the following post was originally a vlog that was submitted for the March 2016 Carnival of Aces based on the theme “Gender Norms and Asexuality.” check out The Asexual Agenda’s Carnival of Aces Masterpost for more information.
a lot of people feel like there is a connection between one’s gender and sexuality, be it in the form of gender roles, “gender presentation”, sexual attraction (or lack thereof) et cetera ad infinitum. having said that, i’m not going to lie… i really don’t get it.
i understand (in so much as i can) and respect that such a connection exists for many people, but for me personally there is no connection between my gender identity, gender norms and my (a)sexuality. and by that, i mean that for me there is no internal connection between those things. as such, listening to others discuss their experiences with gender norms and (a)sexuality is really complicated for me. why? because the only connections that exist for me are external ones. coercive ones.
society as a whole assumes that there is a connection between what they perceive as my gender and what they assume is my sexuality and as much as i vehemently disagree with society, we all know how inescapable society’s bullshit is.
as someone who is maverique / non-binary, my gender is (and always will be) assumed incorrectly.
there are relatively few– if any– actual gender norms, gender roles, gender stereotypes, etc for non-binary people and literally none for maveriques, thus why i feel like there literally is nothing related to my gender for me (or anyone else) to even connect to my asexuality.
however, there are a million and one gender norms, gender roles, gender stereotypes, etc for females. seeing as society assumes me to be female, i have the pleasure of dealing with these million and one forms of bullshit.
…and each and e v e r y time i do deal with these (or any other) gender norms, what i’m really dealing with is being misgendered. i’m dealing with erasure of my actual gender on top of being misgendered on top of whatever else is also involved with those gender norms.
whenever i hear my fellow aces talk about their gender and the gender norms that they face in relation to their asexuality, literally the only point of reference i have by which to personally relate to what they are saying is for me to think back on a time when i was misgendered by someone. even when non-binary aces talk about gender norms and their asexuality, more often than not they do so by referring back to their assigned gender at birth and the gender norms associated with that rather than to their actual gender identity and…. yeah. no. for me personally, that is as uncomfortable as being misgendered.
as someone who is asexual, my sexuality is (and always will be) assumed incorrectly.
if someone tries to infer my sexuality based on my appearance or gender expression self-expression, as people are apt to do, there is no chance of them getting it right because a) chances are they don’t even know people of my gender or sexuality exist; b) there literally is nothing to infer.
they might think me a lesbian based on how i dress.
they might think my long hair “appropriate” based on my assumed gender.
they might think me kinky or rebellious based on my piercings and tattoos.
they might think me good in bed based on my physical features and ethnicity.
it will never occur to them that not only am i not a lesbian, i’m also not straight.
it will never occur to them that my hair is long only because i can’t cut it, let alone the fact that the length of my hair has nothing to do with anything.
it will never occur to them that my piercings and tattoos are purely for myself; that there is no gendered or sexual subtext to me having them.
it will never occur to them that someone of my physical features and ethnicity could literally be sexually attracted to no one.
while there is, perhaps, some overlap that makes my asexuality and lack of a sex drive relevant in terms of making bottom dysphoria not much of a thing for me, while at the same time making chest dysphoria more complicated, i see that as pertaining to my anatomy and physical sex, not my gender. society has made it common practice to treat anatomy and physical sex as being interchangeable or synonymous with gender, but i view these things as being distinct from one another.
at the end of the day, as far as i’m concerned, there really is no connection between gender norms and my (a)sexuality as there are literally no gender norms, roles, etc applicable to my gender for me or anyone else to even connect to my asexuality.
however, thanks to society, connections are constantly being made for me without my consent. these connections are so convoluted, coercive and undermining of both my gender identity and my sexuality…. sometimes disassociation is what gets me through the day.