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),
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.
- An Open Letter To Epigones & Ors