Am I Asexual?

I think I’m asexual but I’m not exactly sure. I do still have a sexuality, as in I want to date girls, but I don’t want anything sexual. Is this still asexual or is it another thing entirely?

I’m gonna go ahead and say that you PROBABLY rest within the realm of the asexual spectrum, just from what you’re giving me here, but I really don’t want you to just take that away from this response. Note the use of the term “spectrum” in addressing asexuality; I have a lot of problems with the way asexuality is talked about (half-heartedly) and taught (note: it isn’t), but one of the things that bother me most is the way that Sexual vs. Asexual are so heavily locked into opposing binaries. It’s just so inaccurate and pigeonholing and frustrating! Within the asexual community (and there’s a pretty strong one! check out the forums on asexuality.org), there are a few different terms thrown around to differentiate the flavors of being ace. Demisexual, greysexual, aromantic, etc. etc. Take from those what you will… I always feel like relying too heavily on words is dangerous when talking about something very intrinsic to your individuality, but there is definitely solace in seeing that this thing you feel is felt by others! One thing that a lot of people find very useful is discerning between sexual and romantic attraction and seeing how this plays out for people who AREN’T asexual. For example, someone who doesn’t have a very strong preference when it comes to hooking up with someone but only has interest in getting seriously involved with girls. With this in mind, it’s definitely a Thing for you to want to date girls but have no interest in becoming sexual with anyone. Asexuality in its simplest form is a person who does not experience sexual attraction; not a person who doesn’t date, not a person who has no libido, not even a person who doesn’t have sex! Just someone who does not experience sexual attraction, or even just experiences it in such low amounts that the lack thereof is noticeable. I really recommend checking out AVEN, there’s a lot of good discussions happening all the time and I think you’ll find you really are not alone in this one! Hope this helped!


Queer Sex Ed

Queer Sex Ed

Date & Time: December 3 | 6:00-7:30PM
Location: Savery 264
–Facebook event link–

 

Everything you wanted to know about queer sex but had no one to ask about it!

The Queer Student Commission has gathered a team of panelists who are experts in and extremely knowledgable about queer sex to answer any and all questions you may have about bodies, minds and the ways they can interact with each other in a nonheteronormative and noncisnormative context. Debunk all the myths you may have heard in high school or ask anything you’ve wanted to know about how bodies work.

The experts on our panel are Tobi Hill-Meyer, Seattle-based trans activist and educator, Allena Gabosch, director of the Center for Sex Positive Culture, Mac McGregor, trans activist and educator and City of Seattle LGBTQI Sensitivity Trainer, and Nik Fuentes, Babeland Sex Educator, and they will be happy to answer any and all questions you may have.

Note about accessibility: Please refrain from wearing scented products, as we want to keep the space as scent-free as possible. Savery 264 is wheelchair accessible via the southeast entrance and has elevators to the second floor. ASL interpretation available upon request. If you have any questions, contact Kristen Blackburn at asuwqsc@uw.edu


What if I Want to Bind?

I am a queer person with a vagina who has always thought of herself as cis. Lately I have been really wanting to buy a binder because I occasionally very much dislike the appearance and feel of my breasts. I don’t think of myself as anything but a woman and still don’t, but I’m a little confused by this. I know labels are something one has to choose for themselves but I am sort of struggling with identity because of this. Am I a cissexual who just doesn’t like my own boobs, or am I some type of genderqueer?

If you don’t think of yourself as anything but a woman, this question kind of answers itself. Breasts do not a woman make. There are plenty of cis women who don’t like having breasts, want smaller breasts, whatever. And discomfort with gendered parts of your body is not equivalent to genderqueerness, especially when from what I can tell you’re so comfortable with identifying yourself as a woman. There are some pretty great and very cheap binders on eBay that you can check out, like this or this. I’m pretty sure I own the second one, and it works really well. I have DDD breasts and with my binder on it looks like this:

So that’s pretty decent. Especially if it’s just something you want to test out without spending a ton of money. I don’t think you need to worry about your gender identity, but that’s up to you to think about. I hope this helped!


Testing the NonBinary Waters

Ive always known myself to be a cis girl, preferring she/her pronouns, grouping myself with girls, etc but Ive never really felt 100% girl??? Only very very recently have I started to consider the possibility of me being any other gender and I’ve started to personally consider myself as agender. I just feel it fits me better, but I’m so used to understanding myself as being a girl so I don’t want to go through telling everyone I know to refer to me by they/them pronouns only to find out that I am no longer comfortable with that identity. I just really dont know where to go to from here? Do I wait and think about it some more? Is there some way I can try out being agender?

First and foremost I just want to say that I 100% support anyone and everyone exploring the different shades of their own gender, whether you ultimately identify with what you were assigned at birth or not. I think it’s really productive, fosters empathy, and ultimately just leaves you more satisfied with yourself. That’s my two cents, both from my own experience and from observing my friends and peers. I think your last question is really powerful, and I just want to give you a short answer: yes.

You sending me this message makes me think that you’ve thought about it enough to just need a bit of affirmation. Exploring different or new aspects of your gender identity does not require you to dissociate from what you’ve affiliated with in the past. Pronouns are pretty powerful, and what I recommend more than anything is telling a handful of the people you’re closest to (maybe even who you talk to most) that you want to try new pronouns. I completely understand not wanting to commit yourself to something so vague and malleable, but I also want you to understand that it’s okay for something to feel right at one time and not feel right at another. This is something new that you’re exploring, and I don’t want you to restrict yourself because you’re nervous it won’t pan out. In terms of how you interact with others, language is what’s most important, in my opinion. If you ask a few people to refer to you with they/them, hold them to it (for the sake of you not being frustrated, I would hit up the most queer-literate friends you know first).

You don’t need to burn your dresses and start binding and cut your hair and whatever else is strongly associated with nonbinary identities to BE nonbinary. There’s no one way to be not cis, so I say just focus on what draws you to the idea of being agender, or even what not being a girl means to you. Personally, I associate myself very strongly with the idea of nonbinarism, and maybe even lean towards my own concept of masculinity, but my favorite outfit still involves a skirt and tights and I look damn good with the right eyeliner. It doesn’t make me less nb. Do whatever feels right in the moment, try to not ascribe behaviors and appearances to specific genders, and see how that feels. And don’t be afraid that what you’re doing and what you’re exploring won’t be what you want down the road, just grow with your understanding of gender and test the waters a little bit in regards to how you let people refer to you. I hope this helps, try to have fun with it, and good luck!


Trans* Day of Remembrance Events

Trans* Day Of Remembrance (TDOR) a national event!

Join the QSC and the Q Center in a day of action of remembrance for the trans people we’ve lost to transphobic and transmisogynistic attacks in the past year. On the Trans Day of Remembrance, November 20th, we will be outside of the HUB entrance during the 12:20-12:30 passing period holding signs and speaking out against transphobic and transmisogynistic violence. Afterwards, there will be a space for building community together in the Q Center, with snacks.

Craft materials to make the signs can be found in the Q Center, HUB 315, and will be available all week, so if you have free time come in and make a sign for the day! The goal is to have a bunch of signs that bring awareness to and condemn the violence that many trans people face in their day to day lives, be that symbolic or physical violence.

If you want to speak during the time of action (we’ll have a megaphone for people to speak their piece through) or if you have any questions about the event, contact Kristen Blackburn at asuwqsc@uw.edu

 

Trans* Day of Remembrance

QYS will also be hosting an event put on by various COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS & ORGANIZATIONS!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 | 5-8PM

QYS – 911 E. Pike St. Seattle, WA 98122 Buzz #202 to be let in WE DO HAVE: Elevator, Gender neutral restroom, + FRAGRANCE FREE plz to make QYS more accessible

Trans* Day of Remembrance
It is a time set aside each year to memorialize those killed due to transphobia. this will be a space for our Seattle transgender/trans* and allied communities to mourn & heal collectively.

We hope to do a different kind of Trans Day of Remembrance. Some things that will differ from the National model include:
• Focusing on the ways trans & gender variant people lived, not died
• Avoiding Trauma Tourism: Identifying the ways in which trans people often only get talked about/ noticed in negative/ violent contexts
• Centering & prioritizing voices of those most affected by transphobia & violence (including trans women, trans people of color, youth)
• Creating an altar where we can remember people who we’ve lost to institutional violence as well (lack of access to healthcare, mental health svc, housing, mistreatment in services/ schools/ jobs, etc)
• Sound Healing and Meditation by Noory Lee and Curry Knox, Zenyu http://zenyuhealing.wordpress.com/

CONFIRMED Co-Cosponsors include: Queer Youth Space, Ingersoll Gender Center, Seattle UNiversity Office of Multicultural Affairs, SU Triangle Club, SU GenderGalaxy, Zenyu, The NW Network of Bi Trans Lesbian Gay Survivors of Abuse, UW Q Center, Gender Justice League, Trans* Lives Matter

 

For questions, email: neems@seattleu.edu


Handling Invalidation

Hi! I’m agender and I really want to come out to my friends and family, but I feel like they’ll invalidate me and say I’m just shallow by labelling myself (my mom already thinks that the gender spectrum isn’t real and thinks trans* identities are stupid). How did you first come out to people you know, and how did they react?

I’m kind of a weird example, because my coming out was super painless on most fronts. However, I think there’s a reason why it was so easy for me. Me embracing my queerness was a result of me getting more into social justice, queer activism and education, etc, and I’m the kind of person who likes to share what they’re excited about with their friends and family. So before me coming out was even a thing, the people who mattered to me knew that queer issues really mattered to me. We would have debates, I would attempt to educate (though this was like 2-3 years ago and I had no finesse), and above all it would just be something that I talked about a LOT. Obviously not everyone was super receptive to my stances, but they at least respected and recognized that it mattered to me. And those who didn’t weren’t people I kept around me. If people are really, really stubborn stick to the fact that this isn’t about them, it’s about you. It’s really important to you, and you’re telling them about it because they matter to you. Regardless of how they feel about it, this is what seems right to you. If you want to come out, then this is something you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and it’s very courageous of you to want to do this despite your worries. Some people take a lot of time to warm up to new concepts, so unfortunately there’s a lot of patience required for a clean coming out. Stand by the fact that you know this is right for you!

Good luck!


Coming Out as Ace

How should I tell my mom I’m asexual? I feel like she won’t understand that it actually exists or she’ll just think I’m trying to get attention or something. 

So AVEN actually has a great FAQ section for family & friends, and a lot of the questions presented are questions that you might encounter in trying to explain how you’re feeling to your mom. It might even be a good resource to hand over to her if you’re having trouble getting your point across and are needing to step away from the conversation. I didn’t have to do this with my mom, but a few of my partners have looked at the relationship FAQ in the past and it was really helpful for them. As I’m sure you know, asexuality is horrendously underdiscussed in any popular medium, even within the Q community (and especially in the LGBT one, because I do find a distinction there). It’s a strange topic to broach in the context of queerness because most people don’t have preemptive associations with it as an identity, but that doesn’t mean there’s no judgement, as you are very cognizant of. I think the best way to handle this is the same way I handle any coming out/re-education (my last entry might be helpful for you for this reason): start at their level and build your way up. Introduce asexuality at its core, and gauge her response. Move from there! If you know your mom responds better to statistics, hit AVEN up some more and show her the community. If your mom responds better to very personal sincerity, just try to have a candid conversation with her about what it means to you that you identify as asexual.

If she says something that hurts your feelings, take a deep breath and tell her it did and why, and what is ACTUALLY correct. For example, the bit about identifying as asexual just to get attention is actually mentioned in the AVEN link, but if she accused you of that what I would say (and this is very much from my actual perspective, I just want you to get the idea of what I mean), “It makes me uncomfortable that you think my identification as asexual is something I fabricated for attention. It’s something I’ve been very aware of since 8th grade, and it never went away. It’s never been something I wanted attention drawn to in the first place; finding out that asexuality was an actual thing helped me through a lot of internal struggle, but I feel very safe in the community. I shared this with you because I love and trust you, and I need you to respect that this is what feels right to me.” Again this is very much based on myself, but I think there’s a good mixture to find in being candid about your experience and introducing this very new idea in a somewhat logical way.

I hope this helps, I have had to explain asexuality to so many people under so many different circumstances and it is never not tiring and frustrating. It just takes patience and perseverance and a lot of focus on mutual respect. Good luck!


Q-mmunity Building!

Join us in the Q Center Thursdays this fall for Q-mmunity Building!
We’ll be having weekly events to build community, make friends, de-stress, and be super queer together!

Queer Clue | Thursday, November 7, 4-5pm
Like original Clue, but full of cutie QTs! Now with 100% less violence.

Queereoke | Thursday, November 14, 4-5pm
Like karaoke, but hella queer!

Twister | Thursday, November 21, 4-5pm
Play a consent-focused game of Twister!

Accessibility information:
- The HUB is wheelchair accessible through the west main entrance on the first floor. Once you enter, the elevators are on the right.
- Please refrain from using scented products such as perfume, cologne, and essential oils. The Q Center is scent-free in order to keep the space accessible for folks who are chemically injured and/or have MCS.


Re-educating Conservative Friends & Family

How do I explain to my very conservative friends and family what queer means? xoxo

Oof. Well, it’s not easy and it requires a lot of patience, I’ll tell you that much. What queer means is pretty simple, and could almost be covered in just one sentence, but if we’re talking very socially conservative people the conversation won’t stop there. You probably have to defend why queerness is not a bad thing, why discriminating against queer people is bad, etc etc. It very much complicates something that could be very simple, and it is a very much emotional and continual process. In terms of actual content, “queer is not straight” is short, simple, and to the point. If you’re getting a good response, you can delve into the term as a culmination of intersecting marginalized identities… but don’t use that phrase, because it is super inaccessible to someone who isn’t necessarily involved in these communities. Meet them at their level and build up. With intersectionality, one of my favorite quotes is from Gloria Anzaldúa and very poetically addresses this: ”Identity is not a bunch of little cubbyholes stuffed respectively with intellect, race, sex, class, vocation, gender. Identity flows between, over, aspects of a person. Identity is a river, a process.” How much you want to go into terminology of queerness is up to you and up to how you think the person will respond. Sexuality is way easier to broach than gender and trans* issues, so in thinking about this education as a process, this is something you can maybe build up to.

I’m going to link you a game called A Closed World, it’s a simple in-browser rpg that was made to address queer issues in a beautiful and accessible way. To be honest it lacks subtlety (the character literally fights their demons) but it’s gorgeous and I think really touches on what you’re asking about, in a very personal way. It’s from a queer perspective, and regardless of whether or not you identify as queer I think there are some good parallels you can draw and run with. I’m not saying the game will magically solve your problem here, but I think it’s a good starting point for the hurdle you want to overcome.

The character fights their demons with three different tools: logic, passion, and ethics. At any given time on any given demon, one works, one is completely brushed aside, and one issues a lot of damage. In turn, the demons rattle your composure, insult you, say the things that hurt the most. You can breathe to regain composure and if you need to, you can walk away. For anyone who has experienced coming out or attempted re-education in a somewhat unsupportive situation, this rings very true. I feel like I’m rattling on about the game a little bit too much, and I don’t want you to think that I’m shying away from your question, so let’s segue into the application and action of how to do this.

Come to the conversation prepared. I think it would be best to have one-on-one talks for two reasons: one, it shows the person you’re talking to that this is something very important to you that requires both of your full attentions, and two, different people have different responses and in thinking about self-care, because that’s vital in these conversations, it will be much more manageable for you. You know these people, so I think the best thing to do would be to estimate how you think they would react, and then start with those you think would be most accepting and positive and work your way up. That way, when you get to the most stubborn/bigoted/etc, you will have a support system behind you. I also want to disclaim that this is not something you should feel you need to charge into all at once. I mentioned breaking it up into one-on-one talks, but it’s a really emotionally draining thing to do and it’s something you should take your time on. I know the idea of charging through and just getting it over with is really appealing, but I know at least for me it’s more rewarding to put time and effort into these talks and to be able to decompress in-between. This stuff doesn’t exist in a bubble either, and someone who doesn’t know anything about queerness will probably have a lot of questions that will come up later.

I think the logic/passion/ethics deal rings very true in real life, and it’s important to prepare for that. If your dad is someone who needs hard evidence, research some facts that you think would make the talk more accessible and “valid” to him. Pay attention to the people you’re talking to, gauge their responses and don’t be afraid to change tactics. Be persistent and calm, listen to what they say, and one thing that I actually find to be helpful (under certain conditions) is to affirm that though it is not true (use phrases like this instead of “you’re wrong”; this is an emotional conversation but it’s also an educational one and people don’t like thinking they’re wrong or somehow bad), that is what is taught and perhaps that you understand why and how they came to think that way. My approach to this is very passive and low-key and in a lot of ways keeps the needs of the person I’m talking to before my own and I don’t want you to feel like I’m telling you to abandon your feelings and thoughts in order to placate your family member and friend. A lot of people don’t like doing it that way and that’s not a problem, this is just how I approach it.

Don’t forget self-care, though. Breathe. Create a calm space. Allow yourself time to think. If someone says something very hurtful to you, tell them that it hurt and why. You care about these people and these people care about you, and that’s something to keep in mind. You can walk away, and you can disagree. If they’re having a really hard time with it, maybe say something like “I don’t want to push this right now, can you think about what I’ve said and we can continue to talk about this later?” It will allow you to get out of a somewhat toxic situation, and it’ll give them time to process what you’re giving them.

Man this is so much word I’m sorry. I hope some of this helps, and again, this is my way of doing it and don’t feel like you can’t change the layout and approach. Good luck, and feel free to come back if you need more specifics than this!