Could asexuality be harmful for LGBT people?
I’ve argued many times before that asexuality is not queer because it is not in and of itself a queer identity since it doesn’t require same sex attraction or pertain to gender identity. And as I have said before I invariably get someone who claims is LGBT saying I’m erasing them and even more recently that “straight” aces are the minority of asexual people.
Well, that doesn’t sway my concern of appropriation under asexual identity. If it is true that LGBT do make up the majority of asexuals, then that’s actually rather worrying. Why?
Because sexual repression amongst LGBT people is a problem because the basis of their identity shames their sexuality or gender identity. Consequentially, it’s not surprising that many LGBT may turn to asexuality as a way of dealing with the bad feelings they have towards their own sexual attractions. Internalized homophobia is real, i know I’ve dealt with it, and part of coming to terms with my identity was recognizing that there is nothing gross about it.
I wrote before about my own upbringing, how homosexuality was viewed as ok but “just don’t act on it, or be like that around me.” I was accused of conservative upbringing despite the fact that actually it was pretty liberal. Liberal does not mean free from homophobia, often liberals are homophobic in more subtle but still damaging ways.
LGBT in the media are often treated as sexless. While all the straight people may have couples, the LGBT person doesn’t, and if they do their sexuality is downplayed and often results in the “kill your gays” trope. This media representation is just one symptom of a problem in society that wants LGBT to stop having sex, and so they make LGBT sex seem disgusting. These messages stick to children, and so when they are finally confronted with their own sexuality, they can want to shy away from it.
Therefore, a group that prides itself on lack of sexual attraction can be very confusing for someone who is dealing with real consequences of an actual oppression that shames them for having sex.
This is why queer people tend to be sex positive. It’s not some sort of sexual privilege but a reaffirmation that there is nothing wrong with the sex that they have.
Now, I’m not saying asexuality isn’t a thing, but I know people have commented that they “thought they could be asexual” because they didn’t know more about sexuality. I know it was true for me, but eventually I came to the understanding that my problems with sex stem from homophobia and my own anxieties and not a lack of desire.
This is also why many queer people are really offended by asexuality trying to claim queer. Part of our struggle is to have our sexual expression accepted, and that cannot coincide with a group that promotes lack of sexual expression as an identity.
If you want to claim asexuality that’s your prerogative, but asexuality itself lacks a cohesive definition even by it’s own members that like to make “exceptions” to fit individual sexuality. In fact I think asexuality lacks perspective on how complicated sexuality and how we express ourselves sexually varies so completely from person to person. It’s such a hard rigid stance, and while way be true for many people, it is not helpful to people who are dealing with hatred towards the way they have sex.
I know this is going to piss off a lot of asexuals, I don’t care. No one really seems to talk about the fact that LGBT people are expected to be repressed sexually, and now here comes an identity all about lack of sexual attraction wanting to co-opt our struggles without any perspective on this problem. That in and of itself, is a problem for the queer community.