Pillowfort is down right now, so I guess I’ll put this post here instead.
So, like, during the all of the Tumblr ace bullshit, something I saw exclusionists say a lot was something like “asexuality (and various other “MOGAI orientations”) weren’t actual orientations because they don’t describe what genders you’re attracted to.” As a trans person, this really bothered me.
I feel like this obsession people have with bringing gender into their attraction is something that leads to misgendering a lot of the time and I don’t like that. Refusing to change how you label yourself after your significant other comes out as a different gender, or coming up with ‘inclusive’ sexualities with definitions about how you’re attracted to “men and masculine people” are some of the more common examples I can think of.
And this viewpoint crept into other arguments exclusionists were making- there was one particular strawman that seemed to come up a lot, a cis man who identified as straight until discovering that one of the people he was attracted to was actually nonbinary. Exclusionists were insisting that he was actually straight and a chaser.
I just feel like limiting orientation language to “what gender you’re attracted to” doesn’t really help me personally. My orientations are all based a-spec language, not gendered language. There are a couple of reasons for that.
So, first off…technically, I am attracted to all genders. So I should just use bi, right? I don’t feel comfortable with that though. Just the way that most of the bi spaces I’ve interacted with (ie Tumblr) really feel like they emphasize the attraction part, which is especially uncomfortable for me as an a-spec person. And even that feels really gendered- if you’re a man, you’re expected to talk about you’re attraction to men primarily, if you’re a women then you have to talk about you’re attraction to women exclusively, non-binary people can talk about either I guess but they still have to talk about how “gay” it makes them all the time, and anything else is a “straight” relationship. It just feels like the gender of both me and the person who I’m attracted to is something I’m expected to be talking about all the time and I kinda hate it.
So, couldn’t I identify as pan? You know, the whole “I don’t care about gender at all” definition. But I still feel like you run into a lot of the same issues that you do in bi spaces. And I feel weird because “I don’t care about gender” seems to be more widely interpreted as “and so I’m equally attracted to all genders” (which, again, feels like it’s talking about gender too much). Which just isn’t true for me! I’m genderally attracted to men more than any other gender.
Then there’s the disconnect between who I’m attracted to and who I could actually see myself being in a relationship with. And at this point that’s really just non-binary people and butches? I have enough issues with men and honestly I feel super disconnected from 90% of the women I meet because of gender things so like…how am I supposed to label myself? Based on who I’m attracted to or who I’d rather be in a relationship with? I doubt either of them are ever going to be particularly relevant in my life, which makes it even harder. So I just call myself aro. Gender just isn’t a factor in how I identify anymore.