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.