OK, guys. There has been a lot of arguing in the LGBT community over whether asexual people belong. Today, I’m going to answer that question for anyone who might still be unsure. The answer might actually surprise you.
But first, what is asexuality in the first place?
According to Lexico, an online dictionary run by Oxford, asexuality is “the quality or characteristic of having no sexual feelings or desires.” Often, people associate the term “asexual” with their biology class under the definition of “the state of having no sex or sexual organs.” Although both definitions are correct, the only relevant definition I’m focusing on today is the former.
One of the biggest misconceptions about asexuality is that it’s the same thing as celibacy. The LGBTQIA Resource Center website explains, “Asexuality is distinct from celibacy, which is the deliberate abstention from sexual activity. Some asexual people do have sex. There are many diverse ways of being asexual.”
Asexuality, like any sexuality, is a spectrum.
“Asexuality and sexuality are not necessarily black and white,” says the Asexual Visibility and Education Network on its website. There is a broad spectrum between endpoints of ‘asexual’ and ‘very sexual’ with differing levels of sexuality. Many people identify in a gray area that feels closer to being asexual than what most sexual people are like. They may identify as simply gray, graysexual, gray-asexual, or gray-a," “Many people in this gray area still identify as asexual because they find it easier to explain, especially if the few instances in which they felt sexual attraction were brief and fleeting.”
They go on to say some asexual people do have sex for various reasons, such as childbirth or curiosity.
Often, when trying to explain their sexuality to family members, asexual people often get the same slew of questions. Some people assume that asexuality is always caused by abuse, which just isn’t true. It’s similar to thinking that gay people were turned gay by “a bad straight relationship.”
Others may think asexual people are the same as aromantic people or that it will be impossible for them to be in a relationship. Aromanticism is when a person doesn’t feel romantic attraction; people who don’t feel sexual attraction can still be in relationships, and vice versa! Many asexual people are in happy relationships.
These may or may not include sex, but even sex-repulsed asexuals can still have relationships. Just like with any sexuality, the relationship just takes some good communication.
Potentially the biggest misconception about asexuality is that asexual people don’t go through the same oppression as other LGBT identities.
You guys. Come on. Really?
Asexual people often get told they won’t be asexual forever, because, someday, they’ll want kids. While that’s wildly untrue (not everyone wants children) it also completely ignores the other ways of having children, such as by adoption.
Telling someone they will want kids one day no matter what, even when they clearly state otherwise, is unfair to them, asexual or not. It’s not your choice, and you don’t know that person better than they know themselves. A person’s sexuality can’t be ignored or demeaned on the off-chance they will someday want children.
Sometimes, the oppression gets physical.
In an article posted in 2013, HuffPost did an interview with Julie Decker, an activist for asexual awareness. She spoke of how someone she considered a friend attempted “corrective rape” on her, meaning that he thought he could “fix her” by having sex with her. With a little Googling, stories like this are extremely common.
Adri Makes Art made a comic and reposted it here on Everyday Feminism that does a good job of explaining asexuality and the struggles asexual people face. I would give it a read whether you’re familiar with asexuality or not.
Oh, and the answer to the question that started this article? Do asexual people belong in the LGBT community?
Yes. Of course, they do. What kind of question is that?