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Labelling Your Sexuality

Does everyone have a right to know?

These days there are so many labels for sexual and romantic identity that it's hard to keep track of them all. And that's before we start combining them together in different ways.

It can be hard for some people to wrap their heads around, and it often leaves them asking: are so many terms really necessary? 

But I think that begs another question: is it really anyone else's business? However someone chooses to identify is a personal choice that really has nothing to do with anyone else, or their opinions. 

This idea of policing other people's identities is not a new one within the GSM community. And I use GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities) very specifically here, because LGBTQIA+ doesn't quite roll off the tongue as well as it used to, and it still leaves certain people feeling excluded. Something that should unite us, is instead dividing us.

For instance: biphobia. Prejudice against bisexual individuals doesn't just come from one side. In fact, notable gay rights activist and founder of The It Gets Better Project, Dan Savage, has previously made several biphobic remarks and held biphobic opinions (he has also previously said transphobic things and at least one controversial comment on asexuals).  

The truth is that prejudices that come from within a community often hurt far worse than ones that come from outside of that community, and I'm speaking from personal experience here. I identify as biromantic demisexual and it was a long journey to being comfortable with that.

I knew from a very young age that I was attracted to people of my own gender as well as to people of genders not my own, and as soon as I learned the word "bisexual" I thought oh, that's me. It was an empowering moment and allowed me access to a community of people who were like me. Cut to nine years later and I've spent a lot of time avoiding the word "asexual" because I was scared of the truth, scared that my sexuality was something that my anxiety was going to take away from me. It took someone else from the community talking to me for me to frame it a different way, and then to do the research to discover the term "demisexual" and I thought oh, that's me.

It brought along with it the difficulty of having to explain my sexual orientation to people whenever I came out (because anyone who says you only have to come out once is a liar). There's an uncomfortableness in having to explain and give definitions of your sexuality to people you may not even know very well, especially when it's so personal and they assume this means they can ask invasive personal questions. It does beg the question, who's entitled to know how you define your sexuality? 

The acceptance of individuals on the asexual spectrum isn't universal across the GSM community. In fact, there are people who actively campaign to exclude asexuals. And this isn't limited to the asexual community, there are multiple orientations that fall under fire as to whether they are "legitimate" and whether they should even be used, let alone "allowed" into the wider community.

As always the question should be asked though, where do we draw the line? If we start excluding groups then we make the whole community an unsafe space, and that way the only ones who win are the homophobes and the bigots because after all, we'd be doing their work for them.  

And none of this even touches on the discrimination within the community that non-cisgendered people experience. Imagine that for a second.

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Labelling Your Sexuality
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