Part of GrrrlFever Zine Issue #2
You can download her zines at: http://grrrlfever.tumblr.com/zines
Posts tagged LGBT
A guide to being an ally for friends and family of LGBT*QIA individuals.
Online ebook available [HERE] if you would like to share with others but do not wish to link to your tumblr. (Also, it’s fun to turn the pages.)
Original size 20x24” posters available for educational purposes. Contact me directly for files.
Everyone!!! Needs this!!!
Huh. So that’s what the term for it is (demisexual, which describes me perfectly. Just didn’t know there was a term for it). So I’m demisexual then~
Random rant about demisexuality in sexual identity discourse (not really in response to you Evelyn. ily you’re awesome and I’m not actually referring to you)
This isn’t so much a rant about the existence of the term or people’s desire to list random things about themselves. I repeat - this isn’t about people who randomly list demisexuality as a thing about themselves in their about me section alongside their love of grilled cheese and cats. It’s more of a rant about a lot of people’s growing desire to include Demi as a part of being a group that requires allies or is not already super accepted in society.
(Disclaimer - writing this as someone who fits the category of “Demisexual”)
Having the characteristic of only being attracted sexually to people you’re already romantically/emotionally bonded with is totally a super common actual thing (I fit that description as well - I find it difficult to be sexually attracted to people who I feel like I’m not emotionally bonded to via friendship/romantic feelings first), but I’ve seen a lot of people use it in terms of a sexual orientation, which I find imprecise in terms of categorization (because you can be “demi sexual” and still also be straight, bi/pan, or Lesbian/Gay). Sure, it’s interesting to know that that sort of thing has a name, but it’s so extremely common and fluid and not really all that categorized in society that I find it unnecessary in terms of the a lot of the sexual identity discourse (this sentence is worded weirdly - it is expanded on/clarified later in my post i think). Being sexually attracted to people only after you’re romantically/emotionally attracted to them is generally expected if you’re the type of person who has a particular view of the role of sexuality in your personal life (if you grew up with the conviction that for your personal life that sexual activity is only for people you love then that’s going to affect how open you are with comfort-zones and sexual attraction).
And while that characteristic is totally a thing that people can use to categorize themselves, I find that people who try to espouse demi-sexual as a main component of their sexual identity have some strange desire to differentiate themselves from people who are more open with their willingness to have sexual activity (those people that say “I can’t ever imagine having a one night stand or wanting to have sex with someone I just met so therefore I’m demi”).
I feel like part of what bothers me about how I’ve seen demi-sexuality used in sexual identity discourse as a whole is that I’ve seen so many people use it to make themselves feel like a special snowflake for not feeling like participating in more promiscuous behavior. And imo that’s such a subjective thing that I’m not sure it can be related to an “identity”. Levels of comfort with participating in promiscuity and varying personal needs for more emotional intimacy before physical intimacy is not really all that relevant to conversations about identity or being an “ally” because being demi-sexual is not an ostracized group that requires allies or a group that needs to differentiate itself in identity as a social statement of general attitudes/feelings like “queer” does. The only time it’s even remotely relevant is when we’re talking about people who are asexual (because asexual peaople/people close to Asexual on the spectrum actually do face a lot of erasure and issues related to that front) on some spectrum of Asexual-grayasexual-demisexual-sexual imo, or am I making an incorrect assumption?
But it’s really not all that relevant and I find that demi-sexuality has only been emerging in identity discourse as a reaction to the popular representation of hook-up culture. “Demisexual” isn’t a persecuted group (and actually faces even less social stigma than people who are more open with sexual attraction/activity because they don’t face as much slut-shaming in our absurd rape culture).
So I feel like as a non-persecuted group, the idea of coming out as demi after finding out there’s a word for it is as silly as coming out non-ironically for other non-oppressed identities. It’s like saying “I found out that being cisgender is a name of the gender identity I have so I’m going to come out as cis” or “I’m going to come out as straight after finding out there’s a word for it”. Like, it’s not terrible and people have a right to classify themselves- BUT there is this weird thing I’ve been seeing where people feel like they need to come out as demi the way some would one would come out as trans* or pan or bi —- it’s different to come out as a group that is oppressed because creating visibility gets rid of stigma and has an actual impact in changing societal comfort level and views about non-cis, non-hetero, etc feelings so that people realize that they’re not alone in their struggles with certain feelings. And Demi isn’t one of those groups.
Being demi is a grouping included in the range of variations that are so accepted and ingrained into the mainstream non-queer culture’s idea of “normal” variations that it doesn’t need the same treatment that other groups have. Eventually we want a society where people don’t HAVE to “come out” as gay or trans* or what have you because being those things is so accepted as a part of variations in being human. People who are “demi” already have that privilege.
Like, I feel like I personally don’t feel the need to distinguish myself as “demi” because there are other parts of my identity that actually require attention in discourse and public change of assumptions (being bi/pan) because being demi doesn’t make you a special snowflake. Being demi doesn’t affect societies institutional reactions to/assumptions about your existence (other than maybe occasionally being called a prude). It doesn’t affect your freedoms or what people think of who you are. If I told my mom and some other groups of people that I was bisexual she/they would probably beat me/physically abuse me and tell me I was going to Hell. If I told everyone I only feel sexually attracted to people after I get to know them and have become emotionally/romantically bonded, NO ONE WOULD CARE. The “demi” identity is one that doesn’t require people to be come out so that they feel less alone because they aren’t made to feel like freaks. And eventually we need to bring all the other groups into that sphere of comfort where they have the freedom to have variation and experiment with experiences and preferences and society not caring at all or making assumptions about what kind of person they are. Where people don’t have to “come out” in a heteronormative/gender-binary society.
I feel like the time when it’s appropriate to “come out” as demisexual/straight/cis/what have you if it’s alongside asexuals/LGBTQ/other groups in terms of expressing the spectrum of human existence (like on coming out day). Or if for some reason you were previously identified by others as another group and you want to clarify the truth.
I acknowledge that it’s cool that there’s a name for some characteristic about yourself. But I think we have to remember that a lot of these movements and communities we’re working on need to focus on groups and ideas that actually need the acceptance.
Mandy Duan (left), 26, and Cat Liao, 25
Homosexuality is still viewed as a sickness in Chinese society. Duan, a graphic designer, and her girlfriend, Liao, a shop clerk, both left their hometowns for Beijing, where there are growing underground support networks. They met at a lesbian gathering and have been dating for a year. It’s still common for gays to marry straight spouses to hide their sexuality. At 19, Liao’s parents discovered she was gay and forced her to marry a man. Now divorced, she had to give up custody of her daughter to her ex-husband. There are a few positive signs of gay acceptance, however, such as the recent lifting of a state ban on lesbians giving blood.
I’m not quite comfortable with the painting of their struggle as fundamentally Chinese, given that we’ve got the Red Cross forbidding gay men from giving blood. Still, they’re cute and it’s nice to see lesbians(rather than gay men or straight women like Katy Perry) portrayed as a face of the queer rights movement in any context.
I think bisexuals indeed experience more (personalized) negative response from the GGGG community (note that lesbians are also marginalized), but the overwhelming majority of erasure, pathologization, denial and silencing comes from the straight population and culture. Think of it this way: if bisexuality was accepted by the straight population, then bisexuals wouldn’t at all have need of joining LGBT communities. Seeing as we’re not even close, we seek out those communities as refuge – and subsequently experience rejection and end up heartbroken. But the reason that inner-LGBT biphobia feels more painful to us than straight biphobia isn’t that it’s more common or really worse, it’s simply because it’s more personal, coming from where we least expect it, from where we came seeking support.
It’s that time of year - National Coming Out Day. “Coming out” is the term used for telling people that your sexuality is something other than straight. It’s a massive step for many people, but should only be taken when one is ready and IF one wants to. I’d love there to be a situation where ‘straight’ wasn’t the default in society and there was no need to come out, but the reality of today is different. So to my LGBT community who aren’t ‘out’, don’t feel pressured to do so. Do what’s right for you as an individual. I pray the time comes when we can live our lives the way we see fit. Until then, know that the mods at IANH are always here for you.