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Are we really part of the queer movement?


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#1 sinisterporpoise

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 04:50 PM

If this is just me being homophobic without realizing it, I can only issue my apologies. I've been thinking about this ever since reading it that we were part of it in the Wikipedia article. If it stopped at Wikipedia, it might end there. This thought was further sparked by another post on Topix where gay and lesbian posters stated we don't belong there.

Now, people connect the terms gay and lesbian, straight, and bi to the type of people a person wants to have sex with. The labels people attach to asexuals are often found in the DSM-IV and the upcoming sequel, the DSM-V. Now, as being non-heteronormative. (A word that makes me cringe every time I see it just because of the awkwardness of saying it, not because of its implications.) And it makes me wonder how many of us feel the same way. More importantly is this because we've picked up societal dislike of the glbt population, because we don't like sex, or a combination of factors?

On the other hand, both we and they need allies at the moment and perhaps an extra group of voters sympathetic towards their plight may keep things like Proposition 8 from passing.
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#2 henrik

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 04:58 PM

Some people seem to find cofort in thinking they are a part of the queer movement as a whole, but I've never been one of those. I've never associated with them, mainly because they often announce their point being the promotion and advocation of love and sex in every form. Now, while that's all good as such, I'm for not having those things a part of my life in any way, so I've never seen a reason to associate with them.

I have nothing against them (well, any more than any other sexual folks) and I think that if they want to get legally married, it's their business and should be allowed to do that. But I've always found it a bit confusing why asexuals would want to belong to that group, especially if they're aromantic like I am.

But I think it should go by the individual's wishes. If they find comfort or other positive things with going with the "mainstream" queer movement, I'm not stopping them and I don't think it does the asexual community any harm.
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#3 Sally

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 05:04 PM

As an older asexual, I feel that I can be an ally and supporter of the queer movement, but I don't have much in common with them. The pervasiveness of sex and discussion of sex in the queer community makes me both uncomfortable and bored. However, I think aces should support and defend their rights, just as we want our rights respected.

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#4 ColBrandon

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 05:20 PM

As an older asexual, I feel that I can be an ally and supporter of the queer movement, but I don't have much in common with them.

I agree. It seems to me that the queer movement is directed towards the establishment of rights and respect for a previously oppressed group. As a hetero-romantic white male professional, I don't feel remotely oppressed, and I can't think of any rights that I'm being denied.

#5 Gotanks0407

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 05:30 PM

well to be completely honest im not sure we should be apart of the LGBT movement we should have our own Ace movement. but i think its ok that we are defined and accepted through the LGBT, but you have to remember we also have homo-asexuals so it is also support for them, although i have to agree that us merging with a sexuals movement a little disappointing, but at the same time you could just look at the LGBT as the alternate sexuality movement if it helps that is how i look at it, but i think the AVEN members need to be more pro-active in starting to bring attention to ourselves if you guys feel that way.
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#6 EllieZel

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 05:42 PM

As an older asexual, I feel that I can be an ally and supporter of the queer movement, but I don't have much in common with them.

I agree. It seems to me that the queer movement is directed towards the establishment of rights and respect for a previously oppressed group. As a hetero-romantic white male professional, I don't feel remotely oppressed, and I can't think of any rights that I'm being denied.


I agree. What would we be "moving" toward?
I can see homo-romantics finding comfort in the support of the queer movement, but as a hetero-romantic, I would feel odd and out of place.
My best friend is a homosexual, and I certainly have no problem with the GLBT community, but I don't see myself as a part of it at all.

I do, however, think an alteration of the Gay-Straight Alliance idea to include asexuals might be nice, and a good way to further 'visibility and education.'

#7 Mechanism Unknown

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 05:52 PM

I don't consider asexuality part of the "queer" movement, but a different, necessary movement altogether. I myself went to possibly the most gay-friendly college in America, and yet the general impression I got was that although it didn't matter what gender one was having sex with, the assumption was always that you were having and/or wanted to have sex. I see the goals of the queer and asexual communities as separate.

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#8 TheMuffinMan

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 06:08 PM

The biggest differnce, as I can see it, is that the LGBT movement needs to achieve political, legal and cultural change in order to be completely accepted. We just sort of need cultural change. Not to mention that some of our biggest detractors come from the queer movement (usually those who confuse us with celibates.) I don't really consider the ace movement part of the queer movement.

#9 Roy(Banned)

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 06:10 PM

I have a dislike of gays and that movement in general, so obviously I like to think that asexuality is not associated with them.

#10 Illuminated

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 06:28 PM

I mean, I support the LGBT movement (I support the repeal of DOMA/DADT, and the establishment of equal standing between gay and straight marriages/unions, and the equal rights of gay couples to adopt, and transgender rights and such) but I'm more generally in favor of a "queer" movement; and I would include "exploring the distance and differences between love and sex" in that. Basically, I want to queer everything.

#11 AFlyingPiglet

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 09:06 PM

I feel that I can be an ally and supporter of the queer movement, but I don't have much in common with them.

I feel that is pretty much were I stand too. If I was homo-romantic I may think differently but I guess that is up to those who are to say what they think about this.
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#12 oneofthesun

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 10:39 PM

Some people seem to find cofort in thinking they are a part of the queer movement as a whole, but I've never been one of those. I've never associated with them, mainly because they often announce their point being the promotion and advocation of love and sex in every form. Now, while that's all good as such, I'm for not having those things a part of my life in any way, so I've never seen a reason to associate with them.



In its current usage, queer doesn't just mean gay or lesbian. It is a catch-all term often used for anyone not heterosexual & cigendered.
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#13 hereinspain

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 12:25 AM

Some people seem to find cofort in thinking they are a part of the queer movement as a whole, but I've never been one of those. I've never associated with them, mainly because they often announce their point being the promotion and advocation of love and sex in every form. Now, while that's all good as such, I'm for not having those things a part of my life in any way, so I've never seen a reason to associate with them.



In its current usage, queer doesn't just mean gay or lesbian. It is a catch-all term often used for anyone not heterosexual & cigendered.


Yes.

Maybe it's because I also identify as lesbian, so have had exposure with being queer and queer people for years, but recently I've found myself openly identifying as queer as opposed to lesbian or asexual because I feel that the term encompasses both aspects of my sexuality.

I feel like we fall under the blanket of the queer movement because even those of us who are straight fall outside of society's sexual "norm" - but, I totally get why some us wouldn't want to identify as part of that movement.
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#14 ThePieMaker

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 02:21 AM

I like to think we're part of it. We are, by definition, queer.
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#15 jmerry

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 03:09 AM

The biggest differnce, as I can see it, is that the LGBT movement needs to achieve political, legal and cultural change in order to be completely accepted. We just sort of need cultural change.

We need the same cultural change, and we wouldn't be here talking about it without the partial cultural change the movement has already achieved. We want to make another option acceptable; it makes sense to join with the group already trying to make diversity acceptable.

I also like "queer" as the generic label. It sounds better than a huge acronym, and doesn't exclude like the shorter acronym.

#16 asexual1976

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 03:12 AM

Yes, by definition anyone that is not heterosexual is queer, so asexuals are included.

While many of the problems and goals of the homosexual movement are different, one should note that transgendered people are also part of the queer movement and they have quite a number of separate issues from homosexuals as well. What unifies us all is being "different" from the majority in terms of sexuality and/or perceived normal sexual behavior.

The biggest difference, as I can see it, is that the LGBT movement needs to achieve political, legal and cultural change in order to be completely accepted. We just sort of need cultural change.


I disagree. While there is currently no asexual rights movement to speak of, there should be one. There are actually quite a number of asexual rights issues that should be addressed - although admittedly many of them pertain primarily to countries outside of the US :

-Spousal rape : In many countries it is not considered rape if one partner (usually the man) forces his partner to have sex with him. While most European countries have recently introduced specific statutes banning this under pressure from women’s-rights movements, there are still many countries that still do not consider this a crime. This is a particular problem for asexuals in a marriage with a sexual person.

-Consummation of marriage : Many countries mandate that a marriage must be consummated in order to be of legal force. This means that an asexual-asexual marriage is not considered legally valid. While asexuals are not barred from marriage outright (at least not if they don't advertise in advance the fact that they do not plan on consummation) - should one partner later decide that they want a separation they can choose to have the marriage annulled instead of filing for a divorce. This means that many of the rights that come with a proper divorce will not be available to the other partner.

-Health professionals : Homosexuality is no longer considered an illness. Asexually very often is. This quite often gets in the way of proper health care - doctors tend to focus on trying to cure asexuality and may overlook/delay other necessary treatments.

-Social bias : I don' think I really have to elaborate on this - it's a major problem, especially in countries & cultures where the pressure to "pass on the family genes" is intense. But even in the US people that don't fit into the sex-savvy norm are very often ostracized, especially in schools.

#17 you*hear*but*do*you*listen

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 03:36 AM

As an older asexual, I feel that I can be an ally and supporter of the queer movement, but I don't have much in common with them. The pervasiveness of sex and discussion of sex in the queer community makes me both uncomfortable and bored. However, I think aces should support and defend their rights, just as we want our rights respected.


As a pretty young asexual, I completely agree :P I mean, I do identify as queer because I would say "queer" = "not heterosexual" by most definitions, but I could also see where heteroromantic asexuals might choose to not identify as queer and then we'd have a problem. Still...I think that the issues that asexuals have are so different from those of the other queer orientations that we should likely have our own movement.
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#18 perplexasex

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 03:40 AM

Interesting points that asexual1976 made. I would support that type of movement. By the definition, I agree that we're queer. I don't know if asexuals are considered a part of this GLBT movement. I personally support it based on constitutional rights for all Americans. I believe if you're responsible enough to be a contributing member to this society, then you should have the same rights available that the mainstream has. And I'd really wish that religions would stay out of governmental laws. It is a personal choice to follow religious beliefs not a control mechanism for society.
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#19 Sally

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 05:21 AM

I think that the issues that asexuals have are so different from those of the other queer orientations that we should likely have our own movement.


That's said better than I could.

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#20 Siggy

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 08:09 AM

I didn't at first, but now I like the idea of being queer. I've always been very supportive of lgbtq rights. I've always found the stories of queers to be quite moving, even if they were never about things I've experienced myself. I know that all labels and groups are in some sense artificial, and that I have nearly nothing in common with most other queers, but on a rather irrational level, I still like being a member of the group. It has given me a whole new motivation to pay attention to lgbt rights and listen to more of their stories.

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#21 Harker

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 09:45 AM

I don't know about others, but — while I am hetero-romantic — I find that my asexuality results in me not having a particular necessity to follow that orientation: I've actually had more relationships that would be considered conventionally 'homosexual' than 'heterosexual' (all without the 'sexual' part, of course). Caveat: this isn't a particularly good sample, since I haven't had many relationships by any stretch of the imagination.

For this reason if nothing else I find I identify quite seriously with the LGBT movement. I don't 'self-id' as any of the particular letters that make up the various acronyms used for that movement, but so many issues that affect them also affect me, because to the outside world—not being familiar with asexuality—is liable to assume that I am gay or bi.

On 'queer': I really don't like this word; it seems it was silly to choose a word to define this movement that is most readily associated with gay men. Nonetheless, the idea that 'queers' are people that do not exist within typical sexual/gender norms is something that I see asexuality fitting in with without issue. I considered myself within the 'queer bubble' before I considered myself asexual (I didn't know what I was, just that I wasn't normal :P)

Yes, our issues are separate from the rest of LGBT, but overall what LGBT and asexuals share is an increased likelihood of being aware of the complexity and variety of sexuality/gender. It can be very difficult to find people like this. We can only benefit from each-others' support and community.
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#22 iwakura

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 01:16 PM

As an older asexual, I feel that I can be an ally and supporter of the queer movement, but I don't have much in common with them.

I agree. It seems to me that the queer movement is directed towards the establishment of rights and respect for a previously oppressed group. As a hetero-romantic white male professional, I don't feel remotely oppressed, and I can't think of any rights that I'm being denied.

Same for me, and thank you for summing it up nicely.

#23 AVENCakes

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 02:31 PM

I've got to admit, I associate asexuality far more with the multiple "movement" (it's less existent than the "asexual movement"). We don't want any rights, we just want to be acknowledged as not being crazy/damaged and that we can live happy, healthy lives without people making us feel like freaks or trying to "fix" us.

The queer movement isn't the same. They want rights. They want acceptance, too, but they generally also want rights that we aren't really interested in. The right to marry, the right to be acknowledged as the right gender, the right to do a hundred other things that asexuals sit here going "that's not really a big thing for me". So we can ally with it, yes, but I wouldn't say we're part of it.


And I agree with asexual1976. Spousal rape might still be a grey area in the US, if I remember correctly it was illegalized when a separated, I think for at least a year, but still legally married man went to his "wife"'s house and raped her. I think it'd be harder to prove when they're still together, because people assume everyone wants sex and that it's part of a "marriage duty". Does anyone know if there has been a case where a still married, still together couple had one of the partners file rape charges against the other and how the trial went?

#24 Nikibr

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 02:41 PM

I don't really even think LGBTs are a part of an all-inclusive queer movement yet.
A lot of Gay and Lesbian people are comfortable in the community that they've formed since Stonewall/AIDS. They have their own stereotypes, slang, and a complete culture. Many Bisexuals feel discriminated against in the LGBT community because they are not fully accepted as gay (they are also not fully accepted as straight) Trans people also have a difficult time in LGBT, because while LGB relate to sexual orientation, Trans addresses gender issues, which is a separate concern completely.
Around NYC, a lot of Gays and Lesbians are uncomfortable with youth embracing the term Queer. They take comfort in the roles that are defined in their culture, and I think many feel threatened by a broader, less well-defined view of sexuality. G&L community has come together like any oppressed minority will, forming a society separate from the majority.

For me, the ideal would be a Queer movement that says "anything is fine" (as long as it isn't harmful to others) I see the word Queer as a broad term meaning Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Tri, Transsexual, Transgender, No Gender, Pan, Omni, Alt, Poly, Ace, Fetish, whatever. And the goal would be education, awareness, and acceptance of anyone who is Queer (aka not Heterosexual) for who they are with no preconceived notions or discrimination, because it's only (a)sexuality. It's not who we are, just a part.
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#25 PollyB

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 08:25 PM

I've been trying to think what I wanted to say about how we're very much part of the queer movement for me, and Nikibr said it brilliantly. I do also have (sexual) history as a lesbian, but currently identify as asexual because of how I feel about sexual attraction. I do feel saddened when people on Aven reject lesbian and gay people because that's who I have primarily been for 35 years, and my friends aren't sex-obsessed - most of us are old feminists - and a bit sad when, for example, Sally suggests that older asexuals don't have much in common with the queer movement because I'm in my late 50s and I do, but I live with the paradox. I think of queer as meaning that all human sexual and gender identity is infinitely variable.

On 'queer': I really don't like this word; it seems it was silly to choose a word to define this movement that is most readily associated with gay men.


Yes but that's particularly British, and is why the word/concept "queer" took a while to cross the Atlantic - it was devised by Americans who didn't, I think, experience it in the same way in the first place (i.e. because the main term of abuse for gay men in the 1960s, subsequently reclaimed or otherwise, was "queer" in the UK and "fag" in the States).

#26 henrik

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 09:56 PM

Yes, by definition anyone that is not heterosexual is queer, so asexuals are included.


But I still hold the view that the term 'queer', and the definition of not being heterosexual, implies a sexual orientation and as asexuals we, by definition, have none. Therefore I don't think we should not be included in the term.

Maybe we're asking the wrong question. I find the question of 'Is asexuality a queer orientation?' much in the same vain as 'Is atheism a religion?'. The lack of something (sexual orientation or theistic religion), in my humble opinion, make the question itself invalid.
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#27 asexual1976

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 11:12 PM

But I still hold the view that the term 'queer', and the definition of not being heterosexual, implies a sexual orientation and as asexuals we, by definition, have none. Therefore I don't think we should not be included in the term.

Maybe we're asking the wrong question. I find the question of 'Is asexuality a queer orientation?' much in the same vain as 'Is atheism a religion?'. The lack of something (sexual orientation or theistic religion), in my humble opinion, make the question itself invalid.


I don't think I would define queer that way. Queer does not equate homosexual. That is why transgerendered people are included, many of which do not consider themselves homosexual. To use your religion analogy, "queer" would be more akin to "heathen" or the muslim concept of an "infidel" which signifies any non-Christian/Jewish/Muslim including atheists.

#28 ZenFeminist

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 11:28 PM

Briefly, I want to talk about two of the issues talked about. One being whether or not we should consider ourselves queer or rather align ourselves with the lgbtq movement. Second on the issue of marital rape.

I think that one of the main shortcomings of say the feminist movement in the past (which is now being addressed) was the exclusion of women of color. From what I have read and heard from women of color who were apart of the women's liberation movement and the civil rights movement they were neither really accepted in either cause that they had to fight for. It was they had to either identify as a person of color or as a woman to be recognized in the movement, but they were still not fully accepted not matter what they chose. The issues this causes now in the feminist community are just overwhelming. In this example women of color, specifically African American women, decided to call themselves womanists, because of how they were excluded by white feminists during women's lib (and before). People think feminism is dead or the only reputable feminists are 'second wave', which is a direct result of the feminist community having splintered and each 'pocket' of feminists fighting for their own specific causes.

My point in bringing this up is for those people that do identify as asexual and homoromantic that they should not be put in a position where they are constantly on the fence. They are a member of both communities and the asexual and LGBTQ communities should be supportive of that. If someone identifies as heteroromantic and asexual they should have the choice to stand in the streets and protest for the rights of the LGBTQ community. However they should be expected to respect and acknowledge that there are members of the LGBTQ community that identify as asexual and vise versa. Essentially I think if you are asexual and no matter your romantic preference if you want to call yourself queer then you should and if not then don't; it's a choice that should be made by the individual.

The only thing we need to avoid is fractioning or divisive language or attitudes; we need to learn from the mistakes other groups have made. Now speaking from personal experience as to working in activist circles. The more communication between groups the better chances of success. If you feel that we need to be educating people then I guarantee you the best place to start is the LGBTQ community. I first learned about asexuality at an LGBTQ student meeting on campus. Truthfully we are going to need sexual people advocating for our cause if we wish to be successful. The LGBTQ community will be more accepting than the heterosexist of any alternative lifestyle and I don't see why we should not want to at least try and reach out. I currently work with and am a member of the LGBTQ and feminist groups on my campus and I know that they would be willing to have someone include what it means to be asexual and all the different components that consists of at one of the 'sexual awareness' meetings.

I hope that was clear as it was mostly stream of consciousness. Thank you for bearing with me if you managed to get though all the way.

Briefly onto spousal rape. As far as the law is concerned rape is rape. It no longer matters (in the eyes of the law) whether the rape was stranger, acquaintance, friend, or domestic (married and non-married couples). There are still cultural and societal mores/taboos that influence behavior and desire to even press charges in the first place. Whether or not charges will result in a conviction though is not concrete. A lot depends on what court is trying the case and what evidence was collected (if any). Also victims in a relationship with the abuser/attacker will go back and forth on whether they want to continue with the trial. In domestic abuse cases many women stay with the husband for financial reasons, it really comes down to they have no where else to go, and usually they are trapped in a cycle of violence.

Statistically speaking 6% of rapists will ever see a day in jail, I believe this figure represents convicted/non-convicted and reported rapes, however I do not think it represents non-reported so the figure is probably lower, but I could be mistaken. You can check out rainn.org for some really good information on statistics.

I work as a crime victim advocate, so I go out on domestic and sexual assault calls after the crime has occurred. I am aware of cases of spousal rape occurring and resulting in a conviction, but it's only one. Like any other rape conviction it is rare, because most victims drop out of the process or the defense attorney finds some bullshit loophole. It's really terrible to hear of a case that has been ongoing for years and the abuser gets off on a technicality.

#29 mindlife

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 11:45 PM

In spite of my buttoned-down, straight-looking lifestyle, everyone who knows me well understands that straight is something I'm not.
Queer is a good term to describe my interaction with the rest of society.
Asexual is the precise term for my sexual orientation.
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#30 henrik

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 11:48 PM

My point in bringing this up is for those people that do identify as asexual and homoromantic that they should not be put in a position where they are constantly on the fence.


But, I can't see any reason why people couldn't be feel completely part of both even if they aren't combined. I function as a full member in several online communities and being and feeling a member of both if both apply. I can't really see differentiating from the LGBT community would be any more of a problem as me being, let's say, a part of the Asexual community and the podcasting community, sometimes even at the same time.

To use your religion analogy, "queer" would be more akin to "heathen" or the muslim concept of an "infidel" which signifies any non-Christian/Jewish/Muslim including atheists.


That is a good point, but I feel there is a pretty fundamental difference. We're talking about how to define ourself, not how other people define us, like in your analogy.
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