Kudos to ABC

The ABC (Australian) did a good article on asexuality on their website yesterday. Not only that, the article is actually about an relationship both parties identify as asexual. Most media items on asexuality, at least that I find, tend to focus on aromantic or single asexuals. The fact that it’s a same – sex couple is another thing that should be pointed out. When asexual relationships are represented in the media, it’s often hetero – romantic/ opposite sex relationships that make the headlines. This is an interesting change. Politically charged?… Actually, I’m not even to go there.

As you probably aware if you’ve read this blog in the past, you may realise that I often offer a sort of evaluation on media utems about asexuality.bthis is deliberate abd something I don’t apologise for. I believe that asexual – both romantic and aromantic – deserve proper representation. Young people (and even older people), who may be concerned about feeling ‘different’, or confused about their sexuality should know that asexuality s a valid possibility. Non – asexual (allosexual) allies, also deserve information that’s accurate so they know the experiences of their asexual partners, friends orcfamily. Asexual people can’t expect allosexual people to be experts on asexuality right off the bat. That’s why accurate depictions of asexual people and their relationships is so important.

 

Most media coverage on asexuality – at least of late – has been quite good. I really hope it continues. Then, maybe, we’ll get to the point that asexuality doesn’t need so much awareness because it’ll be treated as just another orientation, just another way a small member of people experience attraction (or lack of, as in this case). That’s my hope anyway. It’s a hope I think will become realised soon.

 

What articles/ TV items, etc, have you seen/ read on asexuality recently? Dovyou think the information they provided was fair? Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.

 

Symbolic Gestures

Candle vigils

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Facebook memes/ images (found this image on a friend’s wall)

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Lighting of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

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So much commemoration. Some people say that symbolic gestures are useless. That they are not enough. Of course they aren’t enough on their own. But, I for one, have been touched by the gestures to (hopefully), bring a feeling of support to the LGBTQ+ community. In Orlando, I do believe we witnessed the absolute worst of homophobia and prejudice last weekend.

People are willing to show their support and be open about being against prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community. It is telling extremists that homophobia, bi – phobia, prejudice against asexual people, etc will not be tolerated; in our schools, in our workplace, in public venues, on – line, etc. And I take comfort in that. I really do.

In showing a zero tolerance to LGBTQ+ hate, I think we can let others who migrate to countries like the U.S or Australia, or who’s parents have migrated, that hate toward the LGBTQ+ community will not be tolerated. Period.

 

I saw a video that was posted on a blog before about the prejudice faced by asexuals in the LGBT community.

(Post continues after video)

Would have Elyssa Tappero posted this if it wasn’t for what happened in Orlando? Maybe. I don’t doubt it. But, regardless, the tragedy has sparked discussion that needs to continue. Homophobia, transphobia, bi – phobia, pan – phobia, a – phobia, etc needs to continue being stamped out.

 

Blogger John Pavlovitz wrote this post encouraging people to continue supporting LGBTQ+ people – to not stop after the news story dies down. And I share his plea.

Continue to support the LGBTQ+ people in your life. Be an soft place for young people to come to if they are struggling with their sexuality or gender identity. Support your asexual friend/ family when they come out to you. Continue being vocal against all forms of prejudice and try and make it a daily practice. That, at least, will be one step forward.

Orlando Gay Bar Massacre: Denying LGBTQ+ Their Humanity

The aftermath of the Orlando massacre where at least 50 people were gunned down in a gay bar will inevitably bring up two debates – America’s attitude to guns and Islam.

While I’m not denying either, let’s broaden the scope. This was allegedly sparked by the gunman, (who I won’t name. He doesn’t deserve it), seeing two gay people kissing.

In society, young LGBTQ+ couples often express fear about holding their partner’s hand in public. They fear being stared at, or worse. LGBTQ+ people are often dehumanised – being reduced to an ‘act’ or ‘lifestyle’, rather than a red – blooded human being who happens to not (just) love those of the opposite sex.

I was watching BBC/ ABC2 documentary ‘Gay in Pakistan’, where a British – born Muslim went to Pakistan to examine the attitudes toward the LGBT. Technically, homosexuality is criminalised in Pakistan, but, apparently, it’s rarely enforced and prosecuted. That doesn’t mean that LGBT+ are safe. Hate crimes do exist. One thing that stood out to me. Most Muslims (at least that were researched), who condemn homosexuality are ignorant to the science of sexuality. They reduce gay people to the ‘acts’ they supposedly do.

 

That is the problem and it is a problem that happens again, and again and again. Sexual orientation is not about what a person ‘does’. It’s about a nixture of sexual and (usually) romantic attraction (or lack of). It is not an ‘act’. It’s (for the most part), the way people experience love and connection to others.

 

I’m not asking for anyone to change their beliefs in regard to same – sex marriage or same – sex relationships. I want the LGBTQ+ debate to change to acknowledge that we are talking about PEOPLE. Not caricatures. Not stereotypes. Not porn characters, real people. Then, maybe whatchappened in Orlando will at least become rare.

 

Identity and Politics

The “Gayby Baby” film presentation controversy has hit me harder than I’d like to admit. Not because it does affect me personally per se in terms of families, but it’s struck me at how political such issues have become. It’s bought back feelings of like I shouldn’t be who I am all over again, quite frankly.

Why is identity, particularly of minorities (racial, gender, sexuality, etc), so politicised? Not everybody is straight! GET OVER IT! I’ve written before in one of my other blogs, and also here, that I’ve struggled with self – acceptance. To be perfectly honest, those feelings haven’t gone away completely. This is why I’m so passionate about these issues being discussed in schools and for students who don’t fit the “heteronormative” category, or whose family doesn’t fit the “nuclear” norm is so important. It’s reality! All this talk about “propaganda” and the “gay agenda” is just becoming ridiculous. Students and parents should not be forced nor intimidated into watching the film, I agree with conservative commentators on that.

 

Why are the lives of LGBT+ people and their portrayal in society so overly politicised? Why is it, when an issue affecting the LGBT+ come up, it’s automatically deemed “shoving it in people’s faces”, or “the minority is taking over the rights of the majority”. Newsflash: THE MAJORITY HAVEN’T PUT UP WITH THE GARBAGE THAT THE LGBT+ HAVE (at least not for something like sexuality. I would take a shot and say that straight kids don’t have to pull their hair out wondering whether they should “come out”, all the while fearing repercussions. Straight people aren’t physically attacked or emotionally abused because of their sexuality. Straight people don’t go around having their orientation mocked in the media or told that it doesn’t exist. Straight people aren’t spiritually abused in religious institutions, pressuring them to take part in pseudo “counselling” which is condemned by mainstream medical bodies around the world. Straight people aren’t at risk of being sexually assaulted in a bid to “cure” or change their orientation. For straight people, struggles with sexuality generally don’t lead to self – harm and suicide (not that suicide, mental illness and self – harm aren’t tragic in other circumstances).

 

I believe (and the reason why I support the showing of the documentary), is not to “convert” people to be LGBT+, nor force people to take a particular side but merely gives voice to people who are living the reality of, in this case, living in same – sex headed families. Are there people that are going to disagree? Of course there will be. Will it make opponents of same – sex marriage change their minds? Probably not. All it will do is say “this is how some people live in the world”. That’s it. I’ll stress again, I’m against forcing or bullying people into watching it. Opponents should be treated with the same respect as proponents. But, in the context of schools and the wider community, the LGBT+ should be able to be heard just as much as anyone else. People in non – traditional families should not be in fear of public backlash. Like I wrote in another blog, if this can open the door to talk about not just gay and lesbian parenting, but also open the way to acknowledging other non – straight students (including asexuals), then it’ll be worth it.

 

Why is acceptance so politicised, I’ll never know.

Why Is Virginity Such A Big Deal (Or More Specifically Losing It Or Not)?

Earlier today, I was reading a blog post on Mamamia about a woman who was 28 and ‘accidentally’ a virgin.  She identified as straight (she specifically said she didn’t identify as asexual or gay). When I was reading the article, I thought to myself, why is it such a big deal? Why does this woman feel so much pressure and shame about the fact she hadn’t gone ‘all the way’ with a guy? Have we as a society gone too far the other way, in that people are, or at least feel shamed for not having sex?

These questions that ran through my head made me wonder if that ‘s one of the reasons why we still as a society have a fair way to go in fully accepting people who are asexual. Not only that, but this pressure is, obviously putting undue pressure on non – aces as well. Why do we value each other, and even ourselves on whether or not we’ve lost the ‘V – card’?

Last year, a story went global about a 58 – year – old man who hadn’t lost his virginity after being first published in ‘Science of Us’, then retold in the ‘New York Times’ and ‘Mamammia’. From what I read, his sex – life (or the non – existence of it) wasn’t his only problem. He seemed severely depressed and had issues from childhood it seemed like he hadn’t laid to rest. Yet, the title of these articles focused on the fact that he was a virgin. Click bait maybe?

On the last point, I think when talking about issues like this, I think it’s important to make sure we have to look at the full picture, not just focus on the fact on whether someone is a virgin or not. We shouldn’t pathologise people for not having sex yet(whether by choice or not). We should just accept the fact that people are different in many areas, when we lose our virginity, how and when we start dating, etc, etc. Can we just accept that?

I was heartened that most of the comments at the bottom of the post were supportive and saying that it shouldn’t matter. Some even said they’d lost their virginity in their late 20’s. So, there was support and empathy out there. Just a pity it’s deemed an issue at all.

 

What do you think? Is there too much emphasis on losing virginity?

Julien Blanc and Attitudes Toward Women

Trigger Warning: This post talks about sexual assault and rape culture. If this is triggering for you, please proceed with caution. If you need help with personal issues, please get it.

On Wednesday night, The Project did a story on controversial “dating coach” (I use that term extremely lightly, hence the quotation marks), Julien Blanc, who’s “seminars” have been recently cancelled in Australian capital cities, particularly, Sydney and most recently from what I’ve read, Brisbane.

As people probably know, Blanc is an American Youtuber that is infamous for filming himself forcing young women to kiss him or of him inappropriately groping them. He argues that this is a successful “pick – up line”, even though the women that comes into contact with him are very resistant in the least.

The thought of someone like that even having an audience, people who is actually intrigued by what he has to say, let alone believing it, scares me. It feeds into misogyny in society. It further pushes the message that women haven’t got a right to their own sexuality or bodies. These attitdues NEED to die out.

I’m saying this in this blog, because it’s *believed that asexual women are more vulnerable to sexual assault*. When an asexual woman says to a man who’s interested in her that she isn’t interested, her requests get ignored. Huffington post has done an article on this here.

 

Let me be clear. This dangerous attitude toward women and their sexuality isn’t only damaging to asexual women (althought it is believed that they and lesbians in particular  are vulnerable), it affects women in general. How many times has rape been legitimised because of what a victim has supposedly wore? Too many times I care to think about. And that’s from what I’ve heard!

Nobody “owns” anybody. We need to get that. We don’t have the right to demand that other people become our property. This is where abuse starts. Each person owns themselves. This attitude of people “owning” women has had the opposite, but same damaging effect in other circles, particularly hardcore conservative communities.

 

*I’m not sure of the exact statistic, so I can’t for certain say hte rate that this is happening. In the xojane article http://http://www.xojane.com/#!/sex/true-love-waits-pledge, Samantha Pugsley explained how growing up in a culture where virginity was prized above all else, actually ended up damaging her view of her own sexuality, even after marriage, because of the shame she grew up with. This again, I believe stems from the same toxic attitude, that women can’t control when they have sex or whom they have sex with. It’s in the hands of someone else! I’ve argued before that if someone wants to remain a virgin or celibate, then their wishes should be respected. But I also argued that it should stem from personal conviction and choice, not enforced by the outside.

 

I want to give credit where it’s due. I commend the people responsible for the boycotting of the Blanc seminars. I also applaud the panel on “The Project” and how they responded to it. A further heartfelt hats off to Pete Heliar and Hugh Riminton who both condemned Blanc’s show, particuklarly Riminton, who rightfully slammed Blanc’s attitudes  as  being “misogynistic”. Thank you all for such a strong approach to it. And what the panellists said was right. We need to talk to young men (in particular) in how to treat women properly. We also need to talk to women on how THEY are the masters of their own bodies. THEY get to decide when they have sex (or not). NOBODY has a right to take that away from them. And of course, it goes the other way round too.

Compliments

Apparently,  some Australian men are finding it hard to compliment a woman that they don’t know in fear of it being taken as sexist. However, columnist for Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, Sarrah Le Marquand, has lamented that men aren’t forward enough. I want to make my own point.

I don’t mind genuine compliments. In fact, I love them, whether from men or women. Of course, chances are that I’ll become uncomfortable if the so – called ‘compliments ‘ become incredibly suggestive. Regardless of orientation (or gender, for that matter), don’t most people have a basic idea of what will likely to be appropriate and what’s not? Like saying ‘you look lovely in that dress’, or ‘I love your haircut’, without getting sleazy about it? Maybe just be sensitive to the other person’s cues? Are they receptive? Do they look uncomfortable? Because you want to compliment someone to make them feel better, don’t you? Like I said at the start of the post, I love getting compliments. However, I’m also a big believer in respecting the sensitivities (cultural, etc). So, out it simply.

  • Keep it clean (Just say: ‘I like your….’)
  • Beware of cues (body language, etc). If they express any discomfort, don’t take it personally, but don’t push it
  • basically, it all boils down to one word…. RESPECT!