This is my post that I’m writing for the September 2014 Carnival of Aces, which has the theme Asexuals, Advocacy, and Allies.
People can act a variety of ways. The worst non-allies to asexual-spectrum folk are our enemies. Those people sometimes write severely ignorant articles about us, spread harmful misinformation, or potentially, in-person do horrifically hurtful things to an asexual-spectrum person they might meet. There are an array of things you can do to clearly be a non-ally.
But if your sister comes up to you and tells you she’s asexual, and you don’t quite believe asexuality is a real thing; if you just nod and say okay to her and walk away… you’re not an ally to your sister, but you’re not the worst type of non-ally possible. If you understand and accept asexuality yet keep on naively reinforcing compulsory sexuality and silently participating, “by accident”, in ace-erasure, for instance, you’re hurting us very slowly, very quietly, and usually without realizing it, and if you were only taught how what you were doing was hurting us you might change your ways, but as it is now, you’re still a non-ally.
One of the things that is confusing is when* asexual people consider themselves part of GSRM (Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Minorities) or LGTBQ+, or QUILTBAG, or whatever acronym, yet there exist people who are allies to gays and lesbians, maybe possibly gender minorities’ & trans’ and/or bi folks’ allies too, yet aren’t asexual people’s allies. If a potential person is the most amazing ally to homosexuals, that’s great, but that doesn’t say anything about whether or not they are our (an asexual person’s) ally. It doesn’t tell you what they think about homoromantic asexuals/lesbian asexuals/etc either. It can be confusing to weed out when allies to other parts of the LGBTQ spectrum are and aren’t our allies.
Another confusing thing is that there are a few self-labeled allies out there who are unbelievably selfish, self-centered, and frustrating. Calling yourself an ally doesn’t actually mean anything about whether you are an ally or not. People in minority communities use the word ally to describe other people – to describe those who fit a definition that the minority themselves gets to set. It’s not an identity label for someone else to adopt. Being an ally isn’t about the ally. It’s… it’s more nuanced than that. It’s about the people being advocated for and if they appreciate the advocacy or not.
Then there is a gray area. People who some other people might consider allies, and yet the rest of the world might consider non-allies (including these allies/non-allies themselves – some of them might consider themselves to be allies, and others of them wouldn’t consider themselves allies). It depends on your definition of an ally.