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Stop Discriminating Against Aro/Ace and Demi People

In a world so obsessed with the ideas of love and sex, it seems almost impossible that there might be people among us who don’t experience sexual and/or romantic attraction the way most of us do, or who do not experience these things at all.

Aromantics are people who feel little to no romantic attraction. Asexuals are people who feel little to no sexual attraction. Grey ace/aro people are those who feel only a limited amount of romantic/sexual attraction. And people who identify as aromantic and asexual feel neither. Demisexual and demiromantic people are those who cannot form sexual or romantic bonds with people unless they also experience a pre-existing emotional bond with that person. Many people consider demisexuals and demiromantics to belong under the asexual and aromantic umbrellas respectively.

So why is this important and why should aro/ace and demi people be included in queer spaces?

Queerness is not limited to people who defy conventional hetero-normative standards only in terms of gender identity and expression and people who experience sexual/romantic attraction in a way that defers from these norms (i.e. same sex attraction or attraction to people of multiple genders). A lack of expression of attraction (romantic or sexual) also defies certain norms. In a culture as obsessed with sex and romance as the one in which we live, asexual, aromantic, and demisexual/romantic people do have marginalized identities. Every story we tell seems to revolve around love and lust and it doesn’t seem to fit into mainstream comprehension that there might be those of us who don’t feel like the experience of sex and love is central to their survival, or who may not feel these attractions at all.

Movements within the queer community increasingly seem to turn into gate-keeping wars about who is ‘queer enough’ and who isn’t. Aro/ ace and demi people, as individuals who may be heteroromantic or heterosexual, are denied entry into a community that was created bearing in mind the purpose of inclusivity, but that seems to get more and more exclusive all the time. This gate- keeping is not just harmful from a mainstream stand point where it seems like so many people are unable to find true representations of themselves in mainstream society or communities such as the LGBTQIAP+ community. It is also harmful because it seems to rely on one simple definition of what it is to be queer or on how queer one has to be which means even people who form the bulk of the community find themselves alienated from it because they feel as though they are ‘not queer enough’ or ‘not marginalized enough’ to have a voice within these spaces. Additionally, gate- keeping means that the queer community is simply narrowing itself to fit a more socially acceptable view of how the mainstream views its deviants. It is far more simple to understand that there are people who experience same sex attraction (even if it is hard for many to accept) than it is to accept that there are people who experience no attraction at all (or attraction on a very limited scale). Just think about the fact that almost every monastic or priestly order on Earth demands abstinence as proof of one’s piety.

Furthermore, proof of how ace/ aro, and demi people belong within the queer community is inherent in the very fact that the A of LGBTQIAP+ stands for Asexuals and aromantics (along with Agender people).

So, rather than adopting a regressive attitude that seems to demand a certain ‘amount of queerness’ (as though such a thing could be quantified) for admission into the LGBTQIAP+ community, inclusiveness should be the norm instead of being the outlier.

Featured image from DeviantArt

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Tanvi is a student at Ashoka University, currently pursuing her BA in Sociology and Anthropology

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