Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday Factoid: Gender/Sexuality

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: How would you describe your gender/sexuality?

I don't believe this is a mystery to anyone who reads my blog but yeah.

Gender: Cisgender woman.

Sexuality: Asexual.

Some elaboration (because of course I have elaboration):

Gender-wise, I've never even considered identifying as something other than female. I'm not an incredibly girly-girl with my behaviors, and I certainly don't do a lot of the traditional feminine things, but with my identity I feel like I'm nowhere near masculine and the nebulous aspects of femininity that seem somewhat definitive are all things that resonate with me. I'd be hard pressed to describe them specifically, but the best way to say it is that "women," collectively, is a plural noun that I would automatically use synonymously with "we." 

Sexuality-wise, it's a little more complicated because we live in a heteronormative world that had me believing it was inevitable that as a little girl, I'd grow up to be a woman who married a man and had children. I just assumed that was my future, and it wasn't upsetting, though it always seemed like a distant dream like most of the rest of adulthood was. But when it became time for me to get crushes and avoid giving into the temptation of sexual cues, I was pretty sure that this whole thing was for other people, not me.

For some reason, "but that's what you DO" didn't really affect me in this area of my life. When people got really aggressive about it and I asked them to tell me, in words, why I "had to," they never had a good reason. They knew they wanted to, and that was their reason, but they wouldn't accept that I didn't have that reason to go on, and they always seemed to make it about children. Don't you want a family? Of course you want a family. I take it for granted that you want a family because just not getting married and being single forever makes you automatically a loser. But following my inclinations to do exactly what I wanted with my life was almost always processed as a person who can't get what she MUST want instead of a person who just doesn't want that.

I won't lie: that part of it's been tough. Being regarded with pity and confusion that is inappropriate and disproportional to the issue is frustrating, demeaning, and sometimes exhausting--especially when interested would-be suitors refuse to process me as anything besides "available" (because that's what "unpartnered" translates to for them), and proceed to harass me with unwanted sexual advances that they frame as "a compliment" or "doing me a favor." It's pretty gross.

Being asexual (and aromantic) is pretty fundamental to my identity. But if I met someone toward whom I felt sexual or romantic interest, I'd explore what that means to me too. (I'm sure it'd be confusing, but I don't believe in treating sexual orientations like decisions, so of course I would behave differently if I started feeling differently.) The only consistent problem I have with my orientation is other people's reaction to it, and I could certainly live a less conflict-ridden life if I talked about asexuality less, but avoiding attention and harassment is not my main goal in discussing this topic. I want other people to understand it--regardless if they're described by it--and I want to change how people think about orientation. I didn't feel lost or confused or broken because I didn't want to date or hump my classmates, but a TON of people like me do. I want to both help them feel less alone and help others (those willing to listen) understand that we aren't there for them to fix.

That's it.

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