Why do some asexuals want the label “queer” for themselves in the first place? Well there are so, so many possible reasons and motivations for that that if I tried to examine them all I’d be here all night (you might’ve noticed I have a tendancy to ramble… just a bit). So instead, I’ll talk about one specific ace-case: myself.
Why would I want to label myself ‘queer’?
I was not even familiar with the current usage of the word queer until about 2008. Until then it was just another word for gay to me. And yet, when a friend introduced me to it’s now more common usage as an umbrella term, I thought it was marvelous. Something you could use when you knew you weren’t straight, and maybe knew you weren’t cisgendered, but hadn’t figured all the details out yet. No reason to jump the gun and have to label yourself with a term only to find it didn’t truly apply. If you called yourself queer and then firmly decided you were bisexual a year later, you weren’t a liar or mistaken; both terms could fit you and describe you accurately. It also could be so helpful when you don’t fit clearly into any orientation identifier or common gender identity. That is my case.
The closest fit for my gender identity to me is gender-neutral; it feels more accurate than androgyne or neutrois for me. (Which is not to say I never use androgyne; it’s a bit awkward sounding to say “I’m a gender-neutral”)
So in labeling my (a)sexual orientation, how can an androgyne be a homosexual or a homoromantic? Open-minded people use the criterion of same-gender rather than same genitals. So if I were attracted to men, I could not be a heterosexual/romantic because I am not the opposite gender of a man (the opposite being woman). Nor could I feel comfortable calling myself a homosexual when I am not the same gender as a woman. Am I hetero if I am attracted to men and women? And homo if I am attracted only to other non-binary genders?
This… I feel like for me, this is why queer is an attractive label for myself. I realize that many gays, lesbians, and bi/pansexuals may feel like we’re trying to steal their special shiny umbrella they get to stand under. But not everything is about them. It’s not easy being non-binary gendered. The queer label makes things so much easier; less having to worry about people misinterpreting your (a)sexual orientation because of being non-binary. I’m sure we’ve all seen at least one cis person asking if a trans woman is gay for being attracted to men.
Gender identity issues aren’t the only reason the queer identifier is desirable. I describe myself as a panromantic asexual. But in many ways, I am not. I have never been even remotely attracted in any way to a male-gendered person. Ever. The common perception of pansexual/panromantic is someone who looks past gender, to whom gender is totally divorced from attraction. Gender may be an afterthought, or they may feel attracted to every gender.
It’s misleading. I am pretty sure I will never be romantically attracted to a male-gendered person, but there is not a term I know of to describe someone who is attracted only to female-gendered and non-binary gendered people. Queer would cover both my (a)sexual orientation as well as my gender identity in one neat swoop.
But from what I hear, “asexuals aren’t queer”. “Asexuals are just trying to co-opt the term queer from LGBT people.” I’d dearly love to skip the confusing crap and misunderstandings and just call myself a queer asexual, but I’m going to respect the wishes of the apparent LGBT majority, which thinks there is not enough room under the queer umbrella to share with asexuals. So instead of being a queer asexual, Hi, I’m a panromantic asexual gender-neutral!