I’ll let you in on a little secret- I am aromantic asexual. That means I feel no romantic or sexual attraction to any gender. While those two terms are becoming more acceptable nowadays, apparently being aromantic/asexual isn’t a real thing to some people. Even some people in the LGBTQ+ community don’t believe that aromantic/asexual people belong in the community. How come? Asexual people aren’t straight; some aren’t even heteroromantic. So, why shouldn’t we be considered part of the LGBTQ+ community? Is it because we’re not attracted to people of the same gender?
This argument made me think about other people who aren’t considered part of the LGBTQ+ community- nonbinary people, pansexual people, demisexual people, and even bisexual people on some cases. Most of these people are attracted to people of the same gender. Nonbinary are trans, for Christ’s sake, and trans and bisexual are part of the LGBT acronym! Why are you excluding these people from a community that they belong in?
And that made me question my own thoughts. When I was younger, I didn’t think a lot of identities were real- genderfluid, pansexual, bigender, agender, demigender, and especially demisexual. That was mostly because I didn’t understand what any of those terms meant. But as I did more research, I started to understand more and more. While I still don’t understand what exactly demisexual means (and I will probably never understand), I do understand what the rest mean. And really, who am I to say that someone’s identity isn’t real?
Who am I to judge whether a part of someone is valid or not? The world is a huge place, and there are almost eight billion people on it. Who’s to say that at least one person isn’t demisexual or genderfluid or pansexual? Long ago, a lot of what we consider “real” weren’t considered real. Back in the good old days, autism and ADHD weren’t considered real disorders. Not even depression and anxiety were considered real (never mind every other mental illness ever). And yet, autism, ADHD, depression, and anxiety are typically the first things you think of when you think about disorders and mental illnesses.
“But Emily, you realize most of these people who identify as demisexual and genderfluid end up identifying as one of the more ‘normal’ sexualities and genders, right?” Have you ever considered that maybe most of those people who do that are just trying to explore their identities? Let’s think about it- who do you think are the people who will most likely explore themselves? Teenagers and people who have been repressed, that’s who. Ergo, those are the types of people who are most likely to explore their sexualities and genders, i.e. identify as demisexual and genderfluid. And really, who are we to invalidate teenagers? Teenagers are already invalidated enough; they don’t need any more troubles thrown onto them. And by the way, did you know that most human brains only stop developing by age 25? Essentially, you’re basically making fun of someone who hasn’t developed their full identity yet. And that’s not healthy for anybody, is it?
And let’s talk about those who have been repressed in their childhoods and teenage years. Imagine having a part of you repressed and controlled for so many years only for someone on the internet and/or in real life telling you that this big part of who you are isn’t real. Quite hurtful, isn’t it? These are people who probably have been traumatized in their early childhoods, yet you’re invalidating them by saying the identities they’re trying to explore aren’t real. Imagine having your trauma invalidated like that. What harm are these people doing by exploring their identities?
What harm are these people doing by identifying as demisexual or genderfluid, even after exploring other identities? You might say that homophobic and transphobic people would take us less seriously if we accept identities such as demisexual or genderfluid, but most of those homophobes and transphobes already don’t take us seriously. Also, it’s not their places to police our identities either. As a matter of fact, the only place where you should police someone’s identity is your own identity.
“Well, I bet you were just like that, too.” Yes, yes I was like that when I was a teenager. And I was stupid for believing that because really, it’s not my place to police someone’s identity. Maybe these people are just teenagers exploring themselves or people who have been repressed trying to explore themselves in their adulthoods. These people aren’t hurting me by exploring themselves, and they’re not hurting anyone else. That’s why I don’t believe in policing people’s identities, even if they don’t make sense to me. And I believe other people should try and follow this thought process, too.