There has been a lot of media in my social feeds about an event that is going to happen in Boston in August. The “Straight Pride Parade” and demonstration is organised by Super Happy Fun America. When I read the headlines about a straight pride parade, I was confused and bemused. I just couldn’t really get past the fact that such a purpose was something for which needed a pride parade. So I went digging for more information.

It appears to me that this organisation feels like they are a victim of straight suppression and need to assert themselves on behalf of their straight brethren. On their official website, it states:

“Straight people are an oppressed majority. We will fight for the right of straights everywhere to express pride in themselves without fear of judgement and hate. The day will come when straights will finally be included as equals among all of the other orientations.” – John Hugo, President of Super Happy Fun America

“Super Happy Fun America advocates on behalf of the straight community in order to foster respect and awareness with people from all walks of life.”

https://superhappyfunamerica.com/home/about/

The more I learned about the people involved, the media attention they were gathering just screamed negativity. Sponsoring organisations denouncing them and threating lawsuits for suggesting support pop up and they write about it on their site. I just don’t get why a majority population, whos executive is basically straight white males, who have never experienced marginalisation or discrimination, feel the need to assert their straightness. Do they feel so strongly that the lives of LGBT people who are discriminated against are so powerful and widespread that it causes them distress and oppression? How are they oppressed? What rights are they denied?

When have these people been fired on the basis of being heterosexual? When have these people walked down a street and had anti-heterosexual slurs shouted at them? When have they been denied access to services based on their heterosexuality?

Maybe you agree with what they promote, in theory, or on the basis of equal treatment, but it just seems to be a huge joke. Are they actually serious? Are they that hurt? I would have thought that they already have their pride parades every time they step foot out onto the street. And then I realised what it all comes down to: toxic masculinity.

The last time I checked, the majority population of any country hasn’ t been denied any rights as outlined above, and if they did they have the right to challenge them in the judicial and legislative avenues available to them.

In the meantime, get over yourselves, and snap out of it. Bye, Felicia!

An area of concern for the asexual community is health and well-being. While it might be simple to think, “oh yes, they have fewer needs, so how can they be at a disadvantage?” the disadvantages are actually two-fold and much more negative than one might expect. In particular in the areas of: physical health, emotional health, mental/intellectual health, social health, environmental health, and spiritual health.

Mr. Worry

Emotional Health

For asexuals, I think the most difficult thing to think about is the emotional health of a person. Due to the socially-imposed feelings of feeling broken, and very similar to the risks of being part of the LGBT community, asexuals are often at higher risks of depression. This mostly comes from the feelings of shortcomings and not being able to meet the needs of people, or even meet their own emotional needs. This can cause ramifications in other areas of life such as work, relationships, and negatively influence the people around them.

Trauma experiences due to past relationships, or even none at all, might result in the lack of willingness to try to take part in dating, or developing friendships or making meaningful connections with other individuals. It’s important to recognize that support in this area is imperative, as even many medical professional still don’t know much about asexuals, and psychiatrically trained practitioners might not be able to assist with asexual issues because of lack of perspective, empathy, or understanding of the needs or workings of asexual individuals.

One positive thing, I think, is that asexuals utilise their communities quite extensively to help to navigate their emotional needs and boundaries. They learn more quickly about what their needs are, and are more open to emotional exploration because it’s the main facet of their expression. This makes them more articulate when speaking about their feelings, their needs, and why they think they feel that way and how it might be managed.

Physical Health

One of the main topics of concerns for asexuals is physical abuse, which normally comes in the form of sexual assault, or sexual pressures associated with interacting with allosexual people. If an asexual is sex-adverse then the pressures of them dating an allosexual are compounded because 1) the needs of the allosexual are not being meet, and 2) the social pressures that come with evolution of relationships. As a result, many ace people are pressured into sexual encounters with partners, or experiencing a lack of empathy and understanding for their needs or their wishes, resulting in possible sexual assault.

This is especially true for teenagers that are ace and are discovering their needs and dealing with puberty and the sexual urges of their peers. They might be pressured into doing something that they feel they can’t say no to; or even in the adult communities the same pressure for fear of rejection.

There is a wide-spanned debate about how asexuals and hormone levels are either part of the “norm” or if they are “anomalies.” Personally, I believe that unless science says otherwise, ace individuals don’t have anything physiologically wrong with them, and therefore hormone supplements or specialised medication are not necessary.

Some aces report that their doctors put them on medication regimes to try to “fix” their asexuality, and I think such an act stems from lack of proper education or even basic research about asexual communities from medical professionals. A particularly good resource for medical professionals can be found courtesy of the Resource for Ace Survivors. Educate yourself, people…

Mental/Intellectual Health

This type of health mainly focuses on the person’s ability to recognise reality and cope with life. For asexuals, reality will look a little more one way than another, and that’s natural considering that we all have different perspectives of reality. To asexuals, for example, is more sexual than one would expect. How they cope with that, is yet to be fully understood or managed but at least identifying it is a start.

Looking at their own situations in terms of their own self-actualisation and self-understanding might be more heightened while at the same time more self-critical due to the feelings of not belonging or not being good enough for this or that. The differences between allosexual and asexual people are vast, and therefore they are less likely to be able to engage intellectually or mentally with people, due to lack of common ground, understanding, or empathy. This has obvious ramifications on social well-being and connections between individuals across sexual orientation lines.

Social Health

Social Health

To put it simply, social well-being of asexuals should be a major concern for health-care professionals. The feelings of not belonging or not finding their places in the world are heightened because they are navigating a world that is basically foreign to their views. People lose friends because of being asexual. People don’t consider dating asexuals due to ignorance. People treat asexuals with indecency and lack of respect due to lack of understanding. They just don’t feel like they fit in, and as a result social interactions are strained or limited.

I read once a thread on AVEN regarding how many people thought they would die alone due to their asexuality and how that might compare with allosexuals asking the same connection. The results were really depressing, and if you look at it from a logical point of view, or even at the statistical numbers, it’s pretty depressing and bleak. Why else do you think aces would seek comfort and try to “compromise” with allosexuals in order to be at the table for dating or relationships. The thought of sticking to the ace community in itself, and dealing with geographical limitations due to low-percentages of the community, is enough to send someone into instant depression and feelings of helplessness.

Just like there is stigma for other sexual orientations, asexuals suffer from the same results of coming out as LGBT individuals. Though, when you think about it, in theory there should be less hate coming from religious beliefs, but since it’s a fairly new concept most classical religions wouldn’t have any thoughts or perspective on it and it would depending on spiritual leaders to set by example.

Environmental Health

While this might not be a major concern of the ace community, it’s pretty well-connected with social and mental health. While ace people are at risk of mental illnesses, they tend to be able to exist in harmony with societies, mostly because they aren’t rubbing against the core values of them. Unless there is financial circumstances, asexuals would normally have access to shelter, food, and most normal amenities.

Moral and Ethics - The Simpsons

Spiritual Health

This one is a bit difficult for me to navigate because I’m agnostic in terms of religion, but I guess that in terms of other types of spiritual beliefs such as ethics and morals, those tie in with physical and emotional needs. Asexuals might have strong morals and ethics, or loose ones depending on the individual, but my feeling is that they might need to be a bit more flexible with them when navigating dating or relationships.

Asexuals beliefs about their own asexuality are as strong convictions of those of religious individuals, mostly because they are more deeply personal and are related to facts of what they are, versus abstract ideas of what they believe in. Religion is a choice, where being asexual isn’t, so it’s tough to argue against someone who self-identifies about someone, when really nobody has a better understanding of other people, unless you’re psychic or clairvoyant or something.


For further research, the website Asexual Explorations keeps a detailed bibliography of academic asexual research that is worth investigating if you’re interested.

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

nothing-wrong-with-me-19-b02097

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

nothing-wrong-with-me-26-355e11

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.

nothing-wrong-with-me-30-6ed3ee

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.