As a follow-up post to yesterday’s post about asexuality as a disability, I wanted to talk about the idea that apparently, asexuals must be given “special treatment.”
I think this idea stems mainly from the idea that asexuality affects sexual relationships in a way that sexuals are not accustomed to, rather than from any difficulty getting along with everyday life. But even so… what the hell?
Why is it that “special treatment” is required in order to deal with asexuality, whereas homosexuality is dealt with without any such treatment? Certainly, there are differences between the way one would treat a gay man as opposed to a straight one. One wouldn’t walk up to a straight guy and try to set him up on a date with another guy, unless one is looking for a punch in the face. Likewise, a tolerant person would never walk up to a non-closeted gay man and try to set him up with a woman. These are just differences based on different people’s personal preferences. Failing to appropriately modify one’s behavior based on the known sexual orientation of the person one is interacting with would essentially be the same as serving meat to a vegan, or strawberries to a person who is known to be allergic to strawberries. Just a little more insulting.
The essential difference here is that when one makes these kinds of changes to one’s behavior in order to deal with different types of people, it is not demeaning to those people. Their basic humanity and maturity is not in question. But when dealing with asexuals, most sexual people either do not make these adjustments to their behavior, or make negative adjustments to their behavior, believing that asexuality is not real, or if it is, it must be a disorder or in this case, a disability. It is not seen as a natural and healthy pattern of sexual attraction (or lack thereof), but rather as a flaw that prevents us from living a fulfilling life.
Because of course, having sex is the only possible way an adult can find fulfillment.
And so, in order to uphold their own ideology, sexuals must find some way to discount asexuals as fully developed human beings. There is no room for us in their picture of the world, just as there is no room for any evidence backing evolutionary theory in a young Earth creationist’s picture of the world. Accepting us would be inconsistent; therefore we must not count as real human beings. We must be underdeveloped, we must be lacking basic emotions, we must be delusional, we must have some kind of disorder or disability. Thus the idea of “special treatment” which, in any other circumstance, would not be considered special treatment but just regular old consideration for people who are different from you–in other words, tolerance.
This is basically the same attitude that people who think asexuality is a phase have–“Oh, we’ll humor her because she’s going through this phase, just let it be and she’ll come out of it by herself.” Just dressed up in a different mindset. “Oh, I’ll have to humor her because she is disabled.” Instead of being treated as an adult human being whose way of thinking just happens to be different, I am being compared to (direct quote!) “a 5 year old, cross-eyed child.” Yeah, thanks.