Invisible Orientation: An Introduction into Asexuality Review: Part 2 Ctd

Back again. Continuing reviews on Part 2 (I know, it’s long).

The part I’m talking about is titled “Society, Discrimination and Queer Communities”. In it, Julie Sondra Decker discusses the asexuals’ link to the LGBT communities and discrimination that asexual people themselves face. Homophobia, in particular is very well known and exposed in the media. Studies from respected health organisations, such as “Youth Beyond Blue” in Australia, point out that LGBT youth are statistically more vulnerable to both physical and verbal abuse due to their orienatation, perceived orientation or gender identity. I don’t deny that. However, as Decker pointed out, asexuals have faced their own battles.

One of the biggest issues facing asexuals is invisibility and not being taken seriously. I think this is a valid point. I’ve wrote before here that asexuality should be discussed in schools when talking about sexuality in PDHPE classes. Students NEED to know that it’s OK not to be interested in sex!

Another issue that was specifically mentioned in the book, and a reason why asexuals may want to link with LGBT communities, is the fact that there is a lack of asexual – specific support groups, informatoin sessions, or meetups. I’ve only read about a couple on Facebook myself, mainly in the US. Maybe this is due to a lack of awareness, but also, like I was saying before, a lack of known persecution against asexual people. The main reason wny, for example, gay clubs were formed from the 1970’s onwards, was so gay people could mingle and hang out without a fear of being attacked, or, before the 1970’s in many cases, even persecuted by law enforcement (it may be obvious, but I”m talking about people in the West. I do acknowledge that in many cases, legal prosecution of gay people is still a serious issue).

A number of asexual people identify themselves as allies to the LGBT community. Some LGBT communities are open to welcoming asexual – identified people, however, some are hesitant to welcoming them within their circles because they deem the asexual community as having “heterosexual privilege” , especially those who identify who identify as aromantic or heteroromantic. To some degree, I can see how it can be perceived. Heteroromantic and aromantic people, naturally, are not being criticised or being persecuted for being same – sex attracted, like LGB people. However, like Decker argued, it’s not the same as being straight. And even LGBT asexuals (those who are homoromantic, bi – romantic, transgender, poly/ panromantic etc), can face dismissiveness from the LGBT communities. As a blogger was quoted as saying:

I find it painfully ironic that in  queer spaces I am still told that my sexual orientation  is just a disorder, eihter physical or psychological, that I ‘just haven’t met the right person yet’, taht I”m going through a phase. that I can be cured. I hardly consider a space where people are feel comfortable saying those things to another person a ‘safe space’ for anyone (and yes, they so those things to a polypan ace […] and those same things are said to trans aces and homoromantic aces and biromantic aces too}.

I just want to point something out, in regard to the last quote. Many people, myself included, have a habit of lumping LGBT people together as if they’re all one in the same. However, it’s not always harmonious in these communities either. I’ve lost count, for example, of how many blog posts I’ve read about the alienation that bisexual people can face from the gay community. They are either not believed, or they are negatively stereotyped, (e.g. they can’t be in a monogamous relationship and remain faithful). Transgender people, too, face alienation from the gay community. Earlier this year, Australian model/ DJ, Ruby Rose made a video on YouTube in which she strongly criticised  transphobia within the gay community. So negative attitudes are not exclusive to asexual people.

There is a misconception, too, that asexual people share in “straight privilege. As i’ve argued before, even ‘passing’ as straight has it’s own strugggles (read about it in my post here). Also, just to be clear, asexual people are NOT straight and asexuality is NOT the same as celibacy. Asexuality IS a separate orientation characterised by a lack of sexual attraction. Celibacy, on the other hand, is a choice, and that choice can be reversed most of the time. Asexuality, however, can’t be reversed. It may change, yes, but not by conscious choice. . They are part of a sexual minority. Hetero – romantic asexuals, for instance, are not straight because they are not SEXUALLY attracted to people of the opposite sex. In fact, Decker pointed out in the video, that hetero – romantic asexual couples (even married couples) can be denied adoption rights or have their marriage made annuled because of lack of sex, which, to me, is quite ridiculous.

Asexual people can face some employment and housing discrimination too, particularly in the US. In 2012, MacInnis and Hudson noted that asexual people face negative attitudes in mainstream society and even in legal matters (property, etc). These prejudices were seen as more prevalent against asexuals than LGB and heterosexuals. In the video on Asexual discrimination (which I showed in this post), Decker explained that at the time the video was being made, US states, New York and Vermont explicitly prohibited discrimination agianst asexual people on the basis of their orientation, like LGB people. She also pointed out that last year when she made the video, Texas had a bill that, if succesfully passed, would also prohibit discrimination against asexuals. Does anyone know whether this actually passed?

With all this in mind, do we need to align ourselves with the LGBT? Not necessarily. Each person to their own view on that one. But what I believe it does show is that there is problems with discrimination faced by the asexual community. Does it happen to everyone? Not necessarily. But it DOES happen.

So, that’s all for today in this post. Yes, asexual people do face their own challenges, not necessarily “worse” than other minorities, but it’s not something that should be ignored either. And I do applaud people, including members of the LGBT, (like bloggers hessianwithteeth), that do acknowledge and respect the asexual community. From me to all of you, I say ‘thank you’.

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Minorities

I get tired of hearing the sentiment that the “minorities” are getting “special rights and are essentially “taking over the joint” if you like. Look, I don’t agree with militancy which essentially ends up in reverse discriminatino in my view. Yes, we need one set of expectations for all.

However, we have to be real here. People DO face discrimination. People DO get mistreated because they’re “different”(I’ve wrote that in the past Asexuailty and Discrimination. What If…. etc). I feel so passionately about this. People are discriminated against, bullied, harrassed, sometimes physically or emotionally/ verbally abused because of who they are. That includes gender, gender identity, sexuality (or perceived sexuailty), ethnic background, etc. Children are being bullied on these grounds, as well as disability.

Minorities need to feel as safe as anyone else. And, as I have argued in the past, here that identity, including the parts that makes a person a “minority” can’t immediately be eliminated, if at all. I think I’m not the only one to think that if it was that easy, we would’ve clicked our fingers and became a part of the majority a long time ago (I know there were times where I’ve thought that).

 

 

 

If I’m going to be perfectly honest, I’m tired of people saying that they are oppressed when there are people who are a heck of a lot worse off than what they are (at least socially). There are people who are more “privileged” than others. There are people who don’t face the full brunt of discrimination that others do. Pardon me for being stereotypical here, but that includes (in Australia anyway), Anglo – Saxon (largely), able – bodied, cisgender, heterosexual and Christian/ atheist or agnostic (from what i can tell). People who don’t fit those boxes are at risk of discrimination or worse. I just wish people would really get that. Here are a few links tht document discrimination both statistics and stories:

http://http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/bondi-racist-bus-attack-jewish-schools-on-alert-after-eight-males-threaten-to-cut-schoolchildrens-throats-five-teenagers-arrested/story-fni0cx4q-1227015860427

News that close to 30 Muslim women have been attacked in Australia in recent times makes me ashamed and sad. It does not matter what a minority extremist Muslim group is doing overseas, nothing justifies this behaviour against innocent Muslims.

(Excerpt from Letter from Jade McKay, Brunswick West HS Your Say, p. 24, Herald Sun, Wednesday 15 October 2014)

http://http://www.beyondblue.org.au/resources/for-me/lesbian-gay-bi-trans-and-intersex-lgbti-people/factors-affecting-lgbti-people

 

 

Take note, I don’t, I repeat I DON’T condone any bullying, even those who fit the majority. Some abuse faced by journalists and bloggers and others who don’t fit the above categories have faced some pretty harsh treatment which I hate and condemn just as much. We need to be equal about this. Nobody deserves to be mistreated, bullied, etc for who they are period. My argument is that I believe that we can’t completely ignore the fact that there are some people who are at least, more at risk, if you like, of not gaining all that is to offer and people are discriminated against on the basis of certain aspects of their identity. However, it’s also important to point out that there are people willing to speak out against discrimination as well.

I don’t want this to start a pity part for anybody, to be honest. Reverse discriminatio, false accusations, etc are not going to help anybody. We have to be willing to work with others, educate others and respect others like the way we want to be respected. I just get tired of what I consider to be the watering down of what other people realy go through.

Misconceptions About Sexuality (In My Opinion)

Let me say this from the outset, what I’m about to say is purely opinion. I haven’t got any research about this (yet). If I’m proven to be wrong, I’ll make sure I’ll make another post that’s actually accurate.

i read a lot of blogs (I follow a few), on bisexuality. A lot of posts written by self – proclaimed bisexuals talk a lot about discrimination, from both the gay and straight communities, bi – erasure and negative stigma, both presented in the media and society as a whole. I think that this goes beyond the moral condemnation that the gay community have historically faced (and still do in certain parts of the world). I think the reason why bi – phobia exists is because (at least partly), is because of the misunderstanding of sexuality as a whole.

I think the link between sexual identification and sexual activity has been too closely linked. Most people do end up acting on their attraction at some point in their lives. But those acts (albeit sexual and/ or romantic), doesn’t make the orientation. On the flip side, actions don’t always reflect orientation either.

 

I’m a firm believer that sexual/ romantic orientation is primarily about attraction and that is at least largely innate. Sexual and romantic orientation is a pattern of attraction, usually starting in adolescence. I have read bisexual bloggers insisting that they has experienced attraction from adolescence onwards, like when other people realise they’re gay or straight. For most people, this realisation (or at least suspicion), that a person could be bisexual, happens BEFORE any relationships take place.

Next, relationships. Again, this this goes back to the perceived link between sexual orientation and sexual activity. One of the damaging stereotypes that plague bisexual people is that they can’t remain monogamous and faithful. Unfortunately, I think the media plays on this. Put it this way, can someone who is straight remain single and celibate? Or, put another way, do people who are straight HAVE to have sexual with everyone of the opposite gender? No? Well, why assume that about people who identify as bi?

 

Discrimination like this is plain vicious, and, in my opinion, very ignorant and usually very ill- informed. Real people get hurt because of of how society continues to stigmatise others because of their sexuality (I have written about this in the past). It’s time we start respecting people and nog treating others like garbage like we seem to do.

Aphobia

Queer As Cat – “Aphobia Exists”

TRIGGER WARNING: This post mentions sexual and other violence as well as discrimination and bullying. Proceed with caution if this is triggering for you. 

I first saw this image on Facebook today and it got me thinking about Aphobia and how it could be defined.  When I saw this image and read the text within it, frankly, I think most of the content was bordering on politically correct. I think we should be aware of and steer away from pettiness and unnecessary victim mentality and the demonising of others. So, what is Aphobia and how should it be defined?

Sexual and gender minorities, including asexuals, do face persecution and discrimination worldwide. I have read that asexual people can find themselves more vulnerable to being sexually assaulted in the foeprm of ‘corrective’ rape. Sexual orientation (or perceived sexual orientation), is still a major subject of bullying in schools. Teenagers are often kicked out of home when they disclose their sexuality to their families, leaving them more vulnerable to physical and sexual violence.

For asexual people specifically, one of the biggest obstacles that asexual people face (from what I have read), is not being believed. Some have also been bullied at school because of their sexual orientation (usually homophobic – being “accused” of being gay). The last one can and does hurt. I have also heard of asexual people being discriminated against in housing based on their sexual orientation.

In my opinion, the paragraph above lists some examples of what should be listed as Aphobia. I think we should cut people at least a little bit of slack for not understanding what asexuality is and ask sometimes, bizarre questions. If we get asked an inappropriate question, then we should just (gently) say we won’t answer the question. Dare I say it, in reality, most people probably don’t mean to be malicious in those circumstances.

 

If we genuinely want to bring visibility and acceptance to sexual people, we can’t constantly have a victim mentality or make a habit of condemning people unfairly. Not everyone is going to be against us because of who we are. For the moment, like I’ve said before, I think we have to be open to questions since asexuality is not well – known yet (we’re getting there, I think).

Another thing – we need to stop creating factions amongst ourselves. I have seen some pretty heated debates on social media and certain people not made to feel welcome in groups and certain people have been unfairly shut up. This can’t happen. Sure, we will have disagreements, even heated ones, but we need unity. We need to be able to discuss topics with respect and let people find out who they are without ridicule and ostracism. Let’s stand together and aim to educate, not ridicule or demonise others.

Why Does Sexuality Have To Affect Everything?

Recently, there was a report In the paper from a city near where I live that reported on a petition to allow a girl at a local high school to allow her to bring her female partner to the school’s deb. The school ended up buckling under pressure and allowing the girl to bring her partner. Here’s the thing; the girl’s partner was forbidden from the deb, not because she was in a same – sex relationship, but because she was twenty – one and not a student at the school.

There have been other cases where a Year 12 student has taken their school to court for not allowing their same – sex partners to the formal on the grounds of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As anyone who knows anything about me, even from this blog, it’s that discrimination makes my blood boil. However what I don’t understand is why sexuality has to be at the forefront of pretty much every debate we have. Why is sexuality almost always bought into the equation?

At my Year 12 formal, the issue of sexuality was never bought up or debated. I am so glad it went like that. There were partners and even groups that went to the formal together. Personally, I went with a male friend. It was so much fun! Why can’t it be that way? If a guy and girl who are friends want to go together to a formal, well fine. If two female friends (or male) want to go together to their formal, let them go their hardest. If couples want to go together (whatever genders), then fine. But it doesn’t always have to be about sexuality.

There are people in the world (Australia included), where people are discriminated against, bullied or even assaulted or killed on the basis of their sexuality. I don’t deny that. However, I don’t believe the examples I wrote above needs to be put in such a category. Formals, in my view aren’t about sexuality. They’re about celebrating a milestone,( i.e. finishing school). It’s about having fun with school friends, maybe for the last time, at least for a while. Bothy formalism (and deb balls traditionally), signify entering adulthood and everything that it’s going to entail. That’s got little to do with being straight, gay, bi, pan ace, etc.

I have argued before that schools should be aware and supportive of students of all orientations. All students should feel safe and supported, no matter who they are. But sexuality shouldn’t, in my opinion, always be an issue. Why can’t friendships be given equal consideration.

Another thing, gay rights activists and the liberal media or themselves no favours spreading false and, quite frankly inflammatory information. It’ll only backfire on the LGBT community, if it hasn’t already. Yes, advocate for just treatment, for the end to discrimination, but spreading misinformation and starting arguments that don’t need to happen aren’t going to help anyone.

 

Diversity Exists… So Does Discrimination

 

CONTEXT: On this episode of the show Studio10, they were discussing accusations that controversial columnist, blogger and TV host Andrew Bolt made about Sydney Swans player and Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes for being divisive in his speech. As Joe Hilderbrand said in the clip, the perception is that Bolt would prefer it if we could just be united and not be separated by labels, including race (he has also added sexuality to the list on “One Plus One”).

Now, I read his columns and blog pretty regularly as well as watch his show and, from what  I have seen and read of his, I take his word that he isn’t homophobic or racist. On this issue, though, I disagree with him on the  “melting pot” theory.

People, especially children and teenagers know almost by instinct, whether they fit in or not. In the context of sexuality, for example, when twelve or thirteen year – olds start noticing the opposite sex, people who don’t usually know it ( strangely for me, it was a few years later). In that situation, you can ‘t just become part of a “melting pot” and pretend that it doesn’t exist. It’s impossible to truly fit in, when in reality you don’t, whether it’S because of your ethnicity, you ‘re disabilities, your gender identity or sexuality. Differences can’t always be ignored, and if at all, only for a very limited time.

Secondly – discrimination – it exists in Australia, even if we don’t want to admit the extent to which it goes on (I should point out that Bolt says that racism does exist in Australia, but argues that Australia isn’t a “racist nation”. He says he doesn’t condone it either). However, does it occur here more than we like to admit? I have heard to that the Aboriginal youth, along with LGBT youth, are over represented in youth suicide statistics. Note: Like I’ve said before, I get  suicide is often complicated, but it makes you wonder.

Discrimination exists and it hurts. And it isn’t a successful way to force someone to assimilate. Let’s acknowledge that discrimination exists, accept that diversity exists, let’s learn from what we know happened in the past and try to move forward.