(cont.) Plus sex is held at such a high place and seen as “true happiness” for some and in society, including parents of ace people. plus their issues are often ignored by the lbgt groups and they’re scorned and shunned. So while I personally haven’t heard of someone being kicked out for being ace, they do have problems. Either way I’m glad the person’s situation ended well.
I understand that ace people get shit for it. Corrective rape or threats of corrective rape happen, which is horrific on every level, and people say nasty shit about ace people and imply that they’re broken. It’s wrong and it’s hurtful and that absolutely needs to change. I get that, I really do. I would never deny that ace/aro people have issues.
That said? People who are dual ace/aro* (or people who are ace/heteroromantic) do not have a right to be in LGBTQ+ spaces unless they are explicitly welcomed. Those spaces are for people who are systematically oppressed, denied the right to marry their partner, people whose genders aren’t even recognized by society. People who are beaten to death, denied jobs or housing, or totally ostracized by their peers. If a queer couple walk down the street expressing their affection towards one another, there’s every change of slurs being slung at them or worse. If an ace/aro person walks down the street simply being ace/aro, their wellbeing is not in danger. This is the difference.
*Obviously this doesn’t apply to people who are ace and bi/pan/homo/etc-romantic or people who are aro and bi/pan/homo/etc-sexual
And now I’m curious— any of my followers who are willing to raise their hands, how many of you who are aro and on the ace spectrum also have or have had a “same”-gender partner?
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: While I believe every queer space needs to be the final authority on who it wants to extend its welcome to, I think it’s a mistake to define the experience of queerness entirely as being hated. If homophobia and transphobia disappeared tomorrow, wouldn’t queerness still have a meaning? Do we depend on other people’s hate for identity? Does violence and ostracizing and disgust and institutionalized oppression have to cross a certain line of Terrible before everyone can nod and agree that a person might benefit from fellowship in a group uniquely qualified to understand being Other, or will we continue to assume that the way asexual people are hated has to look enough like how LGBT people are hated before they agree they’re both hurt in different ways to different degrees by the same heteronormative root?
It’s also weird to me that “WTF, asexuals, gay people are Actually Hurt, trans people are Actually Hurt, you are NOT” comes up so often when a) LGBT people who come from supportive families and live in more open-minded communities do NOT have an identical experience to LGBT people who come from unaccepting families and live in close-minded communities; and b) when asexual people are reaching out in need, calling suicide lines, clinging to others and asking for help, I think it’s safe to assume that whatever’s being done to them, it hurts. I don’t know why it has to have been done with the same weapon, for the same reason, to the same extent before the wounded person is acknowledged and supported.
A trans person who is usually mistaken for cis does NOT stop suffering because of transphobia, even though a trans person who is usually read as trans is going to be in greater danger for it, but both groups of trans people are understood by this narrative to have a space under the umbrella. A gay person who presents in stereotypically heterosexual ways and lacks traits some people associate with gay people is not being told by this narrative that they do not suffer enough. There are gradations of suffering, and even if you’re actually determining who belongs based on whose cuts are deepest, it’s indisputable that some LGBT people suffer far more than others dependent on other factors. Not all LGBT people are ostracized from all their friends and family. There is not ONE queer experience. I think it’s important we recognize the intersectionality here as well as acknowledge that some asexual people live in a horribly prejudicial environment depending on how the compulsorily sexual society affects them. It’s not always visible to those outside that experience.
You don’t have to understand why or how it hurts us. But because the pain is caused by the heteronormative assumption, we usually see that LGBT people make natural allies of asexual people even when said asexual people aren’t ALSO LGBT. Rolling your eyes at their pain and painting the queer experience with a broad brush that doesn’t include them BUT ALSO DOESN’T INCLUDE AN AWFUL LOT OF ACTUAL LGBT PEOPLE serves the community very poorly. (What’s that you say? Some gay people actually can get married depending on where they live? The above narrative says you’re only welcome in queer spaces if you can’t marry your partner. One of the many problems with oversimplifying the queer experience.)
Personally I’ve never been in a queer space and felt othered the way I have in primarily heterosexual spaces. I’ve been welcomed and supported and people understood that I was there to give as well as get. We have different stories that led us there, but they had a similar soundtrack. Sometimes it feels like coming home, or like family—especially if you don’t have a family that gets it. I think we have WAY more in common than some of these “you aren’t oppressed!” narratives seem to think, but more than that, I think it’s dangerous to build an identity primarily around whether heterosexual people hate you and hurt you enough. The reason behind a person’s showing up in such a space does often include some pain, but it’s not all about what we’re struggling with or what we’ve overcome. It’s okay if we’re not all the same—LGBT minus asexual people certainly aren’t. We’re not out to build a hierarchy of whose problems are worse. And if I’m being honest, I don’t care if someone isn’t able to see my problems on their own. What I DO care about is if I tell them … and they respond by refusing to listen and then concluding I have no such story.