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Aroace privilege


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It’s not only in a few of these posts but in real life that I have heard the term aroace privilege. First of all though I do not agree with people who try to set aro aces like me as ungrateful as we do not experience the same levels of discrimination that other members of the lgbt+ regularly receive, I would like to say that what gay, lesbian, transgender, nonbinary + people have experienced is undeniably awful. Yes I have never been beaten up or kicked out of home for being aro ace. I have been asked if I’m a psychopath, I have been told that my sexuality is not real but a result of personal insecurity and that I just haven’t met the right person about a million times but sure this pales in comparison to being sent to conversion therapy but someone’s own parents. What I believe however is that we shouldn’t gatekeep trauma or negative experiences. We should send the same love to everyone even those that that appear more privileged because we are all human. 

I often joke with my friends that if I was a guy I would be the embodiment of privilege as white,cis, fairly middle class and aro ace meaning I don’t have to deal with heartbreak or unreciprocated love. Thing is that is not entirely true either. 
I have never seen myself represented in media without actively trying to search for anything aro ace. 
I have never met another person with my sexuality and any songs on the radio, films or books remain a constant reminder of what I am missing out on even though I do not want it. 
Members of the lgbt+ community should stand together not bring others down because they have experienced worse. If we focused all our efforts from infighting to actually making change in the real world we could see positive representation for everyone, yes even straight white cis people. 
I don’t want anyone to think they don’t deserve to call themselves lgbt+ or are allowed to talk about their negative experiences because others have faced worse. 
It’s like telling someone with depression that there are people starving in Africa. That doesn’t make you any less VALID. 
Sorry for the rant. Love all you guys. 
 

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Totally agree.

3 hours ago, The A in Rainbow said:

It’s like telling someone with depression that there are people starving in Africa. That doesn’t make you any less VALID. 

This one hits home, because I remember how in my depression, I kept telling myself that there were a lot of people who have it worse than me like people starving in poor countries or people leaving in the streets, and that there must be something really wrong with me for being depressed when I don't have a particuliar hard life, it's "just" that I didn't like it. As you must guess, these thoughts only makes me more depressed. People saying this kind of things doesn't realize all the harm they are causing.

We will always find people who suffer more than us. But that doesn't mean the troubles and suffering we face don't exist and do no harm. It is not denying that some people do have it worse, it is just having this thing called "empathy".

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An effect of intersectionality is that privileges and disprivilegees do not "stack" in any simple way.
Aro aces having perioriented privilege doesn't really count for much.
Ditto for hetero aces having heteroromantic privilege or hetero-aros having heterosexual privilege.

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  • 8 months later...

Just because someone else is having worse issues than you doesn't mean that your problems aren't worthy to be addressed or don't deserve sympathy.

(This is a logical fallacy known as the Fallacy of relative privation or "appeal to worse problems".)

In any case, to what degree someone benefits or is oppressed due to a specific combination of identities can really vary from person to person.  It's a clear fact that some groups of people are unfairly discriminated against, but it's impossible to know what someone's life circumstances are like based solely on the kind of things you mention on a census form.  And as Mark said, it's not like you can just add together all of someone's labels and easily calculate how much privilege they have.  You're not choosing advantages and disadvantages in an RPG here.

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There's no 'aroace privilege' and saying that aroaces are privileged is aphobic. The only thing is visibility – aroaces are more visible than other arospec persons and it doesn't make them privileged. Also, the experience of discrimination never will be the same for all parts of LGBTQ+ community, for example: cis gay never will experience transphobia, so they have to stop marginalizing the discrimination against A-spec community. If they don't experience something doesn't mean that this kind of discrimination is 'less discrimination'.

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  • 5 months later...

I agree with OP. Also, it speaks for itself when people say "oh, you don't have this and that problem, you have it so much easier than me".
It's disgusting to outweigh personal suffering like that. It's completely invalidating and no one deserves it. Shows me as well people can't imagine the downsides of being aroace or ace/aro but there certainly are (greetings to my crushing loneliness) - just like with every orientation.

Edited by NotHeartless
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On 7/31/2021 at 10:00 PM, The A in Rainbow said:

I don’t want anyone to think they don’t deserve to call themselves lgbt+ or are allowed to talk about their negative experiences because others have faced worse. 

this! only assholes comment others had it worse under someone elses rant/vent. how is comparing different negative experiences your first reaction when you saw someone clearly distraught about something? its honestly ridiculous

because lgbtq folks likes to determine whether someone is included in the community or not by comparing traumatic experiences it doesnt feel like a community at all. if were fighting together for validation and recognition why invalidate fellow rainbowners negative experiences? anyone who does that are literally doing the same damn thing as the lgbtqphobic people

saying aroace folks are privileged straight but with more steps doesnt get discriminated etc are literally the definition of discrimination. aro/acephobes be saying we arent discriminated enough to be included in the lgbtq community alone are discriminating us. how ironic is that

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I've seen people unironically be like 'oh well since people are seen as straight in society by default, that means aroaces are just viewed as single straight people, meaning they still have straight privlege' which...no? They definitely aren't viewed the same way as single straight people are, aphobic people are quick to medicalize aroace people and view them as 'defective'.

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9 hours ago, Harvest said:

I've seen people unironically be like 'oh well since people are seen as straight in society by default, that means aroaces are just viewed as single straight people, meaning they still have straight privlege' which...no? They definitely aren't viewed the same way as single straight people are, aphobic people are quick to medicalize aroace people and view them as 'defective'.

In practice it's LGBTQ+ gatekeepers who tend to see aros as 'straight'.
Even though they can experience homophobia. Since homophobes often look for an absence of hetero-romantic behaviour. (Romance tends to be public and sex tends to be private.)

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17 hours ago, Harvest said:

I've seen people unironically be like 'oh well since people are seen as straight in society by default, that means aroaces are just viewed as single straight people, meaning they still have straight privlege' which...no? They definitely aren't viewed the same way as single straight people are, aphobic people are quick to medicalize aroace people and view them as 'defective'.

I always want to scream when people say that as we are single for most of us, we are like straight single people. Yeah always a straight one, they have to say we can't be like a gay single person. Also they would never say that to a gay single person. Because they recognize that for gay people, internal feelings, representation and all these things matter. But for us ? They don't care or understand.

 

The irony is that you will find a lot of aroaces people who pass as gay. I still remember this colleague who thought I was a closeted lesbian when I explain to her O don't feel attraction (she didn't say it like that but her "do you have a boyfriend" turned into "maybe you'll find a girl... Or a boy"). And I've read a lot of comments of people who pass as gay cause of their disinterest for the opposite sex...

So yeah the whole thing is ridiculous.

I personally wonder if part of it is also not due to the refusal to self reflect on their own behavior. I've seen LGBT+ people say we should not use "allosexual" cause their is no oppression or prejudice by people who feel sexual attraction against people who don't (not sse the same for alloromantic but that because it w no as t use in this place I guess), and that our problems are heteronormativity and feminism. Usually, the same people are very vocal about how LGBT+ communities are welcoming and if we had experiences that say the contrary, they are exceptions.

Now, of course straight and gay and bi etc are not the same. But I think that a lot of aro or ace people know that you can here the same phobic comments in both groups. Not from everyone of course, but it is not uncommon. But some people don't want to see themselves as problematic so they prefer dismiss our problems than self-reflect on what they are doing.

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i feel like aroace priviledge isnt a thing

i mean, me being aroace, i can never find any rep on TV or books (and especially in the fantasy genre, it's like searching for water in a dessert)

i feel like i might cme out as "straight passing" but am i really?

 

aphobia exists, people think those without romantic/sexual attraction need to be fixed, they believe romance and sex is above all else, etc.

 

i think having feelings (or lack of) isnt a competition.

everyone who isn't straight/cis is queer in some form. that's the only thing that should matter.

who is oppressed more or not is irrelevent and makes shit sound like a game

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Exactly. Privilege implies power over others due to being aroace, which just does not occur. And the straight passing argument is dumb (and rooted in biphobia). Like yes, people may look at an aroace person and assume they are straight, but they may do the same for any member of the queer community not actively engaged in blatantly obvious sexual/romantic activity with someone of the same gender.

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This whole thing about (insert demographic) privilege is a form of social manipulation by playing the victim. And I know what that looks like because I was friends with a sociopath for almost two decades. To say one has privilege is to suggest victimhood of another, and anytime one says "You're privileged!" they suggest they are the victim. Anytime someone names themselves as a victim you can bet it's a manipulation tactic toward some kind of gain. Those using such tactics will rebuff any sort of attempt at being related to, because it lessens their victimhood status and hence their leverage at getting what they want. What makes it more objectionable for me is the self-centeredness of it. There is a lack of perspective on a grander scale that insults those who have suffered greatly. Sure, lgbt people still face hardships, I'm not denying that. But in 2022 what guy, bi, lesbian or trans person is facing being burned at the stake for their orientation? That's where "faggot" comes from, did you know that? That word in its classical context means a pile of sticks for burning. Wanna guess how it came to be applied to gay men? I'll bet you no gay man in the modern West has had that happen to them. Does this not constitute a "privilege"? So maybe these people should get some perspective before calling someone else "privileged."

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17 hours ago, The Gray Warlock said:

This whole thing about (insert demographic) privilege is a form of social manipulation by playing the victim. And I know what that looks like because I was friends with a sociopath for almost two decades. To say one has privilege is to suggest victimhood of another, and anytime one says "You're privileged!" they suggest they are the victim. Anytime someone names themselves as a victim you can bet it's a manipulation tactic toward some kind of gain. Those using such tactics will rebuff any sort of attempt at being related to, because it lessens their victimhood status and hence their leverage at getting what they want. What makes it more objectionable for me is the self-centeredness of it. There is a lack of perspective on a grander scale that insults those who have suffered greatly. Sure, lgbt people still face hardships, I'm not denying that. But in 2022 what guy, bi, lesbian or trans person is facing being burned at the stake for their orientation? That's where "faggot" comes from, did you know that? That word in its classical context means a pile of sticks for burning. Wanna guess how it came to be applied to gay men? I'll bet you no gay man in the modern West has had that happen to them. Does this not constitute a "privilege"? So maybe these people should get some perspective before calling someone else "privileged."

I definitely understand the point you're trying to make, as a lot of western LGBTQ folks tend to get stuck up and forget their lives are far off better than those in other parts of the world, but according to etymonline "The explanation that male homosexuals were called faggots because they were burned at the stake as punishment is an etymological urban legend. " not to be pedantic or anything I just hear it come up a lot.

Also not all instances of people mentioning the concept of privlege are necessarily a form of manipulation to garner sympathy or some kind of special treatment. People often pretend to be victims, or use their victimhood as a way of absolving themselves of responsibility for their actions, but genuine privlege does exist and sometimes it is important to point out people's privlege in certain situations. 

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16 hours ago, Harvest said:

I definitely understand the point you're trying to make, as a lot of western LGBTQ folks tend to get stuck up and forget their lives are far off better than those in other parts of the world, but according to etymonline "The explanation that male homosexuals were called faggots because they were burned at the stake as punishment is an etymological urban legend. " not to be pedantic or anything I just hear it come up a lot.

If that's the case, then it's my fault for not doing my due diligence.

16 hours ago, Harvest said:

Also not all instances of people mentioning the concept of privlege are necessarily a form of manipulation to garner sympathy or some kind of special treatment. People often pretend to be victims, or use their victimhood as a way of absolving themselves of responsibility for their actions, but genuine privlege does exist and sometimes it is important to point out people's privlege in certain situations. 

True. Again I'm not saying these issues are non existent, but that far too many people lack perspective. Another point I would like to make to make is that if we take the premise of this "suffering hierarchy" that seems to be the rationale of aro/ace exclusion, apply it to society at large, and take it to its logical conclusion, then a very large portion of the population would lose their place in the discussion of public issues as well as the right to voice their ideas or opinions, and only a small few would ever benefit. One might say they would be privileged. And the world will not have changed for the better save for those few. 

And personal opinion, just so people know, I'm just fine with not being counted as LGBTQ et al. I don't even think of myself as fitting that label. It's just this whole "you haven't suffered as much as I have" thing that sticks in my craw. I know I bring this up a lot, but I was raised in a cult and was abused physically and verbally by a parental figure. So most people haven't suffered like I have. But, then again, how do I know that? How do I know what their experiences were and how they stack up to mine? Is it even fair to either me or them to make such an apples to apples comparison even if I could get it? And even if I could fairly make that comparison, the other person isn't any less deserving of my respect, or my compassion, for it.

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On 10/5/2022 at 12:38 PM, Harvest said:

Also not all instances of people mentioning the concept of privlege are necessarily a form of manipulation to garner sympathy or some kind of special treatment. People often pretend to be victims, or use their victimhood as a way of absolving themselves of responsibility for their actions, but genuine privlege does exist and sometimes it is important to point out people's privlege in certain situations. 

Of course I do not deny that there are unfair advantages in society, that certain minorities are genuinely oppressed and constitute genuine victims in some way (even in cases when they're largely well-off).

But "privilege" (in the social justice sense) feels like a term deliberately designed to get confused and conflated with other concepts. That's why it is regarded as so offensive, and why it is so easily weaponized (it triggers defensiveness and denial, which is then interpreted as fragility, a type of bigotry itself).

Traditionally "privilege" had two meanings:

  1. a clear-cut, special legal entitlement or immunity granted by the state. Such privileges are not bad per se, but (at least in modern democracies) mostly good, necessary and/or earned.
  2. a state of having lots of advantages, like wealth and connections, which other people usually do not have (typically conferred by birth).

We all know that you can be very powerless and suffering yet still have legal privileges (e. g. a homeless defendant has testimonial privilege). This is relatively uncontroversial.

But "privilege" (in the social justice sense) takes this idea and applies it to social issues, which makes people think of privilege in the sense of definition 2. That's why the word becomes so offensive to most people.

Especially when being simply free of some abuse or oppression counts as "privilege".

The original 1989 article by Peggy McIntosh acknowledges this problem but dismisses it with a sleight of hand.

So IMHO even after all this time, we know how this works out:

A very socio-economically disadvantaged straight person will likely be offended when they hear about "straight privilege".

Because they hear: "You as a straight person are privileged [in the sense of definition 2]".

 

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