I realize I have basically no one reading these but I don’t entirely mind. However, I was planning on actually working on keeping this us, but life and being mentally ill have come together to make that next to impossible. I will take the pressure of a regular schedule off of my plate and instead try to just set aside some time at least once a day to write something related to gender and sexuality for this. I have school coming up and a bit of a crazy and stressful life, but I want to work on at least posting regularly here, even if it’s not particularly formal or anything. I’m sorry but for right now, my mental health takes priority.
I follow a lot of Asexuality Awareness pages on social media. It’s part of how come I finally settled on the identity I have. I like feeling like I have a community, and I like how even people who aren’t Aro/Ace/Agen support those of us that are. However, I keep seeing posts that people make saying that Asexual people don’t belong in the LGBT+ community unless other aspects of attraction fit. This hurts, because like many other sexualities have faced, the community we’re turning to for support as the world refuses us is saying “No, you’re not good enough.” I’m going to borrow a term usually used with trans* people, passing privilege. I have a lot. I’m, as far as I identify now, a cisgender woman that has only been in relationships with masculine people. This protects me from a lot of persecution because I don’t face harassment as a result of my gender and I don’t face harassment as a result of who I’m dating. I “pass” as a straight, white female. However, that’s not the case at all. I recognize that many people in the LGBT+ community have gone through a level of persecution that I can only imagine. I want to work with the community largely because of that, because people are getting hurt because society can’t decide to let people live their lives. That doesn’t mean that the kind of erasure I see is invalid. I see a different kind of persecution, one many members of the LGBT+ community haven’t seen in years. My identity is met with disbelief and erasure. I have people telling me (not really me because I’m not expressively out and open, but people with my sexuality as a whole) that I’m sick, autistic, insane, etc. Very rarely do people believe that it’s a thing that can be felt, and often when they do, they believe it’s an illness. I saw my identity on a hit medical show, House, and the entire point was “This isn’t normal, and I can fix it.” Never mind that the couple in question didn’t WANT it fixed. I do firmly believe that mental and medical issues can lead to an individual identifying as Asexual, but in my experience that’s as much a misunderstanding of the identity as it is anything else. Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction not necessarily the lack of sexual desire. Many things note that they come with a low libido. That’s really easy for an individual to mistake as a lack of attraction. However, even then it’s a slippery slope because I risk advocating for members of my community to undergo rigorous medical and mental screenings to rule that out. I do think it’s important to note the ones that come with a serious health risk and take steps in that regard, but I don’t care if someone’s identity is caused by an illness or otherwise so long as they’re not being hurt by it. It’s no different than how some people stop being able to experience attraction to certain groups of people as a result of sexual trauma. That doesn’t invalidate their identity.
The point I’m trying, and not very well, to make is that the LGBT+ community as a whole goes through a wide spectrum of persecution and different identities go through a different level. Ace/Aro/Agen people are not saying “My persecution is the same/just as bad as it is for Gay people” or whatever other group, they’re saying “I’m persecuted based on my sexuality/gender just like the rest of you are.” I make no mistake to think that I understand the struggles that come with other sexualities or genders. But I recognize the persecution I face for what it is. The LGBT+ community unites against the face of persecution as a result of gender and sexuality. Every member in the community has had to fight for their right to be recognized as a member. We won’t stop seeking inclusion amongst people that go through similar things as us, we are LGBT+ regardless of whether or not ever LGBT+ person recognizes that. Once upon a time people wouldn’t accept Lesbians, Bisexuals, or Trans* people either.
So, this may be partially a reach for views, but I don’t care because I’m not lying at all. I have within the last year or so been working through the majority of Steph’s YouTube Videos. I’ve gone back far enough that I’ve seen her before she came out as Trans. Watching her videos have helped me a lot with figuring out what I want to do and how to do it because she’s helping me understand the struggles that people in a more visible aspect of the LGBT+ community feel. As an asexual person I don’t deal with a lot of the same hatred, I see more erasure and less outright harassment. Both suck to deal with, but it’s very helpful to watch someone explain what they go through. Her positivity and perseverance are also very inspiring.
She grew up in a small town in Canada, I’m not sure what province. She was at first bullied as a result of having a rare condition called Waardenburg Syndrome. It’s an essentially harmless condition that results in a peculiar look that resulted in her being harassed as a kid. Then puberty hits and suddenly she’s faced with a number of challenges. Obviously some of these weren’t as sudden as I mean to imply, but they start being more and more problematic. She’s effeminate, she’s into men, and she’s experiencing what she would later recognize as Dysphoria. At first she assumes that she’s a gay male. That’s reasonable considering that she has zero exposure to the Trans* community at that point. She moves away from her town as soon as possible because she’s treated like garbage there. It’s a time after moving to Toronto that she comes to the realization that she’s not gay, she’s a Trans Woman. She, already a popular YouTuber comes out and continues with life, only as a female.
I really enjoy watching her grow and be happier as her dysphoria is being treated through her transition, she’s also much more happy with her life as a whole now, which is fantastic. She’s also very open about her struggles, gender related and otherwise. She inspires me to work through my own, admittedly very different, struggles. I often will go and watch a video of hers when I’m depressed about something and it helps me get a different outlook and I love it. I enjoy following her development.
I can promise you that I’m not doing her an ounce of justice in this little snapshot, but she’s a hero of mine and I wanted to devote a space on this blog to her. I’m considering doing this as a bit of a series by finding various popular YouTubers that are active in the LGBT+ community and giving them a spotlight. Hopefully if I do this, then potential followers will have somewhere they can go in order to find role-models for themselves. I will probably start with people that I’ve seen Steph Collaborate with and branch out slowly from there.
I’m in the middle of a lot of personal growth and exploration right now. Some of it welcome, and some, not so much. I am currently single for the first time in nearly 4 years, which is bizarre to think about. That’s thrown a bit of a curve into everything. I also visited my mother fairly recently. For background she lives in Minneapolis, MN. I went there partially because I wanted to get a real feel for the city before I made a decision on how seriously I wanted to pursue getting my graduate degree(s) there. I now basically only want that, so that’s lovely. However, being there has also helped make me think more seriously about what exactly my plans are. I plan on getting a Masters degree in both Psychology and Feminist Studies. I also plan on doing everything possible to get an internship with either a LGBT+ oriented organization or with HCMC (and/or related clinics). I want to work as a counselor with LGBT+ youth. I’m going to help people deal with the challenges our community faces as well as help them access recourses to help them out. That’s will probably largely consist of helping Trans* individuals seek legal, medical, and other forms of care but will also involve a number of other issues. I’m really excited for that, but I also have a lot of stuff to work though involving my mental health. I wish this was happening after I was already settled in Minneapolis because I know I’ll just have to change counselors and everything again in a year. My previous counselor moved to Oregon and is now unavailable, so I’ll be starting fresh, only to have to again in a year. Anyway, my life is very out of control right now and so I’m focusing on solidifying the aspects of my intangible future that I have a change at actually affecting so I have something to ground me. Take care 🙂
Ok, so I was originally going to find a list of questions people have for asexual people and provide my own answers for them here, but when searching for that I found an article by CNN. It’s covering a research study that was a questionnaire involving asexual people. The topic? Masturbation and Fantasy. The researchers were basically testing the assumption that Asexual people are completely devoid of sexual desire. Now, hopefully you know that’s not the case.
Asexuality lies on a spectrum just like “normal” sexuality. Not only can we experience degrees of attraction, but we can experience degrees of comfort with/desire for sexual activity. We can even have kinks just like the rest of the human population.
Degrees of Attraction basically goes:
No attraction (Asexual)-> Some Attraction (Gray-Asexual, Demisexual)->”Normal” Attraction (Not Asexual).
For comfort/desire of sexual activity:
Sex Repulsed/Sex Negative (Doesn’t desire, may abhor sexual activity)->Sex Neutral (doesn’t desire but doesn’t mind)->Sex Positive (Cupiosexual, desires sex)
Now, this might be oversharing but I’m a truly Asexual person who more specifically identifies as Add to dictionary, meaning I actively desire sex. I just don’t look at a person and desire sex with them directly. I generally desire sex with people I’m romantically attracted to.
Well, the researchers essentially found that most asexual people fantasize. That would put most asexual people as at least being sex-neutral. (I’m presuming here) However, there’s a phrase used in the article that I want to respond to:
“The key takeaway, again, is that when it came to fantasies and masturbation, there was simply less of a difference between the sexual and asexual groups than one might expect.”
This phrase highlights a problem that asexual people face daily, no one understands what it is. Many people don’t believe we exist and even those that do don’t think that we actually have sex or on any level desire sex. People need to be educated about sexualities as a whole and asexuality absolutely must e a part of that education.
Though, there was an interesting point brought out in the study. Many asexual people will fantasize in a 3rd person set up so the situation doesn’t involve them. I may look farther into the study do see what’s up with that.
Read the article Here.
Ok, so I was going to work on reviewing the books posted in my reading list. However, my mother gave me a ton of books to read and on my way back home I read an entire 3 book series. It’s the Parasitology series by Mira Grant. Check out it’s goodreads page here. Anyway, I loved these books. I’m personally fairly into the apocalyptic type of book so it was really up my ally.
Basic summary: I don’t want to give anything away. We follow primarily through Sal, a woman who survived an extremely bad car wreck. She was pronounced brain dead and woke up at the last second. Shortly after we meet her, we discover that the majority of the text takes place 6 years later, when she witnesses a “sleepwalking sickness.” Over the course of the books you discover what’s going on and it’s super interesting. It brings up some post-modern ideas pretty well and I love it.
Favorite Thing: Anyway, perhaps the most relevant thing to this is that it’s got diversity up the ass. These books note the race of several characters, with a number of them being POC. Sal’s boyfriend for example is mixed, part Korean and part Caucasian. There is at least one character that would be labeled as bi/pan/omni. It doesn’t explicitly say, just that they have sex with men and women. It addresses fluid gender a little but not much, and, it openly talks about gender dysphoria. There’s a character that for reasons I won’t tell you because spoilers but is essentially a trans man, and it talks about how he just knows why he’s the way he is. It also has a moment where the fact that it really upsets him that he’s constantly misgendered is a problem and that simply by using the right pronouns for a person you can earn a lot of respect. I thought that was cool personally. There may be problematic aspects of the text which I will someday address in a more formal, spoiler containing review. For now, I think that this will work.
Verdict: If you like apocalyptic books I think this one is worth the time. I didn’t find it difficult personally, though if you have read it and disagree feel free to let me know. I don’t have a formal scale so I can’t score it, but I would say that it’s good. It’s not my favorite thing I’ve read but I genuinely enjoyed it. I’d maybe hazard a guess at 7/10.
This reading list is mostly for my own benefit. However, if anyone happens to stumble across it please note the books on it. Also, suggestions to be added would be great. I will eventually make a permanent LGBTA+ Reading List which will hopefully involve books that I will do a review/response to. However, in constructing such lists I first need to make a list to work from. These are taken from a number of other reading lists that I found. For ease, at the present moment I won’t edit them to remove copies. I will alter this description after that has been changed. 🙂
- Jocks: True Stories of America’s Gay Male Athletes by Dan Woog
- Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out edited by Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu
- Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation by Eli Clare
- Men Like Us: The GMAC Complete Guide to Gay Men’s Sexual, Physical and Emotional Well-Being by Daniel Wolfe
- The New Good Vibrations Guide to Sex by Cathy Winks & Anne Semans
- Bisexual Resource Guide by Robyn Ochs
- Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us by Kate Bornstein
- Friends & Family: True Stories of Gay America’s Straight Allies by Dan Woog
- Inspiration for LGBT Students & their Allies by Anthony J. D’Angelo, Stephen D. Collingsworth Jr., Mike Esposito, Gabriel Hermelin, Lydia A. Sausa, Dr. Ronnie Sanlo, & Shane L. Windmeyer
- Out & About on Campus: Personal Accounts by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender College Students edited by Kim Howard and Annie Stephens
- Becoming Visible: A Reader in Gay & Lesbian History for High School & College Students edited by Kevin Jennings
- Revolutionary Videos – A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology edited by Amy Sonnie
- Out on Fraternity Row: Personal Accounts of being Gay in a College Fraternity by Shane L. Windmeyer, edited by Pamela W. Freeman, Lambda 10 Project
- Secret Sisters: Stories of Being Lesbian and Bisexual in a College Sorority by Shane L. Windmeyer, edited by Pamela W. Freeman
- The Shared Heart: Portraits and Stories Celebrating Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young People by Adam Mastoo
- Growing up Gay/Growing up Lesbian: A Literary Anthology edited by Bennett L. Singer
- Free Your Mind: The Book For Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth—And their Allies by Ellen Bass & Kate Kaufma
- Out of the Ordinary: Essays on Growing up with Gay, Lesbian & Transgendered Parents by Noelle Howey, edited by Ellen Samuels
- Love Makes a Family Portrait: Portraits of Lesbain, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Parents and their Families by Gigi Kaeser
- The Very Inside: An Anthology of Writings by Asia and Pacific Islander Lesbians and Bisexual Women edited by Sharon Lim-Hing
- Conversaciones: Relatos por padres y madres de hijas lesbianas y hijos gay edited by Mariana Romo-Carmona
- Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America edited by Quang Bao, Hanya Yanagihara, & Timothy Liu
- Two Spirit People: American Indian Lesbian Women and Gay Men edited by Lester B. Brown
- Black Like Us: A Century of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual African American Fiction edited by Devon W. Carbado, Dwight McBride, and Donald Weise
- One More River to Cross: Black and Gay America by Keith Boykin
I didn’t post the books themselves under here directly because of the layout. I’m being lazy. In my defense it’s roughly 2 am and I have a lot to be doing right now. As I said, this is makeshift and will be edited.
I plan on starting to gather some of these books and reading them. I hope I will be able to do a response a month, maybe more frequently. However, when school starts back up I may have to slow down and draw that out. I’m minoring in Literature so I have about a million things to read and write during the semester so I can’t be certain to have the time to keep up with a scheduled review process. However, I will do my best.