Precisely because I am Asexual (not because I am also Biromantic), I am queer.

by Elizabeth Ponds (Twitter, WordPress, IG: pondsyo95)

Content warning: rape, abuse, erasure, conversion therapy


Definition of Asexual: someone who does not experience sexual attraction to anyone. The
opposite of allosexual. Often combined with a romantic orientation, such as panromantic,
biromantic, homoromantic, heteroromantic, or aromantic. An asexual is not heterosexual and around 25% of asexuals identify on the transgender spectrum (Pryzbylo, 2019). Around 2-3% of humans identify somewhere on the Asexual spectrum, with identities like gray-asexual or demisexual, and their identities are just as queer as mine if they so choose to label themselves that way.
 
Precisely because I am Asexual…
 
One of the most formative parts of my identity was pushed into the basement of allo-normativity until I was 21 years old.
I regularly feel alienated from the cishet community as well as the queer community
I have few vocal allies
I do not see my identity represented in popular culture
I have felt so alone in my experience that despair and depression were ever present from age 11 to 21
 
I have been broken up with because I didn’t love “correctly”
I have been raped and then gaslighted (so I believed that I deserved it, because I am asexual)
 
My experiences have been laughed at
My identity has been treated with condescension by a medical professional (when I was 21)
My identity has been invalidated and ignored
I have to carefully consider whether to be my authentic self in any new environment or workplace because I often do not feel safe coming out (due to past trauma and fear of corrective rape)
If I do decide to come out or if I am outed, I have to have my emotional guard up constantly to prepare to defend my existence or educate people who probably don’t even care (It is easier to be quiet, and so I mostly still am unless I’m around people I trust)
Issues within my community are never considered “pressing” because they are hidden or often intersect with “women’s issues” like domestic violence and sexual assault, which are also never considered very pressing
 
I have been told that I would change my mind about:
not being sexually attracted to men (I really can’t)
not being interested in sex (this is not the definition of asexuality)
not getting married (I really don’t care)
being who I am (this is conversion therapy)

I have been assumed to be lesbian because:
I didn’t show interest in dating until I was 21
I had a pixie cut once
I defended my fellow queer folk
 
I have been told that I am straight because I have dated two masculine-presenting people in my life and because straight is the default
 
I have been told that I should remain single because the only reason to date and marry is to consummate and procreate – to do to otherwise is against God
 
I have been told to shut up because:
         nobody cares
         I am not important
         my identity is not real
         my identity is a malfunction to be fixed
         it’s annoying to hear about asexuality existing every six months or so
 
I have believed that I am not worth loving
I have believed I was broken
I have believed I was an alien for so long that somewhere in my mind I still don’t see myself as
fully human or fully a woman
         I have been told I am not a real woman
 
I have believed I would never be loved as I really am
 
And yet, in that believing I would never be loved, I decided I could love myself. When nobody else I knew was talking about Asexuality, when I had been regularly invalidated and lacked any secure attachments or community, I said something, I came out and I kept coming out over and over and over again.
 
Precisely because I am vocal about my asexuality….
I have learned that I am far from the only one with this experience
I have been thanked for providing representation
I have been honored to listen to dozens of friends question whether they might be on the asexual spectrum too
I have helped friends understand themselves better
I have created more authentic friendships and communities around myself
I have been understood and listened to
I have been loved for who I am and not for who others want me to be
I have been able to communicate my needs, feelings, and boundaries in my current romantic relationship
 

I have been the President of my college’s LGBTQ organization, publicly as my biromantic
asexual self
I have interned at an LGBTQ nonprofit, publicly as my biromantic asexual self
I have written and published 8+ articles about asexuality
I have completed my MSW internship at an LGBTQ nonprofit publicly as my biromantic asexual self
I have created a curriculum and started a bi-monthly support group for Asexual and Aromantic youth
I have presented my research on inclusion of asexual and aromantic youth to LGBTQ centers across the nation
 
And maybe one day the queer professionals I have respected and bared my soul to will actually include the “A” in LGBTQIA, and it won’t be for “ally”
yes @ everyone who has listened to me and loved me but stops just short of naming me in their mission statement
 
Because I am vocal about my Asexuality….
 
I have learned that most of my asexual friends/acquaintances around my age have been sexually abused when they entered romantic relationships
I have learned just how often allosexual people believe asexual people should conform to the status quo in relationships (that asexual people must undergo conversion therapy, force themselves to be something they’re not, or else deal with never loving and being loved)
I have been told to be quiet by people whose idea of inclusion is “gay, lesbian, and maybe
bisexual”
I have been outed by a queer “friend” in an unsafe environment
I have been told by “friends” that they would rather die than be asexual and that they could never date someone like me
I have longed for the day when I do not have to be a constant educator about asexuality to exist in my authenticity
 
Precisely because I am Asexual…
 
My existence dismantles societal assumptions on gender, sexuality, romantic attraction, ways of being in relationship, and ways of being human
My empathy for others will never stop expanding – I know what it’s like to be forgotten
I speak up for the voiceless, for the invisible, for the oppressed, for the marginalized, wherever and whoever they are
I step back when my voice is not the one that needs to be currently heard
I listen to my friends talk about their experiences that intersect at different roads than mine and then do my research to dismantle my ignorance
because my Black friends and my Latino friends and my trans friends are not my professors…
 
It is because I am Asexual that
I became a writer

I became an advocate
I became a social worker.
 
Precisely because I am Asexual,
I am a supportive friend and loving partner.
I am alien.
I am queer.
I am human.
I am me.
 
 

 
References and for further reading

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Yl1xsU2V_uXNfcw2g1iut6gBAizuQ4NxGDjqcO7tCaQ/edit
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uPiwPtjk5o-Wqs6x6IZy0H6gNFKGHrNKKsEbq1rNzAM/edit
Antonsen, A. N., Zdaniuk, B., Yule, M., & Brotto, L. A. (2020). Ace and aro: Understanding
differences in romantic attractions among persons identifying as asexual. Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi.10.1007/s10508-019-01600-1
Unicornmarch.org. (2020). Retrieved from
https://www.unicornmarch.org/Ace%20Infographic.pdf
https://asexualresearchstudies.carrd.co/?fbclid=IwAR1zSEID1mnPP7k6XSxGuFMJj0VLQmmS-ErIwp_GixOW7fx18dzhAgmWTEE
Pryzbylo, E. (2019). Asexual Erotics: Intimate Readings of Compulsory Sexuality. Columbus:
The Ohio State University Press. 

Published by aaaliteraryjournal

A literary journal dedicated to Asexual, Aromantic, and Agender storytelling, through poetry, essays, fiction, creative nonfiction, etc. We will publish on our page when submissions are open. You may now also follow us on Twitter at @AaaLiterary.

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