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Aranea

Heteroromantic Asexuals: Are They "Straight"?

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demiandproud   
demiandproud

Part of the confusion, if you can call it that, is that it also depends on which model you use. If you think in four sexual orientations, straight, gay, bi, ace, then you can't be both straight and ace. If you're thinking in primary and secondary orientations, or different orientations on different level of attractions, it's possible to be two things at once.

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Unlabeled   
Unlabeled

TW: brief mention of the q-slur.

There is a lot of discussion on tumblr about asexuality; specifically, heteroromantic asexuals. The discussions on that site are mostly negative and quite mean, and I don't recommend searching the tags for anything related to asexuality. Firstly, an argument was posed that (cis)heteroromantic asexuals cannot identify as/reclaim the word "queer" due to its historic target audience when used as a derogatory term (gay and trans individuals). Secondly - and the argument this topic is about - is that heteroromantic asexuals are straight asexuals.

As a het ace, being called straight is a nightmare. I don't identify as straight. I don't feel the sexual attraction necessary to be straight (to my own understanding this is heteroromantic heterosexual). Therefore, I am not straight. Perspectives on straight people in the LGBTQIAP+ community are already negative due to heteronormativity, heterosexism, etc. I don't want to be lumped in with a group with entire straight privilege. While I absolutely acknowledged that I have straight-passing privilege - like many other people in the community do, depending on how they present and the gender of the person they date at a given time - I still don't consider myself straight. The argument for het aces being straight seems to be that the definition of "straight" is exclusive attraction to the opposite gender. Does this include solely romantic attraction? sexual attraction? For me, it's absolutely both.

Countering the het ace =/= straight argument is a question of whether or not a homoromantic asexual is gay or not. In my own opinion, however they identify is what matters. I would call them gay myself, and in that regard I can see where the assumption comes from. This person is strictly "into" their same gender. And yet, that tricky, illusive "asexual" comes into play, and the question becomes whether or not they identify themselves as gay, or as asexual, or as something else entirely. Thus, the issue - and answer - comes down to self-identification and the invalidation asexuals experience from within the community on a daily basis.

I can see and understand why people say het aces are straight, but the entire discussion is full of bullying and disrespecting labels. Perhaps I'm taking it too personally because I associate straight as not good within the community. However, the discussion is also, yet again, a prevalent issue of whether or not asexuals are oppressed enough to "count"; and those who have established places in the queer community, distinguished from heterosexuals, continue to label asexuals and talk about their place in the community without consideration of asexual opinions. All in all, the issue is full of problems. Being called straight over and over by users on the website actually caused me to break down crying a few times the other day, and now even seeing it mentioned on that site gives me an anxiety attack. I want to have a civil conversation there, but I know it won't happen. So, like most ace issues, I come to you all.

What are your opinions? Are het aces "straight" asexuals? Can you be "straight" and be in the LGBTQIAP+ community? What do you think of the homoromantic asexual situation, and can the same logic be applied (heteroro = straight, homoro = gay)? What do you think about the community's treatment and discussion of asexuals and asexuality, namely do you see a problem with how the topics are approached?

My opinion is that what people are is redundant at best, and outright harmful at worst. What's it matter what someone is? As depicted well in the 3rd "The Matrix" movie, when Neo's trapped in that subway system with the Indian family and reacts puzzled to hear a program say he loves his daughter and wife to which the program responds like, "Love is simply a word." That's how I feel about terms used to describe another person's sexuality. They're just words. No more valid or binding than if I wanted to call myself a purple aardvark. Does that mean that by virtue of the term I'm now empirically a purple aardvark? Of course not. So why give special credence to sexual designations? hey only serve as stigmatizing terms people use to marginalize other people.

In my opinion.

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demiandproud   
demiandproud

My opinion is that what people are is redundant at best, and outright harmful at worst. What's it matter what someone is? As depicted well in the 3rd "The Matrix" movie, when Neo's trapped in that subway system with the Indian family and reacts puzzled to hear a program say he loves his daughter and wife to which the program responds like, "Love is simply a word." That's how I feel about terms used to describe another person's sexuality. They're just words. No more valid or binding than if I wanted to call myself a purple aardvark. Does that mean that by virtue of the term I'm now empirically a purple aardvark? Of course not. So why give special credence to sexual designations? hey only serve as stigmatizing terms people use to marginalize other people.

It's true that language is always in motion, should never make people powerless and not get used to do harm. I think there's two issues at play that do make this discussion relevant, however.

1) It's a liberation to be part of a sexual identity. It feels good to know that other ducks swim and quack like you do. It feels good to have words to talk. Words have power over people, but also give power to people. So. There's a good side to that.

2) We're defining communities. The discussions about who calls themselves asexual, who calls themselves queer and who calls themselves straight are discussions not just about the identity you've adopted, but the group you wish to belong to. It's total in/out-group behaviour.

I'm demisexual, leaning hetero, but I don't call myself straight, because I don't feel I belong to that orientation, it feels alien. On the other hand, I feel part of the ace community, though in the strictest sense I'm not ace, but demisexual. I don't call myself queer, since I lean to the hetero side in partner preference, but I do feel affiliated with that community because they've fought for an open discourse of sexual orientation in my country that I benefit from, and I've had good conversations with people from the LGBT community because we felt united in having a sexual identity outside of the norm.

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Tunes   
Tunes

Part of the confusion, if you can call it that, is that it also depends on which model you use. If you think in four sexual orientations, straight, gay, bi, ace, then you can't be both straight and ace. If you're thinking in primary and secondary orientations, or different orientations on different level of attractions, it's possible to be two things at once.

This is another reason to start by saying that you are ase. Then, if they think in the more limited terms, they won't ask any farther and you will not be labelled as part of the straight-privaleged group. On the other hand, if there is someone who does think in the less limited terms, they can ask for clarification, and then you give them the actual term for it (heteroromantic) just for the extra emphasis.

It's total in/out-group behaviour.

And when you always feel like you are part of the out group, it's nice to have an in group to come to at the end of it. ^^

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KendraPM   
KendraPM

Part of the confusion, if you can call it that, is that it also depends on which model you use. If you think in four sexual orientations, straight, gay, bi, ace, then you can't be both straight and ace. If you're thinking in primary and secondary orientations, or different orientations on different level of attractions, it's possible to be two things at once.

That's a good way to put it. I guess I fall under the primary and secondary orientations arena. I see them as broad term and then more specified term as you go.

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Hidden Greg   
Hidden Greg

I feel as though I've had the inverse problem. Since I'm not an aromantic asexual, and I know within certain parameters I am able to feel sexual attraction towards those of the opposite gender and the opposite gender only, I have always considered myself straight. My difficulty comes from when people take my bemusement at constant discussion of the physical attractiveness of women, or my blanket answer of "No. Why?" to questions along the lines of "would you bang [insert female celebrity here]?" as indication that i'm not straight.
Personally, I don't see how identifying as straight negates any of the difficulties of being on the asexual spectrum - the two operate on different axes, and any differentiation from the societal norm along any axis often will entail difficulties regardless of where you see yourself on the others. And in my understanding... the term "straight" only pertains to the axis of sexual orientation, and not the sexual-asexual axis.

[Edit: I said I viewed 'straight' as only pertaining to sexual orientation, of course, I completely forgot to account for romantic orientation.]

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MerePeasant   
MerePeasant

This is more confusing than I thought! Quite interesting.

For myself, for ease - and well, the whole thing is pretty personal - I would say 'straight' in any other circle than this forum. But for here I am putting heteroromantic so clearly feeling that to say 'straight' would not be quite correct. If only it were as simple as that, but it's not and there's a difference between heterosexual and heteroromantic ... Yeah, to be honest I'm not even sure where I'm going with this any more. I should be in bed.

I kind of accept an element of 'straight' to myself - as a bit grey in areas, sometimes I do think it might be the closest and easiest label. (Yet secretly pondering towards the heteroromantic. But I've never thought about labelling myself as 'queer'. I'm not interested in labels enough for that. I know I'm not particularly sexual and that's my personal business and nothing else. I'm not worried about being defined. :))

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(1/137)ce   
(1/137)ce

If I called myself not straight, I know straight people who would probably disagree with me. If I called myself straight, I know other straight people who would disagree with me. It's not much of an indicator.

When I really introspect, I feel like my "heteroromanticism" stems more from nurture than nature whereas my asexuality stems from nature. If I were a clean slate, I probably would give far less shits about the gender of the people I date and, who knows, it may change to be more universal some day. So am I straight? It's actually makes more sense for me to say that I am.

Aside from the luxury of not having to explain being "straight" to people, my reasoning is that for the vast majority of history, sex and sexual attraction was a taboo subject in the Western world. And most of the time sexual attraction was not necessary to live a "straight" life. All that really mattered at the end of the day, so to speak, was who you wanted on your arm at the big dance. The asexual community, it seems, became a thing in a reaction to the very recent embrace of sexuality as a non-taboo subject. With that comes an implication that there's a societal expectation to be sexual, which in turn leads to asexuality becoming a useful explanation of things for people. But I feel like the general concept of "being straight" long predates that and doesn't necessarily need to change.

If there's a cool interesting single girl who's pretty to look at, I'd have no barriers to asking her out (just like a straight guy). That's to a large degree less likely to happen with a cool interesting pretty dude (again, just like a straight guy). So? I'm straight, by my own definition.

Some heteroromantic aces don't want to be called straight, that's cool too.

You could also use a physics-like explanation to it. "Straight" is a binary alternative to all this terminology trying to describe a spectrum. You're either straight or you're not. But a lot of factors go into that. It's a multi-parameter single-valued function, you're going to lose some information by the nature of it. Consider that both sexuality and romanticism go into the concept of "straight". Assume sexual orientation is "more important" than romantic orientation. I'm asexual, so I don't have any kind of sexual attraction, so without that "first-order term" it's the "second-order term" (my romantic orientation) that dominates the function. TL;DR I'm more straight than not straight.

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fluffghet   
fluffghet

The thing is, both sides have legitimate arguments to them.

Straight is- courtesy of urban dictionary- simply hetero SEXUAL. Which aces obviously aren't. So from that point of view, they definitely aren't straight and queer is- thank you urban dictionary- a person that isn't heterosexual. Plus, in a society that has become highly sexualised and all about sex and sexual acts, to NOT have any sort of sexual attraction most definitely goes against its norms, which is what queer originally used to mean.

However, then you have the other side, which uses the argument that heteroromantics have the benefits of being straight- especially the asexuals who like sex or have a high sex drive or don't mind having sex when their partner wants it. And I can see where they're coming from, and I can see why they wouldn't want a sex-loving heteroromantic ace to call themselves part of the queer community because, to them, they don't suffer any prejudice or whatever because their actions and sexuality aren't discriminated against and haven't been like gay rights have been or transgenders or lesbians or bisexuals etc.

If I was a heteroromantic ace, I would call myself part of the queer community, because I would be basically something that is never seen in society: someone who has no interest in sex. But, if someone who was 'definitely' part of the community, i.e a gay or trans person, explained they didn't think I WAS, I would listen to what they had to say and, if it was properly offending them, I wouldn't call myself queer around them. Even if I identified as such.

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omgsospooky   
omgsospooky

That is a good point. We must all remember that there is a difference between sexuality and romanticism. Just because you are heteroromantic, that does not default you into being heterosexual. In fact it is possible to be heteroromantic and homosexual. I suppose, if the labels were a big bother, you may want to also add a label for your sexuality to make it clearer. I use heteroromantic and grey ace for that reason. :)

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Sandra B   
Sandra B

I am a Heteroromantic Asexual which according to Aven Wiki is as below: Copyrighted to them of course.

So as far as I am concerned, I am a romantic asexual, who is only romantically attracted to the opposite sex. Not the same sex or other. I like to call myself a straight ace, and although I have gay and lesbian friends, I do not like people assuming that because I am asexual, I am gay, when I very much am not.

Romantic orientation

Romantic orientation refers to an individual's pattern of romantic attraction based on a person's gender. This is considered distinct from sexual orientation, which refers specifically to a person patterns of sexual attraction, which is distinct from romantic attraction. There are many romantic identities just like sexual orientations.

Romantic orientation terminology follows that of sexual orientation terminology for example:

  • A heteroromantic person is someone romantically attracted to a different sex or gender.
  • A homoromantic person is someone romantically attracted to the same sex or gender.
  • A biromantic or panromantic person is romantically attracted to multiple sexes or genders
  • An aromantic person is someone who is not romantically attracted to any sex or gender.

There are also some people who do not find the concept of romantic attraction useful, who may use terms such as "wtfromantic".

Like sexual orientation, there is a gray area between aromantic and romantic, which is called grayromantic. They may feel romantic attraction, but very rarely, , or very weak.

For many people, their romantic orientation and their sexual orientation may be in alignment, so the gender(s) of the people they fall in love with are also the gender(s) they are sexually attracted to. For others, however, their romantic and sexual orientations may not match. This is true not only for asexuals but for people of all sexual orientations. Although -romantic terminology is mostly used by individuals in the asexual community, the concept is considered applicable to people of all sexualities.

For asexuals, who do not experience sexual attraction, it is often their romantic orientation that determines which gender(s), if any, they are inclined to form romantic relationships with.

Outside of asexual discourse, where the concept of romantic orientation is often not used, the term "Sexual Orientation" is often used to refer to a persons overall combination of both romantic and sexual attractions, rather than differentiating between the two.

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KendraPM   
KendraPM

I'm confused now. I did say that heteroromantic asexuals were straight, but now I'm starting to think they aren't.

For now, I think I'll go with they are straight because it's just easier to say straight than to say "asexual who dates men."

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demiandproud   
demiandproud

You could also use a physics-like explanation to it. "Straight" is a binary alternative to all this terminology trying to describe a spectrum. You're either straight or you're not. But a lot of factors go into that. It's a multi-parameter single-valued function, you're going to lose some information by the nature of it. Consider that both sexuality and romanticism go into the concept of "straight". Assume sexual orientation is "more important" than romantic orientation. I'm asexual, so I don't have any kind of sexual attraction, so without that "first-order term" it's the "second-order term" (my romantic orientation) that dominates the function. TL;DR I'm more straight than not straight.

I like this description a lot, and it makes sense.

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Sandra B   
Sandra B

In my opinion? Heteroromantic asexual people are straight. Tagging on the "ace" at the end is how you prevent from erasing your asexuality.

The issue on tumblr right now is straight ace people trying to claim they are allowed to use the word "queer" when they're not (unless they're trans). They're straight. They can't use the word queer.

Discrimination against gay people isn't based on what they do in bed. No homophobic person sees two gay people holding hands and think, "But maybe they're really asexual and just homoromantic, I should lay off." The assumption with any couple is that they're having sex, and although that is a wrong assumption, it still does not change the fact that gay people, whether they're homoromantic or homosexual, are the target of discrimination. Not straight people.

It doesn't matter if someone has had sex with their partner or not. In a homophobic world like ours, doing something as minimal as holding hands can trigger terrifying consequences. Of course, in countries like America, it's gotten considerably better within the last 50 years, but in other parts of the world, it's still illegal to be gay. And it does not matter if you're homoromantic asexual, the mere fact that you experience any form of attraction towards the same gender automatically labels you as gay and you are now at risk.

I identify as a gay asexual. Saying that "straight asexual" isn't correct erases the experiences of people like me (I've personally never been a relationship, but I still have felt hostility towards the fact the identify as male and am attracted to men). There are far more important things than to be sitting around debating over whether or not it's okay to call heteroromantic asexual people straight or not when your homoromantic counterparts are suffering from homophobia - even though they are ace.

Being asexual isn't a trigger for violence a large majority of the time or legal discrimination. Erasing asexuality is frustrating, yes, but it doesn't change the fact that society is far more comfortable with you never having sex with your partner of the opposite gender than you just having a partner of the same gender in the first place.

Hi, I agree, in my opinion, heteroromantic people are straight. I am attracted to the opposite sex, to me that's being straight. As far as I understand, if you are straight, then you are not gay, but the opposite to gay, which is straight. I have gay and lesbian friends and I am not on Tumblr. It sounds horrid what they are having to put up with over there. In the UK, or at least where I live in Exeter, and places I have visited such as London, it's seems fine to be gay and to hold hands in public is much more common these days, while to be asexual is not accepted. I am a confident heteroromantic asexual and have finally silenced the demeaning comments from a couple of people at work, but some people I meet are still horrid about it and trying to tell me I am not. It's disgusting behaviour, but I will not hide away. I talk about my asexuality in a lot of everyday conversations now. As far as I am concerned, the more the word is spread, the quicker more people with have to accept it's a part of life, even if they don't agree with it.

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CaptainYesterday   
CaptainYesterday

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Sandra B   
Sandra B

I don't consider any person who is negatively affected due to their sexual orientation - either directly through discrimination or indirectly through marginalization - to be "straight."

I don't agree. Other people's discriminatory attitude or behaviour is just that; it's an attitude or behaviour, and it's their problem. They don't define who I am and who I am attracted to. Just because I don't like sex, does not mean I am not straight, because I am a straight romantic person, and if I have to redefine the concept as a straight asexual concept instead of societies sexual straight concept, I will.

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milkyway   
milkyway

Anon notes:

I would honestly rather be gay than asexual. I'm a huge romantic at heart

Ah. And you know, it's almost - almost - fashionable to be LGBT, any of those initials.

But if you say "ACE," you get accused of "sexual repression," or "trauma" or "what's wrong with you?" like it is an illness instead of an orientation. DSM: "Sexual Arousal Disorder" "Sexual Disorder Not Otherwise Specified" Dysfunction, disorder, blah blah blah. It's what I've been thinking about myself for a decade now. Geez, have these surgeries, and my experiences of tantric abuse FINALLY gotten to me and shut down my orange svadisthana chakra? Maybe I was a lesbian all along, but "went with what was normal" because that's what I understood? What is WRONG with me?

If I told a doctor that I didn't want sex again ever - they would load me down with drugs trying to kindle something that's not really there. And it would be the same for my mother, and my birthmother, too. "If you aren't horny as heck, you must be ill!" Seems to be the cultural norm.

Gay started out this way. Now it is a "natural orientation." Sure, there is still global resistance to the "lifestyle." But it's almost fashionable to be gay - so much so that I worry that young people are making choices based on peer pressure, rather than their natural inclinations. Likewise, if their natural inclination is NOT/Ace - that should be respected, and they shouldn't be made to feel something is wrong with them.

I think that's how piggybacking on the LGBTA can be helpful, because, look how far they've come in the past 50 years. Thing is, how many initials can we add to the moniker before it becomes a meaningless classification? How many Trans' identify with LGBT? Some of them, are certainly "straight," even if they don't identify with the gender of their body - Trans is not about "orientation," it's about gender identity. But they get lumped in with the "Q's".

It's like the difference between androgynous and asexual. They can be related, but not necessarily?

I'm sorry to reply to an old thread but someone pointed out this thread to me as we were debating this issue and I just couldn't not reply to this message.

First though on the subject: yes, to me, heteroromantic asexuals (and heterosexual aromantics) are straight. They are both straight and asexual, they benefit from being straight but still have issues that are specific to asexual people just like straight trans people exist. I see some kind of intersection here. LGB asexuals exist and face different issues because they are both LGB and aces. It's not insulting to say so. I would only be insulting if people were denying you asexuality and the issues that come with it (something that do, unfortunately, happen and you have my support).

I am both gay and grey/ace (don't really know where I stand, but you can believe me when I say that sexual attraction is foreign to me) and I find it a bit homophobic (or at least offensive) to read that being LGBT is fashionable and widely accepted apart from the "lifestyle". Your post makes it seem like it's easier to be gay (or even trans) that it is to be asexual and that is very wrong.

First, there are still many places in which LGBT are considered as criminal and can be killed for it (something that doesn't happen to hetero aces, though I do think that they are likely to experience violence and nobody should deny that fact). Places in which we have the same right as straight people are still not the majority and in many our rights are threatened on a daily basis. We are still beaten, raped and insulted for being LGBT. Trans people are still heavily medicalised, forced to be sterelised in many countries (including France, where I was born), denied legal change of gender for stupid reasons, etc.

We still are more likely than the rest of the population to commit suicide, have bad mental health, be kicked out of our houses, denied employment, etc.

No matter what tumblr make it seem (and they are not that friendly toward actual LGBT people, more toward new labels), it is not fashionable and we don't have it easy.

Not every gay grey/ace will agree with me on that, but I personally find it harder to be gay than to be grey/ace. It can sure be scary and I do wonder about the success of my relationships and stuff I shouldn't have to worry about, but being gay is harder. I'm afraid of being too visible and get beaten, I wanted to die when people started to protest my rights and call me and other LGBT people a threat to the society, I was scared of myself for years, hated myself for that. I mean, not feeling sexual attraction is hard, you wonder what is wrong with you, but being gay? I was first told not to look too gay when I was 12, that everyone was worried about me, homophobia is a daily experience. I don't feel like I'm hiding much when I don't tell people I'm grey/ace, but I do feel like I'm protecting myself when I don't mention my romantic attraction to women.

It's really not fashionable or easy and there are still therapists who try to convert us somehow, there are still doctors who refuse to help us or tell us our gayness should be cured.

Being put out of the DSM is important, but it's only a step, it doesn't erase the oppression. I do wish the asexual community wasn't being lumped together with libido disorders (which exist btw) and didn't face so many kinds of discrimination, but I will never cease to think that cis straight aces do not face everything we face.

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Ms.Frankenstein   
Ms.Frankenstein

My only disagreement with what Milky Way said above is that straight passing, or benefitting from straight privilege in some ways, is not the same thing as BEING straight. So it's incorrect and insulting to say "you look straight to society, therefore you ARE straight whether you like it or not."

If you define "straight" as "hetero/hetero" and you're "hetero/ace" or "ace/hetero", and someone says to you "society sees you as straight, therefore you are!" that's offensive and erasure. (I'm not entirely sure that's what you intended to imply, Milkyway, but I see the sentiment enough that I wanted to address it using your post as a jumping off point.)

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noparlpf   
noparlpf

I don't really consider "straight-passing" to be the same as "straight privilege." By definition, if my sexuality isn't being acknowledged and respected I'm not receiving straight privilege. Obviously invisibility isn't on quite the same level as active oppression, but it's still a lousy place to be.

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Ms.Frankenstein   
Ms.Frankenstein

I don't really consider "straight-passing" to be the same as "straight privilege." By definition, if my sexuality isn't being acknowledged and respected I'm not receiving straight privilege. Obviously invisibility isn't on quite the same level as active oppression, but it's still a lousy place to be.

I completely agree. I may have worded my post wrongly, for which I apologize. Believe me, I do know what you mean.

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milkyway   
milkyway

I understand your point, but I do not think that anymore who is hetero is just "straight passing". That would mean I am only "gay passing" and that is wrong. The split attraction model is useful for us because we can talk about the intersection of being LGB AND ace, but also about the discriminations straight aces go through. It's great because there is a word to describe different kind of experiences that are often denied, but asexuality in itself does not make you "not straight" or "not gay".

The fact is, only bisexual or biromantic (and pans) can be "straight passing", because they are still attracted to the same gender, they are still targeted by homophobia. They do benefit when they are in a straight relationship (and in the closet, that helps a lot in some cases, which is bad), but they cannot be compared to someone who is only attracted to the "opposite" gender.

I'm probably repeating myself, but being straight is neither insulting nor does it deny possibles discriminations. Straight trans people exist and they are not "straight passing", they are straight, but nobody would claim they suffer from no kind of oppression.

I personnally haven't made my mind on whether acephobia is an oppression or a discrimination (there are slight differences, but discrimination is already bad enough to be mentioned imo) as I'm still unsure about biphobia (we're debating that we bi allos and bi aces currently, I think those are very important questions because the dominant discourse right now is that any kind of emerging minority is oppressed so the meaning of oppression because a bit blurry, we may end up agreeing that discrimination is not enough to describe the experience, though. I lean toward oppression for many reasons).

Anyway, straight aces who are out will unfortunately experience many kind of violence because they are aces, but they will never suffer from homophobia or biphobia, that's the difference.

IMO, asexuality, despite being considered a sexual orientation (or lack of sexual orientation depending on the definition), is on a totally different axis, especially with the acknowledgement of romantic orientations. In the same way, heterosexual aromantics calling themselves queer is very unsettling because they are still straight.

May I remind everyone that while LGB sexualities tend to be hypersexualised by the society in order to demonise them (when sexualities like lesbianism are not just seen as asexual, which does happen), it does not matter what kind of attraction LGB people feel and how much they are having sex, they are going to be targeted regardless of these elements, their relationshiops will be denied important, be demonised or seen as inferior based on multiples stereotypes.

Many of my (female) friends are lesbian / bi aces as well and most of the time their relationships are assumed to be sexless and without sexual attraction, just "mere friendship because you're afraid of men" despite them never having mentioned being ace publicly. When people assumed they are in a sexual relationship, it's often to sexually harrass them. In any case: their relationships are seen as invalid and problematic to the society, something to be "cured".

I'm not saying that the split attraction model is irrelevant, it is. I'm not saying that asexuality is not targetted in a specific way: it is. All I'm saying is: (cis) hetero aces are straight, benefit from straight privilege. What they aren't is allosexual/non-ace. That's the difference and that's where the axis of oppression lies. LGB aces have a different experience.

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timewarp   
timewarp

I personally would not identify as straight nor as queer. From my point of view, ace is something different. But if forced to decide between straight and queer, I would probably choose straight as "less wrong".


I can see and understand why people say het aces are straight, but the entire discussion is full of bullying and disrespecting labels. Perhaps I'm taking it too personally because I associate straight as not good within the community.

Just a short comment on this: "I associate straight as not good" sounds really funny in my ears. It's neither good nor bad, it's the common term used for heterosexuals, and as far as I'm concerned, I'm fine with other people's sexuality as long as it's legal and they don't bother me in any way. Generally I don't take things very personally; if people are intolerant or ignorant it means they need to be educated.

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Sandra B   
Sandra B

Part of the confusion, if you can call it that, is that it also depends on which model you use. If you think in four sexual orientations, straight, gay, bi, ace, then you can't be both straight and ace. If you're thinking in primary and secondary orientations, or different orientations on different level of attractions, it's possible to be two things at once.

I actually don't agree. If you are "straight" - you are hetero - So either heterosexual or heteroromantic. The first is sexual, the second one is Asexual, but both are straight because they are attracted only to the opposite sex.

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Lost247365   
Lost247365

I understand your point, but I do not think that anymore who is hetero is just "straight passing". That would mean I am only "gay passing" and that is wrong. The split attraction model is useful for us because we can talk about the intersection of being LGB AND ace, but also about the discriminations straight aces go through. It's great because there is a word to describe different kind of experiences that are often denied, but asexuality in itself does not make you "not straight" or "not gay".

Totally disagree. Straight means someone whose sexual attractions (and I would argue gender identity) does not deviate from the norm. Lack of deviation is the very reason they are called "straight." Heter-romantic asexuals not only deviate from the norm in regards to sexual attraction, they are the complete opposites.

No matter what my romantic orientation may or may not be I will never be straight or gay. I will always be an asexual. It does indeed make me "not straight" and "not gay." And this does not interfere in any way with discussing the intersectionality of LGB issues and ace issues or discussions on the discrimination people face.

The fact is, only bisexual or biromantic (and pans) can be "straight passing", because they are still attracted to the same gender, they are still targeted by homophobia. They do benefit when they are in a straight relationship (and in the closet, that helps a lot in some cases, which is bad), but they cannot be compared to someone who is only attracted to the "opposite" gender.

But aces are not sexually attracted to the opposite gender either, and still get targeted by homophobia as well. Remember, that to bigots asexuality does not really exist. To them, when they learns that a het-r-ace doesn't want to have sex with the other gender the ace is instantly assumed to be an in the closet homosexual or homosexual in denial.

I'm probably repeating myself, but being straight is neither insulting nor does it deny possibles discriminations. Straight trans people exist and they are not "straight passing", they are straight, but nobody would claim they suffer from no kind of oppression.

Agree that being straight is not insulting, completely disagree that being called straight does not deny discrimination. Calling aces straight is part and parcel of asexual erasure. It saying that asexuality is not a legitimate orientaion and that our difference don't matter enough to even categorize.

I personnally haven't made my mind on whether acephobia is an oppression or a discrimination (there are slight differences, but discrimination is already bad enough to be mentioned imo) as I'm still unsure about biphobia (we're debating that we bi allos and bi aces currently, I think those are very important questions because the dominant discourse right now is that any kind of emerging minority is oppressed so the meaning of oppression because a bit blurry, we may end up agreeing that discrimination is not enough to describe the experience, though. I lean toward oppression for many reasons).

Anyway, straight aces who are out will unfortunately experience many kind of violence because they are aces, but they will never suffer from homophobia or biphobia, that's the difference.

Again, disagree. Asexuality does not exist to homophobes. Any time they encounter an ace, whether aromantic/heteroromantic/homoromantic/polyromantic, that person is considered just a closeted homosexual. We get subject to homophobia for the same reason that homosexual, bisexual, and the transgender commmunity does....cause we are different. That is it.

IMO, asexuality, despite being considered a sexual orientation (or lack of sexual orientation depending on the definition), is on a totally different axis, especially with the acknowledgement of romantic orientations. In the same way, heterosexual aromantics calling themselves queer is very unsettling because they are still straight.

Well there are several things at play here. For one, straight is about one's sexual orientation. Second,and probably most important is that homophobic bigotry is not based upon logic.

A heteroromantic homosexual will still be gay to them. A homoromantic heterosexual will also be gay to them. A straight transsexual will still be gay to them. A gay transsexual will be gay to them.

Conversely, they might give a pass to a bi-sexual bi-romantic involved in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. But that bisexual biromantic is still not straight and still not gay.

It is about if they can "other" you. This is why the issue here is about "straight passing" privilege. An Aromantic Heterosexual is very hard to identify, and have very high degree of passing privilege.

There is also a third issue at play, and that is that homophobia is a product of Patriarchy. Our culture has set expectations for what a man and woman are supposed to be. Aromantic heterosexuality in men, as opposed to any form of same sex attraction, asexuality,or transgenderism, does not really go against those stereotypes. Men are supposed to unattached and emotionally distant, while at the same time overtly sexual. An Aromantic heterosexual plays into that perfectly.

But, think about it for a second, does it play as well for an Aromantic heterosexual women? No it doesn't, because that goes against our society's expectation on what being female means. Aromantic heteroromantic women who engage in casual sex are attacked as being "sluts" and whores because they don't want romantic relationships. Further, both male and female aces (hetero-romantic or not) challenge those stereotypes.

BTW: Saying that they are straight because they are straight is a circular fallacy.

May I remind everyone that while LGB sexualities tend to be hypersexualised by the society in order to demonise them (when sexualities like lesbianism are not just seen as asexual, which does happen), it does not matter what kind of attraction LGB people feel and how much they are having sex, they are going to be targeted regardless of these elements, their relationshiops will be denied important, be demonised or seen as inferior based on multiples stereotypes.

And let me remind everyone that society tends to dehumanize all asexuals, it doesn't matter what kind of attraction asexuals feel or how much they are having sex, they are going to be targeted because if you don't want sex for its own sake society thinks there must be something horribly wrong with you, and they are going to target you regardless of these elements, blame all relationship failures on you, and be seen as both animalistic and robotic based upon mulitple stereotypes.

Many of my (female) friends are lesbian / bi aces as well and most of the time their relationships are assumed to be sexless and without sexual attraction, just "mere friendship because you're afraid of men" despite them never having mentioned being ace publicly. When people assumed they are in a sexual relationship, it's often to sexually harrass them. In any case: their relationships are seen as invalid and problematic to the society, something to be "cured".

Same thing happens to asexuals.

I'm not saying that the split attraction model is irrelevant, it is. I'm not saying that asexuality is not targetted in a specific way: it is. All I'm saying is: (cis) hetero aces are straight, benefit from straight privilege. What they aren't is allosexual/non-ace. That's the difference and that's where the axis of oppression lies. LGB aces have a different experience.

And I am going to tell you that they are not straight, and no more benefit from straight privilege than a closeted bi-person in a mixed sex relationship. Yes LGB aces have different experience, but so do het aces, and aro-aces, and everyone. Calling them straight denies what het aces experience.

EDIT:

I also want to state that I know I am making lots assumptions about aromantics in this post. I am sorry about that, but based on what I have read about aromanticism here on AVEN, I supposedly am an aromantic myself so I think I deserve a bit of leeway on that :P

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KendraPM   
KendraPM

I don't really consider "straight-passing" to be the same as "straight privilege." By definition, if my sexuality isn't being acknowledged and respected I'm not receiving straight privilege. Obviously invisibility isn't on quite the same level as active oppression, but it's still a lousy place to be.

I agree with this. I know this might be an extreme example, but it's kind of like the difference between physical/emotional/psychological abuse vs neglect. Just because someone never hit/manipulated/berated/etc their partner/child doesn't mean they are great people. Neglect is still a horrible thing to put someone through and is still considered a type of abuse. Just because someone is straight-passing and therefore is never put through the same type of oppression, doesn't mean that everything is fine and dandy for them.

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Gojirin   
Gojirin

I don't consider any person who is negatively affected due to their sexual orientation - either directly through discrimination or indirectly through marginalization - to be "straight."

THIS.

I think being ace, heteroromantic or not, already pulls me out of the straight crowd. Even if I WERE to say that I date males, but then say that I'm not sexually attracted to them, that response would immediately change the way I am seen and thought out, and would then almost undeniably would lead to some sort of microaggression or opression. That, as well as the fact that I really don't identify with what a lot of heterosexual people do and say, makes me not straight.

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Sandra B   
Sandra B

hetero |ˈhɛt(ə)rəʊ|

adjective& noun (pl. heteros) informal short for heterosexual.hetero- |ˈhɛt(ə)rəʊ| combining form other; different: heteropolar | heterosexual. Often contrasted with homo-.

ORIGIN from Greek heteros other.

This is interesting - it has two meanings according to the dictionary - One means short for Heterosexual, but Hetero - is in contrast with 'Homo' the opposite to it - and means 'other; different'. So other 'different' romantic - heteroromantic - Can mean straight romantic in contrast to homo. Also you can put hetero in front of other words to mean 'different' and asexual romantics are different to heterosexuals.

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Lost247365   
Lost247365

hetero |ˈhɛt(ə)rəʊ|

adjective& noun (pl. heteros) informal short for heterosexual.hetero- |ˈhɛt(ə)rəʊ| combining form other; different: heteropolar | heterosexual. Often contrasted with homo-.

ORIGIN from Greek heteros ‘other’.

This is interesting - it has two meanings according to the dictionary - One means short for Heterosexual, but Hetero - is in contrast with 'Homo' the opposite to it - and means 'other; different'. So other 'different' romantic - heteroromantic - Can mean straight romantic in contrast to homo. Also you can put hetero in front of other words to mean 'different' and asexual romantics are different to heterosexuals.

I am not following the logic. All that is talking about is the prefix hetero-, it makes no mention of straight.

Where does it say anything about straight in there? Just about every online dictionary I have come across from Meriam Webster to Oxford has straight as meaning heterosexual. Not one word about hetero-romantic or anything else.

Further, as I saw mentioned in another thread, saying straight in addition to the word asexual can actually imply one is aromantic. In other words they are asexual in all their attractions.

While I feel people can identify for themselves however they want, I strongly feel that applying the term "straight" to hetero-romantic asexuals in anyway only futher marginalizes all asexuals and our experiences in the same way that calling a bi-sexual (in mixed gender relationships) straight does. Neither the word "gay" or "straight" really applies to asexuals or polysexuals.

We are categorically different.

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Cove   
Cove

Thank you to those who have written here already. Reading what you wrote has helped me put my thoughts on this into words more easily.

Dictionary.com offers this as one of the definitions of straight:

Informal.

a. a heterosexual.

b. a person who follows traditional or conventional mores.

c. a person who is free from narcotics.

Dictionary.com define mores as "the customs and conventions embodying the fundamental values of a group or society."

I think A and B of the "straight" definition are perfectly relevant to this discussion. I will assume that most, if not all, people in "modern society" (at the very least the United States, which is all I can speak of) would agree that being sexual is a more of our societies. The expectations for life include becoming a "sexual" person, engaging in sex, and enjoying sex. However asexuals, regardless of romantic orientation, are by definition not "sexual" people in the conventional sense. So at its core, the definition of straight does not have room for heteroromantic asexuals.

In more day-to-day terms, as a heteroromantic asexual which community do I have the most in common with? Personally, it's the asexual community because it allows for people like me who are heteroromantic. The straight community does not allow for asexual people and that's a big part of who I am. To call me straight in an orientation way would be to ignore a full half of what straight means in my culture.

I can understand some of the arguments made for why hetero aces can be called straight. I'm not saying they can't be considered straight (even though by definitions alone they aren't). My stance though is that it is wrong to and shouldn't be the assumption or the decree of those who aren't the hetero ace to call the person straight.

Someone can be "pro-life" and not be a Republican (US politics). Some would take offense to being called Republican, and others might be bothered just because you're assuming things about them that aren't true. It's true also that some wouldn't care. But to the 2/3rds that you've just marginalized it makes a difference. I think the same applies to heteroromantic asexuals.

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Hardly any   
Hardly any

I don't know why I'm always reading these threads. They always make me feel fake, and like the LGBT community hates me in secret for thinking that because I don't fit with the sexual mores of society it's ok to be part of the extended acronym.

Do you have to be hated and feared in order to feel ostracized? To feel queer?

No one will care about being biromantic unless I start dating a girl, because most people don't care about the romantic axis.

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