Thursday, August 23, 2012

Asexuals called Lepers on Fox News

Two days ago Fox News decided to use Tony Bogaert’s new book as an excuse to discuss the ace community:

The clip, while pretty grim, is also somewhat unsurprising. It’s a pretty accurate (if confusingly kooky) representation of the kind of ignorant and dismissive comments that asexuals and grey-a’s receive when we talk about our experience.

Unlike gay, lesbian, bi, pan and trans folks, who get discriminated against with much more direct hate speech, our community tends to get dismissed offhand and told that we’re broken. It’s a different experience than that of many other people in the queer community, but I can tell you from experiencing it firsthand that being told that you’re broken still sucks. It’s why a lot of people out there (especially young people) beat themselves up unless they can meet some cosmo-defined manifestation of sexual desire. It’s why a lot of people are afraid that if they can’t find sexual intimacy they won’t be able to find intimacy, period.

I’ve talked about asexuality a LOT, and noticed that it does a funny thing to many people’s brains. A lot of people out there have so deeply internalized the idea that sex and intimacy are velcroed together that their brain skips around the idea of asexuality like a damaged CD. Something about the idea of asexual people doesn’t fit into their worldview, and so they make up any ridiculous excuse they can to unmake or ignore us.

A great example is this segment on Fox, where the presented asks “do asexual people exist?” and all anyone can do is come up with reasons to avoid the question. They hypothesize that all women are asexual (really?!?), and talk about how we must be lepers that no one wants to touch. Then they talk about how if we DO exist we’d have to be boring and lifeless.

This kind of mental glitching definitely creates problems for the ace community, but I’m not bringing it up because I think that we’re victims. I’m bringing it up because it seems like something worth investigating, a bug in the code of our cultural understanding of sexuality that talking about asexuality lays bare. I have many sexual friend’s who’s understanding of concepts like sexuality and intimacy has been fundamentally transformed by thinking about the asexual community, and they tell me that that’s a good thing.

There’s a petition asking Fox to actually INTERVIEW asexual people next time they cover us. I guess my final thought is this: If people are finding excuses to dismiss us, if their mind immediately jumps to all of the ways that we’re broken, then maybe they should ask themselves why that is.