Written by Amber Wibbenmeyer. Media by Kelsey Middleton.
Since the legalization of gay marriage in all 50 states in June of 2015, there has been a lot of buzz about this community of people. While progress and justice have come to the LGBTQIA+ community, a lot of injustice and unfairness went with it. The members of this community are often treated differently because of their gender preference or sexual orientation, and there is still a great deal of intolerance and oppression anyone in this community has to face on a day-to-day basis.
Because of this oppression, a strong bond has formed within the LGBTQIA+ community, forming safe spaces when someone is surrounded by people with shared experiences. The LGBTQIA Resource Center defines the acronym as an “Abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. An umbrella term that is often used to refer to the community as a whole. Our center uses LGBTQIA+ to intentionally include and raise awareness of Queer, Intersex and Asexual as well as myriad other communities under our umbrella.” Many people, both in this community and outside of it, chose to use the shorter version of the acronym, “LGBT.”
[clear]Within the extended acronym, “LGBTQIA+”, it is ensured that any and all sexualities that are not considered ‘normal’ are included. There is a lot of controversy involved in this, by people outside the community, as well as within, especially regarding the inclusion of asexuality.
An asexual person is defined as “someone who does not experience sexual attraction.” Based on this definition, it is clear that people who are asexual are not straight, but what exactly are they? They may not be straight, but they aren’t gay, or bisexual, etc. They are asexual. So, where do they fit?
[clear]For an asexual person, there is a ‘coming out’ experience. They have to explain to their loved ones that they discovered this about themselves, and answer all the questions that follow. They have to start every relationship with this in mind, and bring it up rather early, to avoid someone getting the wrong idea. Regardless of romantic orientation, there is an additional aspect to their lives that they have to consider when approaching people.
Many people within the LGBTQIA+ community don’t include asexual people as part of the community because they are not as oppressed as many members of the community. Many people outside of the community see asexual people as broken, someone who needs to be fixed, or perhaps they just haven’t met the right person yet. So, where do they fit?
They are lost in the middle somewhere, and no matter which side they choose to fall into, there will be people who don’t like it. The LGBTQIA+ community is meant to be a safe space, but it isn’t always for someone on the asexual spectrum. Being outside the community isn’t ideal either; they are almost constantly having people try to “fix” them.
[clear]For a person who finds themself on the asexual spectrum, finding a community of accepting people can prove to be difficult. There will be people who disagree with their presence anywhere they end up, but they have to find somewhere where they feel comfortable enough to be themselves. This can be in the LGBTQIA+ community or somewhere else. Wherever they end up, there will be tough roads ahead. They aren’t broken, they aren’t confused, and it isn’t that they haven’t found the right person yet; they are just someone who found themself on the outside.
[clear]Will you be their ally or will you be another enemy?