There is a reason for that, other than asexual erasure. The fact is that I don't really feel like this is my month, so to speak. Asexuals, other than erasure and other relatively mild inconveniences like not being believed or pathologised (fuck you, writers of House for that episode, by the way), haven't had it all that bad. We're not denied employment because we identify as asexual, unlike our homosexual and transsexual kin. We're generally not jailed, stoned, or spat on. We live relatively comfortable lives and, while not generally accepted, we're also not deliberately maligned and discriminated against. Pride, for me at least, is a celebration of continued existence, in spite of the discrimination and the violence. For a heteroromantic ace like myself, I've not faced that discrimination, nor the violence, thankfully.
This isn't to say that I haven't faced my own struggles because of this. Prior to my early thirties, when I discovered that asexuality was a thing, and it was a thing that was common enough that it had a name, and a community, I was wondering around the world feeling broken. Something was off with me. Wrong. I was all wrong. This was especially egregious in my teens, when being even a little different is enough to have the whole world on your back about it. Isolation, depression, and suicidal ideation were my constant companions because of it. It wasn't the only reason, mind, but it was a major factor. Finding out that I wasn't alone, and that I wasn't broken was the best thing to ever happen to me.
So, I came out. I didn't think it would be a big deal. In a series of posts that explained my trauma from growing up asexual and not understanding what that was, or that was even a thing people can be, and educated those who might not be aware of asexuality and what it's about, I made it known that I am asexual. Actually, I'm demisexual/grey, but since the next result is the same, and I don't have the patience to explain to that random dude asking for my number when I'm on the bus headed to training what that means, I default to asexual. Sorry random dude, your chances are really, really slim. And it's totally just me. I'm sure you're lovely.
Strangely, while most of my friends were wonderful about it all, this news was met with a lot of blow back. What I had thought was so obvious, what I had thought would be met with "Ooooooh! That explains all the years of not-dating and all the odd behaviour when she was a kid. It makes so much sense!" (because that's exactly what happened in my brain. It all just clicked), was in fact, met with incredible resistance and hostility from surprising corners. From the places in my life that had been advertised as loving and safe. Instead, I was disbelieved, condescended to, pathologised, rejected. I was informed that I was, in fact, utterly broken and in need of fixing, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
The trauma from these encounters runs deep. I haven't quite processed it, yet, and so talking about it is difficult. That is another reason for my relative silence this month. It still hurts to talk about. It wouldn't nearly be as difficult if it had been a barrage of hate from strangers. But it wasn't. It was from people previously close, whom I loved very much. I say loved, I mean, I still do. Not past tense, but, I've had to cut them from my life. My mental health was being destroyed. I'm still hurt. I'm still really, really angry.
To be honest, I understand the confusion. We live in a world obsessed with sex, and by extension, sexuality. The absence of sexuality must appear absurd in a world where sex dominates literally everything. It's so far out of the "normal" experience, I understand that folks just won't understand it. But you don't need to understand something in order to accept it. Also, I got really, really, really fucking good at passing as "normal" (read here: sexual). This cannot be a surprise. Sex saturates everything in the world. It's in our advertising, in all our media, on the tips of people's tongues everywhere. It took some studying, but I figured out, eventually, how "normal" people behave. I got really good at mimicking it. That isn't to say I picked it up right away. There was a lot of stumbling around. I overcompensated - a lot. But I eventually figured it out.
And I use that learned skill set to this day. I can tell a sex joke like the best of them. I can be just as inappropriate as the next person. So my asexuality may appear to be a deceit. In fact the opposite is true. The jokes and comments are the deceit. They're the armour I fashioned to protect myself from the "normal" world, to hide my brokenness. Now that I know I'm not broken, just different, I still enjoy a good sexual joke or two. I don't think that will change.
So, this month I've been kinda quiet. I regret that a little. I think visibility is so very important. If asexuality had been more visible when I was growing up, I could have avoided a great deal of pain, I think. Perhaps those who are less accepting of me might have been a bit more, if they had been exposed to asexuality at all.
It's just that I'm hurting a bit, and I really didn't feel like starting another fight with the world.
Until now. I'm rested. I'm aware of how important representation is. I'm ready to battle on behalf of those who still feel alone and broken.
Also, I don't expect anyone who has given me grief in the past to pay any attention to me now, so it's relatively safe for me to uncurl for a bit. This post explains my silence up until now. Tomorrow's post will explain my understanding of asexuality ('cause this one is too long as it is), and some broader things to bear in mind. If that's not your jam, I don't care.
Right, I have another blog post to write. Have a great day, and to my LGBTQA+ friends and family, hugs. I'm here if you need some support with all the shittiness in the world. I'll fight with you.