Riley Speaks

"all i have is a voice" ~ w.h. auden


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LGBTQ+ – But not asexual folk!

This just in, the “plus” of the LGBTQ+ no longer stands for “in addition to” but is now on par with a full stop. Only lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, and queer are in. The rest, are out.

I’ve been relatively quiet on this issue for a while. It’s always eaten at me though. I’ve seen numerous people say that asexual people do not belong within the LGBTQ+ community. More importantly, straight asexuals do not belong. They can “pass as straight” and therefore do not know the struggles.  Anyone is straight passing if they want to be – if you hide enough of who you are. 

Do asexual people face the same trials of gay and lesbian folk? No. Do they face discrimination and hate? Are they forced to change who they are because of outside sources (parents, boy/girlfriends, media etc)? While I do see gays and lesbians getting more hate and verbal/physical abuse, it does not erase the pain asexual people face. Growing up, I never thought there was anything wrong with me liking girls. I had never seen it to be an issue. But I knew there was something wrong with me when I didn’t like or want sex. I knew I was different. I felt like an outcast. All my friends would talk about sex and I just wanted to vomit. It never showed and there was no way to have known, but I was in pain. I felt like I was a broken version of a human. Like I missed the puberty train – the puberty train that gave me the need and desire for sex. It’s the same pain of other members of the LGBTQ+ community, the feeling of exclusion among society. The questioning of being wrong, or having the wrong brain functions. 

Asexual people face “conversion” therapy too. They’re forced into sex in an attempt to have them like it. As if being forced to have sex will make you want it – if it were even a choice. But just like being gay and being a lesbian and being bi, being asexual is not a choice. 

I remember a friend saying “well you can’t have a relationship without sex”, and my whole world shattered. I had just gotten comfortable with the thought that it would take me a lot longer to find my someone because I had to take sex out of the equation. But now I was being told it would always be in the equation. That if I were to ever have a relationship, to ever have any chance of comfort and companionship, I would have to force myself to have sex. It is no different than a gay man having to be in a straight relationship. A lesbian in a relationship with a man. It’s forcing what is not right, what is not me. 

I spent so much of my teen years trying to fit in. Trying to change myself to be what everyone said was “normal”. I would get high and get drunk just to even cope with the idea of having sex. When you compare the internal struggles of an asexual to the internal struggles of a gay/lesbian person, they’re not that different. If we take out street abuse, and slurs shouted on the sidewalk, etc. Then it’s the same. Asexual people are forced into having sex – not from themselves – but from their partners. I knew someone who was forced to have sex with their boyfriend every time. They cried each time. They didn’t want it. And it took a long time to realise this is rape. Asexual people are often raped when in their relationship. They say no, they say they don’t want it. And they’re told “oh no but everyone wants sex”, “it’s what people do in a relationship”. They’re excuses. Excuses used to justify rape. 

And to top it off, lesbian and gay folk are “allowed” in the place of sanctuary. They are allowed in queer bars, and queer groups. They are allowed to be there and be queer. But even people from the LGBTQ+ community exclude ace people. You may think I don’t have the whole totality of it. But I do. I am a girl, attracted to girls. I’m gay. And so I do know discrimination for liking my own sex. I know how it feels when someone yells “gay” in a not so nice way. But it was always okay. It was always okay because I knew that there were others like me out there. I knew there were boys that liked boys, and girls that liked girls. I knew I wasn’t alone. And this was in 2012, when gay rights were on the rise. When same sex marriage was becoming legal in more and more countries. I knew it was okay. But not wanting to have sex? Not wanting to even “french kiss”? That made me terrified. I didn’t know I wasn’t alone. As far as I knew at that moment, I was alone. I genuinely thought something was wrong with me. When I found out that it was in fact something real and not a malfunction in my genetics (yet another), it was like a weight have been lifted off my shoulders. I had never experienced this weight with being gay, it never felt heavy to like other girls. But it felt like I would be crushed to death with the weight of not wanting to have sex. 

I know there are people who won’t even read this in it’s entirety but will comment about how ace people are not truly part of the LGBTQ+ community. How they “don’t belong here”. Funny how people were saying that about gay, lesbian, and bi folk way back when. But then people grew. They made their own group. They united together. But now they are deciding who can sit with them.  Only the cool kids that are socially acceptable are allowed. No ace, no agender, no fun. If society isn’t on the up with it, then neither is the LGBTQ+ community. Asexual people are valid and they have a right to be apart of the community. It’s a place for inclusion and acceptance. A place and community to be who you are despite what society says you should. A place to like who you like, in the way you like (excl. abuse), with no judgement. No. Judgement.