Over the past several months, I have written posts about stereotypes associated with some of the major identities in the LGBTQ+ community; namely, stereotypes associated with identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual.
When I started this series, I planned for it to coincide with a number of big events this calendar year, such as the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in June, but I had no idea quite how much this series would coincide with some other major events related to the LGBTQ+ community. For example, in July, Olympian Caster Semenya, an athlete born with intersex traits, was barred from defending her world title in the 800-meter race; that was part of why my post on intersex stereotypes weighed in on whether Semenya was being unfairly treated. I was also unaware that, before the end of this series, the United States Supreme Court would start yet another term where LGBTQ+ issues were up for consideration. There were probably other things that came up between the beginning of this series and now, but those two developments come to my mind.
If anything, these events show that understanding yet rejecting these stereotypes associated with different groups in the LGBTQ+ community is as important as ever. The rights, livelihoods, and lives of many people in the LGBTQ+ community depend on our rejecting such stereotypes.
A few months ago, I began a series addressing stereotypes for LGBTQ+ people—talking about people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, as well as people who are intersex and asexual. This is the next-to-last post in the series, as I will do a wrap-up post next week.
As I am going in order of the acronyms for LGBTQ (or LGBTQIA), it is time for me to discuss stereotypes associated with being asexual. But before going into details about those stereotypes, I should start by talking about what it means to be asexual and stereotypes that I’ve learned (and stereotypes that others should also dismantle) about being asexual.
Asexual people are people who are not sexually attracted to anyone (men or women), and/or have low or no desire for sexual activity. You may hear the term “ace” when hearing talk about asexual people; “ace” is short for “asexual” (and the asexual community is often referred to as the “ace community” or as “aces”).
Now that we’ve talked about what it means to be asexual, here are a few stereotypes associated with being asexual:
Asexual people can’t have sex. This stereotype confuses a lack of sexual desire with the lack of ability to have sex. Just because an asexual person does not have sexual desires does not mean that the person is incapable of having sex.
Asexual people can’t be in romantic relationships, let alone get married. This is a stereotype where asexuality gets confused with another identity: aromantic. To keep things straight and to the point, asexual people lack sexual desires but can have romantic desires that don’t necessarily involve sex, while aromantic people have sexual desires but not necessarily romantic ones. In addition to the confusion between asexuality and aromanticism, this stereotype also breeds the notion that sex needs to be at the center of a deep relationship or a marriage, which need not be the case. Oh, and by the way, if you still have doubts about the ability of an asexual person to be in a romantic relationship or in a marriage, I encourage you to read this Vice article on asexual people who are in very deep romantic relationships.
Asexual people just haven’t found the right person to have sex with yet. If someone is asexual, what this means is that there is nobody who an asexual person will have a deep desire to have sex with. And that is not about an inability to find the right person, but is instead just about a lack of sexual desire.
Asexual people are afraid of sex. Not necessarily—asexual people just lack sexual attraction and/or desire. Lacking the desire to do something is not necessarily the fear of something.
These, of course, are just a few of the harmful stereotypes associated with being asexual. If there are other stereotypes about asexual people that should be discussed and/or if anyone wants to expand upon the intersex stereotypes mentioned here, please feel free to post a comment below!
Sometimes, this blog is a smorgasbord of social justice issues, and I’m fine with that. However, given this time in history with LGBTQ+ issues, I want to spend a bit more time on LGBTQ+ issues, and particularly stereotypes that go with being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual.
To elaborate on the time in history we are at right now
(just to give a quick summary for those who aren’t fully aware), here are some
important LGBTQ+ events going on, all at the same time:
The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots is coming up at the end of June. For those who don’t know about this piece of LGBTQ+ history, these riots were a series of violent confrontations between the police and gay people at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. To read more, read this Encyclopedia Britannica piece.
Numerous governments across the world, including the federal government and some state governments in the United States, have tried to undermine or take away LGBTQ+ rights.
Several religious institutions, most notably the Methodist Church, are grappling with LGBTQ+ issues.
The United States Supreme Court is considering a case on whether current federal law bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Given all these events, as well as the fact that so many of
the bad things that happen are the result of some of these LGBTQ+ stereotypes,
it’s important to address those stereotypes here and now.
So, my plan is to dedicate a post a month (or so) to stereotypes with regards to a major group in the LGBTQ+ community. Many of the stereotypes discussed will be ones I’m aware of, but I would definitely encourage my readers (and especially people with firsthand experience of being LGBTQ+) to let me know of stereotypes that I should cover, as well.
This way, by the time the series is done, probably around
December by my calculations, we are hopefully all ready to confront some of
those harmful stereotypes, both within ourselves and others.
 The “q” in LGBTQ could also stand for “questioning.”