This is a Carnival of Aces inspired post (check out other submissions over here with elainexe) regarding Identity, Labels, and Models. I’m quite excited to actually write a post for this topic; my involvement in the asexual community (especially blogging-wise) is notoriously non-existent. It’s something I actually have a very hard time discussing, and when I sit and think about it I really believe, for me at least, this has something to do with the difficulty I have with being asexual. No so much that I myself have the difficulty, but rather I have difficulties with feeling consolidated within my identity.
This is for a few reasons. The first one that springs to mind is that not everyone in my life believes in asexuality. Namely my mother. I’m not entirely sure why this is. Granted, the last time I brought up the subject I was in junior or senior year of high school, had just discovered the term, and randomly brought it up in a car ride. There are a few things she’s pretty black and white about, but generally she’s really good about accepting me for who I am. Asexuality, if I pushed the subject, probably is not one of them. I don’t mention it to her for the same reason I don’t talk religion with her; I love thinking about and conceptualizing these abstract notions, especially if they’re one of my Things, whereas she has strong, set in stone beliefs surrounding religion. What she believes is what she believes, and she doesn’t like exploring other ideas further because she has a sort of mental block where that’s concerned.
I’ve encountered other people who don’t believe in asexuality, or rather specific identities under the asexual umbrella. I prefer specific labels for my own mental clarity — and sometimes sanity — so I identify as demisexual. And here’s where I struggle as well, but more than I do with mental blocks. I’ve run into more than one person who doesn’t believe in demisexuality, and recently this occurred on Facebook with another trans person. At first I couldn’t believe it; someone in an already marginalized community marginalizing another minority group? Isn’t asexuality part of the LGBTQIA acronym, after all? But I reread the comment, which went a little something like this:
Demisexuals identify as not being sexually involved with people unless they have an emotional attachment to someone…soooo basically they’re like everyone else in the world? Why do you need to make up a special word for yourselves? You’re not really a legitimate identity.
Needless to say, I promptly unfriended this person.
In this regard the struggle is so, so real. How often are oppressed or marginalized groups devalued by others, especially other minority groups who we expect to support us, not harangue us? In the asexual community, even more so than the transgender community, this is all too frequently the case. And I can appreciate disbelief of an identity, I can definitely wrap my head around the idea of not truly understanding something or accepting something due to personal beliefs. But my caveats stop there. I can’t logically reason with something like faith, so I tend to give confusion due to religious identity a free pass. But if you’re simply denying another’s identity because you don’t understand it, or for some reason don’t feel it’s valid, I have just four words for you:
Just get over yourself.
That’s what I need, not just for other people but for myself to do, too. This incident shook me, even more than my mom did all those years ago when she matter of factly said she just didn’t believe in asexuality. To have someone actively point to a label I’ve taken on for my own well-being and say, “You’re fake, you just want to be special and have rights to an acronym and social movement, but you’re not actually a real thing,” is just so wrong. In a way it causes me more dysphoria than my body used to; after all, I can undertake medical and social transition to fix that. But to combat people who point and say, “You’re not real”? I still don’t know how to handle that. It seems that, in some way, I’m more self-conscious and insecure in my sexual orientation than in my gender identity. So for now, I just need to get over myself and really start addressing my demisexuality. Expect more from me on the subject, and if you don’t see it, kindly prod me forward. I’m asexual, demisexual specifically, and that’s okay. That’s all that really matters in the long run.