Hey, guys! So I’ve noticed that something had casually slipped into my previous post.
I’m a writer. I’m asexual. I have social phobia.
The A word.
Now, if I’d said I was gay, this probably wouldn’t have needed its own post. But it’s not what I said, and it’s not what I am. I’m not straight, either, and I’m not bisexual. What I am is asexual.
In my nearly twenty-seven years of life, I have never met anyone, male or female or in-between, whom I’ve felt attracted to. I have never viewed anyone in any kind of sexual way. It’s not that I don’t have a sexuality or that I haven’t gone through puberty. It’s not a hormonal imbalance. My libido is alive and well, thank you very much. No. It’s more of a matter of… shall we say… taste.
Just as a straight guy looks at another guy, just as a gay guy looks at a girl, I look at everyone and feel no sexual interest.
Hopefully you understand a little bit how asexuality works now, for me at least, and we can move on to the matter at hand.
Ever since asexual people started emerging from the shadows, some ten/fifteen years ago, there has been a lot of debate within and outside the community, regarding asexuality’s place within the LGBT+ movement. The question, basically, is this: Are asexual people queer enough?
Some say we don’t experience the same discrimination that gay and lesbian people experience. Some say we’re not persecuted enough. Some say the law doesn’t prevent us from being ourselves. We’re not fighting for anything. Why do we even need to talk about who we’re not fucking? We don’t need the support and legitimacy that comes with being part of the LGBT+ community.
In case it wasn’t clear, you guys, I disagree.
I grew up an asexual kid in a world where asexuality didn’t exist.
Middle school is hard enough for a shy eleven-year-old. Bigger school, new people, a different teacher every two hours. Everything changes around constantly and you have to swim hard into the current to keep your head out of the water. My childhood best friend had gone off to a different school, so I had to try and make new friends.
But suddenly, it seemed every guy around was sneering at me and every girl was only interested in getting one of the sneering boys to go out with her. Nobody wanted to play Harry Potter, talk about books or watch Disney movies anymore. No more trading Pokémon card at recess. No more tag, you’re it.
Suddenly, everything was complicated. Social interaction revolved around relationship politics, conventions I didn’t know anything about. Everyone was in on this big joke that I, for some reason, was left out of.
Teenagers are cruel, and you couldn’t just not be in on the joke. If you weren’t in, you had to be mocked, pushed around, bullied. Why don’t you have a boyfriend? Who do you like best in our class? Do you prefer Brad Pitt or George Clooney? Why don’t you wear sexier clothes? Can I give you a makeover?
I was a before picture that needed to be changed.
A lot of asexual youngsters, it seems, make up crushes and pretend to understand, in order to protect themselves. I wasn’t able to do that. So instead I settled for being the pariah, the nerdy-weirdo-witch-time to start wearing bras, what do you think, guys-teacher’s pet that everybody got together to mock and point at. I had nightmares about going to school and made myself sick in the mornings trying to convince my parents not to send me.
You know, when you leave school, every grownup around deems it vital to tell you that you’ll come to miss it one day. I walked out of this place for the last time eleven years ago and it still hurts to walk past it again.
At age twenty-three I went abroad for my master’s degree and that was a truly wonderful experience. I wouldn’t change anything about it. And yet, there were still a few nights out when my friends would go around the table sharing experiences about their first celebrity crushes, and I was quietly praying something would change the subject before they got to me. People don’t believe you when you say you don’t have a celebrity crush. “Oh, go on, then, you can tell me!”
I am telling you, though, aren’t I? It’s just that for some reason my answer is unacceptable.
Not having sexual feelings for other people is unacceptable. This gets beaten into you so relentlessly and for so long that you start to internalize it. What is wrong with me? Where are those sexual feelings? Am I feeling them and not recognizing them for what they are?
I looked at the girls there and thought “I must be straight.” Then I looked at the guys and thought “No. I’m gay.” Then it would enter my mind that, since there wasn’t a clear winner, I must be bisexual.
Back in my student bedroom, I would try to imagine sexual scenarios and that went okay. Then I would try to imagine sexual scenarios involving me and someone else, anyone else. I’d replace the supporting cast over and over like a bad TV series that can’t make up its mind. And I would cry myself to sleep, wishing I’d have someone there to cuddle and yet wishing this whole sex thing wouldn’t exist. Wishing I had lost my virginity in my teens like everyone else so it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Wishing I’d been normal.
It is not normal for a kid to be so distressed over their sexual identity. This is something that gay kids, bi kids, queer kids, often still go through nowadays. This is an LGBT+ thing. This is something I went through. Because yes, I’m queer as well.