6. Have you faced oppression because of your asexuality, whether institutional or societal?
That depends on your definition of oppression.
If you define oppression as “being physically beaten or otherwise assaulted”, then no, I haven’t.
I have, however, been told by people who knew I identified as asexual that I was “Wrong”, “confused”, “sick”, that I “would grow out of it”, that I was “doing it to be ironic”, that “I didn’t seem like I’d been abused, but you could never tell”* , that “it’s ok to be a lesbian”** and that “You can’t be (asexual)”. I have been told that me being asexual and aromantic is “a waste”, “Scientifically unsound”, “immature”, “unhealthy”, “freakish” and showed “Religious dedication” (I’m nontheist). I have been asked “So why did you choose to be asexual then?”***, “So you’re afraid of sex?”* and “So you’ve been raped then?”*
I have come out to friends and been told that they’d “believe me if I was still (aromantic and asexual) in 2/3/4/5/10 years”, that "everyone has a partner"or that they were sure “any month now you’ll work out you’re actually a straight girl and will have settled down with your future husband to pump out babies.”
Note that all of those have come from people in real life, face to face. If I listed all the things that have been said to me on the internet, I’d still be typing when the universe ends.
I have also been part of discussions about sexual orientations that did not include asexuality. They included pansexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, heterosexuality, but not asexuality. When I brought it up, I was told “That’s not a real orientation” or “(asexuals) are just deluded/repressed.”
I am invisible to the majority of people, so much so that when I come out I expect to spend over half an hour explaining what it is and answering basic questions. (not ones like “How does that effect you?”, but ones like “So you don’t like guys? Or girls?...Or guys?” and “So...you want to shag animals?”)
When I come out I also expect to be told something about me being impossible, or that I “Just haven’t met the right guy/girl/person yet.” Depending on the person I’m coming out to, I can also expect to be told “I’ll change your mind.”
Some of my friends, who I have previously come out to, still seem to forget that I am aromantic and asexual. I still have friends who try to ‘set me up’ with other people.****
I grew up without the words for who I am. I grew up not knowing how I felt could be normal. I grew up thinking, in a small section in the back of my brain, that I was a freak.
So I don’t know.
Does that count as oppression?
*For the record, No. I have not been raped, nor abused, nor am I afraid of sex. I just don’t feel the need for it. (also, if I had been, it’s probably not the sort of thing I’d want you to bring up in conversation. Just FYI.)
**I know it is. I’m not one though.
***You cannot choose your sexual orientation. Just like you cannot choose your natural hair colour. You can dye your hair, but you will always be naturally whatever colour you were born with.
****I’m sure it’s out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s still not cool. (apart from that one time a friend of mine trolled another friend by ‘trying to set him up’ with me. That was funny.)