When I first began identifying as asexual, I had few reservations about coming out – that was, until I learned how ignorant and blatantly rude certain individuals can be when encountering something totally new to them. Categorized by ignorant comment for your queer convenience, below are several articles I wish I would have had in my arsenal when coming out to various family members.
“That’s just not natural” – neurologically, humans are remarkably similar to rams in the areas of the brain determining sexual behavior, and a study, conducted by Charles E. Roselli of Oregon University centered around “gay” rams found that a number of rams showed no interest in mating. These rams were labeled asexual, among some other slightly derogatory terms such as “non-workers”, but hey, this study was conducted in 2007, it was sheep being label, and homosexual sheep were the primary focus of the study. I doubt Roselli ever thought some crazy ace girl would be encouraging her tiny online following to wave this article at idiots who invalidate them. The asexual rams are mentioned starting in paragraph two of the “Sheep as a Model System” section. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684522/
“Aces don’t belong in the community LGBTQ community because they don’t have problems” – nothing makes my blood boil quite like this one. Prejudice researcher Gordon Hodson determined in a study published by Psychology Today that asexuals may actually be more discriminated against than the rest of the community. “Relative to heterosexuals, and even relative to homosexuals and bisexuals, heterosexuals: (a) expressed more negative attitudes toward asexuals (i.e., prejudice); (b) desired less contact with asexuals; and (c) were less willing to rent an apartment to (or hire) an asexual applicant (i.e., discrimination). Moreover, of all the sexual minority groups studied, asexuals were the most dehumanized (i.e., represented as “less human”). https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/without-prejudice/201209/prejudice-against-group-x-asexuals
“Asexual means you don’t have a gender” – nope! That’s agender, sex is biology, gender is personal identification. Everyone has a biological sex, though it may not clearly fit into traditional definitions of male and female ( link to Intersex Society of North America here if you’d like more info: https://isna.org/faq/what_is_intersex/) but not everyone feels aligned with a gender category. Ash Hardell has put out two excellent, extensive videos on gender, and “Super Cool Gender Education Part 2” details agender among among maaaaaany other gender related terms such as neutrois and bigender. Helpful hint, the agender talk begins at 4:07 :). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ9ly4cK9tg Below is the link to “Super Cool Gender Education Part 1” incase you’re curious: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81-FEauK9II&t=414s
“You’re just a late bloomer” – I sadly couldn’t provide a link to this one, but I did stumble across an article, “Rethinking Puberty: The Development of Sexual Attraction” by Martha K. McClintock, originally published in a peer reviewed psychology journal, Current Directions in Psychological Science (1996 issue) listing the average age of first instance of sexual attraction as 10 years old, with a three year variance. So, if you are as young as fourteen and have yet to experience sexual attraction, chances are you’re ace. If you’re in your late teens to early twenties and haven’t felt the urge to physically merge, you are not “late” to anything – you’re hecka ace.
“You just haven’t met the right person yet” – I couldn’t even type that without rolling my eyes. As Yasmin Benoit puts it, “The idea that asexual people just need to meet the ‘right person’ who will unlock their sexual desire and ‘fix’ their asexuality is one I’ve always found quite perplexing. It’s an argument that seems to be applied to asexuality more than other orientations. You wouldn’t tell a straight guy that they just “hadn’t met the right man yet,” I’d like to think that most wouldn’t tell a gay guy that they “hadn’t met the right woman yet” either. It suggests that our sexuality is reflective of our company, that no one we have ever seen or encountered has met our standards, and thus we haven’t experienced sexual attraction to the extent that the term ‘asexual’ could be applied.” The link to Yasmin’s Subvert article is below: https://www.subvrtmag.com/what-is-asexuality-yasmin-benoit-challenges-7-myths/ Yasmin also has some great responses to so many oft heard remarks, such as, “Asexuality is the same as celibacy,” and “Asexuality is a disorder”. Another clap-back to people who want to say asexuals are mentally ill is that homosexuality was classified as a mental illness until 1973 – people just want to pathologize what they don’t care enough to examine.
Properly explaining asexuality in all its nuances can be a tall feat. If you’re about to come out of the deck and find yourself overwhelmed, here is an excellent video, “Asexuality: The Invisible Orientation” to aid the process –
Happy Ace Awareness Week!
Until next time,
You are beautiful and valid,
stay true to you,
and keep ooooooooooon Aceing It!