Cate Mcgregor lashes out at LGBT community and why I’m sympathetic to gender non – binary people

Former Group Captain and Order of Australia, Catherine Mcgregor has lashed out publication Sydney Star Observer and the LGBT community, labelling them “capricious”, “discriminatory”, “narrow – minded” and “totalitarian”.She also opposes calling non – binary people “they” without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria:

I do not support bullying of trans or gay kids more than I support bullying of Muslims or Christians or fat kids or rangas. But you don’t just wear a nose ring and demand to be called “they” in the absence of a diagnosis.

Mcgregor isn’t the only trans person to criticise pronouns such as “they” when describing gender and the idea that gender is non – binary. American YouTuber, Blaire White, also a transwoman, totally rejects the idea that there are more than two genders:

Content Warning: coarse language

When I read Mcgregor’s article, I was conflicted. I still am. As a cis – gender female, I will be the first to say that I have no idea what Mcgregor or White have gone through. Mcgregor has said publicly that for her, the struggle was becoming too much. She says that she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria – an acute distress over a person’s gender identity and sex not matching up. The latest Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), has used the term “gender dysphoria” instead of Gender Identity Disorder (GID), which has has been applauded as being a step to destigmatise trans people.

However, I’m not willing to say for certain that gender non – binary people are making their identity up as a political statement, like White suggests, or whether they (collectively), vary in political persuasions just as people in any other group.

I’m not willing to say that gender non – binary people are making it up, because, until very recently, that’s how many people viewed asexuality. In my teen years, two health professionals told me two myths about asexuality – one was that it doesn’t exist and another said it was a phase that people grow out of. The first isn’t true and the second isn’t true for most asexual people. Asexuality was classed as a part of hypo sexual desire disorder (HSDD), until the DSM V was modified. The idea that asexuality is a phase, doesn’t exist or is a mental disorder has left many asexual people feel confused, broken and isolated.

However, science is slowly proving that asexuality may be a legitimate orientation. According to Lorri Brotto and Morag Yule, research indicates that, like homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality, epigenetics seem to play a part in determining whether someone becomes asexual. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but I think this is huge! Now, in terms of gender, I understand that there has been some research on cross – sex (MtF/ FtM) transgender people’s brain structures and differences have been noticed. Genetics may also play a part. An identical twin is more likely to identify as trans if his/ her identical twin identifies as trans. This research has only been very recent. In the past, I’ve looked up research on non – binary gender identities and there’s basically none. That’s not to say that non – binary/ agender people don’t exist and anyone who identifies that way is making it up. What I’m saying is, let the science catch up. Until then, I still don’t understand why people are still getting their knickers in a knot over the pronoun “they”. What’s so hard to call someone that if “they” prefer it?

What do you think? Am I wrong? I’d like to especially like to hear from trans/ gender non – binary people about this. Feel free to comment!

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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.

 

Thoughts on World Mental Health Week

This week is World Mental Health Week. LGBTQ+ issues and mental health are often tightly linked, considering that LGBT people (especially youth) are, according to mental health advocasy group, Beyond Blue, data showed that 36.2% of trans people and 24.4% of lesbian, gay or bisexual people:

met the  criteria for experiencing major depressive episodes.

Trans women under 30have the highest rate of mental health issues (59.3%).

Gays and lesbians had also been found to have significantly higher rates of anxiety (31% vs 14%sexual people also report having higher incidents of mental health issues at similar rates of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

One of the issues that are faced by asexual people is erasure – a lack of knowledge – or more likely – acceptance that people can be – and are – asexual. This is slowly, slowly changing, with a number of media outlets over the years doipng articles and news items on asexual people. Cleo, women’s site, Mamamia, Everyday Feminism and Ravishly has done articles on people on the asexual spectrum. Despite the controversy around the Safe Schools program, I’ll give credit when it’s due – it was acknowledged in the resource ‘All of Us’ that some people are asexual. Although not directky linked, I had looked at the site Minus18 for LGBTQ+ youth under 25, and realised that they did differentiate between sexual and romantic attraction. That would have madechigh school so much easier! It’s a pity it all turned out to be a political manifesto and that data on sexuality and gender diversity was inaccurate.

Anyway, back to mental health. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was slammed by tying the same – sex martiage plebiscite to gay t thing to sayand lesbian youth suicide. While I don’t think it was the wrong thing to say, and I agree with Andrew Bolt that it was emotional blackmail, mental health of LGBTQ+ does need to be a part of this debate.

 

I know I said this before, but I want to repeat it. To my LGBTQ+ friends and family, I love you and I hope that all of you are doing well. For those who need help, please get it. Don’t bottle anything up.  To all my other friends and family, I say the same. I love you, and if you have any issues, please grt help.

Lifeline number: 13 11 14.

Celibacy, Asexuality, The Bible and Repeated Misconceptions

I got a bit of criticism for this post about not doing research on the Christianity and celibacy, and asexuality (I want to talk more about that later on).

There have been some criticisms aimed at some churches  for not adequately accommodating for single adults, especially those who are in their late 20’s or older. In the post, I also mentioned the backlash against the purity movement and the demand that the LGBT remain celibate and I have argued before in another blog that, if that’s meant to be, churches must be the place where a single person’s (both straight and LGBT+), emotional needs are met. As you’ll read in the first link I inserted, there is a view that some churches are not fulfilling that role in a single people’s lives and too often, programs and cell groups exclude single people. I get that it’s not the case with all churches, and I probably should have made that clear in the last post and for any misunderstanding and possible offence, I do apologise.

Asexuality and the Bible

There are a number of attitudes among Christians about this. In 2013, blogger Aydan made a blog post highlighting three attitudes that are common among Christians when talking about asexuality. Those who are supposedly fine with asexuality often refer to two verses in the New Testament: Matthew 19:10 12 and 1 Corinthians 7: 7. In the Biblehub website, I found this quote by one of the Gill’s exposition interesting:

The apostle speaks not of his state or condition , as married or unmarried, for it is not certain which he was; some think he had a wife, others not. it looks, however as if he had not at this time. (emphasis mine)

So, biblical scholars are unsure whether St. Paul was always single or whether he was married at least before his conversion. I have read on Facebook at one time that one commenter thought that it would’ve been likely that he was married sometime when he was a Pharisaic Jew. Something about the idea that these verses talk about asexuality doesn’t add up.

Does that mean asexuals can’t get married, even if they are hetero – romantic? Should Christians speak against the marriage of asexuals and demand that they remain celibate? What if an asexual is willing to be sexually active for a sake of a spouse or to have a baby?

I think arguing that Matt 19: 10 – 12 and 1 Corinthians 7: 7 are talking about asexuality and therefore, they should be given permission in the Church not to marry has a danger of placing all asexuals in the same group, when, in fact, asexuals are as diverse as any other group of people? So what then? Should they still remain single for life, even if they aren’t aromantic, or have a libido or willing to have sex with a spouse?

I still don’t think it affects my original argument – Churches must not exclude single parishioners/ church members, regardless of orientation. There must be adequate cell – groups, activities, etc where single people of all ages feel welcome and included in all areas of church life.

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.

Would Same – Sex Marriage Be A Start?

I’m a real scatter – brain when it comes to the same – sex marriage debate, so bear with me if you can.

I read this article that was linked on the Christian Democratic Party website before. Now of course, the CDP vocally support the traditional definition of marriage. No surprise. This article, though isn’t written by any member or supporter of the party, but Serena Ryan, a broadcaster who hosts the LGBTQ station The Standard on Omni Radio and Radio.net. Although she says that she supports same – sex marriage, Ryan argues that that’s not the main issue surrounding LGBT equality. Issues she raised included:

  • LGBTQ youth homelessness
  • Mental illness in the LGBTQ community
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • LGBT domestic violence
  • Lack of services equipped to assisting LGBT people

Ryan’s right. The legalising of same – sex marriage won’t solve these issues. I’d also add a few others, adding the “plus” of LGBTQ+ into the equation. Same – sex marriage alone won’t:

  • Eradicate bi – erasure and bi – phobia
  • Won’t prevent transphobia
  • Won’t prevent ignorance toward the asexual community
  • Won’t prevent the coercion and harassment faced by members of the asexual community or even other members of the LGBTQ+ community
  • Won’t end the negative stereotypes faced by members of the LGBTQ+
  • Won’t prevent discrimination WITHIN the LGBTQ+

So, let’s face it, if the plebiscite in Australia went through and the Government (whoever won the next election), and they stuck to their promise and same – sex marriage was legalised, it wouldn’t fix all the struggles faced within the LGBTQ+ community. However, I’ve got to say, I can see merit with the pro same – sex marriage debate. Same – sex marriage would make same – sex couples equal in the eyes of the law. Same – sex couples will be able to make their commitment public, front of family and friends (well, hopefully). Is it a stretch to say that the legalisation of same – sex marriage may put issues such as same – sex coupled domestic violence out of the shadows? If same – sex marriage was legalised and made public, willl it make mental health organisations more likely to brush up on their skills and expertise in dealing with LGBTQ+ properly? I don’t know, these are just my thoughts.

What do you think? Would the legalisation of same – sex marriage be the start of dealing with other issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community?

My Experience Speaking About Asexuality On Social Media

Let me say this from the outset, I know that for many LGBT+ people worldwide, coming out can be downright dangerous. Many LGBT+ people can face harassment, bullying, family abandonment, ‘corrective’ rape, spiritual abuse, etc. I get that and in no means minimising that because for too many people it is still a dark reality.

Having said that, for the past couple of months, this week in particular, I’ve posted a fair bit of asexuality awareness pictures from groups and pages and the response I’ve received has been all positive. I’m really, really pleasantly surprised about that. I’ve even posted one on coming out as a member of the LGBT+ community

B.                                              image

For those who can’t read the text, it says:

You don’t come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, ps sexual, transgender, etc. you come out as yourself.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m super, super lucky with the friends and family I have. That’s not to say that posting all this stuff or actually writing/ talking about asexuality and LGBT+ topics in general haven’t made ms nervous. The voice inside my head hasn’t always been positive (quite the opposite actually). Will the nerves stay away complete,y? Probably not. But it has given me the courage to be more open and honest about asexuality and related topics. I’m willing to answer (reasonable) questions if need be.

I’m confident that asexuality awareness is going in the right direction.

I may may be a rare case. Have you posted anything on social media about asexuality and/ or LGBT+ issues? If so, what’s been your experience?