Believe it or not, oppression is not a ranking list. It is not a category under which are filed severity of punishments or a rating of the emotional damage. And, if any of you are an oppressed minority, I’m assuming you’ve run into this problem before. We have a name for that: it’s called the oppression olympics, and there is possibly nothing more annoying in the world of activism.
Recently I was swept up into one of those neat little Tumblr debates: whether or not heteroromantic asexuals could be allowed into LGBTQ safe spaces, or even whether they were categorized under the LGBTQ umbrella. This devolved into an absolute s***storm of name-calling, bigotry, and, you guessed it, oppression olympics. They argued that since Heteroromantic relationships weren’t condemned by society, then those individuals didn’t have the priviledge of belonging to the apparently exclusive club. I don;t know about you, but I didn’t know that the LGBTQ umbrella was defined by oppression.
As far as I’m concerned, it should be defined by deviation from the commonly accepted norm, which is heterosexual cisgendered people. And heteroromantics aren’t heterosexual, they’re asexual. The romantic orientation shouldn’t be the focus–yes, it has hetero in it, but it’s not okay to completely ignore the ‘sexual’ part of the equation. Asexual people aren’t heterosexual, and that’s that.
Another point: I don’t understand why relationships are defined as gay or straight. That’s like personification. The people are grey, straight, ace, pan, bi, etc., not the relationships themselves. That just opens up the floodgates to all sorts of problems.
Asexuals get enough flack from the LGB community as it is. Since we don’t get the same kinds of oppression as people of other sexual persuasions, then we, by extension, aren’t oppressed. Apparently at all. No, asexuality is just considered a disorder by most mental health professionals and we’re told we don’t exist on a regular basis.
It’s true that Uganda isn’t trying to kill us, Westboro Baptist Church isn’t making the war our fault, but yes, we do face some kinds of oppression, and that should be taken seriously even if it isn’t as extreme as some of the other types of oppression LGBTQ people face around the world.