Whenever asexuality is mentioned, there is a small, but vocal, contingent of territorial people who do not want us around. “You’re not one of us! You don’t belong here!”, they shout to the sky. “There aren’t enough letters in our acronym for us to let you in.” They guard their narrow plot of land fiercely, as if allowing anyone else near them will lead to overcrowding and cause a structural collapse that will throw them and everyone else into a boiling pit of lava that waits below.
Except… There’s no lava. There’s no shortage of land. The territory of acceptance and understanding are limitless.
Some of these comments are born out of a misplaced fear of appropriation, but more often, they’re wholly irrational GET OFF MY LAWN proclamations.
There are already too many letters in LGBTQ! [#]
- I’m only half-hearted about this but I can’t even keep the acronym straight most of the time as it is.
- I am starting to think this is ridiculous. LGBT will turn into LGBTQAI etc. there are too many people wanting their own special little niche.
- Lord, because we need more abbreviations under our banner. LGBTQIA is ridiculous, lol. We aren’t a halfway home for wayward sexualities.
- I don’t understand this at all. Nor do I understand what it has to do with the homosexual community, the gay men and women. The LGBTQIAafjklsgjlkjasd acronym is getting incredibly long.
Why these comments are a problem:
Lemme get this straight here. You’re objecting to us having visibility and acceptance because we make the acronym too long?
There are too many letters, and that’s why you want to turn your back on us? Seriously?
If that’s really your only problem with us, we’ll pay to add the “A” to your signs. Hang on, I’ll go start taking up a collection.
How to respond:
- Point out how patently ridiculous this argument is.
- Point out that we’ll bring a much needed vowel to the LGBTQBBQ.
- Mention one of the generic, inclusive acronyms, like “GSRM” that can be used instead.
You can be in a community, just not mine. [#]
- Asexual people have their own community. They have the asexual community. Just because a sexuality is abnormal, doesn’t mean it fits as LGBT.
- We have simply said that we have enough causes on our plate right now, and don’t think that we should adopt anymore groups under our banner. That doesn’t mean they can’t start their own community, their own coalition, etc.
- I will gladly be an ally of the ACE Community but do not believe we all need to be lumped together.
Why these comments are a problem:
What these comments are saying is “Yeah, yeah, whatever, you have your problems. Now why don’t you go over there and talk about them so I don’t have to hear you.” It’s essentially the same thing intolerant straight people say to them.
These people generally want to reject all asexuals. They don’t even care that there are homoromantic asexuals and transgender asexuals and others who share so much with them. In some cases, these people will welcome cisgender straight allies over asexuals.
Yes, there has been a lot of work put in by a lot of people to build organizations and support structures and visibility. And yes, we’re arriving late to the party and weren’t always around to help set them up. But it runs counter to the goals of the community to pull up the drawbridge and say “Sorry, you’re not like us, you don’t belong here.” We’re here now, and we’ll pull our weight if we’re given the opportunity.
Fortunately, this attitude is rare. The vast majority of people who are a part of the LGBTQ* community recognize the similarities between their own journey and the path taken by asexuals. There are shared struggles, shared triumphs.
How to respond:
- Point out the hypocrisy in their comments.
- Mention high profile LGBTQ* organizations that recognize and support asexuals.
- Talk about parallels between your experience as an asexual and the “typical LGBT” experience. If you are homoromantic, biromantic, or panromantic, or if you are trans, talk about how that part of your identity interacts with asexuality, and why both are important to you.
You’re diluting the cause! Straights can call themselves “queer” if asexuals do! [#]
- Every variation of gender and sexual expression (or I guess in this case, unexpression) doesn’t need to fall under our banner (shall we add an F for fetishists while we are at it?). It just dilutes things.
- Okay, so everyone can join our queer community, except absolutely-100%-straight people? Literally EVERYONE can join our community EXCEPT straight people? Seriously….
- And can I identify as queer even though I’m basically a straight cis-gendered sexual person?
- I’m all for inclusion but where and when do we stop. We risk being so diluted that we can no longer have a cohesive movement.
- Well, taking this to the next logical step, shall we include straight people in the LGBTQ community?
Why these comments are a problem:
People who use these lines don’t make any attempt to understand us. They simply see us, all of us, as straight people who just don’t have sex. From that perspective, it’s ridiculous to devote any attention our way. We’re just in the way, trying to steal time from someone who deserves it. We’re impostors, trying to claim our piece of the spotlight.
Problem is, that’s entirely wrong. People undoubtedly made the same slippery slope arguments every other time a group looked for inclusion. “Bisexuals? They just can’t make up their mind. They’re straight half the time, so it would be like including straight people! Transgender people? That’s not even a sexual orientation! What does that have to do with us?” Each time, the exclusionary naysayers were proven wrong and the community got stronger through its newfound diversity.
The claim that asexuality will “dilute” anything is ridiculous. That implies that there’s a concentrated, central organization, with a single focus, and that when we come along and knock on the door, we’ll mess that up. There’s no such thing. People and groups that belong to “The Cause” are wide ranging and diverse. Some fight for equal marriage, some promote Lesbian poetry, some campaign for ENDA, some want rainbows painted in crosswalks, some just want to be left alone, some go on talk shows and discuss pronouns, and some sell t-shirts.
The addition of “Queer” to “LGBTQ” was even meant as a catch-all bucket to avoid these sorts of pointless fights. It’s a way of saying “And the rest of you all who don’t fit into one of the other buckets, you’re welcome, too”. It was an inclusive outreach. You can’t use it to exclude people.
How to respond:
- Explain that asexuality is not heterosexuality.
- Explain your experiences as an asexual and how they might contribute to “the cause”, instead of “dilute” it.
- Sarcastically say “Woo-hoo! Slippery slope! Where’s my toboggan?”
The LGBT movement is all about sex, so asexuals don’t belong. [#]
- I just don’t think that asexual have anything in common with LGBT people…by definition , they don’t like sex..and whether you like it or not, gay culture is about sex
- Asexuals belong in their own, separate category…. because the LGBT movement is all about sexual desire and emotions.
- I really don’t think that asexual are part of the lgbt community, I don’t think they want to be part of the community, they’re clearly not interested in sex nor sexually related activities
Why these comments are a problem:
And here I thought the LGBT movement was all about things like equality, acceptance, understanding diversity, and helping people be who they are and not who someone else thinks they should be. Guess I was wrong.
By saying that it’s all about sex, they’re setting up a wall that might even keep out gays and lesbians who just aren’t all that into sex. Does someone stop being gay if they just haven’t done it in a while?
I think my favorite part about these comments, particularly the examples above, is how they frequently reference the “LGBT Community” as they claim that it’s all about sex or sexual desire, completely overlooking the fact that the “T” part is not about sex or sexual desire at all, and therefore completely undermines their entire point.
How to respond:
- Point out that the LGBT community is not “all about sex”.
- Talk about how acceptance and tolerance, etc., are important goals that are shared between asexuals and the LGBT community.
One meaningless accusation against asexuality is that it stops reproduction. (I’ll leave aside the question of whether the world already has enough people). This overlooks the fact that women lose fertility at age 50 and about 50% of men loose erection about the same age, obviously the other side of the same coin, and well before general senility sets in. This is obviously a genetic feature of mankind, other animals become less fertile as they get old in line with the loss of their other qualities of speed, strength, eyesight, etc, only man has this sudden switch-off. Natural selection works by results, and a “result” for natural selection is a child which has children of its own. At some point in the history of the species, children whose parents and grandparents had stopped breeding had a survival advantage. We do not know the details and maybe never will, but it has left its mark. So the riposte to the jibe “asexuality is a limit on your fertility” is “There is a genetic limit on your fertility too, but you are over-familiar with it and don’t see it for what it is”
It also disregards the fact that there are plenty of other reasons why someone might not have children – they might be biologically incapable for some other reason, they might not be in a financial or emotional position to have them, they might just not want them. Stating that this is a problem works on the assumption that the population will die out unless EVERY SINGLE PERSON has kids, which… yeah, likely.
It also equates asexuality with ‘not having sex’, which as we see above is incorrect.
*snort* i’m asexual and i have three children.
They act like IUI, IVF and some such are things that DO NOT EXIST. Because if the only way to make babies is PIV sex, then uh, how did my lesbian friends have babies….
I’m a demisexual and recently my aro/ace friend said that demis and greys always flood spaces meant specifically for aro/aces. They said that by doing this, we’re driving away the people those spaces were really meant for. I always thought that we were under the same umbrella and never thought we were invading. Should we be making our own spaces instead? Do other aro/aces feel this way? Is there anything you guys can say about this?
Nope. I figure that everyone who believes they belong under the Aro/Ace umbrella should be there. There already exists some tensions between LGBT and the Asexual communities, and we need to make everyone feel like they belong. As an Aro/Ace myself, I can tell you that there are plenty of people who are supportive of Grays/Demis (including myself) and the people who don’t may have forgotten how easily they are forgotten just for being Ace/Aro. Yous guys are not alone. ;)
God, no! That’s the same argument as in the article, and it’s equally ridiculous. Grays and demis and anyone and everyone else under the ace umbrella are equally welcome in the ace community. Come in. Put your feet up. Have a piece of cake. We love you.
I haven’t met anyone else who identifies as demi!! It took me years to find a label, I had almost given up (my friends called me [Spouse’s name]-sexual). It warms my heart to know I have a community somewhere. That alone is why this post is so beautifully necessary – this comment would not have had such an effect if I had felt included prior to reading it. Thank you.
Hah! I’m not sure if I’m demi (is demi romantic a thing?) But for years before I figured out the ace stuff I used to joke I was “spouse’s name”-sexual because I coudn’t explain any other way that heterosexual just didn’t describe me.
Nah, I’m asexual and I %100 think that demi or gray people are welcome in asexual spaces.
This makes me so mad! After all the invalidation and rejection we get, we should not be turning around and doing the same to others! As far as I’m concerned, greys and demis totally belong in ace/aro spaces! And yet, so often on AVEN I see people going “that’s a normal allosexual though” or other bull, completely ignoring the person’s actual experiences. If you’re identifying as grey or demi, you probably have more in common with aces or aros than with allos, or else why would you even want to join the community?
Spot on about the way these people don’t even see the T in the acronym. These are the same sort of folks who can’t understand how gender identity and sexual orientation are separate, and therefore a trans person can also be gay, bi, or asexual in terms of sexual orientation! I also wonder how many of the “but lgbt is all about sex” commenters are cis gay men who frankly couldn’t care less about anyone else in the acronym but other cis gay men.
I’m gay and I just figured out that this is an issue today when my bisexual friends stated that straight asexuals shouldn’t be aloud in the LGBT group. They continuously claimed it was because the LGBT group was meant to escape the oppression the straight people put on us, so we shouldn’t include them. It’s so sad to see that people can start rewriting history and just throw the oppression onto another group of people. I tried explaining to them this is what is happening and has happened for years, but they still didn’t see how it was the same. People need to realize that every minority has their own issues and struggles that other minority’s won’t understand, and it’s in those situations that groups such as the LGBT community are supposed to help find support and acceptance for them. Sadly, that’s not what is happening, and I apologize for the discrimation.
Thank you for standing up for us. Obviously het aces don’t go through the SAME problems as other sexualities or even other aces with different romanticisms, but we still have problems. As someone who is a hetero-romantic asexual, I fear for not being able to find a faithful spouse. I have never met another asexual person, (that I know of at least) but I feel it’s unlikely I’ll find someone who would marry me knowing they would most likely never have sex and then not cheat on me.
If you think about it when they say LGBT or maybe LGBTQ they forget many other sexualities (ex. pansexual, asexual/aromantic, gender fluid, etc.) Adding a simple ‘+’ to the end would show that there is more than 4-5 different ones. Then maybe we would be able to include ALL sexualities, including demi & grey asexual/aromantic/bisexual/homosexual/pansexual and the romantic variations. They aren’t even including pansexual in the acronym even though that is considered more valid.
one of the responses I’ve seen is that “asexuals benefit from homophobia therefore they don’t belong in the LGBT+ community” it’s so ridiculous I’m really not quite sure what to say.
What always confuses me is, wasn’t the point of having the LGBT community to make it so that everyone has equal rights? Everyone can love or not love who they want without oppression? Shouldn’t that mean we shouldn’t shut out anyone who is supportive of that idea, whether or not they are straight or gay or whatever? Arnt people who hate straight people because they are straight or cisgendered (even if those people are completely supportive of the LGBT, just not gay themselves) just as bad as homophobes? Like, I’m a lesbian ace, but my mother is completely straight and very supportive of me. Does that mean that some people will hate my mother for no other reason than she isn’t gay? That just seems horrible. The LGBT community will not get anywhere if we are going to push away anyone who isn’t like us. That’s the exact kind of thing we are trying to prevent happening to us. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
It doesn’t make sense to me. A married friend of mine has been leaving me out of conversations she has about family life. In fact she never reaches out to me at all. She is not a part of the LGBT, but it feels like she’s quietly telling me that I don’t belong in her conversations. I don’t have any experience with marriage, but I am a good listener.