For the asexually curious and the curiously asexual

Queer privilege

[I’m on an enforced minimisation of blogging atm due to important exams. Also, the 101 project is taking up time. Naturally, this means I suddenly have more ideas I really want to blog than ever before.]

This is my take on why hetero-aligned asexuals are queer:

I’d be so screwed if I was hetero-aligned.

Looking back through my life, there’s a good chance I’d never have discovered asexuality, never have discovered feminism, gender-non-conformity, polyamory. There’s a good chance I’d never have read MYSELF as queer. I’d have read myself as broken. I’d have been different, with no tools to accept it.

I don’t want to live in a world where the main support group for people who think they’re broken because they’re different is inaccessible. I want people like the confused, hurt and alone individual I would have been to be told ‘It’s ok. Queer is here for you. The identity is yours to use if you feel safe in it.’ I want the other me to have something that feels safe, that feels real, somewhere to belong for just a little while while all the messages and the pressures of society float above my head. Somewhere out of the storm, where I can gather my strength to fight against it.

Even if I’d found asexuality, even if queerness was accepting, I think I might still have been fighting a loosing battle. It depresses me to realise how many of the people who have expressed an interest in queer relationship structures, the type of relationship structures I need, are primarily interested in relationships with people of the same gender (and/or are generally gender-subverting). I really don’t think I’ve seen any aromantic or even much asexual queerification of cis het relationships. Because straight and queer can’t touch. Which makes me sad, because I think it’s actually less likely, at this stage, for a successful queer cis het relationship to happen. I have a couple of other posts bouncing around in my head at the moment about heteronormativity, and how the people it’s starting to screw over the most are straight people. I feel… relatively optimistic right now about my chances of a happy life, and some of that is due to having a wealth of potential zucchinis (queer relationship partners) who aren’t a gender-gap away in terms of communication. And a lot of it is about having the support of the queer community, both asexual and, wider, about having a whole group of people, spread out all over the world, who can accept me for who I am, who do the transgressive, who dare to accept difference.

And that is what’s keeping me up, right now. That’s what’s keeping me whole. And that, that is what Queer means.

And that’s why hetero-romantics need queer. That’s why we should be there for them. No arguments.


Comments on: "Queer privilege" (11)

  1. I always find it strange to look back at where the public conversation is, and find people arguing, “If they could choose to be gay, who would choose to be discriminated against their whole lives?” While this is true in some ways, it’s just so… behind.

    I am so happy to be gay, because it gives me this whole community which is supportive of non-normative people, behaviors, and relationships. I’ve seen many straight asexuals express discomfort with being part of the queer community, and it makes me sad.

  2. This is so interesting. I’m just starting to read blogs about asexuality and aromantics (by asexual and aromantic people) so that I can learn another point of view so this is all new to me and I’m still trying to catch on to the terminology. Your post makes me wonder if queers are generally more accepting of asexuals and aromantics than heterosexual folks. I guess as a bisexual and trans person, I’m curious because I find so much in-fighting and a lack of a will to understand diversity within the broader queer community that I had the impression that even many people under the queer umbrella would be dismissive of asexuals and aromantics. If I’m mistaken, then I’m glad to hear it : )

    • Horning in a little bit on SM’s space, but–no. I’ve personally experienced quite a bit of anti-asexual sentiment coming from queer people of all orientations.

      Not that everyone is dismissive, far from that, but it’s not universally accepting either. Particularly not for aromantics and heteroromantics–I notice a lot of attempts by some queer people to categorize asexuals as queer or not-queer by their romantic orientations, and of course that all falls apart when you consider that the romantic model is not perfect and also is very confusing for some of us.

      I can’t speak to whether queer people in general are more or less accepting, because my datasets aren’t that big, but I have definitely seen LGB people get very upset and angry specifically at asexual and aromantic people identifying as queer.

  3. Yes. So much yes, because heteroromantic is not the same as being heterosexual. And because there needs to be support for everyone who doesn’t, actually, fit into this heteronormative world.

  4. Yeeees. I think I’m much happier in my sexual orientation now that I’ve embraced queerness, and I only did THAT properly once I realised I had some degree of same-gender attraction (homozucchini?). If I’d not been aligned that way, if I’d even been heteroromantic, I think it would’ve been a LOT harder for me.

    Also, I often see heteroromantic and sometimes aromantic folk essentially going “I’m not sure I’m allowed to identify this way. ._.” Sort of standing on the outside with their noses pressed against the glass. Back when I identified as more homoromantic I’d often play the asexual with the Bona Fide claim to queerness (as people who have got the basics of romantic orientation down very rarely seem to have problems with homo/bi/panromantic people calling themselves queer) going “no, you ARE allowed in the club and don’t let anyone tell you differently.” It just hurts to see fellow ace people exclude themselves.

    Also, I would not be heteroromantic for a million pounds, you know? There’s so much bullshit about communication and sex and so on and so forth specifically in opposite-gender relationships, all the Mars and Venus bullshit and more, and asexuals desperately need to be able to communicate honestly and without those sorts of assumptions in a romantic relationship. Like, I imagine being a heteroromantic ace woman trying to explain that no, she /really/ doesn’t like sex and would rather not have it and guys brushing this off as wanting to seem a “good girl” or that just being how women are or buying into the “girl trades sex for emotional intimacy” model, or being a heteroromantic ace guy and having all the women flat-out disbelieve you because all guys always want it! Trying to wade through that in order to date? No way.

    • “Trying to wade through that in order to date? No way.”

      That’s a large part of why I wouldn’t want to be heteroromantic. That, and the other bit being that I would be so easily invalidated in queer spaces that I’m not sure I would ever take on these fundamental messages of being secure and comfortable in yourself. I think queer liberation, pride, is so important to heteroromantic and hetero-aligned WTFromantic asexuals, I can’t bear the thought of them not feeling comfortable.

      The thing that troubles me about ‘homozucchini’ is that we don’t actually seem to need it. It’s almost assumed. Out of the, admittedly very small, sample group, I think I’m the closest to having expressed desire for heterozucchinis, and I’m still squeamish about dating across gender because of the communication issues (though, thinking about it, DJ has probably had heterozucchinis). It makes me sad.

      • Yes yes yes. Like, I can *totally* understand why a heteroromantic ace would feel uncomfortable claiming a queer identity or why they’d feel very vulnerable and unwilling to defend themselves if a sexual queer person told them they were appropriating (which, you know.) It SUCKS and I wish it weren’t that way and I think it’s very damaging to heteroromantic ace folk but I can see why. :(

        And ‘homozucchini’ was mostly a joke, aka I’m not actually going to go around calling myself that! Although I’m still sort of wrestling with how I am (for my value of “attraction”) attracted to women but not to men and how I don’t want that to be invisibilised because I worry that people will do the either-bi-or-hetero assumption thing, and same-gender attraction has its own sets of problems and advantages, so I sort of feel a bit uncomfortable having nothing in my orientation that says “this person is attracted to women but not guys, yo”… and then I wonder whether part of me isn’t still trying to get “really queer really!” brownie points or some such bullshit or whether I’m still trying to sort out issues I had re: aromanticism (namely, that because I knew I had gender preference in my zucchini thinking of my zucchini as “close friends” made me feel as if I was prejudiced against men because I didn’t want to have them as close friends, which prompted and still kind of prompts a lot of guilt). AND THEN you throw in gender questioning so it’s just a giant mess.

    • I’m sorry, but this comment strikes me as really unintentionally misogynistic. Non-asexual straight and bi women also have to deal with these assumptions in their relationships, and all women have to deal with them in some capacity. It’s not worse for asexuals, and it’s kind of slut-shaming to imply that it is.

      I’m not saying that asexual women don’t have to deal with unique problems and assumptions romantically, obviously that’s so. But the problems you’re describing are a product of sexism and heterocentrism, and hurt all women.

      • (I’m assuming you’re referring to Kaz’s comment on the 11th, but the formatting has gone a bit weird, so forgive me if I’m wrong)

        I’m sorry, KK, I think your reading is a little off. Kaz is agreeing with me here (and I know ze agrees with me in general from other conversations) that some of the conventions around heterosexuality are really bad for EVERYONE who wants intimate relationships with people of the opposite binary gender. Ze talks specifically about heteroromantic aces compared to homoromantic aces because that’s the topic of discussion in this thread, but I’m sure both Kaz and myself vehemently agree with you that these problems ARE a product of sexism and heterosexism, and they DO hurt women indiscriminately of whether they’re asexual or not.

        (At this point, feel free to stop reading if you’re not going to respond, because the rest of this is MASSIVELY tl;dr. Sorry)

        I’d like to question two of the words you use, because I’m really interested in why you chose to use them.

        There is totally sexism present in this situation. The fact that women are assumed always to say no and therefore their lack of consent is invalidated is sexism. (Whether I would agree to call that misogyny depends on whether or not whoever I was talking to agreed that, by the same token, the constant invalidation of male lack of consent is misandry, but I digress).

        I fail to see any misogyny in Kaz’s statement, though. I just can’t identify what you mean by it.

        I’ve wracked my brain thinking of what you mean by this word. The only explaination I can come up with is that you think Kaz was implying that all non-asexual women are always avaliable and consenting for sex. This is a really disingenuous opinion to give you, but if you did really think that, I’d like you to read through the comment again and see where you got that from. And, even so, I think ‘rape culture-y’ is a better term in that circumstance than ‘slut-shaming’, unless you can find anywhere in the comment where Kaz says or implies ‘All non-asexual women are constantly up for sex, AND THEREFORE are wicked sluts.’ My point is, even if you can find evidence of the first half of the sentence (which, in this circumstance, I can’t), that doesn’t imply the second half.

        The reason I bring this up is because ‘slut-shaming’ is an attack often used against asexuals. Some people seem to think that just being openly asexual is a form of slut-shaming. Again, the sentence beginning ‘I don’t like to have sex’, (which isn’t actually the same as ‘I’m asexual’) might just end there. It seems like some people hear ‘I don’t like to have sex AND THEREFORE everyone else loves it all the time AND THEREFORE they’re wicked sluts’. So when you come into an asexual space and say ‘Actually, that’s slut-shaming’, just bear in mind that a lot of people have said that before, just for daring to claim the identity of asexual, so you’re going to need to give a quick explaination, or your call-out might get confused with just another bigoted attack.

        Looking forward to carrying on this conversation. If I’ve misrepresented any of your points, I apologise, and would like to hear them more fully.

  5. […] are largely same-sex, which I think further alienates hetero-aligned people who have few models and lots of other issues to contend with. But it’s worth asking why they’re same sex. And I think this is […]

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