LGBTTQQIAAP Alphabet

Do you know your alphabet? I can only assume that your response as a reader would be affirmative, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to read what I’m writing; but perhaps you’re reading with assistive technology, which is equally cool! Gotta love technology and how it allows us to access any type of content.

When we talk about the alphabet in the ace community, it’s often something that comes up in other circles on the internet and in life: the LGBTQIA community. What do the letter mean? Are there more letters? Why do I hear about LGBT and have no idea what LGBTQIA is? Well the answer is simple, and not so simple.

The LGBTQIA Community

When people who fit outside the “norms” of society they often search for communities to which they can belong. This is absolutely true for the LGBTQ community, which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer/Questioning. But the question remains, even with these communities, are they all inclusive? Do heterosexual people, for instance, take part in these communities? The answer is a hesitant yes, maybe. Some people in all communities are allies for the people inside, and help wage the war of information and acceptance. Everyone appreciates those people, but they might not necessarily feel like they belong to the community.

Historically this community only represents people on the sexual spectrum (homosexual, bisexual for both genders) but in certain circumstances can include a wider range of individuals, like for example the transexual community, or intersex community. It really just depends on who you’re talking to, and how inclusive a community is willing to be. Some might even include asexuals, but that’s a question up for debate depending on the person. Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

Asexuals and the LGBTQIA Community

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Courtesy of Dylan Edward’s “Nothing Wrong With Me

Since asexuals are becoming more mainstream (though admittedly due to the numbers it’s likely to never be mainstream in the truest meaning), some decide to become involved in certain communities. Though it begs the question, does a heteroromantic or aromantic asexual belong in the LGBTQIA community? The “A” suggests that it’s included, but do heteroromantic aces belong with lesbians, gays, bisexual,s trans, queer, questioning, or intersex others?

I would be bold enough to say, not necessarily but it depends on the person. A heteroromantic ace likely would only be apart of that community if they were unable to find another of their own, or because they are an ally. As asexuals, they aren’t really represented in minority groups like this, which are mainly focused on sexuality. Sure it’s great to be inclusive, but my example ace likely wouldn’t get much out of (except education) a LGBTQ community.

A biromantic asexual however would get something out of a community like this, but it depends on the person. We read about how hypersexualized the world is and these communities are no exception, but at least there is a common thread or common romantic experiences with these people with whom they can relate. Sure it’s mixed up with sexual attraction, but for the 99% of the human population sexual attraction and romantic attraction go hand-in-hand. Usually ace people are educated enough in their own orientation to navigate through these communities, but they still aren’t really represented by them.

The Asexual Debate

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Courtesy of Dylan Edward’s “Nothing Wrong With Me

The debate comes up every so often in ace circles: “do we belong in LGBTQ?” thereby adding an additional “A.” The votes split, and it depends on who is talking, but if the answer is yes, then you’d be including the demi/gray-aces, homoromantic & biromantic aces, and excluding the heteroromantic aces, and the aromantic aces. The community, thus, splits into different factions. That’s what’s so dangerous or worry some about joining forces with other communities: there will always be people that are underrepresented.

I’m not saying that they don’t belong, I’m just saying that the only people that are really going to understand and relate to other asexuals are asexual people or allosexuals with a lot of experience with asexuals (it’s rare).

It’s Confusing

Unless you’ve been around the asexual community a long time, you likely wouldn’t have much experience being able to navigate your thoughts, feelings, confusion, or questions about yourself. Sure aces can try to get their answers online (i.e. Reddit’s /r/AskRedit), but with lack of information and education about asexual issues or even basic visibility, the answers one would get are quite polarizing, hostile, and unhelpful.

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Courtesy of Dylan Edward’s “Nothing Wrong With Me

It’s particularly hard when asexuals are trying to navigate their feelings and sometime seek out fulfillment of their emotional or romantic needs. They find people that they think they might get along with, but often feel broken because it’s not going the way it should be.

It’s especially true about asexual dating. Most aces find allosexuals to date, but how do they approach it, or when do they come out? It’s simple being asexual when you’re alone, in theory, but for asexuals yearning for their needs to be met just like the 99% of the rest of the population, it begs the question, how can it work for them too?

It comes down to education and individual needs. If mainstream populations were more educated about asexuals they would be more willing to understand and accept them as possible partners, or even help them integrate into other communities. I hope this can happen, but there is a sinking feeling inside my gut that it just won’t be there.

Until that happens, the best we can do as humans is try to find inclusive environments for all people of all types, and promote that.

 


Dylan Edwards posted a really cool narrative on his website from which I’ve used some of the images in this blog post. Check out the full story of his journey being an Evangelical Christian to an asexual trans man. 

aceweek2016

It would seem that no other minority is more underrepresented or misunderstood as the asexual community. This week, beginning October 23 through to October 29 marks an educational and awareness movement called Asexual Awareness Week, or #AceWeek that aims to help build awareness about asexuality and its community members and to help educate the allosexuals of the world.

To get started, here is a bit of basic information that you may or may not be aware of about asexuality. Asexuals represent approximately 1% of the human population and represent an sexual orientation for people that do not experience sexual attraction. While this is very difficult to understand, asexual people explain romantic and sexual attraction as separate entities, because well they are. For most people the two are synonymous or connected, but sometimes they are not. Allosexuals can be sexually attracted to someone and not be romantically attracted to them, right? Cue hookup culture.

Some key vocabulary:
And a TLDR summary

Asexual: someone who does not experience sexual attraction
Aromantic: someone who does not experience romantic attraction
Demisexual: someone who experiences sexual attraction only after experiencing romantic attraction
Gray-asexual: someone who is in-between asexual and sexual on the spectrum
Ace: a common term for the asexual umbrella of identifications; plurally, a group of aces
Allosexual: someone who experiences sexual attraction and does not identify with the asexual community

Now that you know a bit about the terms, we can move on do the topic of today’s day: Coming Out. Normally associated with the LGBTQ+ community and publicly announcing ones orientation as being non-assumed as heterosexual, coming out can apply to anyone when it comes to disclosing something about oneself that is otherwise assumed due to statistics or commonality. Asexuals can come out, and often do it, leaving people on the receiving end of a confusing confession about their feelings. A popular YouTube celebrity, Ricky Dillon, who was assumed to be heterosexual or homosexual for awhile, came out on his channel in 2016, which can be seen below:

Ricky describes his experience in relationships and not having sexual attraction and feeling like he was pressured into a mould or form due to society and social pressures. While he doesn’t articulate asexuality in the best way, he shifts from sounding aromantic to heteroromantic and back again likely because he’s still discovering himself. What’s important is that he was brave enough to talk about his feelings in a public way, fearing possible social backlash and negative attention. Hopefully he hasn’t experienced that, but like most ace people, probably are on the receiving end of confusion, misinformation, ignorance, or sometime even hostility.

A community resource named the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) is celebrating its 15 years of operation and focus of bring visibility and helping people understand themselves and find others with similar feelings, experiences, or orientations. It’s a wonderful place with many members, old and new, that share their experiences, thoughts, and try to navigate the difficult and confusing hypersexualized world in which we live.

So in the spirit of “Coming Out,” if someone comes out to you in person, on social media, or in mainstream media, start a conversation to educate yourself; don’t probe, but ask questions to learn more and erase ignorance and open a dialogue with your fellow human. We all come in different shapes and sizes, and the aces celebrate with purple, grey, white, and with a lot of cake (it’s an ace thing…). Promote tolerance, acceptance, and open-mindedness in all corners of the world to make it a better place.

Dissynchronous Graph

I make up words, especially when I’m trying to describe something that I don’t think has an actual word in which to use. English is flexible, so I take full advantage of it at every opportunity that I can.

There was a time in the recent past where I was discussing intimacy and the different facets of it. In this conversation, a phenomenon was brought up that intrigued me and made me reflect upon my own experiences. My friend was describing how when two people are falling asleep or cuddling together, they find that their heartbeats and breathing patterns begin to synchronize. This act, according to my friend, is what creates a level of intimacy that helps bring people together.

I agreed with my friend in principle, but when it comes to stuff like this, I tend to have a different experience to demonstrate that it’s not always the case. And so the short story begins. It was a dark and cold night in the past, and upon falling asleep with someone that I was quite fond of, I noticed this breathing and heartbeat experience. Though what I notice was contrary to my friend’s assertion; my body was actually actively working against the natural synchronizing of breath and heartbeat despite me wanting it to work.

It raises a question: why would this happen to nearly everyone in the human race, but not me? Well then it just reminds me that I am one of the 0.000001% of the human population who share the similar emotional and (semi)physical needs. It ends up being more of an affirmation of what I believe I’m about, and how I’m not like others, not on the same page, not even on the same planet.

While revelations like this can be very important to self-development, it’s also a very sombre discovery. To know that your body and soul, despite what you want, actively works against you is a very solemn concept. It just demonstrates more that it’s not a choice, or a decision, or a fault in the human makeup, it’s part of what nature has created. It makes a person feel more distant, unconventional, and incompatible with the other 99.9999999% of the human population.

I guess the question remains, in what other ways can a person be dissynchronous with its kin?

Disgraced Afghanistan commander handled respectfully, says top soldier
The Canadian Press, 06/02/2010
OTTAWA – Canada’s top general predicts the firing of the country’s ground commander in Afghanistan will reinforce the morale of soldiers in Kandahar, rather than detract from it.

Gen. Walter Natynczyk, the chief of Defence staff, said Wednesday the sacking of Brig.-Gen. Dan Menard over an alleged tryst with a subordinate demonstrated that everyone in the military is held to the same high standard.

Menard, who commanded nearly 3,000 Canadian troops and thousands of American soldiers, was relieved last weekend and sent home in disgrace after he was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a female soldier.

The Canadian military prohibits intimate contact when soldiers are deployed, even between married couples.

Natynczyk dismissed recent public criticism that suggested Menard was publicly humiliated and should have been placed on leave while the allegation was investigated.

He said Menard was handled in a “respectful” manner.

But retired colonel Michel Drapeau says Canada has one of the strictest non-fraternization policies of any western military and the system is too rigid.

I read this article on the way into work today and I couldn’t help but be appalled by it. Firstly the overstating euphemism ‘fraternization’ which I guess is a more polite way of saying sex but is more broad, seems a bit ‘rigid’ and ‘old school’ as stated in the last line of the article.

Politics aside, and personal interpretation included; I’m pretty anti-sex, and even such things can be repulsive. However, I do understand that the 99.999% of the population that isn’t asexual has the (what I describe as) carnal need for ‘intimacy.’ This need, without being ‘fulfilled’ could result in very depressive situations and awkwardness in a general sense.

Personal beliefs aside, I do believe that people, especially those in the military and on long missions, deserve some sort of respect of their rights. Having said that, I don’t condone the ‘fraternization’ of officers in authority (who exercise this authority in the situation), however with two consenting adults make a decision to be intimate, it’s not rape, it’s not coercion, and what business is it of ours?

It’s no wonder that army people come back to Canada and end up raping people left-right-and-centre; it’s because they didn’t get any while they were away.