This post is for the April Carnival of Aces being hosted by The Notes Which Do Not Fit. The theme is The Next Generation.
Seeing this topic got me excited as it has been a topic I’ve been doing a bit of thinking on recently, mostly if asexuality was reasonably widely known how it may have affected me and would I have recognised if I was ace or not. And if this was the case how would it have affected other areas of my life. Obviously I’m not able to answer these questions myself without being able to go back and live through those moments again with changed circumstances so rather I’m going to look forward to how it might affect future generations in a broad sense assuming that most people know about asexuality.
- Identity Exploration: This is the biggest difference I can see for people, especially for aces that without the general visibility would never even consider going beyond the main currently known sexual orientations and would otherwise feel broken. This gives people a greater range of options but also presents an area that may result in great confusion that sees some people think they are asexual when they are not and will also likely blur the grey area even further.
- Growth of the Grey Area: Continuing from the above point, the grey areas of sexuality that are often put under the asexual umbrella will get greater focus as more people consider asexuality and try to further define it through confusion or thought when they don’t match one end or the other of the sexuality spectrum.
- Confusion: More options and ones that aren’t easily defined as “liking” X and/or Y will lead to greater confusion
- Relationship Models: For many the fact that asexuality exists will result in having to examine how relationships work. This will lead to a growth in the ways relationships (romantic, sexual, platonic and any other type you can think of) are seen and what forms they may take ((romantic, sexual, platonic, queerplatonic, etc.). I think it is only a matter of time before the current discussions taking place in the community (both asexual and aromantic) are likely to be picked up and used beyond those communities, increased visibility will further open these ideas up to people in general rather than only those who look.
- Romantic and Attraction Exploration: There will be a greater consideration of aspects of a persons identity beyond their sexuality. People will acknowledge that romantic orientations differ and that attractions come in many different forms and preferences.
- Coming Out: The visibility will make it easier for many aces to come out as they won’t have to explain what asexuality is.
- Acceptance: With more people knowing what asexuality is, more people will accept it without questioning whether it exists or not. And those who try to deny the existence of asexuality will find that they have less support behind them and possibly more resistance when they try to deny it.
- Support: The visibility will lead to an increase in ace friendly spots and support networks for people trying to work out whether they are asexual or not.
- Societal Assumptions and Behaviours: The existence of asexuality will see changes in the way some things are looked at within society. This includes the elements above but also concepts such as sexual normative, rape culture, etc.
- Acedar: A form of gaydar but for identifying asexuals will be invented. This will result in many people confusing their gaydars and acedars for the other and misidentifying people, assuming whichever one they are using works in the first place.
However there will still be the negatives:
- Dismissive Responses: Some people will still refuse to believe asexuality exists. In some cases just saying they’re using it as an excuse to deny the person what they want.
- Acting to “Fit In”: Some people will do things that they think will prove that they aren’t asexual whether to prove that they aren’t to someone due to peer pressure or due to their own confusion and not wanting to identify as asexual.
- Blackmail: Some people will accuse people of being asexual in an attempt to manipulate them into proving that they’re not, or as a form of bullying.
These are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head. However I believe that greater visibility for the next generation will lead to greater freedom in questioning sexual orientation but allowing it to be a confusing process with many options and a greater range of language and models for people to define their identity with, beyond just sexuality. The negatives are always going to be there however but compared to the current issues faced these will be similar to what the visible parts of the LBGT confront, which is still an improvement on invisibility, and there will be support networks available to help those that face them.
The positive may not be big things but subtle, almost unnoticed but for those that it affects it will be huge. Most importantly it will help people form an identity that suits them without having to go through the stresses of just finding a term, that might suit them, that many aces currently go through.
Of course getting to this stage is going to be a long road and require a lot of work from the current generation, not just to increase visibility but to build those positive elements for the next generation whilst also reducing the possible negatives responses. However that is a subject for another time.