I really don’t understand.
I mean, I’m not saying no one’s ever gotten some heat for being uninterested in sex, or the “waiting until I fall in love” people, because obviously people poke fun and mock stuff like that.
But that’s kinda a long shot from harassment or oppression. Last time I…
Here are some things that have happened to me.
I come out to a stranger and get told I “can’t be asexual, [the man I am talking to] can smell [my] hormones!” I am a small woman. He is drunk and much stronger than I am, a Marine who has just come back from Iraq. I decide not to press the issue.
Friends of mine who know I’m asexual persist in using the word to mean “sexless and ugly” in front of me. When I protest, they laugh and tell me that “of course we didn’t mean you” and do the same thing a week later.
I join in on a conversation about body image problems with women who know I’m asexual, and they tell me they don’t believe I could have these problems—I’m asexual, why would I ever feel bad about my body? (The fact that I’m a woman in a world that lives to make women feel bad about their bodies goes unnoticed.)
I talk about being afraid to come out officially to my parents, and the friend I am talking to is confused that I could be afraid and turns the conversation into an education discussion. The support I am asking for does not happen.
I come out, and someone asks me about the configuration of my genitalia.
A person I had been talking to and making friends with in class for some weeks stops talking to me or acknowledging me for the duration of the class after I come out as asexual. This happens because a classroom activity was to come up with lists of traits you want in someone to marry and someone to have a one-night-stand with and discuss your lists in small groups. I have to either explain why my lists were nonexistent or try to lie; either way, the question of coming out is not my choice.
I try to discuss my blogging with a friend. She gives me a strange look and appears uncomfortable, so I don’t press the issue. Later, she yells at me that I haven’t been open enough about my asexuality work, and this is why we’ve grown apart.
I discuss my plans to adopt a new dog over the coming year with my mother. I am told “you don’t need a dog, you need a boyfriend.” I have been out to her for two years. Later, when I bring this up as something that hurt me, she tells me it never happened.
I am asked whether I am asexual because I have no self-confidence, or because of my hormones, or because I am gay and repressed, or because I have been raped or molested. I am asked if I can experience love, whether I have sought psychiatric help for my “condition,” whether I have had my hormones checked “just to be sure.” After all, what if there’s a cure?
I come out and people ask me, politely or not-so-politely, about the details of my sexual history, about whether I masturbate, whether I use porn.
I sit in a therapy session discussing my relationship with my parents. I consider discussing my issues surrounding their problems accepting my sexual orientation as part of this session. I remember that this could be misconstrued as expressing dissatisfaction about my sexual orientation, that I could be diagnosed as having a mental illness for my sexuality if I express that dissatisfaction. I keep my mouth shut.
I am chairing a panel about asexuality, and a person in the crowd insistently attempts to make me explain what “made me” asexual. None of their questions are new to me. Many of them are intrusive or insulting.
My mother tells me over Christmas that I should bring my asexuality up to my gynecologist so that I can get it “checked out” by a physician. I wonder whether she will ever accept me, if this is where we are three years after I come out. I wonder whether I will always be having this fight.
I watch people who discuss problems asexual people experience harassed for well over a year on tumblr, up to and including the point of receiving death threats and rape threats. I consider that although anonymity allows these people to feel safe expressing these feelings, they must have these feelings whether they are online or off. I wonder how many of the people I am coming out to feel similar things and how I can tell if they do. I worry about being caught alone with a person like the people sending anonymous death threats to tumblr bloggers who talk about asexual people having problems.
I note that the person I am responding to clearly feels that asexual people never experience problems. I wonder if they are likely to harass me. I investigate their blog and find that they have previously said that people like me don’t exist and are doing this for attention.
I wonder why anyone would seek out this kind of attention.