowingly or unknowingly causes LGBT people so much strife. How could you expect a welcome? Individual LGBT groups may welcome you, or tolerate you, but you just can't assume that the movement as a whole should let you in.

Asexual 'oppression' simply does not rate against queer oppression. I'm asexual, I've experienced self-loathing and depression and confusion and all that nasty shit purely because I'm asexual and didn't understand why I was this way, why was I so weird, I must be ill because other people say it's not normal.. and yes, it's horrible. Really awful. But people knowing I'm asexual will never really be a threat to my livelihood, my safety. But if they also knew I was queer (as in, I'm homoromantic).. that's when actual oppression becomes an issue.

To me, the worst that asexual people have it is the fact that we're so unknown, that it isn't known as a valid sexuality. But that's our job to improve, the LGBT community already has so much on its plate and much more serious work. All we need to do is make people aware of asexuality and maybe spare a few kids growing up thinking there's something seriously wrong with them, like I did.

Ok, so my experience at gay pride parades has been in Europe, and not America, but at every one of the more than a dozen pride parades I've been in there have been floats and such for GLBT allies. In fact such floats/marchers were encouraged in order to show unity.

I'm unsure why asexuals who consider themselves allies should not be able to march in the same way that other allies are encouraged to march.

Obviously if they represent themselves as queer that could lead to problematic stuff, but simply marching because they want to show support for Pride?

That seems, I don't know, what the parades are supposed to be about.

then wouldn't they be marching under the heading of 'allies' rather than needed to announce that they happen to be asexual? There is a difference between marching with an ally group (PFLAG or something like that) or marching under the banner of asexual pride. I think the post that sparked all of this was suggesting the latter.

And that's the difference -- being there as an ally is fine. Showing up with the intention of "I'm here for Asexual Pride" because being asexual make me queer, at an LGBT Pride parade is asshattery, because straight asexuals will never be queer.

God, that other post was a mess. I developed an intense dislike for at least half the people participating.

As for my own opinions... no, being asexual in and of itself doesn't make me queer, but it does make me different. Because I'm heteroromantic, I feel like I'm in this weird space between "queer" and "straight." I would love to be able to march as asexual at a pride parade, but I understand that isn't where I belong. I wish there was a place where I belonged.

I'd suggest having our own parades, but "We're here and we don't necessarily want to bang you" doesn't have much of a ring to it.

"We're here and we don't necessarily want to bang you"

NGL... I LOL'd. ;-)

This particular debate topic often bugs me. I'm a hetero romantic ace. I do not perceive myself as 'queer'. On other hand, I do perceive myself as a member of a sexual minority, and one that, as it gains more awareness from the general public, appears to be subjected to growing discrimination and hostility. I've read enough personal accounts of insults, bullying, rejection by family and peer groups, 'othering', being treated as damaged and/or diseased, being harassed, and even threatened with 'corrective rape', to know that is can grow to be a very, very ugly situation for many of my fellow aces. I would hate to think that it would take actual incidence of physical or sexual assault before our problems are finally seen as 'real enough' to warrant assistance from other sexual minorities in achieving the same protection they are currently fighting for. Given that, and the intersectionality of a very large portion of the asexual population, who happen to also be non-hetero and/or non-cisgendered, it would seem that the asexual and queer communities would make for natural allies, but, instead, there's all this animosity.

Look no one is saying asexuals don't get shit cause you do but it is not the same as the oppression that queer ppl face. Most things aces say are discrimination against them come from sexism and gender norms and have nothing to do with the queer movement, and queer ppl are sick and tired of straight people trying to but there opinions and voices in places they do not belong. Pride parades are about celebrating our identities in face of everything that has happened to us and is still happening to us and trying to attach ace issues to them where they frankly don't belong is incredibly frustrating

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
this is incredibly manipulative.

In the last post, you were saying that people should say "asexual people" instead of "asexuals". Why are you now calling us "asexuals" yourself, you hypocrite?

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