A bit on internalized stigma and the duties of asexuals

[TW for discussion of identity policing and anti-ace attitudes]

“Too bad Internet Asexuals have such a shitty track record when it comes to analyzing the cultural context that their movement exists in, otherwise they might have something to say about how asexuality can serve as an umbrella that people can take cover under to avoid having to confront internalized homophobia or sex-negativity. Seriously, the AVEN crowd does not address that at all. “Not attracted to women but repulsed by the idea of sex with anyone else? Totally uninterested in the way mainstream society portrays sex and sexuality? Think vaginas are disgusting? Congratulations, you’re probably asexual! Have some cake!” NOOOO, THE LACK OF ANALYSIS, IT KILLS ME”

So that is from a tumblr post I came across by a non-asexual queer person. The tone of the post is essentially “most of you people who say you’re asexual aren’t really asexual! My definition of asexuality as a non-asexual is totally better than the one most of you asexuals agree on, allow me to define your identity~” There is also a strong undercurrent of “It’s every asexuals’ job to educate and analyze their orientation for non-asexuals~” with a side helping of “sexual behavior=sexual orientation”.

But it does make the claim that the asexual community does not address a potential issue of some asexuals actually being homosexuals suffering from internalized homophobia. So I at least will try to address this potential issue to the best of my ability.

First, let’s deal with the idea that if you’re repulsed by the opposite sex, and neither repulsed nor attracted to the same sex, that that means you are actually a homosexual. This idea could not be more wrong. Lack of repulsion does not mean attraction. Many homosexuals, for instance, are not repulsed by the bodies of the opposite sex, nor are they particularly disgusted or appalled by seeing them perform sex acts. If a homosexual is not repulsed by the opposite sex, that does not mean that they are attracted to the opposite sex, or that they are secretly heterosexual or bisexual. It is much the same for many asexuals. Many asexuals do not feel repulsion for anyone of any sex or gender. But not being repulsed is not the same as being attracted. If it were, many of us asexuals would have had a much easier time, and we would not need to identify as asexual.

Now onto the idea that the asexual umbrella shelters homosexuals with internalized homophobia, and that it is somehow the duty of asexuals to root them out and force them to confront their internalized homophobia or sex-negativism.”\

Alright, I was trying to stay neutral, but fuck you. Really. One, that’s not our job. Two, if someone is suffering from self-loathing and doubt because they are homosexual, we are not going to fucking kick them out of the asexual community to make them ~confront their internalized homophobia~. At least I’m not going to. I’ll do whatever I can to help support them until they’re ready to deal with it. Have you by any chance noticed that our society tends to treat homosexuals really shitty? That sort of thing can be hard to deal with. When you are dealing with that, community support and acceptance is a great thing, even if it’s not the community of a group of people you’ll eventually identify with. Maybe they’re not ready to deal with it, maybe they’re not even in a place [physically, familially, or mentally] where it’s safe to deal with it. I see no great harm in allowing someone to identify as asexual who may turn out to later identify as homosexual.

The tumblr poster makes it sound as though the majority of asexuals aren’t actually asexuals. I would hazard that it’s actually a pretty small amount of people that later decide they’re not asexual and are instead some other orientation. I fail to see the problem with someone mistaking their sexual identity at some point. I once identified as pansexual, and it was a great relief to me to find a sexual orientation that seemed to fit me [equally unattracted to every gender LOL]. I am grateful to the LGBP communities and people that were there for me during that time; but going by the tumblr poster’s advice, they should have sniffed me out somehow and “forced me to confront my internalized asexual stigma and sex-positivity”.

I don’t know, I just think that’s a rather potentially harmful attitude. When you’re not a straight/heterosexual person, or you’re in any way questioning your sexual orientation, it’s not an easy, comfortable place to be. It’s not a societal-approved place to be in. I guess what it comes down to is, why would someone advocate each orientation’s community go around policing it’s members’ sexual identities? I have no clue, does anyone have any suggestions as to why someone thinks that could be a good idea?

And this idea that it is every asexuals’ duty to analyze our movement, police/call-out people within it, or say anything about the movement as a whole. Like with any group of people, whether homosexual, asexual, pansexual, trangendered, Pokemon fans, whatever, not everyone in a group wants to be a writer, think critically and analyze the community, educate non-members, or spend their time arguing and calling-out other members of the community who did something offensive. Some of them just want a place where they belong, where they can find the resources they need to deal with a [group]-related problem, share the occasional joke, look for compatible partners, or get advice on how to beat the Elite 4.

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About Lasciel

Out, out, brief candle!
This entry was posted in Asexuality, LGBTTIQQAA+ and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A bit on internalized stigma and the duties of asexuals

  1. Nannaberries says:

    I love how the asexuals=internalized-homophobes argument completely ignores that there can be internalized stigma for asexuallity. I mean, for a long time I wasn’t receptive towards the idea of being asexual and I think it was because I felt guilty I wasn’t…IDK, acting “normal”? My friends thought it was werid I didn’t date and frankly thought I was in the closet and you know what, if I was a internalized-homophobe I would have gone on some one-woman asexuality pride parade to “hide”. But I didn’t feel the need to do that and only spoke on my sexuality when directly asked (which was only once or twice in my entire life btw) and that’s frankly still how I am today.

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