Asexuality seems to be the perpetual oddball when it comes to placing (a) & sexual orientations on a spectrum or scale.
Are asexuals straight or queer? Neither? Both? Some are straight and others are queer? Where do we put these people?
My main objection to the arguments I see in both directions is that people are speaking for other people, people whose group they do not belong to. Many non-asexuals seem to feel perfectly justified in defining asexuals’ place. They may feel fine throwing the identifier “queer” to homo, bi, and panromantic asexuals, while at the same time denying that place to heteroromantic asexuals and oddly enough, aromantic asexuals. Many see nothing wrong, erasing, or co-opting with the act of labeling some asexuals as “straight” (a term that to most exclusively means heterosexual) But non-asexuals are not the only ones to do this. Many asexuals feel fine defining the experiences and placement of other asexual sub-groups they do not belong to. In fact, it’s difficult to really discuss asexuality in a general way, because of the amount of sub-groups and distinctions. Romantically inclined or not? If so, how? Repulsed by sex, indifferent, or positive? No libido/drive or an energetic one? Perhaps one is even a gray-A or a demisexual.
This little cupcake ace is very happy to be part of a diverse group. However, I think it’s of vital importance that we remember that the only one’s definition we can fully define is our own. Feeling shut down, silenced, and shamed about your own experiences as a group is not a positive experience. I know from experience.
There’s one more thing I’d like to address. One common statement I see is that “Asexuals do not face oppression” and “asexuals do not face systematic oppression” used as a defense by people defining the asexuality and ace experience of other people. This may be a radical idea, but it’s actually pretty common for oppressed people to be told they are whining, that they not oppressed, that they have nothing to complain about. It is not uncommon for people to use tactics like claiming other people have it worse, and so trying to fix something “less serious” means you are a bad person and have nothing to complain about or try to fix.
For example… “Why are you complaining about equal pay when kids are starving? Isn’t that more important? Huh?”
Of course it’s important. Caring about about equal pay, gender discrimination, asexual problems, none of that excludes us from caring about other things. It doesn’t prevent us from work on those matters.
I am not, at the moment, going to make the arguments over whether some, all, or no asexuals are oppressed. What I will say is that oppression takes many forms, and I invite anyone making the argument to look at what oppression means.
the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.
an act or instance of oppressing.
the state of being oppressed.
the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.
As for the argument that asexuals may suffer from oppression, but not systematic oppression, which is somehow the only important kind? I remind you that many of the problems and discrimination asexuals face is from society as a whole, and from other people. Social oppression is a form of systematic oppression.
And please, for the loves of cupcakes, I am an asexual. A proud ace. My life, my experiences, are that of a happy little asexual. They are not the experiences of a heterosexual, or a homosexual. What I go through, what I think, what I feel, and what I live through, are lived through as an asexual. Don’t tell me that I what I go through, the challenges I face, my burdens, are not asexual challenges, asexual burdens. I am an unashamed asexual.