[Cross-posted from “The Comment Section" on Asexuality Archive]
- People will continue being Special Snowflakes and claim to be an oppressed minority because it’s better than just being different, and continue to offend actual oppressed minorities.
- Even if asexual is a sexual orientation, those who have it are not legally oppressed in any way.
- and last time I checked asexuality is not actively being persecuted by society
- There are no laws barring asexual people from marriage nor are churches blaming asexuals for hurricanes, shootings, etc.
- Unless you go around wearing a sign saying you’re asexual, society doesn’t know and doesn’t care so you couldn’t possibly be discriminated against in any intentional way.
- I see what you are saying, but nobody has ever killed someone for being asexual.
Why these comments are a problem:
Ohhh… Where to begin with this…
First of all, it is exceedingly rare that someone who is asexual makes a claim of oppression or discrimination or persecution or whatever over some trivial matter. If an asexual says that they were oppressed or discriminated against or persecuted because they were asexual, listen to them. Because they probably were.
Next, in the vast majority of cases, the thing the person is commenting on never even remotely mentions oppression or persecution. The commenter is pulling oppression out of thin air to use it as an attack. It’s a strawman. Simply saying “I am asexual and I exist” is not a claim of oppression. Talking about your sexual orientation does not indicate that you think you’ve been persecuted for it. Discussing a problem you’ve encountered in your life does not mean that you’re saying that you have it worse than everyone else.
Oddly, these people seem to believe that facing oppression and persecution is a necessary condition for having a minority sexual identity. You apparently don’t get to join the club unless you, personally, experience daily oppression for who you are. And they’ll often be very specific about what qualifies. Often, being denied the right to marry comes up as the criteria. Asexuals can’t be possibly be included because no one is preventing them from being married. Right, so, what that means is that where I live, in the State of Washington, gays and lesbians also can’t be included, because we passed R74 a few years back, and the Winsdor case made the Feds recognize these marriages. And does that mean that someone would be considered queer in some other states, but not queer in Washington, at least not after December 9th, 2012? Over time, as laws change and as people become enlightened, such a definition will cover fewer and fewer people.
A number of these kinds of comments suggest that keeping quiet will let you pass and prevent oppression. Are you asexual? Just keep it to yourself and nothing will ever happen! Well hey, that’s a great idea! Let’s have everyone do that! Hey, Sally, got a homophobic boss? Well, just show up at the office party with a beard to throw him off the scent! Hey, Joe, nervous about what people might think of your religion? What’s the big deal, hide that prayer rug and no one will ever know! Hey, Phil, live in a town full of racists? That’s what thick white cake makeup is for! … Never mind that forcing someone to hide who they are out of fear is a form of oppression.
These comments usually ignore intersectionality of any kind. It’s a blanket “Asexuals are not oppressed! Asexuals have no relevant problems!”. That means that if you’re a homoromantic ace or a trans ace or an asexual person of color, congratulations! You will never experience any kind of oppression or discrimination or persecution of any kind, because your asexuality acts as an immunity idol.
It’s also just outright dismissive. What these people are saying is, “I can’t think of any problems you might face off the top of my head, and you probably don’t have my problems, so I’m just going to yell at you for implying that you might have problems.” Just because someone hasn’t heard of it happening, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
And when an asexual does try to bring up a problem that they actually have personally faced? Well then, that doesn’t matter, because someone else has it worse. You can’t talk about erasure, because there aren’t any laws against asexuality. You can’t talk about having trouble with relationships, because you can’t get fired for being asexual. You can’t talk about corrective rape, because you’ve never been killed for being asexual after walking out of a bar. What they’re saying is that your problems aren’t important enough to talk about, because there are other, bigger problems out there. Absolutely, all of those other issues are horrible, and it would be fantastic if we could find a way to solve them. However, the fact that there are other problems out there, does not completely prohibit discussion and resolution of smaller problems.
“I’m sorry, you can’t deal with the leaky pipe that’s flooding your basement, because there’s a coal ash spill in North Carolina.”
“I’m sorry, you can’t change your flat tire, because there’s a civil war in Syria.”
“I’m sorry, you can’t deal with that pebble in your shoe, because the inevitable heat death of the universe will eventually extinguish all possibility of life.”
That kind of thinking is ridiculous. We’re not a one problem at a time kind of species. There are enough of us to work on multiple problems at once, and it’s even possible for the same person to be working on more than one problem at the same time. You have a right to talk about problems that you face, whatever they are, however big or small, simply because you face them, and you don’t have to go before some kind of Grand Unified Problem Importance Committee to justify it.
How to respond:
- Detail the issues you’ve encountered, if you feel comfortable doing so. First hand accounts can be very powerful.
- Explain that your problems may not be the same problems as others, but that does not somehow make them less worthy of discussion.
- Explain that something that may seem trivial to someone else is actually very important to you.
- If you have encountered the exact scenario that they’re claiming “Never Happens To Asexuals”, call them on it. Tell them exactly what happened to you.
- First hand accounts or verifiable claims are better than hazy third person hearsay or gut feelings. “This happened to me” or “Here’s a news story about this” are better than “I heard someone on AVEN once say” or “People on Tumblr think this”.
- Avoid claims of oppression or “Having it worse”, even if you are oppressed or really do have it worse. Nobody gets a medal in the Oppression Olympics. Simply tell your story and let others hear what you have to say.
- Remember that these claims are often made by trolls who’ll never concede. You’re not in it to convince them. You’re in it to show everyone else that what they’re saying is wrong.