Saturday, May 1, 2010
Blogging Against Disabilism Day
I'm going to try not to screw this up. But I probably will. I'm more or less able-bodied, have been pretty much all my life. The only disability I really know anything about is hearing impairment, and the people I've known with that had hearing aids so they could hear pretty decently- even if people were assholes to them because of it. I also might screw up the language pretty badly- so please tell me if I have.
I've seen a few asexuals with disabilities comment that they feel out of place in both communities. And it's not hard to see why. Asexuals put so much emphasis (maybe I should have bolded, underlined, and made that neon) on being healthy. This is understandable. There are a lot of people who insist that asexuality is a disorder of some kind- mental, physical, result of trauma, etc. I've seen people who spent years undergoing procedures to "cure" their asexuality. It didn't work, and could have done other damage. People who've gone to therapists to try and deal with some other issue, but once asexuality was brought up the therapist wouldn't get off that or spent their time/money trying to find out what's wrong with them.
But that's not a justification- just an explanation of the reality. As long as the world stays in its mindset that sex is the GREATEST THING EVAR and that anyone who doesn't want it must be extremely broken- we're going to be insisting that we aren't broken. And, unfortunately, we're apparently going to be doing this in an extremely ablist way. I don't think it's on purpose for the most part. AVEN also had a few people who had been victims of sexual abuse, who did have other things that may have "caused" their asexuality, all this other stuff- we wouldn't insist that you had to be healthy to be asexual- you just get a lot of stupidity about emphasis on being "normal" and "healthy" (aka- able bodied/minded).
One person, a long-time moderator, was against anyone who had (or appeared to have) a mental disability of any kind. Repulsed asexuals? Have a severe mental problem and that they need to get over. GTFO our forums. Depressed and/or Gender Dysphoric? That's what people who think asexuality is a pathology WANT to see! GTFO our forums. I left before it got any worse. Change your username more times than she's comfortable with? Clearly having an identity crisis! GTFO our forums. Not that she ever kicked anyone off- she didn't have the power. And those are just the ones I've seen- considering what was going on, I wouldn't be surprised if polyamory & otherkin was getting ready for the next attack. She also insisted that anyone who didn't fit her definition of "neurotypical" belonged in an insane asylum. Unfortunately, most of this happened in the admods' area- so it's not publically available. Also- I despise AVEN and refuse to go back even just to get links- so y'all are on your own.
There's also a bit from the differently-abled community, but I don't really feel like getting into anything I don't understand. I do know that most of the world considers mentally disabled people incapable of having sex- or at least consenting. They don't even have a right to. Physically disabled people are generally considered pitiable at best. Anyone who'd want to be with a disabled person sexually must be a pervert or chaser or other derogatory term- and even if they aren't, your disability is often considered worse on those around you than it is on you, so you get to hear all this "you're so brave for putting up with the horribleness of being with your broken partner!" bull directed at your partner. As you'd imagine, the pwd- who are people and have the same range of (a)sexualities/genders/kinks/etc as able-bodied/minded people- put a bit of emphasis on the fact that they have every right to have sex with who and how they want. They seem to be a bit better at not ignoring asexuals through this- but sexuals aren't always great at expressing/including asexuality.
So differently-abled asexuals get the delightful experience of having people assume that they're asexual because of their disability, possibly even using their asexuality to reinforce that all differently-abled people are asexual. I don't even know what happens with romantics with disabilities- they probably get "No one would ever date someone who doesn't want sex!" taken to a new level. And at the same time, the asexual community displays equally delightful amounts of ablism in their quest to be respected as valid. I'm guessing that every community needs to kick someone else down- and currently pwd are the bottom rung. This, by the way, is a trait of humanity that I positively despise. I really hope that the asexual community will get over itself and realize that there's no reason to be like this.
And also that the medical community will get off it's high-horse and realize that not every deviation in humanity is a OMGHORRIBLEDISEASE that needs to be fixed NAO. But that's more in general.