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.

 

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Thoughts about Same – Sex Marriage and the Christian Gay Debate from An Asexual Perspective

NOTE: Just want to give credit to blogger Paul J Bern and thank him for allowing me to critique his post.

 

Now, just so we’re clear, I want to point out what this post ISN’T:

Same – sex marriage has been hot topic that people have been talking about since the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) officially legalised same – sex marriage across all fifty states on the 26 June this year.

Christian blogger, Paul J Bern wrote about the ruling in the US, which you can read here. Very well written post. There was one thing that struck me, though, and what my post is based on:

I don’t usually associate with gay people. I don’t know any, and I personally don’t approve of their “lifestyle”.

I’ll say from the outset, I think Bern’s heart is in the right place. And if you read the post in full, he is actually warning against spewing hatred toward LGBT people in light of the SCOTUS ruling. There is a small problem I have with it. I think he’s focus (at least in the quote) is the exact thing that is wrong with the whole gay debate among Christians and the LGBT community, as well as the driving force behind LGBT+ discrimination in general.

Now, I get that Christians are divided on same – sex “acts, but I want to be clear. This isn’t just what this arguments about. For one thing, legally in the US, it’s about non – heterosexual couples having the same legal protections as opposite – sex couples. Now, notice I did say “heterosexual” but deliberately said “non – heterosexual couples”? Reason? Because this ruling affects more than just the gay and lesbian community for starters. I haven’t heard that the couple have to have sex to be protected, which brings me to my second point.

I think we need to start looking at LGBT+ people more holistically. I get that some people morally oppose same – sex acts, I get that. However, being gay, straight, bi or asexual or whatnot is more than just about acts. It’s about attraction, for the most part physical and emotional. The whole term “lifestyle” in regard to the LGBT community, I believe overly simplifies the experiences of the LGBT community and has been the reason, quite frankly, why the LGBT have been mistreated for so long. It’s why the “ex gay” industry, most notoriously, Exodus International was able to operate for over thirty years, leaving lives damaged along the way. Why? Because they focused on the “acts”.

But what about homoromantic asexuals who want to get married? What about the legal protections of same – sex celibate relationships? Yes, they do exist. A brilliant blog, A Queer Calling is written by a Christian lesbian couple Lindsey and Sarah that do that. They also talk about the SCOTUS ruling and how the marriage restrictions have affected them legally, even though they are not  married themselves.

 

On a more personal level, somewhat, this equating sexual orientation and sex has also negatively affected the asexual community. From the ridicule in the media to discrimination and even sexual violence, I believe that these have occurred because the sexual minorities as a whole are only labeled in terms of their supposed “lifestyle” or “acts” (or, in the case of asexuality, a lack of).

 

Sexuality is so, so much more complicated than that. Even scientists can pinpoint what causes someone to be of a paritcular orientation, but the mainstream experts now agree that, for the most part, sexual orientation can’t be chosen, nor altered through will. Needless to say, that, despite this, yes, a person can remain celibate, but that does not make them a different orientation.

 

So, can we please be a little more mature about this? Can we look at people as whole beings rather than such a narrow lens? This does affect people’s lives. And it’s time it stops being so negative.

MAMA MIA! Another Article On Asexuality!

Anyone who has read any posts on this blog, I hit the roof when asexuality is mentioned in the media. It always brings a bit of tension. What’s going to be said? Are we going to be mocked? Pathologised?

Today, I stumbled on a blog post about asexuality on the blog, Mamamia (“This is What It’s Like To Live Without Sex” – Thursday September 25 Jo Qualmann).

It was brilliant! First, Jo Qualmann is herself, an asexual. She has been very open in the media about asexuality, including in Cleo magazine and on SBS’s “The Feed” earlier this year. So, now, she adds Mamamia to her list of media contributions.

I applaud Mamamia publisher, Mia Freedman first and foremost, for letting Qualmann write the article and publishing it. Thank you for letting Jo tell her personal story and getting asexuality more visibility.

A big applause should also go out to Australian Sexual Health sex therapist, Desiree Spierling for her comment at the end of the article. She acknowledged struggles faced by a number of asexuals without treating it like something that should be fixed. She basically pointed out that much of the struggles that asexuals face are within society and to do with confusion bought on by invisibility, not because asexuality is a disorder. To quote Donkey from ‘Shrek 2’ “Oh finally!”.

So, I’ll say it once again, Jo Qualmann, great article and to the Mamamia team, THANK YOU.

In A Perfect World…

The West haven’t made it in terms of accepting LGBT+ people. Quite frankly, I honestly don’t think that simply legalising gay marriage is going to fix the problems, either.

So what does if look like when we’ve made it in terms of equakity? Here’s a few points I’ve come up with:

We’ve made it when:

  • Someone’s sexuality doesn’t cause media hysteria
  • When sexuality isn’t used purely for ratings (like on My Kitchen Rules)
  • When words like ‘gay’ are no longer used as an insult
  • when asexual people are believed, respected and not mocked
  • when sexuality is no longer the second biggest reason that children are bullied at school (disability is still the biggest reason off bullying)
  • When LGBT+ people are not at risk of physical or sexual assault
  • When LGBT+ teenagers aren’t thrown out of home after disclosing their identity to family
  • When there isn’t pressure to ‘come out’ or ‘stay in the closet’.
  • When everyone can just BE.

Decade of Asexual Recognition?

In 1972, Australian magazine, CLEO came out and this month is celebrating the publishing of it’s 500th issue. I was just reading over their reflections of what has been going on over  the decades. There was a summary of various things like music and world events that defined the decades, including sexual trends. It got me thinking, is it possible that this decade will be about (at least the start of) asexual visibility?

Whether good or bad, since 2011 in particular, asexuality has been in the spotlight. Magazines like CLEO, Australia’s Woman’s Day (or was it Women’s Weekly?), the American show The View as well as The Project and SBS’s The Feed have all done articles or segments talking about asexuality. Yes, frankly, some of the coverage has been less than ideal, but it’s getting out there none the less. I think it’s not such a bad thing.

However, there is still come confusion on whether asexuality is a proper sexual orientation or whether it’s a “problem” that needs to be fixed. I think it’s fair ypthink sY that most asexual people (myself included) believe the former. Research, including scientific research, is still in it’s infancy and I hope over time, say over the next decade, that asexuality will be properly recognised as an orientation. I suppose the gay commubity had similar battles for recognition in the seventies (a long with much more). Homosexuality was removed out of the DSM in 1975 and in Australia, States and Territories started scrapping anti – sodomy laws (it wasn’t until 1997when all the States and Territories had the laws overturned).

What I’m saying is that I believed (and hope) that this decade will continue to see the discusdion, respect and validation of asexuality in society, within the scientific community and the media. I hope that eventually, people will be able to come out as asexual and not be disbelieved or ridiculed.

When do you think asexuality will be accepted as a genuine orientation? What do you think about media coverage of asexuality so far?

 

What Hope Has Anyone Got When We Have Reality TV?

Soon (if it hasn’t started already), reality show “Please Marry My Boy” will be starting on Prime. For those who don’t know what the show’s about, mothers of men ranging from about 20’s to 40’s play ” matchmaker” if you will, to try and find their sons suitable wives.  Then, I guess, the men have the last say and form a relationships with, I guess, whoever they fall in love with.

Thing is, both the men, and especially the women, are ridiculously attractive. Sure, the mothers talk about values, compatibility, etc but, let’s face it, looks play a MAJOR role in the show.

Now, I’ve said before that for most people, physical attraction plays a big part in how people choose mates, but our society and the media have gone totally nuts! How is society and the media suppose to demonstrate concern  about eating disorders and poor self image and still advertise impossible beauty for both men and women?

Another problem I have about reality shows is how they portray how men and women relate to each other. Sure, it all looks sweet and respectful, but is respect really there? Last year, the Australian season of “The Bachelor” came under fire because one of the contestants accused the bachelor Tim (please forgive me, no idea of his last name. Feel free to tell me if you know), of dragging the girls along when he already knew who he was in love with anyway. One could argue that the former contestant was just jealous, but I think it does raise a serious question: how many people get emotionally hurt throughout these shows and what does that say about relationships? How does that inform the public how to relate to each other, especially in intimate relationships? Is honesty and care somewhat compromised?

i’m saying these things to sound like a bitter bag, seriously, I’m not. I just really question the messages that it sends to people and the effect it has on society and young people in particular. Feel free to add any thoughts you have.

 

 

(A)Sexuality Is NOT A Fad

In the latest series of “My Kitchen Rules” “best friends” Carly and Tresne revealed the true nature of their relationship; they are a couple. Comments on the New Idea website (I think), that this “revelation” was simply a publicity stunt by the producers purely for ratings.

I have a problem with this idea of making a sexual orientation into a sort of  “fad”. I get that people are trying to gain acceptance for the LGB, but I truly think that using sexuality, in this case, for ratings is wrong.

It’s the same with this never -ending focus on bisexuality. Of course, the bisexuals are rarely in monogamous relationships or,  someone is labelled “bisexual” when he/she has slept with both men and women and usually, more than one of each gender. Whether people are in monogamous relationships is their choice. My argument is that this constant portrayal of bisexual people only feeds into social biphobia rather than just awareness.

Asexuality is starting to be talked about on and off. I would love for the day when it is talked about more openly. However, what I don’t want is for asexuality to be mocked, caricatured or negatively stereotyped. Like in all groups and identities, asexual people, even though small in percentage of the population, are diverse group. I’ve been fascinated by the number of views and experiences that are posted by people in the Asexuality groups I’m a part of on Facebook. Lack of sexual attraction and desire links us together, but rather than that, we’re a diverse group. I would like for that to be portrayed when there’s more talk on asexuality. More academic research will be a good start, I think.

Payne it’s up to us asexuals to start a genuine discussion about our own personal experiences, thoughts and feelings. I realise that there’s a number of projects that allow people to share their experiences and thoughts.

Does anyone think there’s not enough awareness on asexuality? Is anybody personally been involved in any asexuality research projects or visibility campaigns? Any ideas on what could be done, if anything?