so this is going to be short. But man I have a whole lot of thoughts about the whole “Asexuals aren’t part of the LGBTQ community” thing. I actually posted about it here quite a while ago.
But I think the bottom of it for me, the fundamental thing people don’t get, is, they assume that people who are whatever variety of asexual are still fundamentally straight, that they fit into cultural expectations of heterosexuality as long as they aren’t in a same-gender relationship.
And I’m like… have you ever talked to anyone who’s asexual?
There are so many aces out there talking about how incredibly alienated they feel from everything heteronormative.
Our heteronormative culture doesn’t just punish people who have same-gender desires and relationships, it also punishes people who fail to display “opposite”-gender desire. Failing to show interest in the people you’re supposed to be interested in also gets negative attention, just not quite as much because it isn’t as consistently obvious.
People in the LGBT+ community, people who’ve spent some amount of time thinking about “queer theory”, see gender and sexuality and gender presentation as distinct, separate things. But in the mind of the average person who isn’t a part of that community and subculture, those things are all mixed together, in stereotypes and social pressure.
Being straight, and being a Real Normal Woman/Man, (and various other things) are all tied together, and failing to do one of them casts doubt on all the others. Someone who doesn’t display straight attraction will often have people suspect that they’re gay, even if they never do anything to actively indicate that. And that’s not just a matter of asexuals being mistaken for gay/lesbian. It’s that “gay” is shorthand for “abnormal,” for “not a normal feminine woman/masculine man,” for “morally suspect,” for “mentally ill,” etc. And all the rest of that stuff gets applied whether the specific accusation of “gay” does or not. Saying “but I’m not gay, I’m asexual” or even “but I’m celibate by choice” doesn’t get you out of all that suspicion.
I’ve seen people mocking the very idea that asexuals are in any way marginalized, comparing asexuality to celibacy (and assuming the general public thinks voluntary celibacy is 100% fine and normal, which I don’t think is true anyway) and I just… did you ever at any point pay attention to an asexual person, or even attempt to imagine what being asexual is like? I would have assumed that it wouldn’t be that hard to imagine if you’re gay or lesbian or otherwise not attracted to the “opposite” gender; was I really that far off base?