Well it’s funny to think about, you’ve got the gays marching for the right to be cocksucking homosexuals, and then you have the asexuals marching for the right to not do anything. Which is hilarious. Like, you didn’t need to march for that right. You just need to stay home, not do anything.
- Dan Savage
I’ve been mulling over this comment, and the commentary of many other people, with regard to the inclusion of asexuality in queer and other support spaces for marginalized identities.
At first glance it strikes the average person as incredibly, well, reasonable. It seems to make sense. ”Why does there need to be an asexual section in the pride parade? It’s not like anyone’s taking away their rights on the premise of their asexuality.”
And that’s true, from a legal standpoint. Heteroromantic asexuals can still marry other heteroromantic asexuals - no judge will annul their marriage because of its lack of sexual contact or lack of children. Their marriage is, in every legal sense, no less valid than that of heteroromantic sexuals. And that’s nice.
But the crux of pride parades, the purpose of the LGBT movement, of feminism and of social justice in many respects, is not purely a legal crusade or a singular plea for ink-on-parchment legislative rights. These movements also exist in an effort to initiate a shift in societal thought that will allow their proponents to exist without the threat of harm, without invalidation, and without the social stigmatization that comes from being who they are.
If the expected lifestyle of our society were such that “staying at home, not doing anything” was our primary goal, there would be no problem with Dan Savage’s words. Yet this flies in the face of fact and stands utterly contrary to our known realities. Asexuality - neck-deep in a culture of expected monogamy, of centuries-old socially embedded narratives of human bonding, of the still-present stigmatization of “the spinster,” “the loner,” and “the virgin” - remains unacceptable, othered, and invalidated in a culture of hyper-sexuality.
We live in a society in which the human body (largely, the female body) is over-sexualized, and where the basic functional anatomy of a person is deemed inherently sexual. By virtue of being human and possessing these components, we are assumed to have sexual drives linked to these body parts, and we are assumed to have latent desires to express this sexuality with another human being. In moving through public spaces and by simply existing in the sight of another human being, we are conceived of as potentially sexual, and potentially available.