This post was cross-posted on The Asexual Agenda.
I've seen many arguments over demisexuality over the years, and I've
seen many people say that demisexuals aren't an oppressed group.
Defenders of demisexuality generally use two strategies. The first is
to talk about a few problems experienced by demisexuals. The second is
to argue that even if demisexuals are not oppressed, it is still a
useful label. The second strategy was seen in SlightlyMetaphysical's post earlier, but can be seen in much older articles as well.
my last queer conference, I attended a caucus for queers in STEM
(science, technology, engineering, mathematics). One person I talked to
there just couldn't think of a single issue he personally dealt with as
a queer in STEM. That's okay! There are some intersecting identities
that just don't have that many issues, and there are some individuals
who for whatever reason avoid the issues experienced by others in the
same minority group. But a queer STEM community can still be useful,
because it gathers people with similar interests. I think communities
are great, why do we even need an excuse to create one?
I'm trying to draw these threads together, and apply them to ace identity.
know that it is distasteful to compare the marginalization experienced
by different groups of people, because this often results in dismissing
smaller problems, as if only large problems were worth solving. But we
all basically know that aces tend to experience less
marginalization than, say, transgender people. This clearly doesn't
imply that we should ignore ace problems, but what does it imply?
think it means we can relax a bit. We don't need to focus so much of
our discussion on the problems we face, or how to solve those problems.
We can also talk about our favorite cakes, exchange our favorite
webcomics, geek out over our favorite sexuality models. We can discuss
the ups and downs of social networks, organize outings, find partners.
can spend some time helping other people, especially other sexual
minorities. I've heard many a complaint from queer folk that "allies"
are too demanding and unhelpful. It's an unfortunate consequence of
allies not having much personal investment in queer issues. But if
you're ace and identify as queer, the personal investment is there. You
spent all that time researching and educating yourself about the ins
and outs of asexuality, you can do the same for other sexual
minorities. I consider it damn near a moral obligation.
advantage is that we can be ourselves! We often talk about the "gold
star asexual", who has all their personal characteristics arranged in
such away that no one can deny their asexuality. We all feel pressure
to conform to that gold star image, lest you cause people to doubt
asexuality, and you hurt your fellow aces. But if we recognize that the
stakes are low, that takes some of the load off. I'd like more people
to recognize and affirm ace identity, but I feel confident that we will
eventually achieve widespread public awareness. So while we're at it,
we might as well be ourselves, and not pressure ourselves to conform to a
Of course, I don't mean to dismiss or minimize the
problems faced by many aces. Having your identity denied and erased is
not a trivial thing. It leads to some very real consequences.
But let's recognize that one of the negative consequences is that
sometimes it makes us tense, as a community. It is okay to relax as
well. There are situations where we as a community don't face
many problems, and there are individuals who for whatever reason
actually have it pretty good. When you have problems, recognize them
and fight them! When you don't have problems, enjoy it for what it is.
of how marginalized we are, this community is still useful, and still
meaningful. And the great thing is, when people do face problems, we
can instantly convert to a support group as necessary.