i want to spend a little time digging into my relationship with 'asexual' as both...
September 4, 2015
i want to spend a little time digging into my relationship with ‘asexual” as both identity and community. someone i like a great deal as been posting a little on this in ways that implicate me, since i”ve been guilty of what they say (ie, of framing the ace vs. queer discussion in ways that denies the reality that asexual ppl have always been a part of the queer community). i know i”ve definitely have said, in the past, that if aces aren”t happy with current community, they should do their own community building…
and as i make these comments, i realize that pretty much no one has any real reason to know that i”d be a part of the community if i chose to identify that way.
how identity is treated these days… always interests me. bc a lot of ppl will assume that if you do not explicitely claim an ID that it doesn”t apply to you. or that you don”t actually have those experiences. for me, its a personal choice to keep the number of ‘identity words” that i use to describe myself at a bare minimum.
not too long ago, i mentioned i wasn”t IDing as a twoc anymore and someone said something to me in a way that suggested… like this wasn”t actually my experience (still). regardless of whether or not i explicitely or formally ID as a trans woman of colour… this is how i navigate the world, as far as most outside observers are concerned (which is why i still say ‘us” at times).
i came of age in the time before google made finding information on the internet a fairly easy thing. at this time… asexual wasn”t really conceived of as a distinct (non)sexual identity. gosh. i think it was 2010 or something when i first heard about ‘asexual” being used as a distinct identity included in teh ~community~?
and for a while, i did embrace the term. before my politics changed.
because i had spent years actually wondering if i was asexual, or somehow physically deficient for my near total lack of sexual desire.
but also… by that point, i”d reached a place where i could actually enjoy the physical act of sex (a place where i pushed myself bc i thought that having and enjoying sex was necessary to be ‘healthy”). i still enjoy sex. its fun and releases a lot of endorphins (without me having to, idk, exercise for half an hour). i still rarely desire it (but i have complicated feelings and attitudes about it bc of never really encountering ace shit when i was young enough for it to matter to me).
and maybe… my early 20s would”ve been so much better if i”d had an actual ace community instead of trying to shoehorn myself into the gay one.
beyond the whole ‘het ace” debate, this is the actual potential for asexual people working on serious community building for themselves, rather than trying to join an imaginary ‘queer community”. i mean… look at where these community building efforts have already taken them. sure, aven is a shithole of racism, but a lot of ppl started there and ace as identity and community is at a level of visibility and awareness that was unthinkable five years ago and not even really possible 10, 15 years ago.
i also came of age before people were regularly identifying as ‘queer” as way to mark political intent and long before people began using it as an identity in and of itself. my views on this are predicated on my knowledge and understanding that there is no queer community. there never has been.
what there has been, is distinct communities like the lesbian community, the gay community, the bisexual community, etc and so on. some ppl within these distinct (sometimes overlapping) communities ID as queer. some do not. and this matters, because not everyone in these distinct communities is queer. mayhap they have the potential to ID that way, if they want, but they aren”t it unless they actually say they are (autonomy and self-determination is a thing, yeah?).
my only issue with some asexuals (and other newer identities/communities) is this idea that being one thing (your sexuality or lack of it) automatically means you are the other thing. or that you”re entitled to it and to the space and labour of everyone involved in it.
i also realize that there is a distinct historical, generational disjunct here. bc many of the ppl i end up arguing with about this are younger than me. and ‘queer” has shifted from a signifier of political intent to an identity. and maybe i just need to gracefully accept this and stop telling all the kids to get off my lawn…
and i think this post is actually helping me get there. i haven”t identified as ‘queer” (in either the political or identity sense) for quite a few years now. i don”t really have a… stake in this discussion and i ought to let it go.
but… i do think that people ought to be aware of this history? context? because (as ppl might note) i”m not the only person who is my age and who thinks this way. this tension between the older sense of ‘queer” and the current sense is ongoing and isn”t going to go anywhere for a while (i”m only 30… so… yeah).
then again… so much has already changed in the 15+ years that i”ve been consciously thinking and trying to understand who i am. maybe in a few years this tension will be resolved and it”ll be great. idk. i”m not even sure how much i care.
either way, i hope this explains to friend-person where i”m coming from. although, this was really supposed to be a post about my actual experiences of aceness. lol. maybe the next one…