The above is the first page of
The Gashlycrumb Tinies: A Very Gorey Alphabet Book by prolific illustrator and author Edward Gorey.
But this post is in regards to the video put out by Equinox for pride month (which you can watch here).
A is for Asexuals and Aromantics and Agender people.
A is not for Allies. Allies don’t get a letter.
To break it down in no particular order:
- Allies are, by the very definition of the word ally itself, not members of the marginalized group. They do not suffer from the systemic oppression and erasure that affects every member of the group.
- Asexual, Aromantic, amd Agender are primary identities; Ally is not. The word ally describes a relationship to another group of people (see above), not a identity that stands on its own.
- Priority belongs to actual members of the marginalized community, along with their needs and lived experiences. Prioritizing Allies contributes to the exclusion and erasure of Asexuals, Aromantics, and Agender people.
–Allies don’t suffer from the systemic oppression and erasure that affects everyone in the marginalized group.
They don’t have people telling them that allyship is not a real thing, that its all in their head, that it’s a kind of mental illness or physical debility, that they need to have their allyship corrected with medication or therapy or *corrective violence*. They do not have those same people telling them in the next breath that their allyship must be a trauma response to abuse in their past. They are not harassed by doctors and medical professionals as if allyship is a health problem they are neglecting.
They don’t have people telling them that they’ll grow out of it, that they’re only being immature, that if they tried not being an ally they’d see what they’ve been missing all this time and that would be the end of that. They don’t usually get lectured so much about how they’re only pretending in order to be the center of attention (well, they do, but for different reasons) or because they think they’re so dmn special and better than everyone else.
Whereas a/gray/demisexuals *do* go through all of that (and much more)-
*and a/demiromantics go through a lot of erasure and harassment of their own*-
and agender people have their own erasure and harassments as well (hell I even forgot to mention agender people the first time I posted this! I am so sorry & also I get agender feels myself sometimes so what the hell) –
and quite often within the lgbtqia+ community itself.
We show up to pride parades and not only find we’ve been forgotten again but also get flak for showing up because apparently we’re not real and therefore can’t be queer. We get left out of so many videos, memes, meetings, parades, conversations. We get left out, erased, and harassed by our own group, in addition to the systemic oppression faced by all in the lgbtqia+ community.
See: Asexual oppression
To repeat: Allies don’t get a letter because they do not face the *systemic oppression* that the marginalized group itself does. Allies don’t get a letter because they don’t suffer from *erasure*.
White allies of PoC do not suffer from the systemic racism that PoC do. Feminist men do not suffer from institutionalized misogyny. Neurotypical allies do not suffer from rampant ableism.
Nobody’s overlooking the stories and needs of white/ straight/ neurotypical/ male-identifying people. This very debate highlights how people are prioritizing non-LGBTQIA+ allies and erasing asexuals and aromantics.
–Asexual, Aromantic, and Agender are primary identities; Ally is not.
Who is an ally? They are people outside of the marginalized group, who support the group. Without that group, or the context of that group, describing a person as an ally is nonsensical. They were people (probably straight/ cis/ dyadic/ heteronormative/ gender dimorphic people) before they supported the marginalized group. A person’s primary identity is not Ally. Being an ally is not a core aspect, or even a fixed aspect, of who a person is.
Plus, I would still identify myself as and consider myself to be demisexual even if there were no systemic oppression leveled against me any longer whereas nobody would be termed an ally in that case because there would be no systemic oppression and erasure to fight against, hence no allies in that fight.
–Priority belongs to actual members of the marginalized community, along with their needs and lived experiences.
I’m an ally to people of color *and because of that* I know that their community should be centered around them and their needs, and that non-PoC allies *are already at the table*- they were at the table first! If anything, over half the table belongs to them, and they maybe should be offering the more marginalized and oppressed people a couple of their own seats.
Black History Month should center on the lived experiences of PoC, not of white abolitionists. Women’s History Month should center on the lived experiences of women, not men who gave women the vote. Autism Acceptance Month should center on the lived experiences of autistic people, not neurotypical cheerleaders.
And LGBTQIA+ Pride Month should center on those marginalized and systematically oppressed on the grounds of gender and sexuality, not their allies.
“But Allies are good”
I get that people think allies should be given credit for, well, for being allies. Sure. But that doesn’t mean they get a letter of their own in the very acronym that names the marginalized group. You know, the marginalized group they are allies with but technically can’t belong to. Especially when giving allies a letter erases minorities who are still struggling to be recognized as members of the marginalized group.
So, good for those allies for being brave and decent human beings? Is there an expectation here that allies want payment for treating us with decency and respect? Let’s remember that the allies are in a comparably privileged position, if anyone is going to be giving out gifts. No good ally is going to ask for a gift that further marginalizes and erases members of the community; no good ally is going to think they are owed payment for being a good ally.
What if, what if, brave and decent human beings were the norm? Would we still need to give them a letter? (see above: if there were no more systemic oppression against the LGBTQIA+ community, they wouldn’t even be called allies anymore.)
What if it is highly problematic to say that acting as a brave and decent human being is a special thing not to be expected from the rest of society? What if it is highly problematic to indicate that brave and decent people belong to the marginalized and oppressed group by default?
Especially when it contributes to the erasure of people so marginalized they are still fighting to be acknowledged by the marginalized group itself?
It’s the asexuals, aromantics, and agender people here who need to finally be allowed full membership and representation in their own community.
Adding this brilliant comic (source )
(Also I am horrible at providing trigger warnings but I will add them if you ask; sorry; I’ll get better)