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aphobia


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some people in a debate server i'm in tried to tell me that aphobia (discrimination against asexual or aromantic people) isn't real. i know they're wrong, but i was having trouble coming up with many examples of aphobia to prove it to them. if you guys could give me some examples of discrimination faced by people who are asexual or aromantic or who are on the asexual or aromantic spectrum, i'd appreciate it

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tw: r*pe

some examples i could think of are:

1. corrective r*pe done to asexual people 

2. aromantic people who are allosexual being called sluts or people who only care about sex

3. asexual or aromantic people being told the only reason they're asexual or aromantic is because no one wants to be in a relationship with them

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Aro or ace people going to therapy for something that has nothing to do with relationship issues, just to be told that their lack of attraction is a problem and that romance and sex will save them.

People using aromantic as a synonym to psychopath.

People saying being aro or ace is the same thing as being straight.

People changing the orientation of the character,  or their relationship to romance or sex, for the sake of their ship. (Jughead Jones being the obvious cas; but I saw people say that it arrives in fanfiction as well, with people for instance making an asexual sex favorable even if he was not, so they can write their sexual stories with him... I haven't see it as I don't read fanfiction but I won't be surprised) (I'm not saying that sex-favorable ace is not real and valider of course; just in this context, this is not a thing to do because it is a way to keep the (sexual) ship alive even if it shouldn't)

For people with a split attraction, people thinking that the part of your orientation that is not ace or aro is the one that matters, because who you are attracted to matters necessarily more than who you are not attracted to. The same way, people denying the usefulness of the SAM because what matters is who you are attracted to and no one cares if you are not attracted in everyway possible.

Constant denying of the reality of your orientation, or the reality of your problems. Negationism is probably the biggest problem of a-spec people.

 

Probably other things that I forget.

People tend to deny the reality of aphobia because it was not written in law that you can't be aro or ace (or that any law about it are about being single or celibate so not specific to a-spec people). But they forget that law is not the only way you can hurt people, and that the experience of being aro or ace can't be reduce to being single or celibate, because the reasons differ.

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In America we use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to diagnose, well, mental disorders. I don't know if there is an equivalent diagnosis in the ICD which most of the rest of the world uses, but in the DSM there is a disorder called hypoactive sexual desire disorder, which is characterized by a low libido and/or lack of interest in sex. The most recent edition of the DSM has an addendum stating that the diagnosis can't be given if the person identifies as asexual. However, given how asexuality is not super well known by the general public, I worry that there might be people who express worry that they might not be normal to a mental health professional and receive a diagnosis rather than be assured that they are normal and there is a community of people like them. I'm not sure if I think that hypoactive sexual desire disorder should exist as a diagnosis or not. On the one hand I imagine that if a formerly allosexual person suddenly loses interest in sex and is distressed by it, there would be a precedent for getting medical and/or psychological help. On the other hand, I worry that the medicalization of the lower end of the spectrum of human sexual desire is harmful to the asexual community, as I have only ever seen asexuality be discussed as a disorder in clinical or university class settings.

Fictional characters who were previously uninterested in sex or romance getting "fixed" over the course of a story. You know the trope of robots or aliens learning romantic love as they become "more human." Or the romance movie trope of people (often women) who are career driven and happily single finding "true happiness" when they fall in love.

"ArEn'T yOu WoRriEd aBoUt dYinG aLoNe?"

Actually the discourse surrounding asexuality and aromanticism are examples of aphobia in themselves. When people say asexuality and/or aromanticism aren't real and we're making it up to feel special, that's aphobia. When people say that ace and aro people don't belong in the LGBT+ community because we don't face discrimination, that's aphobia.

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The "you just haven't found the right person" thing. I was trying to tell my mom that i have no interest in dating and she said "yeah, no. How are you going to spend your whole life alone? You will change your mind". It is so annoying. People don't understand that being aro and/or ace is a real and valid orientation. Even if they say those things with a good intention (like oh, don't say that! You are beautiful and amazing, someday you will find someone), it erases our identity. It is like saying to a gay man that he will fall in love with a woman someday... Makes no sense. 

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Pressure to have sex when you're in a relationship.

The expectation that you will change your mind once you are in a relationship.

(if you are bipolar) if you temporarily become demisexual or Gray Ace while manic, your asexuality the rest of the time is automatically invalidated.

If you have a squish on someone, people assume it's a crush.

If you are willing to try sex under normal circumstances, you automatically cannot be asexual anymore.

I have experienced all of this.

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Tbh I kinda find mild distaste for the word aphobia more so because of how I saw ppl act over it. (Nearly typed amphibia lol)

But one I don't really understand aphobia cuz it lumps in both asexual and aromantic, like I know for sure people can be very pro asexual and yet disregard aromantic completely.

There is legitimate discrimination for sure,  some of it comes more under amatonormativity to single people, but more is just people just forcing a norm onto people. But I don't think its the same as outright homophobia which still happens today even in western countries, slamming insults, throwing rocks etc. Or even just passive aggressiveness.

Though yea some places or people or traditional treat single ppl or ppl who dont follow as bad. And yea ppl do feel scared of those who are different or threatened. And not feeling like u can talk about ur experiences openly to others is a legitimate concern.

 

But I dont think debating the idea of aromanticism is genuine discrimination or necessarily phobia, it really depends on the context. Or perhaps how pushy they are or hurtful. Maybe they just dont understand it.

Being dismissive about amatonormativity isn’t necessarily phobia either, maybe ignorance or different view. Unless it comes with hate or some kind of internalisation.

But when you talk to some of these people some will agree with aspects like single discrimination etc. And they don't have bad will towards anyone just disagreement.

So it is never fair to assume.

 

Plus I saw ppl joking that they were gonna shoot the "aphobic" ppl (yet what I read was really not that bad but regardless I don't think anyone deserves that)

Tbh this kinda makes me feel sick I don't like to see violence, but I assume it's just immature people. But I think some ppl just shout aphobic at too many things when not necessarily everything is against you, and divides ppl more. And the word is misleading really, would make more sense to refer to discrimination directly.

But of course there is discrimination both aro and ace but Id say they are different to each other.

Edited by mewix
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On 11/29/2021 at 7:41 PM, lonelyace said:

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

A lot of dsm is about labelling things they find "not normal" instead of understanding that different people might have different needs or just be fine or be going through a bad situation, as well as labelling based on symptom instead of cause (partly because they cant agree what the cause is of things).

Although thats not to say the issues it looks into don't need to be. But I don't really agree with the way they go about it. 

 

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This talk about the DSM and normal sexual behaviour remins me of an old article by Brian Deer (the guy who exposed Wakefield, damn good journalist) about what was at the time being referred to as sexual interest disorder. There has been an enormous amount of pressure to pathologise not wanting sex, in particular on the part of drug companies who would be very happy to sell a cure. And in particular to push to expand the range of what gets seen as sexual dysfunction in a way that pushes as many people as posible towards medical treatment.

https://briandeer.com/sexual-disorder.htm

Its a pretty saddening read now to be honest, with experienced researchers pushing for their model of female desire flat out saying that if someone does not have an interest in sex, even if they aren't bothered by it, have a disorder. Heres a conversation from the end of that article which, while never mentioning asexuality by name seems quite relevent and shows how the medicalisation can come in.

 If you’re in a situation when you have no interest in sex – even an ‘abnormal’ lack of interest in sex – but it doesn’t bother you, and you’ve not presented yourself to physicians saying you have a problem, your position is that their condition still exists.”

“That’s right,” she says.

“Now that creates the opportunity for all your little questionnaires in the waiting room – tick, tick, tick, tick. ‘Speak to the doctor about this’, and the doctor will flog you a drug.”

“But women who have no interest in sex and don’t care are not going to take a drug,” she hits back. “Why would they? They don’t care.”

“Because then you’re into fashion, social pressures, cultural pressures.”

“If you’ve got no interest, you’ve got no interest. By definition.”

“But if you turn on your TV and it says, ‘Are you feeling this?’ and you start to think: ‘Maybe…’ Then it says: ‘Are you bored?’ And you think: ‘Oh, well…’ And maybe it ties in with depression. ‘Maybe the reason you’re depressed is because you’re not getting enough sex.’ And you say: ‘Oh, I’m not interested in sex…’ And they say: ‘Well, we have a product for that’.”

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