Asexuality and Gatekeeping in the LGBT+ Community - Hear from a biromantic, asexual teen the importance of acknowledgement by the general public and the LGBT+ community. | Teen Ink

Asexuality and Gatekeeping in the LGBT+ Community - Hear from a biromantic, asexual teen the importance of acknowledgement by the general public and the LGBT+ community.

January 22, 2021
By MauraC BRONZE, Haverhill, Massachusetts
MauraC BRONZE, Haverhill, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Stand up for what is right. Even if it means standing alone.
- Suzy Kassem


During an era when we have more representation, understanding of one another, and acceptance, asexual people are still treated as though they don’t exist and some are subject to corrective rape and gatekeeping by the LGBT+ community.

As a biromantic, asexual teen, I have encountered many people who don’t know or can’t fathom what asexuality means, so I am going to break it down for you. Asexuality is often defined as the lack of sexual attraction, however, it is an umbrella term. Asexuals exist on a spectrum which encompasses sex-repulsed asexuals, demisexuals, greysexuals, and queerplatonic asexuals. Asexual people may want friendship, fall in love, engage in sexual activity, or even have children. 

I am a sex-repulsed asexual, however, I understand that many asexuals may chose to engage in sexual activity with their partners even if they feel no sexual attraction to other people. Others, however, like me, wish never to have sex, but common society often looks down upon our community. 

Sexuality and appeals to sex play such an important role in American culture that asexual people often feel as though they are left out of the loop on this big coming-of-age milestone. Advertisements use sex appeal and innuendos to sell products. Obviously the sexualization of women, as a gender, is a problem, however, that is not the point of this article. A larger problem is the sexualization of society.

Major plotlines in a large number of television shows, movies, and books revolve around sex, affairs, or one-night-stands. Allosexual people, those who experience sexual attraction, don’t think twice about these storylines, however, asexual people simply can’t relate. Although we may try to understand what is going through the minds of these characters, asexual people simply lack the attraction, therefore, we are unable to bond over media with our loved ones, thus leading us to feel ostracized. 

Furthermore, we find it difficult to bond with our peers because of their focus on sexual attraction. How many times have you heard your friends say, “Wow, he’s hot?” These simple phrases can make us feel like outliers because we find it difficult to relate. The number of times I have found myself saying that phrase, as well, is disturbing as I don’t ever actually feel overcome with sexual desire for other people. 

More seriously, when the asexual community is ignored and society remains wholeheartedly sexualized, we see a rise of corrective rape. Corrective rape is rape to “turn” asexual people “normal,” the phrase was first coined in South Africa after the sexual abuse of two lesbian women to “turn” them straight came to light. This phenomena is all too common because of the lack of acceptance from the general public and even from the LGBT+ community. When the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community was ignored, they were subject to all kinds of discrimination and hate crimes. However, since the rise in visibility of the LGBT community, hate crimes have slowly decreased.  Additionally, when people from the exclusive LGBT community face discrimination, they can turn to their community to search for acceptance and understanding, however, asexuals do not have the luxury.

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the “+” in the LGBT+ community. Many heterosexual people refer to the people encompassing the plus “The Alphabet People” as a commentary on the number of people who want to be a part of the community. I wish that I could say this was just cishet (cisgendered, heterosexual) people, however, members of the LGBT community have said, “We aren’t a halfway home for wayward sexualities” and “The LGBTQIAafjklsgjlkjasd acronym is getting incredibly long.”

The LGBT community is built up in the media to be an all-accepting place for people who don’t fall under the cishet umbrella, however, we are getting turned away at the gates of the community because they feel that we have it too good. In some cases, the community would rather the “A” be for “allies” than “asexuals.”

But do we even want to be a part of this exclusionary community? Honestly, yes and no. Do we want support from other queer people? Of course. Do we want to possibly be turned away by those who are supposed to understand us and our struggles? No. As one member of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network said, “I don’t want to be a part of a community that gatekeeps the sh*t out of me at every turn, I don’t need their validation or support to keep living my reality.” And this woman has a point, the constant invalidation by the allosexual community is dehumanizing, and it doesn’t stop at the straight, cisgendered community. We are constantly told by everyone that we “just haven’t met the right person,” “don’t know what we’re talking about,” or “are just late bloomers.”

Now, what does it say about society that nearly everyone, regardless of race, sexuality, and gender, places such a high value on sex? According to healthline.com, “Sex might be an important part of your relationship [because] it could be an opportunity to bond with your partner… [you can] show your partner love and affection, you might feel more secure in your relationship if you’re having sex often, it could simply be pleasureable and fun, and you could be trying to become pregnant.” In essence, the allosexual community sees sex as an effective way to maintain a relationship, have fun, and have kids. 

The fact that sex plays such a major role in the maintenance of the average relationship suggests a lack of stability regarding the connections of a couple. Romantic relationships, even if they also have sexual elements, should ultimately be based on the intimate emotional connection between two or more (because polysexual and polyromantic relationships are valid) people. Perhaps, however, the popularity of sex in media, everyday conversations, and society in general has a much more sinister history. 

We know that women have historically been oppressed. We have been forced to remain quiet in the past when it came to issues such as politics, intellectual pursuits, and, yes, sexual relations. Because of this oppression, when we began to gain more freedoms, women spoke out more about things that were truly important to them: mainly sex. Although this would suggest that the rise in a sexual culture came from us rising up from the ashes of oppression, there is another thing to consider: the idea that women are made to reproduce. 

Because of the harmful idea that women are only good for reproduction, sex for procreation is often emphasized by right wing conservatives, however, sex, in general, is largely idolized by both sides of the political spectrum. Could the origin of our fixation on sex stem from the deep-rooted idea that women are meant to have children?



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RaineyDay GOLD said...
on Oct. 16 at 12:33 am
RaineyDay GOLD, Colorado Springs, Colorado
13 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
¨The space in between your comfort zone and your dreams is where life takes place.¨
-Helen Keller

THIS IS REALLY GOOD!