June is Pride Month, which means people of all sexualities and genders will come together to support each other. Whether by posting on social media or attending pride parades, acceptance will be shown in various ways. Even cisgender and heterosexual people will be part of the action.
In recent years, the LGBT acronym has increased in length to include more sexualities and genders; the most commonly used is LGBTQIA. While initially standing for “asexual“, it’s been expanded to stand for “ally” too. Unfortunately, the more allies are acknowledged as part of the community, the less asexuals are. Last year, for example, American Apparel released an LGBTQIA+ pride tote bag featuring the word “ally” instead of “asexual”. While they apologized for the erasure, the damage had already been done.
While it’s nice to have cishet people supporting us in the LGBTQIA+ community, the truth is, they aren’t actually part of it. They do not experience the same oppression we do, and never will. They do not know the pain of being left homeless after coming out, nor will they face the violence we do. They may support LGBTQIA+ people, but their voices shouldn’t be amplified over ours.
I’ve known I’m asexual since I was 15. Considering this was less than two years ago, there clearly hasn’t been enough representation of us. In most teen and young adult shows, nearly all the characters have a romantic interest, and many of them are into sex. There’s seldom a character whose focus is entirely on the main problem, such as defeating the villain, rather than finding someone to date. Even Jughead Jones, who was asexual and aromantic in the Archie comics, was given a love interest in Riverdale. The more asexuality is erased, the more society will think we’re broken, instead of accepting us.
If cishet allies truly care about LGBTQIA+, they should be giving asexuals their spot in the community back, rather than pushing their own way into it. They need to acknowledge they have more privileges than us, and their identity is automatically normalized in society. As stated above, they do not face the same discriminations or oppression we do. They are not the spokespeople for us, and shouldn’t expect to be. Instead, they should be encouraging us to speak for ourselves, and giving us our voices back.
To conclude, the “A” in LGBTQIA+ was intended for asexuals, and should continue to remain that way. Give it back.