In life there are aces in every deck, and the Queer community is no different. Asexuality is a sexual orientation along with its more well-known cousins, be it bi or pan, straight or gay or pomosexual. Though asexuals are less visible than their cousins in the Queer community and more likely to be forgotten or skipped over when it comes to the awareness of the general public.
PTS defines asexuality as the following:
A term used to describe a person who has: a) no apparent sexual attraction, but may desire to have emotional, intellectual, or spiritual relations with another person; b) a lack of emotional connection to sexual acts but still engages in sex with partners; c) a lack of desire for or to instigate sex, though they may engage in sexual acts with their partner. It should be noted that there are varying biological and psychological reasons for a person to identify as asexual, which may include: dissatisfaction with one’s genitalia, psychological barriers to intimacy and intercourse, and/or having no sexual attraction towards others.
The main difference between sexual dysfunction and asexuality, I’ve heard said, is the attitude towards it. Those who see it as a problem look for solutions, those who don’t, don’t look for needless treatment.
Asexuals still have meaningful, fulfilling relationships—even if you don’t have an interest in sex that doesn’t mean you can’t like romance or cuddling, or emotional intimacy with another human being. Like most things this varies from person to person, an entire rainbow in shades of grey.
Asexuals may not face discrimination or prejudice to the degree of some other members of the Queer community, but they have to struggle for visibility outside of the own private circles; they have to fight for visibility in the public eye, make themselves known as a bona fide sexual orientation in a way that people of other sexualities don’t have to.
Unfortunately, there are those that believe that asexuals shouldn’t be associated with the GLBTTQ community, that they have a completely separate hierarchy of needs and desires and should not latch onto a previously established movement for publicity alone. “No one cares that you aren’t having sex,” I’ve heard said, along with the ever-memorable, “I didn’t know you existed.”
Because asexuality is only for amoebas, am I right? Ergh.
The general belief in some fractions of the community is that because those that identify as asexual have not faced the same discrimination and prejudice, and have not had to fight for equal rights as other queer people, they should not be welcome in the same spaces. Others believe that asexuals are all survivors of abuse, that they have intimacy issues. Or that asexuals are only the way they are because they haven’t met the right person, or just haven’t had an orgasm.
Even a vocal minority of the Ace community opposes inclusion in the GLBTTQ. The general thought is that if they go to Queer group meetings for support, they aren’t getting it. They also don’t want to associate or be labeled as something they aren’t.
Here at PTS, we welcome Aces under the GLBTTQ banner. Queer is an umbrella-term after all, a catch-all. And who knows, maybe you’ll see an Ace social/ discussion group being hosted in our new building, or a facts/fiction pamphlet on our table. But until then, just know that aces from every deck are welcome here if you need someone to talk to.