“Why do asexual people think they should have a place in the LGBT+ community?”
To preface this, personally I see my past involvement in LGBT+ communities as an ally. I am in two minds about whether I consider myself a part of these communities on a more personal level, however, there are a myriad of reasons why asexual people do seek out these communities.
The first two are quite obvious:
- A lot of asexual people may experience romantic attraction and be gay/bi/pan romantic.
- A lot of asexual people are trans and non binary (i.e. not cis).
As for asexual people in general:
- Asexual people are a comparatively small group, it can be hard for asexual people (especially in small towns where there aren’t asexual groups/meet ups) to find people like them. LGBT+ groups give them a place to meet other people who aren’t straight.
- Asexuality, as an orientation, is often not educated about or talked about. A lot of us struggle with our identity and spend a lot of time questioning and coming to terms with it.
- Aromantic asexual people struggle with our lack of attraction to the “opposite sex” in the same way gay and lesbian people might. It can be hard coming to terms with this when society is so hetero-normative. So we share some of the same struggles as other LGBT+ people.
- Asexual people are not considered “straight” by broader society. Society sees us as “other”. This othering leads to a lot of stigma. The LGBT+ community gives them a place to feel included.
- To reiterate.. straight society does not consider openly asexual people to be straight.
- Although we don’t face systematic oppression (mostly as a result of our invisibility), asexual people face a lot of prejudice from straight people when we talk about our orientation. We’re told our orientation isn’t real, that it’s gross/TMI, that we are freaks, that we need to get mental help, that there must be something wrong with us, that we’re selfish, that we’re immature, that we’re just trying to be special/different, that we won’t know until we try… etc.
- Asexual people often hear these things from family and friends. I’ve heard a lot of these things said by people I thought were my friends.
- Asexual people often feel isolated and alone as a result of this.
- Many asexual people suffer mental health issues (depression, anxiety) as a result of this marginalisation and don’t have a support network to turn to. This is why a lot of LGBT+ mental health services have started including literature about asexuality.
- There have been instances where asexual people have faced violence for their orientation- especially from a partner. These people have come forward to talk about their experiences. It’s hard to know how widespread this is as there hasn’t really been many studies into it (academic researchers, get on this please!). LGBT+ spaces might help them to feel safe.
Asexual people aren’t seeking out these communities for no reason or because it is “trendy”. They wouldn’t feel the need to do so unless they felt they had some kind of connection to the community.
I mean, even as an aroace who doesn’t necessarily see myself as LGBT+, I feel like I have more in common (in terms of my struggles/stigma from my sexuality) with people with LGB+ people than I have with straight people. I think if people on tumblr listened to asexual people talking about their experiences, instead of laughing them off or dismissing them, they would probably see the same thing.
But beyond that. The most simple reason asexual people think they should be included in LGBT+ communities is that a lot of the time asexual people are invited to be a part of them. They are invited to be part of them by LGBT people.