Friday, June 2, 2017

Asexual and Aromantic People Welcome

All of them.

There's been a lot of drama on the Tumblr lately wherein some people who think gatekeeping and upholding the oppression of others to make themselves feel better is awesome have decided that some asexual/aromantic ("ace") people are "cishet" and therefore don't belong in the LGBT+ community.

This comes from the fact that the emergence of the ace community brought forth the idea of different kinds of attraction, such as sexual, romantic, platonic, and aesthetic attraction. Someone may be romantically attracted to someone without feeling any kind of sexual pull toward them. Someone may never look at a person and be like "damn I want to fuck them now" but they may look at someone and be like "holy crap I want to cuddle/kiss/hold hands with/spend my life with that person." That person might call themselves asexual, but not aromantic. And depending on what genders they're attracted to, they may be homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, or heteroromantic.

There are also demisexual and demiromantic people, who are individuals who can experience sexual or romantic attraction but only do so after forming a deep bond with someone. Side note: If you think that describes everyone's experience of attraction, you might be demi!

Also, ace-ness is considered to be a spectrum. There are people who are "grey ace," meaning they only experience whatever type of attraction rarely. It's possible to be ace but experience attraction only to people of a single different gender than one's own.

This combined with widespread and persistent misunderstanding of what being ace actually means has led to an entire category of LGBT+ people who have risen an alarm about the "cishets" trying to invade LGBT+ spaces and pushed the term "cishet aces." I'm not ace, but I'm uncomfortable with the idea of calling ace people cishet, even if they experience any form of hetero attraction. Because there's no way they would be considered straight by straight people. Like with any axis of oppression, there are individuals in the oppressed class who may appear somehow closer to their oppressors or fit better with what those oppressors want. That doesn't make them oppressors. That doesn't mean they're not still oppressed.

I know multiple ace people, and actual cishets who find out that they're ace tend to kind of freak the hell out about the idea of them not experiencing whatever type of attraction, especially if it's sexual. Then there's the mass misunderstanding about the difference between libido and sexual attraction. Ace people also experience a high risk of corrective rape, which is a thing so horrifying I can barely fit it into my head.

If pressed, these anti-ace LGBT+ folks will evoke an image of an actual cishet person who just says they're ace to try and invade LGBT+ spaces. Like a cishet guy who says he's heterosexual and aromantic but really he just wants to fuck women without being tied down.

Sounds remarkably similar to people concern trolling about cis men who might exploit laws protecting trans people from discrimination to invade women's bathrooms. Or TERFs who say that trans women are just men trying to invade women's spaces. Or bisexual people just being straights who want to invade LGBT+ spaces.

We go through the same things over and over and over with so many different identities and axis of oppression and still people don't learn. You can't exclude a ton of oppressed people from a community for fear of the bad behavior of the oppressors. Punish the oppressors instead.

In conclusion, as a pansexual woman, I declare that all ace people, no matter where they might be on the spectrum, are welcome to this blog, are welcome in the LGBT+ community, and are welcome in Pride. Pride month is for ace people, too. And this, my ace friends, is for you:

The aromantic water dragon photo is public domain, and the asexual dragon sketch belongs to Prin10cess. I added the glitter text.

Happy pride to every ace!

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