I don’t understand why love and inclusivity aren’t the norm

This is something I posted on tumblr just now, that I am posting here as well in case I ever need to access it again. I included my tumblr tags at the bottom.


 

I legit do not understand the pushback against het aces, any more than I understand the pushback against aces in general. But then, there’s a lot I don’t understand about the pushback on basically anyone.

I think what I don’t get the most is why anyone at all (but especially anyone whose gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, ancestry or ethnicity, etc, is something that is not the “default” or “universally accepted” in their context or culture) build their little boxes and tell other people NO YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO FEEL THE THINGS! YOU DON’T HAVE AS MANY BAD THINGS AS I HAVE SO ONLY I CAN FEEL THE THINGS!

It’s mind boggling to me. We are human beings. We are complex. We have life experiences and opinions and hopes and dreams and situations and environments and illnesses and disabilities and mental illnesses and mental challenges and socioeconomic situations and nationalities and ancestries and religions and so many other things, that all build together to make us who we are as individuals.

No matter how a person was born, it does not mean they have no right to feelings nor that they suddenly stop being a human being nor that their life experiences couldn’t have included trauma which manifests in a variety of ways nor that they couldn’t have lived a life free of trauma. No single piece of them being something unexpected or something that someone else doesn’t understand doesn’t invalidate anything about them.

Complexity is not something to fear, it’s something to embrace.

And measuring a person solely on the negative experiences makes no sense to me. YOU DIDN’T HAVE ALL THE TRAUMA IN YOUR BACKGROUND? THEN YOU CAN’T HAVE ANY FEELS. ONLY PEOPLE WHO ARE TRAUMATIZED CAN HAVE HUMAN EMOTIONS! That thought process is so bizarre to me. Telling someone they can’t feel bad because someone else had it worse is like telling someone they can’t be happy because someone else might be happier. Really? So we can only exist in a constant flux of comparisons relative to those around us? Is there a finite amount of human emotion allowed in this world and we’re supposed to divvy it up based on what other people assume about each other and not based on our natural human reactions to our natural human lives?

Trying to tell another person they aren’t allowed to feel a certain way or identify a certain way or react a certain way makes absolutely no sense to me. How do you know what their life experiences were? How do you know the context of their situation? How do you know all the reasons, big and small, that led to them being where they are, and identifying how they identify, and believing what they believe? How can you be so certain that your experience is so much more valid than theirs, by judging them based on one or two aspects of their holistic self?

Does skin tone alone, across the entire world, mean every single person with that skin tone is going to live the exact same life and have the exact same experiences and know the exact same people and have the exact same thoughts and follow the exact same belief system and like the exact same people and things? Of course not. Same with sexual orientations, gender identities, and so much more beyond that.

I just don’t understand. And I especially don’t understand why people feel the need to do to others what they say has been done to them. Isn’t that all the more reason to show empathy and compassion? Isn’t that all the more reason to be inclusive? And yet I feel like the places that are designed to be “most inclusive” tend to be the most exclusive of them all, with the little boxes some communities build and defend as if their identity is threatened by the very idea of something that doesn’t quite jive.

But to me, that is akin to the people who say they’re against gay marriage because they think it threatens marriage as an institution. If your marriage is so fragile that someone else’s happiness, completely and totally unrelated to your own, could somehow break it apart, then perhaps your marriage needs attention on its own because that is very worrisome.

And if your identity is so threatened by other people identifying in a way that is separate from your own, then that is also very worrisome, and I hope you have time to do some soul-searching and come to terms with who you are and find confidence in it, because trying to tell other people how to feel or how to act or how to identify won’t help you in determining those answers for yourself. So please stop trying to project your insecurities on others; it’s unhealthy for you and I worry for you, and it’s upsetting for the recipients and I worry for them. Everyone is wonderful as-is and no one should feel unsettled or insecure or unwanted or unaccepted simply by being who they are. Simply by becoming the person they were born to be.

I wish people would love each other and themselves more, and stop finding reasons to disengage. This world is beautiful and so are its people in all their complexity. And one of the most rewarding parts of being a human being is our ability to connect with other human beings; to overcome barriers in order to find common understanding, and to work together to make the world a better place than how we found it. Negativity and exclusivity are never the answer; people shouldn’t be demonized for displaying them because they have their own life experiences that led to them reacting that way, but ultimately that negativity and exclusivity is simply a hurdle on the journey to a more holistic, inclusive life. It isn’t the end of a story; it’s only the beginning. And the more we can all work a little harder to remember that the person on the other side of that conversation, or insult, or difficult topic, or screen, is another human being just like us, then the more we can work collectively toward a day where people aren’t told they aren’t allowed to feel a certain way or exist a certain way simply because somebody else doesn’t understand it.

 

Asexuality + crushes — Tell us a story – can be real, or fictional, about queer romance

See an explanation for the context of this post here.

Tell us a story – can be real, or fictional, about queer romance

One time someone asked me, “How does it work to be asexual? Do you never have crushes?” and this is the story I told them as the best personal example I could give.

If I were to have a type, for whatever reason it seems to be baristas. Even if I meet a girl completely unrelated to a coffee shop, if I like her and then talk to her I end up finding out she is or was a barista. Everything else about my crushes changes: from body shape, race, style, age, personality, interests, etc.

The thing with me is I instantly know if I like someone or not. It’s like love at first sight, I guess, except without any expectations.

There was this girl in her 20’s who was a barista at a coffee shop I frequented. I freaking loved her. She was funny, smart, beautiful, super talented in a variety of ways, and I loved how her personality came out in her clothing style. I can chat with anyone on any stupid topic but when it came to her, I wanted to talk more and more. And as my infatuation with her grew in those conversations with every new piece I learned about her, I came to have what I felt to be embarrassingly obvious reactions. I would start to blush, and then kind of stutter a bit, maybe ramble, and definitely joke even more than normal.

I always think I’m being ridiculously obvious in these rare crush cases but then later find out I wasn’t obvious at all. I guess it’s because I’m so rarely interested in anyone that, to me, having that interest is already monumental. It makes me feel like surely everyone else must know from a mile away. With her, I wasn’t sure if she knew I liked her and I was afraid to be overt.

Thing is, I have shit for gaydar. Like seriously, I rarely know if someone’s gay and it’s even worse with ladies. Which is a real pain as a lesbian. If someone isn’t wearing a shirt that says, “WHY HELLO I AM A LESBIAN AND I AM INTERESTED IN YOU OHOHO :D” then I basically have no clue. So after a while of going to that coffee shop once or twice a day to get a chai or iced tea, talking to her every chance I got and utterly failing at figuring out her sexual orientation but utterly succeeding in becoming more smitten with her, I finally started doing that dorky thing where I whispered to friends about this barista I liked but I didn’t know if she was gay.

My straight female friend, hilariously enough, has fantastic gaydar. So I brought her with me one day and asked her afterward. She said her gaydar was a little mixed on the woman. So then I asked all my lesbian friends, and convinced one of them to stop by the coffee shop one day and see. She also tried, and came back and said she wasn’t sure.

This went on for some time, with me getting increasingly giddy when I saw the woman. I mean, I felt my cheeks heat, I felt butterflies in my stomach, I didn’t want to stop talking to her even if it was the most inane of conversations. I found myself thinking about her even when I wasn’t at the cafe. I wanted to know more about her, I thought about how cool it would be if I could go out with her, or how awesome it would be if we could move in together eventually because I could also meet the pets she talked about. I thought about whether she liked to travel and if she would ever want to travel with me, and all the places we could go. I wondered if she could teach me how to customize clothes like she did for herself.

Things like that. It didn’t even matter if we talked. I just liked the idea of being able to spend any time with her.

I wanted to know whatever she was comfortable telling me because I liked everything I knew about her, even the things she might have expected people not to accept, like when she mentioned she had depression and ADHD. To me, they were simply facets of her beauty. It only made me want to know more.

This makes me sound like a stalker, but I swear I wasn’t. It was simply that I had such strong admiration for her that I felt like she was a story I could read every day for the rest of my life, and still find something new and exciting on the next page.

After weeks of this, and at the height of my giddiness, one day I stopped by again. In the process of talking to her about some topic I don’t even remember, she gave me her Facebook name. I had tried searching for her on google and Facebook already, hoping I could at least solve the question of whether she was gay or not, but I hadn’t gotten anywhere in my initial search and I wasn’t interested in becoming a total creeper so I stopped and figured I’d see if she ever was open to telling me, herself. So when she gave me her Facebook information, I was ecstatic. Finally! I would know if she was even gay, because so many women I had liked in the past weren’t.

When I pulled up her Facebook page, I was really excited to know a little more about her, like the sorts of things that interested her enough for her to post, or if she had any funny pictures of her and her friends, or if I could see her pets, or–

The first thing I saw stopped all the questions.

She was gay, definitely. I knew this because she was married to another woman. Their wedding pictures were all over her Facebook, and they were beautiful. Her wife looked really nice, and they seemed really happy.

Instantly, all that giddiness, that interest, that heat I’d had before– vanished. Completely disappeared. It’s like someone dropped a wall between me and it, and every piece of it was gone. There was literally no transition. I went from, “OMG SO EXCITED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HER I KEEP THINKING ABOUT HER CAN’T STOP” to “What? I know her?” in a second.

I still thought she was an awesome person, I still thought she was talented, but any and every bit of romantic interest in her vanished because I knew it would never happen. She was with someone else. That was all I needed to know. I was no longer interested or intrigued.

The next day I walked into the coffee shop, curious to see if I would still blush and maybe ramble. I was a little worried that I would have to lay off the coffee shop for a while so I wouldn’t bug her while I transitioned. But to my relief, that feeling didn’t resurface at all, not even when I saw her. I felt toward her the same way I felt toward all the other baristas: I liked her as a person, I joked around with her about stupid things, but when I got my chai and we were done chatting I said goodbye and left without looking back.

I never once thought of her after seeing her Facebook, except the way I would with any other barista there. After that, when I went in and saw someone else working I didn’t find a way to squeeze in casually asking if she was there/when she’d work next. Because it no longer mattered. It was cool if I saw her, but totally cool if I didn’t.

From what I understand from other people, or at least the way things seem to be represented in a lot of media, that is perhaps the difference between at least the way I am as an asexual, and the way other people might function who aren’t asexual. I’ve always gotten the impression that it’s much more difficult for others to turn off their feelings.

It seems like there’s a trope where people can’t turn off their love even when finding out someone is otherwise engaged, and they fantasize about stealing them. For me, there is no way I would have interest in interfering. Even assuming I still had feelings, why would I ever try to break up someone else’s happiness for something as selfish as my own? Especially since I would never be happy if she wasn’t happy. It just feels completely illogical and pointless to me. Which is probably what’s at the heart of it: I may feel the emotions deeply, but ultimately they are still immutably tied into logic in my mind.

But if she hadn’t been married/with someone else, and if she had been interested in me, I would have devoted myself to her for as long as she wanted me. I would have developed a loyalty that would mean I would never have any interest in straying or betraying her, because she was all I wanted and all I needed.

For me, it’s like a switch. I can’t control if it’s turned on, and I can’t control if it’s turned off, but that stark dichotomy between being supremely interested and utterly disinterested definitely exists. And if something occurs where I realize it’s not to be between us, that switch is thrown and every extra feeling I had is completely gone. I couldn’t recreate that same heated giddiness with her if I tried. Any more than I could make myself be romantically interested in someone I didn’t have an instant connection with the first time I met them.

Maybe it actually is exactly this same way with everyone else, at which point this isn’t a very good story to use as an example. But if this is not the way it works for you when you are romantically interested in someone, and if you wondered what it means to be asexual– then, for me, the story of the barista I adored until I found out she was married is the best way I can explain.

The Equality of Differences – QRM post

Hey all — my blog post for Queer Romance Month is out and I wanted to mention it here because I think people might be interested in it. I called it The Equality of Differences and I don’t think I can totally copy the whole post over here (since that wouldn’t be fair to QRM) so instead I’m showing you just the beginning of it below.

Follow the link at the end to read the rest.


I have spent most of my life feeling like an alien on Earth. The main reason for this is because it has often felt like, at every step of the way, I was different than what society expected.

My earliest memory is of being at recess in elementary school and running up to a teacher to ask, “What’s a lesbian?” I know I asked that question because somebody called me one, but I don’t remember exactly what they said, nor what the teacher’s response was. All I know is whatever the teacher said gave me the impression it was something very bad, because I remember running back and yelling at the other kid that I wasn’t a lesbian at all.

I was too young back then to know I actually was a lesbian, and way too young to know I was asexual as well. Maybe if I’d known I wouldn’t have denied it to that kid, because later I would grow up to realize how important it is to be myself. Even when that means I feel like I don’t belong.

For anyone who’s interested, I wrote a blog post earlier this year called An Asexual’s View of Love which talks about how, to me, romance can seem like a fetishization of love. I don’t want to be repetitive so I focus on different topics in this post than I did in that one.

The topic of having romance be accessible to everyone is something very dear to me, as a woman who is definitely a romantic at heart but who also happens to be both asexual and a lesbian. I’ve often felt that the things that are expected of human beings, and especially female human beings in the US, are things that are utterly foreign to me.

There are different ways of feeling alienated or consistently “not normal.” For me, it’s always been a whole lot of little things that added up to me feeling like a freak of nature as far as mainstream is concerned. Stereotypes shouldn’t be expectations, but in aggregate they are.

Women are overtly sexualized in the US (which creeps me out as an asexual), with the expectation that men should get the most out of her and have some control of, or accessibility to, her beauty (which creeps me out as a lesbian), and with the further assumption that her end goal in life must be to have children, marry and settle down (which creeps me out as someone who didn’t like kids as a kid and doesn’t want to be around them any more as an adult).

In short, if you imagine what is assumed to be “normal,” I was almost always the opposite.

CONTINUE READING: http://www.queerromancemonth.com/ais-lin-2015

An asexual’s view of love

I’m going to use this blog now and then as a normal blog, not just related to specific excerpts or art pieces to share but also about some thought processes that are central to me as a person or writer. I hope no one minds.

A week ago Sonny mentioned a blog post he was writing about tropes vs reality and said he wasn’t sure how to conclude it, because tropes don’t always work out the same way in reality. I wrote the below post but then forgot about it in the holiday rush. Today he wrote a post about what descriptions or exposition to use in a diverse cast (read here), and through the ensuing conversation I was reminded of this post.

Everything below is what I originally wrote.

The question of tropes vs reality got me thinking about the romance genre (regardless of whether it’s straight, LGBT*QA, or something else) and how it seems to me it’s a fetishization of love.

You might have seen me mention in the past that I’m semi-asexual. There is a specific list of terms I can call myself that gets at what I am but I don’t really go by that. Basically, I’m not often attracted to other people, and when I am it’s usually first for their personality, and then I’m only interested in other women. But most of the time, I have no romantic interests in anyone.

As a result, I’ve spent most of my life seeing the idea of “love” from the outside. Throughout high school, I couldn’t understand why all my friends seemed obsessed with constantly cycling through boyfriends, and in college when others seemed to have hooking up and/or partying as a priority, I wanted to sit in my room and watch anime with friends. After college, when people started to settle into long-term relationships, I lamented that I couldn’t get a dog.

This may or may not be normal for other people who identify as partially or totally asexual; I really don’t know, you’d have to ask them. I can only say what it’s been like for me, regardless of whatever labels I might give myself to try to understand why I am how I am. Even now, I don’t know how asexual I am except I think I must be because when I’ve read the descriptions of different terms, they fit.

As the years have passed, I’ve watched the lifecycles of all these other people doing the things that are “expected.” Friends and family settling down with their significant others (SOs), moving in together, getting pets together, buying houses, getting engaged, married, having kids… All of this feels so disconnected from me as a person, yet as a writer I’ve found it to be interesting to watch the way “normal” people progress.

I don’t truly understand love. I mean, I understand it in terms of how much I love my dog, my family, my friends. But I don’t understand the human connection of love between two significant others: the way it might differ from other forms or the way different people experience it. All I know of love I learned from books, fanfiction, movies, and the way people interact around me.

Despite not understanding it on a personal level, I’ve come to recognize the variations in other people. Friends ask me for advice in dating or love a lot, and I always say, “Well, I don’t really know anything, but it seems to me…” and I explain based on my objective view of what seems to happen with two humans in love.

What’s interesting to me is that I’ve started to notice trends.

Continue reading