This is #60 of a series in which I read correspondence between me and people who have questions, comments, or–more often–misconceptions about asexuality. In this video, I share the harassing messages of a repeat offender who has been targeting queer activists for many years. Did you know asexuality isn’t normal and I need to see a therapist? Unless the therapist would tell me I’m fine, in which case therapists are crazy too? Maybe it would convince me if my harasser were to obsessively pore over my biographical details and try to use facts about my extended family against me? Because that’s something very stable people do to “help” people like me all the time!
This is #4 of a series in which I read correspondence between me and people who have questions, comments, or–more often–misconceptions about asexuality. I don’t have a set number of these I’m going to do, and I imagine I’ll continue to get material for them as life goes on, but I currently have quite a backlog, so you can expect material to last for some time at least.
#4 is an OKCupid correspondence with a man who believes he possesses the magical ability to diagnose me as heterosexual–not asexual–by watching my videos. Because, after all, heterosexuality is the DEFAULT, and without bisexual or homosexual tendencies, I’m just automatically heterosexual until proven gay. Me, I would think it would make more sense that a person was a blank slate until or unless they displayed active interest in one sex or the other or both. His credo appears to be “I’ve never heard of asexuality, therefore you couldn’t possibly be asexual.”
This conversation, with some explanation and commentary, was posted a while back to a LiveJournal group for asexuals and their allies. Loads of hilarious comments poured in, and I encourage you to read the post and read or submit comments on it (even though it’s old) right here:
I was planning on sharing some of these with you during the video, but I’m only allowed to make videos less than ten minutes, so I cut those out when the video ran long. If you want to see the full transcript and comments, you’ll have to follow the link. Thanks!
Check out the Sky News documentary to see the comments for yourself (there were many more than what I said here, some which are worse):
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This is #15 of a series in which I read correspondence between me and people who have questions, comments, or–more often–misconceptions about asexuality.
This one covers a question we sometimes get from a vocal minority in the queer community claiming asexual people absolutely do not have problems worth discussing because the very worst thing we ever experience is “hurt feelings” over people not acknowledging our orientation.
Here are the citations and links for everything mentioned in the video.
Siggy’s Breakdown of asexual queerness (orientation and gender identity):
My appearance at Creating Change (where I was invited to discuss asexuality at an LGBT conference):
My interview in the Gay Voices section of the Huffington Post:
The numbered list backups:
1. JOB AND HOUSING DENIAL:
* The study documenting asexual discrimination: “Intergroup Bias toward ‘Group X’: Evidence of prejudice, dehumanization, avoidance, and discrimination against asexuals”
* An anecdotal account of possibly being fired for asexuality:
* A follow-up to this story by the same person:
2. ADOPTION DENIAL:
* Discussed in Olivier Cormier-Otaño’s lecture, wherein he mentioned asexual couples getting denied adoption because “If you’re asexual, you’re not fit to be married.”
3. CONSUMMATION LAWS:
* These may change, but as of the creation of this video, the states requiring consummation for a marriage to be legal are here:
* For laws regarding consummation as it refers to a couple that includes one immigrant, please see this document:
4. ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW:
* In New York, SONDA, the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, mentions asexuality as one of the sexual orientations that cannot be discriminated against legally.
* In Vermont, asexuality is included in a “protected category” list under “sexual orientation”:
* The proposed legislation in Texas that names asexuality as a protected class is reported on in a news article here:
* The law paper by Elizabeth Emens, accepted by Standford Law Review, which thoroughly examines how asexual people live in a prejudicial environment and how that works out legally, is entitled “Compulsory Sexuality.”
5. “CORRECTIVE” RAPE:
* Huffington Post discussed “corrective” rape and how it’s hurting the asexual community here:
Here is a Tumblr thread where another user and I discuss rape threats:
* You can see some of the rape threats I have received here:
* And you can read about my experience with a man forcing himself on me after I told him I wasn’t interested here:
6. POOR REPRESENTATION IN MEDIA:
* Godiva’s is a Canadian show that is canceled. It featured an asexual heteroromantic man, Martin. He was “fixed” with testosterone supplements.
* Huge is an American show that is canceled. It had an asexual aromantic woman, Poppy, in a minor role. She mentioned her asexuality once during a discussion with a fellow camp counselor and it was never mentioned again.
* Shortland Street is a New Zealand show that is still going on as of this writing. It featured an asexual biromantic man, Gerald. His asexuality is examined deeply throughout the series.
The bad House episode is called “Better Half”:
7. MISDIAGNOSIS WITH A MENTAL DISORDER:
* DSM definition of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder:
8. DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE:
* The Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
* Materials created by AAW for the Trevor Project’s volunteers:
“And Now I’m Just Different, but There’s Nothing Actually Wrong With Me”: Asexual Marginalization and Resistance
«In response to a direct question about whether they had ever felt stigmatized or marginalized as a result of their asexual identity, more than one half of the interviewees answered “yes,” more than one quarter answered “maybe” or “in some ways yes, in some ways no,” and around 20% answered “no.” In addition, all the interviewees described at least one negative experience attributable to compulsory sexuality. Here I offer a typology of these negative impacts of compulsory sexuality: pathologization, isolation, unwanted sex and relationship conflict, and the denial of epistemic authority. It is important to emphasize that what follows should not be taken as direct evidence of marginalization, stigma, or discrimination but as the interviewees’ interpretations of and narratives about particular life experiences.»
«In response to a question about their relationship history, almost two thirds of interviewees reported that social norms about sexuality and relationality and the invisibility of asexuality had negatively affected their interpersonal relationships. Ten interviewees (all female) described engaging in consensual but unwanted sex as a result of social pressure and pressure from a partner.6 Explaining why she had engaged in what she considered consensual but unwanted sex, Marcie, 19, said, “there’s not a lot of visibility for asexuality so when you’re young and you don’t really know that that’s a genuine orientation that you can embrace…you have all of society telling you, ‘You should want to be doing these things….’ So, it tended to get a little sexual but I was always trying to avoid that.” Christine, 21, described the following experience:
The guy I lost my virginity to, I had been in a relationship with him for about a year and I guess I just felt like, well, you know, I need to do this…And everybody was like, ‘Oh, you were raped and that’s awful.’ And like yeah, I guess. I should have said no. I could have said no, but I didn’t. I thought that this is what everybody did in their free time, and so I was trying to be like everybody else.
It is important to note that, according to a substantial body of research, a significant percentage of both women and men report engaging in consensual but unwanted sex for some of the same reasons as those given by the interviewees in this study (e.g., Gavey, 2005; Impett & Peplau, 2002; Muehlenhard & Cook, 1988).7 Thus it is possible that the system of compulsory sexuality negatively affects asexually identified and non–asexually identified people in some of the same ways.»
Read the whole article here.