Video To Introduce You To Asexuality (If You’re Unsure What It Is)

This is quite a good video on asexuality if anyone is curious. One thing, though. They do talk about what asexuality is, lack of desire and attraction etc, which is accurate. One thing that needs to be said is that not all asexuals actively go out of their way to avoid sex. Attraction, for the most part doesn’t come into play when acting out sexually. Other than that, good video.

Advertisements

What Should Ace Day Be All About?

TW: discrimination, corrective rape, general abuse/ verbal, etc.

Today is apparently “Ace Day”. Just read it on Twitter via “Bi and Existing”. So, happy Ace Day to aces/ asexuals/ people on the ace spectrum everywhere!

So what?

I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. But what is Ace Day suppose to mean? I get Asexuality Awareness Week which was last month. It was a sort of awareness/ advocacy thing. Got that. All good and well. But what’s the purpose of “Ace Day”? I’m genuinely curious.

Is it a day to raise awareness of a lack of education about asexuality?

About discrimination and ignorance that asexual people can receive by health professionals?

To raise awareness and fight against corrective rape?

To raise awareness about the emotional distress that asexuals can feel when feeling “broken” because they don’t know why they feel (or don’t feel) the way they do?

The thing is, I don’t think there is a point of having an Ace Day unless it stands for something. So, what does it stand for?

 

What does Ace Day mean to you?

Complexity in Sexuality and Relationships Part 1: Non – Normative Marriages

I want to do a… well, mini – series at the moment, on non – normative relationships and complexities in feelings and interactions that people may have. I’ll explain.

I found a link to a Facebook group a few days ago about a gay man and a lesbian intersex woman; Linda and Dennis Alfunso, who have been married to each other for over 30 years. They still are.

I’ll be frank, when I first saw this story, I was sceptical. American studies have shown in the past that marriages, where one person is gay and married to another person of the opposite sex, frankly rarely work out (the divorce rate is believed to be 80%).

When my scepticism subsided, my second reaction was that, love and marriage is not always clear cut. This couple do seem to genuinely care about each other. The man is actually the woman’s carer, as Linda has a form of Muscular Dystrophy.

When they first married, they did fall in love, and, because of that, Linda, as she described in the video, thought that she maybe bisexual. That thought was apparently debunked early on.

It really shows what love is, and the different ways that people feel it, regardless of orientation. It shows that sacrifice and commitment are the foundation of a relationship, not sex (although, let’s face it, for most people, it plays a part).

The article does say that they did “fall in love”. I’m not sure about you, but I’m guessing it was sparked by romantic attraction. So maybe we’re talking about people who are bi – romantic, but gay? Anyway, enough with the analysis.

What I’m getting at, is that people love in their own way. Obviously, not all relationships and marriages include sexual chemistry (including for non – aces, because, well aces, there’s very little likelihood that sexual chemistry will play a part of that, but moving on).

What I do admire about this story is the way Dennis and Linda have stuck by each other. I take my hat off to Dennis for looking after Linda during her illness, which apparently started pretty early on in their marriage. That’s something that doesn’t seem to be talked about these days (that’s the sceptic in me again!). Anyway, overall, nice story, I think. Really makes you think about, not just what love and sacrifice is, but also how different people experience it, even in marriages.

Asexuality and Culture

I’m working on a Cultural Competence module at the moment, and all of a sudden, I thought about culture and asexuality.

It’s no surprise, that before someone realises they’re asexual, or come out to themselves, the world can be quite a lonely place for people who don’t experience much, if any sexual attraction. I’m guessing the majority of modern pop culture (music, etc), just seems weird, many (not all), don’t like or get sex scenes in movies. In high school/ early adulthood, asexuals can feel bit isolated from friends when they start talking about sex, relationships, etc (I get that). Sex ed can just feel alienating. Counselling can be a negative experience (although I am noticing that some major LGBTQ+ friendly advocacy groups like “Wipeout Homophobia” know we exist. Yay! Also, Twitter group Bi and Existing acknowledged Asexuality Awareness Week, which I think is great.

The Internet has been a blessing to many asexual people. People have been able to find the label for starters and things start falling into place. Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (asexuality.org) has become a great source of information and connection since it’s launch in 2001 (not for me, I can never remember my passwords! lol). TV shows still have a bit to answer for. American drama, House was was fiercely criticised in 2012 over it’s portrayal of asexuality as a medical condition that could be fixed. To my knowledge, not much else in pop culture has dealt with asexuality (not that’s been aired in Australia, anyway). I’ve written quite a bit about media coverage, so I won’t rehash all that again, just to say some has been quite good, others, not so much.

Internet groups/ forums dedicated to asexuality gives asexual people, those with questions, or even people with asexual partners, the possibility to gain knowledge in order to better understand asexuality. A fact that i think people realise quite quickly is that, like everyone else, asexuals are a diverse bunch. One “Carnival of Aces” participant last month said that he identified more with the gay culture than what he calls “heteronormative”, despite his lack of sexual attraction. Other asexuals, especially those who are homoromantic get frustrated by the often sexualised nature of gay culture.

I’ve written before that I really don’t really get into all the symbols often tied with asexuality, probably except the flags; both the general asexuality one (white, purple and black), and the flags that represent all the romantic orientations. When I first came to identify as asexual, I was also fascinated by the black ring symbol, but not so much any more (heck, I just thought of it just then.).

Like I said before, asexuals are diverse. The world can be a lonely place, but I’m quietly confident it’ll get better. All any of us can do, is just be ourselves, stand up and speak out when we need to and hope the world will come around (which I’m quietly confident we willl… more on that at a later date).

The most important is that we first anx foremost accept ourselves. I’m very strong about that. Continual denial and self – loathing doesn’t do anyone any good, especially your piece of mind. It’s a journey that I hope we’re all on.

Safe – Schools’ Program

Anti – bullying program “Safe – Schools” has made headlines for it’s alleged extreme approach to tackling homophobia and transphobia. Not surprisingly, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), aren’t happy about the emphasis on LGBT+. And while I’m not a  fan of the ACL… maybe this time they have a point.

One of the issues that the ACL have raised concerns, particularly on the way the Safe Schools program is affecting primary schools, with programs that include binding the chest to emphasise gender change, I guess. Frankly, when I first read about that, I thought it was an extreme exaggeration. But, after reading one comment on the bottom of http://www.mamamia.com.au/news/safe-schools-program/, I kind of understand their concern, if it’s true.

In my opinion, anti – bullying programs should be based on just that – anti – bullying. Maybe talk about homophobic and transphobic attitudes and emphasise that they will be condemned at the school if reported. Secondly, (I’ve touched on this before), teachers and counsellors should be equipped to support LGBTQIA+ kids, with (hopefully), the acknowledgement and respect of kids who identify or suspect their asexual. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do think that the majority of counsellors, including ones I’ve personally dealt with, have had their hearts in the right place, but asexuality wasn’t really discussed as a possibility, nor was it talked about at school in general. I’m talking back to 2005 and 2007, so things may have broadened a bit in terms of understanding of sexuality. Apart from the issue of contraception use and safe – sex practices, I really don’t see the point in schools (particularly primary schools), having to emphasise on sexual practices by same – sex couples. If it’s bought up in a high – school context, or is a part of the overall PDHPE sexual development and health discussion about contraception/ avoiding STIs etc, then I can understand. Just throwing it in people’s faces without taking anyone’s feelings into consideration is just going to end in tears.

I fear that this sort of action will only backfire on those who they are meant to protect. The reason why is because of the heavy emphasis of sex and body parts (e.g. breasts), rather than an overall look at LGBT+ as human beings, rather than sexual or gender stereotypes.

Thirdly, is the concern I have is about the possible alienation of people with genuinely held different values, particularly those from a conservative beliefs. How can they support a so – called “anti – bullying” program when concerns are not heard? What if someone is generally uncomfortable, particularly if the curriculum is explicit or focused on politics rather than anti – bullying. In my opinion, Sydney’s Burwood Girls’ School turned out to be a total farce. Concerns from parents were practically ignored, according to the Daily Telegraph and students, ironically, feared of being bullied if they didn’t want to watch the film or participate in events taking place in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). So, kids were worried about not participating in a supposedly anti – bullying event in fear of being bullied? How’s that supposed to work?

Look, talk about bullying (broadly), talk about homophobia and transphobia, support kids across the LGBT+ spectrum, (incluidng asexuals), but please, please, DON’T be so divisive that it drives people away from wanting to be involved in anti – bullying efforts. Keep the politics out of it and focus on the kids.

Asexuality Mentioned On Planned Parenthood Website

I get they’re a controversial organisation. I couldn’t believe it when I found out that asexuality is mentioned on the Planned Parenthood website.

This is actually a good thing. In her book ‘Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality’, Julie Sondra Decker talks about the discrimination and other unethical treatment that asexual people can face by mental and other health practitioners. I’m hoping that this signals the start of the end to this sort of discrimination. Asexual people, or people questioning their sexuakity, need to be supported, uptake not seriously and given accurate information when if comes to sexuality.

So to have such a major health provider acknowledge asexuality and accurately define it is a good thing. Wonder if Marie Stopes does the same in Australia.

I Think We May Have New Supporters!!!

On Twitter a few days ago, I tweeted anti – homophobia campaign group Wipe Out Homophobia asking whether they support asexuals in their campaigns. I got a tweet back saying they did.

Just had a look at the bisexual twitter feed, Bi and Existing, and there was a tweet shouting support for Asexual Awareness Week.

Looks like visibility at least from some sectors of the LGBT+ community is reaching out to asexual people, which can’t be a bad thing.