It seems lately like I've been seeing a lot of nonasexual people perceiving asexuality as a sort of add-on to a "real" orientation (usually whatever someone's affectional orientation is--aromantics seem to mostly get ignored) when it comes up. Siggy linked to a rather horrible example of it on my blog a few days ago, but I've seen it in other contexts as well.
The most annoying context I've seen it in was back on the ontd_feminism fail, which included attempts to write heteroromantics off as totally straight while including bi/pan/homoromantics as queer, as if the "asexual" part simply wasn't an issue. Actually, discussions of whether asexuality counts as queer are one of the places I see this assumption most often.
It bugs me. Especially because it invariably leaves me out in the cold (I don't have another option to identify as, thanks), but also because it seems to marginalize asexual identities as not being a "real" orientation--especially for romantic people.
So what's the best way to correct this assumption? My experiences are colored by being aromantic myself, and I'm not sure how to go "yeah, no, this is actually a primary identity" when I don't actually have anything but A to define myself.
Post by you*hear*but*do*you*listen on Nov 25, 2010 22:52:11 GMT -5
Oh, bloody hell...that's a tricky one. I try and make sure I describe my orientation with equal importance on the asexuality and the homoromanticism to keep people from thinking of me as "just" a lesbian. I don't know the best way to correct the assumption that "asexuality is an add-on to a real orientation"; I personally would reply that asexuality is an orientation, as we're oriented towards nobody. But unfortunately stupid people may keep considering asexuality as a marginal way to identify until the orientation as a while has more visibility...unless they get enough people saying "NO, asexuality is a primary identity for me, and it is for a ton of aces, romantic and aromantic alike."
"Anything can be a weapon if you're holding it right." --Ludo
Some people think that romantic orientation is the "real" orientation, while dismissing sexual orientation. Others think that sexual orientation is the "real" orientation, while dismissing romantic orientation. Well, they're both important!
I would emphasize the experiences that arise from being a romantic asexual. They feel alienated from society. Relationships tend to fail. People dismiss their love as not real or incomplete.
Also, note that mismatched romantic and sexual orientations are commonly seen in the bi community. Many bi-identified people feel like they're attracted to the different genders in slightly different ways. Obviously, most don't feel the need to change their identity for this, but their experiences are real. Asexuals are more likely to incorporate this into their identity because it's no small thing to be missing one kind of attraction entirely.
Which, yeah, I'm definitely not meaning to dismiss romantic orientation identity here! (Like I said, part of why I don't want to just make up my own way of dealing with it is that I don't want to invalidate other people's identities.) But there's got to be a way to get people to realize that an Xromantic asexual isn't going to have the same experiences or background as an Xromantic Xsexual. And also, part of what is bothering me is discussions of asexuality as a whole rather than individuals.
You know, Siggy, that's a good point there about the bi community. I know I've come across a couple of people talking about their orientations in that way--not as extreme as someone we might call, say, a homoromantic heterosexual, but with different weights placed on gender ratios for different kinds of attraction.
And some of those it seems like could be especially culturally unfortunate orientations to have--for instance, it seems like a mostly-heteroromantic bisexual woman would come in for so much crap from both queer and straight communities. Talk about invalidated identities... [/tangent]