Why Asexuality Awareness Matters

The general response I get when discussing my place on the asexual spectrum is incredulity. Often well-meaning, but the barrage of questions are laid at my feet as a challenge and I am expected to take on the burden of countering those attacks which are veiled within curiosity. As a group, we are expected not only to defend our non-heteronormative sexuality, but also the reality of our existence, even within the queer community. After all, why should our “lack of a sexuality” matter?

"Asexuals, demisexuals, and aromantics are just late bloomers and lonely virgins whining for attention. They don’t face any of the struggles like the real queer community—”

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  • Asexuals are expected to prove a negative to be considered valid. Until we have met every single person in the world, we are told that there is the possibility that we will “find the right person.”
  • Demisexuals are told that their sexuality is irrelevant once they’ve “found the right person” and that they were gay/straight/bi/pan all along.
  • We are constantly told that we are doomed to be unhappy without another (as if sex is necessary for romance and as if a person cannot live a worthwhile life without romance. Or, in the case of aromantics, that sex without romance is something amoral and unfulfilling).
  • "What a shame—", "What a waste of a beautiful woman—", "You don’t know what you’re missing—", "You’re just picky—" STOP.
  • If we are not sex-repulsed, we are told we are not asexual.
  • If we are sex-repulsed, we are told that we are broken or traumatized.
  • If we were traumatized, we are told that our asexuality is something that we should seek to fix.
  • ^^^Take a moment to reflect on that trinity of bullshit.
  • Asexuals can be victims of “corrective rape" and other forms of sexual assault due to the idea that we can be fixed with sex and that our bodies’ arousal response overrides the validity of our sexuality and the need for consent. This is an assault not only on our bodies, but on our right to an identity.
  • When I revealed my sexuality to an inebriated friend, he just thought I needed to be kissed properly to be “fixed.” Luckily, he took “no” for an answer.
  • Asexuals are told that we are outside the queer community even though heteronormativity tells us that we are alone in our lack of sexual interest. It isolates and intimidates us with pressure to conform. We are all harmed by it.
  • Before learning about asexuality, I was convinced that my complete disinterest in sex and lack of reaction to porn meant that I was a prude or was somehow less human than my peers. My younger self could have benefited greatly from the ace community.

Finding a name for my identity gave me a sense of peace, rightness, and validity. It’s not just a trendy name, it’s a label with resonance. That’s why so many people are “suddenly” coming out as asexual. It was the term that we didn’t know we needed until we heard it. Our terminology may be new to the mainstream, but does not make us any less real.

Read This Week

Though my original plan when I started this blog over two years ago was to share a Read This Week feature *every* week, some weeks I missed and others I was on break for self-care and rest. About every week I share recently read articles, essays, journal articles and/or papers that I find important/interesting and think you may be interested in based on you reading Gradient Lair. 90th one! Good reads below:

Why Misogynists Make Great Informants: How Gender Violence on the Left Enables State Violence in Radical Movements by Courtney Desiree Morris on INCITE! blog is incredible. A must read. Like right now. Misogyny easily derails “progressive” movements because men can do very little in terms of work, can harm without being held accountable and already fit into the role the gov needs to destabilize movements. I’ve read this piece multiple times over the last week. (H/T to @so_treu for sharing it on Twitter. I will never forget this piece.)

Sex and Tech: The Sexual Revolution by @FireinFreetown on Model View Culture is a really good read about how social media space—while imbued with abuse and violence—has been a space for sexual expression and intricate dialogue on nuanced sexual politics and practices, including for Black queer people. She mentioned her own sexual politics journey and how social media helped facilitate it.

Why I’m Not Really Here For Emma Watson’s Feminism Speech At the U.N. by @BlackGirlDanger on her blog Black Girl Dangerous is very important. As expected, the anti-Blackness and misogynoir of mainstream feminism has reared its head, using Emma Watson as an object to harm Black women, via the daily attacks on Beyoncé. This facile binary is a bigger problem but here she points out why this “game changing” speech was not game changing at all, was not intersectional and centered men. Critical read.

Progressive Struggles against Insidious Capitalist Individualism: Interview with Angela Davis by Frank Barat on Jadaliyya is really good; Angela Davis shares insight on agency and collective/community struggle and derides deification (which is actually something done to her) and individualism that creates heroism and erasure in activism. She also discussed the legacy of the Black Liberation movement, current issues in Palestine and critiqued neoliberalism as a facet of modern activism.

Stay tuned for my next Read This Week!

Fellow Bloggers: Question For My Next Book

Hello fellow travelers of Planet Tumblr!

On the heels of my last book, I’m going to release a short one very soon about the “Christianese subculture of dating.”  It’s about courtships, purity rings, contracts, Bible-shaming, and the other weird things we do in the church dating scene.  It’ll be released in October!

If you’d like to be an advance test reader, please message me with your email!  The only thing I ask in return is that you’d consider writing an honest review on Amazon when it’s up.  I’m sorry that sounds so self-promote-ish, my heart is truly for the best. :)  The reviews really help to boost the message!

Love y’all!  Please check out my current book on Amazon here!

— J.S.

anonymous said:

I've followed you for a while and notice sometimes people ask you for help with things, so I thought I'd give it a go. I've been really confused about my sexuality lately Imthought I was bisexual for a long time but with learning about it more I'm starting to think I may be Pansexual. This is really setting off my anxiety because my family doesn't believe in bisexuality they could never understand this. I don't know what to do. I can't even talk to them about my anxiety, that's not real either

I think that your problem may have less to do with sexuality and more to do with your family. I want you to try and imagine that them out of the picture, just for a moment, and ask yourself: 

Are you attracted to just boys and girls, or any person regardless of sex and gender identity?

It’s okay, whichever you choose to identify as, I want you to know that, and if you change your mind later, that’s okay too. I’m really sorry that this is setting off your anxiety, but I really want you to understand that your sexuality is not your enemy. It’s a part of you, and it’s unfair that other people aren’t willing to accept that. Anxiety is not some sort of mythical creature. It’s not some sort of euphemism for disobedience, it’s real. So is bisexuality, pansexuality, asexuality, and all of the others- and so, even if they won’t be on your side, you must be on your side. 

No matter what, there will always be people who support you. Allies that you may not know you have, friends, and people who you haven’t even met yet. If there’s anything that I can do for you, please feel free to shoot me another ask. I believe you and I accept you.

Everything that you are is valid. 

PSA:
Not every gay guy is sassy and effeminate
Effeminate gay guys are not accessories
Degrading and dehumanizing them is WRONG
Stop with your ‘I want a gay best friend’ bullshit
If you are one of these girls: I hope your ‘sassy gay friend’ sass-slaps you upside the head and curbs your ass.

Because I certainly would if I knew someone wanted me as a friend for how I acted/my sexuality over who I was as a person.

anonymous said:

Would you ever date someone of the same gender?

I want to fall in love with whoever I fall in love with. It would not bother me how that person identified their gender. I wouldn’t allow something like sex/gender to stand in the way of love if that is what I feel for the individual. I don’t really like labels with sexuality. I just love being loved and caring for others. 

Awesome Queer Lit Magazine Kickstarter-Vitality

So my friend Jesse (jtoday.tumblr.com) and a few other awesome people are in the process of producing a magazine that focuses on awesome queer lit. Their kickstarter just began today, and they would really appreciate anyone who could help them out. The funding perks include awesome t-shirts, copies of the magazines first run, and ad pages for higher donations.

Now, you might be wondering “How do I know this is going to be any good?” Well Jesse thought about that, and their team has produced a ~40 page preview magazine to show what kind of content they’re hoping to include.  That minizine can be seen here:

 http://www.readvitality.com/minizine

If this entire idea tickles your fancy, please donate what you can, or at least spread the word by going to

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/candystar/vitality-magazine

and donating what you can.

This is going to be awesome. Even if you can’t donate, please reblog this post to single boost this for everyone to see!

anonymous said:

I'm an interesting combination of being non-binary and FTM, and I'm only attracted to females really. I feel isolated because the term "straight" doesn't feel right because I do not feel strictly male. Is there a term for my sexuality? Like, a term for non-binary people who are only attracted to women?

Ren says:

There’s “gynosexual”, which is towards ladies, although I think some people find that problematic? “Nomasexual” just means ‘no-man -sexual”. I might be missing some - followers?

794. Purebloods know nothing about sexuality and gender because they come for bigoted societies in which only cis-gender identity and hetrosexuality is accepted. Muggleborns teach the purebloods about diffirent gender identities and sexualities. Public same-sex couples appear for the first time in Hogwarts. A pureblood discovers he/she is trans.

Men must think biblically of women and push against the stereotypes of women as mere sexual creatures or servants put here for our pleasure or comfort. Because of the Imago Dei, men must think biblically of women and treasure them as sisters and co-heirs, daughters of the King and glorious, not dismissing them intellectually or robbing them of the right to exercise their gifts within God’s beautiful design.
—  Matt Chandler from this sermon
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