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:
13 Stories of Asexual and Aromantic Oppression
«Some things happened in the asexual and aromantic community this week and for the most part they were positive. I won’t go into detail now because this post is not about that. One thing that did happen was aces and aros getting some attention on the blogging platform tumblr. And not all of it good attention.
What I found particularly disturbing was repeated assertions that asexual and aromantic people do not experience oppression. This is so incorrect.
First of all, let me be clear what I mean when I say oppression. The word doesn’t necessarily mean being locked up or killed. It doesn’t have to mean systematic and deliberate acts by a Government. Oppression, in the context of social justice, means behaviours and words that marginalise and cause harm to a minority. It doesn’t have to be overt and it doesn’t have to be deliberate. All that’s required is that the victims are marginalised and that the behaviour is harmful: physically harmful, emotionally harmful, it doesn’t matter. It also doesn’t matter whether a person who is not part of the marginalised group in question thinks the act should be considered oppressive. It is up to the people experiencing the harm to say whether they feel oppressed.»
Read the whole article here.
Prejudice Against “Group X” (Asexuals)
«In a recent investigation (MacInnis & Hodson, in press) we uncovered strikingly strong bias against asexuals in both university and community samples. Relative to heterosexuals, and even relative to homosexuals and bisexuals, heterosexuals: (a) expressed more negative attitudes toward asexuals (i.e., prejudice); (b) desired less contact with asexuals; and (c) were less willing to rent an apartment to (or hire) an asexual applicant (i.e., discrimination). Moreover, of all the sexual minority groups studied, asexuals were the most dehumanized (i.e., represented as “less human”). Intriguingly, heterosexuals dehumanized asexuals in two ways. Given their lack of sexual interest, widely considered a universal interest, it might not surprise you to learn that asexuals were characterized as “machine-like” (i.e., mechanistically dehumanized). But, oddly enough, asexuals were also seen as “animal-like” (i.e., animalistically dehumanized). Yes, asexuals were seen as relatively cold and emotionless and unrestrained, impulsive, and less sophisticated.
When you repeatedly observe such findings it grabs your attention as a prejudice researcher. But let’s go back a minute and consider those discrimination effects. Really? You’d not rent an apartment to an asexual man, or hire an asexual woman? Even if you relied on stereotypes alone, presumably such people would make ideal tenants and employees. We pondered whether this bias actually represents bias against single people, a recently uncovered and very real bias in its own right (see Psychology Today column by Bella DePaulo). But our statistical analyses ruled out this this possibility. So what’s going on here?»
Read the whole article here.
Battling Asexual Discrimination, Sexual Violence And ‘Corrective’ Rape
« Sexual harassment and violence, including so-called “corrective” rape, is disturbingly common in the ace community, says Decker, who has received death threats and has been told by several online commenters that she just needs a “good raping.”
“When people hear that you’re asexual, some take that as a challenge,” said Decker, who is currently working on a book about asexuality. “We are perceived as not being fully human because sexual attraction and sexual relationships are seen as something alive, healthy people do. They think that you really want sex but just don’t know it yet. For people who perform corrective rape, they believe that they’re just waking us up and that we’ll thank them for it later.”»
«In response to the post, an anonymous user wrote, “[A]sexuality is not a thing. You are just ugly and no one wanted to date you, so you made up a thing to cuddle your lonely self as you cry into your pillow. Also, I hope you get raped. It has a dual benefit, you’ll get laid finally AND put you into your place as well.”»
«Last year, the apparent bias against aces was corroborated by a landmark study conducted by Brock University researchers Gordon Hodson and Cara McInnis. The study found that people of all sexual stripes are more likely to discriminate against asexuals, compared to other sexual minorities.»
Read the whole article here.