What a fun little acronym, huh? It rolls right off the tongue, it's easy to remember, and most of all, it's all-inclusive of our beautiful community! Right?
Actually, not really. It's close, but not quite right.
In the queer world, inclusivity is one of the loudest ideas we preach. Since we are all members of a marginalized/discriminated group, we use love and inclusivity to all our fellow out-casts to come together and stand with one another as a true and loving community. However, even though we talk about inclusivity with our words, we sometimes fall short when it comes to inclusivity in our actions. Take for example the idea I brought up with with the four-letter title of LGBT. For most people, when they think of the group of non-straight individuals, they think of the phrase "LGBT," thinking that this acronym sums us all up together perfectly. But in reality, when we only think of this group as these four letters, we're accidentally forgetting about the rest of the letters that make up our beautiful community.
If we want to get super specific, the current term that is the most encompassing would be "LGBTQIA+." So what does this all mean? Well, let me spell it out for you!
Queer (General term for non-straight people)
Asexual (And no, the A does NOT mean Ally)
+, referring to the sexualities are not specifically listed in the acronym
So there you have it, all the components of this family all in a neat little list for you. Even though this list seems pretty straight forward, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding a letter in particular.
I know I'm not the only person who watched that video about the "LGBT Alphabet" and was instantly enraged as the video began when it stated A stands for "Ally." Well of course it doesn't, silly! "Ally" isn't a sexual orientation or gender identity, so why the hell would we include "ally" in our acronym? No, the A instead means "asexual," which is by far one of the hardest-to-grasp concepts, but it is important that everyone, especially those within the LGBTQ+ community learn what asexuality is and how understanding it improves our message of inclusivity.
The prefix "a-" most commonly means "to be without" or "without another." We see it terms like "asexual reproduction" when organisms can reproduce without another one of its species. So when it comes to the word "asexual," it's pretty easy to deduce that it means "without sexuality" or "without sexual attraction." It's imperative to know that asexual only refers to those who do not feel sexual attraction to other people. They may have romantic feelings for others, but sex is off the table completely. Those who feel no sexual or romantic attraction to others at all are referred to as asexual and aromantic, but the "romantics" are an article all on its own.
So with a term that has such a simple meaning, why do people have such a hard time understanding it? Well, most humans typically have a hard time perceiving nothingness; there can't just be nothing, can there? This is why humans can't perceive death or being in a state of nonexistence. Since there is nothing there, humans tend to reject ideas of nothingness due to a "logical" explanation to it. Thankfully, asexuality is a lot easier to understand than trying to understand absolute oblivion or death or something like that.
When it comes to people's reasoning behind their disbelief of asexuality, a lot of there arguments boil down to either one of two arguments.
1. Prove it.
2. You might feel this way now, but just wait.
Whenever I've discussed asexuality with others (which has been a lot), the skeptics attempt to use these arguments. On another important note, these arguments made against asexual people are hardly ever said with cruel intention. The skeptics of asexuality I've spoken with have either been confused on the topic and just wanted an explanation, or they thought their skepticism was justified and weren't deliberately trying to invalidate or hurt anyone. There definitely exist some people who are skeptics of asexuality and want to argue about it for the purpose of hurting others, but those people are *mostly* few and far between.
Of the two arguments above, argument #2 is a little easier to counter. When I think about the grand scheme of life and our journey we live through it, I feel that everyone's journey is unique and unlike anyone else's because life is not only a physical journey, but also an emotional/spiritual/intellectual one, and when it comes to emotions, no one experiences things quite the same as everyone else. Life is a large and beautiful and the things we feel inside during this ride cannot be dictated or changed by anyone else. To me, the human experience is something that truly lies within ourselves, and who we are inside is unique. So when people say, "Just give it time. You might not like sex, but you'll meet that special person, trust me," they're using their own perceptions and experiences to make predictions onto someone's experiences completely different than their own. Whether I'm speaking to someone I've never met before or my closest friend, there is no logical way I can make such generalised statements about someone else's human experience. People use this argument on other sexualities too (surprise surprise). Gay men get told, "Maybe you haven't found the right girl," and lesbians get told, "You've just gotta go find Mr. Right!" Again, these are both examples of other people dictating the emotions, thoughts, and experiences of people other than themselves.
As for the first argument, we go back to the idea that humans are very bad at understanding nothingness. Everything needs proof, otherwise it cannot exist. I feel that this argument can also be explained by every different person experiencing things uniquely. When it comes to asexuality, no one can prove they don't have sexual attraction to others; skeptics are probably just going to have to take the ace's word for it.
In the end, though, even if skeptics still can't get over the fact that they don't understand asexuality, then I would strongly recommend they mind their own damn business. LET HUMANS LIVE. Like I keep saying, life is a beautiful adventure all about you and no one else gets to control it for you. So if there's a skeptic that just can't or won't get it, just tell them they don't have to "get it," they just have to accept it. Even for people within the LGBTQ+ community that don't understand asexuality, those people still have to learn to love and accept their community members they don't entirely understand, because that's what we're all about. We thrive on love and supporting our own. So how about instead of always needing validation of other people, how about we let people be people and live their lives however they are, because whoever you are is beautiful.
Happy Pride Month!