Happy International Asexuality Day!
I couldn’t let a day like this go unaddressed during AroAce April and I thought a lot about what I could possibly say that hasn’t already been said. I could give you some more book recommendations with ace rep, sure, but there are already lists like that all over the internet, or I could talk a bit more about my experience with asexuality, but I’m still not entirely sure how I want to talk about my experience describing myself as an aroace person.
So instead I thought I’d address something a little unpleasant: good ol’ acephobia, from inside and outside the LGBT+ community.
Too often, those of us who identify as somewhere on the ace spectrum are met with attitudes like ‘That’s not a real sexuality’ (Yes it is) or ‘Why do you need an identity based around being celibate?’ (Some ace-spec people do have sex) or ‘You just haven’t met the right person yet’, (I could meet Jareth the Goblin King and still not be interested) which are the kinds of attitudes I find very easy to ignore, because they’re coming from a place of complete ignorance that, in some cases, is beyond rectifying, and I don’t need to spend my energy on those people.
What I find more difficult are the comments from other people within the LGBT+ community who don’t think those of us on the ace spectrum belong in that community because we ‘don’t face prejudice’.
Firstly, that’s not true. I’ve been told in the past that I ‘need doing’, and gross attitudes like that stink of corrective rape. If I’m considering myself asexual, it must be because I don’t know how to do sex right, right? It can’t possibly have anything to do with me not being interested in sex, because what kind of prude* doesn’t want sex?
(Are some ‘prudes’, for lack of a better word, also asexual? Sure! But some ‘prudes’ are also bisexual and pansexual and gay and the list goes on, because asexual people are just people. Personally I’ve always found the ‘prude’ accusation rather odd, as most asexuals are some of the most sex positive people you will ever encounter.)
But secondly, and most importantly, the prejudice I face for being ace isn’t actually what I want to focus on. Shocking, I know. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to address it when I see it, but regardless of our sexuality we shouldn’t be basing our inclusion in the LGBT+ community on how ill treated we are. Of course prejudice isn’t going to go away if we just ignore it – that’s not how prejudice works – but we do ourselves a disservice if we use the horrid ways in which we’re treated to justify taking up space in a community that should be a safe space.
Competing against one another does nothing but harm the LGBT+ community as a whole, and personally I’m not here for that.
My sexuality is not a competition, and if you disagree, well, that sounds like a you problem.