How Asexual People Feel Excluded From Queer Spaces, Complicating Their Identity.

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06/21/2022

Asexuality is both straightforward and complicated to define. At the outset, it describes the orientation of somebody who doesn’t experience sexual attraction. But this is followed by many caveats: when? In what context? How do you know what attraction isn’t if you don’t know what it is? It’s why asexuality is often considered to exist on a wider spectrum than other queer identities – but this, precisely, is what makes it confusing as a label for many. Not knowing whether and where you fit in can lead to a state of limbo – not quite queer, but not quite not queer either. Asexuality shares a particularly tumultuous relationship with queerness. Where queerness has been defined by sex – expressing it, having it, and most importantly, taking pride in it – asexuality decenters the primacy of sex in our culture. Technically, the “A” in LGBTQIA stands for asexual – but it doesn’t always feel that way. “There’s this imposter syndrome of sorts… and it is definitely exacerbated with other queer people saying the things that make us feel insecure in the community in the first place. Things like how ‘everyone takes time to like someone’ or ‘you’re straight passing so you aren’t really queer,’” says Anandi, 25. She grew up in Tirupathi, a small town in Andhra Pradesh. She knew she was asexual long before she found the words to express it. When that happened, it was like “a switch flipped.”

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