“Sorry, I’m long-winded…
I know a lot of aro/ace-spectrum identifying people get very upset by the “A” in LGBTQIA being referred to as standing for “ally,” and it’s understandable, but I would like to share my story and start a discussion about why completly removing that representation could be detrimental to people who are exploring themselves and are new to the community.
I had the wonderful opportunity of getting a LGBT certificate in college (similar to a minor). I was not exposed to almost anything LGBT-related prior to that. The LGBT individials I knew of were few and far between, and I considered them “exotic” because I was naive and thought it was such a rare thing. I initially starting taking classes in LGBT Studies simply because I knew absolutely nothing and I was more then a little intrigued. I knew at this point I didn’t fit into the norm, but I thought I would eventually work things out. The first class I took, I felt right away that it was more than just benign curiosity, that I had a connection to the community, but didn’t fully digest that connection until years later, when the “difference” I thought I would eventually “fix” or “grow out of” still hadn’t changed. Despite graduating with a certificate in LGBT Studies, I was still very ignorant in several respects, mostly because the program needed a major overhaul; “asexual” was included as an identity, but not given any more than a passing regard in any of the classes I took. The letter “A” was described as being a versitile representation of ace/ally and could be whichever you chose. Asexuality wasn’t really discussed, so I chose it to mean “ally” because I didn’t know any better; I felt I belonged in the community, but didn’t know where. I understood the “Q” was for people like me who felt queer and were searching, but it seemed too broad a term and didn’t resonate with me. I clung to an identity something like “queerish ally” for years, occasionally playing with other words that never really fit, and still largely oblivious to the broad spectrum asexuality covered. I will admit that I ignored it as a possibility because I posses a hypersexual mentality and thought that flew directly in the face of an asexual identity, so it couldn’t be an option. The truth of the matter is, as someone who used the “A” to claim an identity of “queerish ally” because I was searching and needed something to hang on to, I would have been devastated to have someone tell me I didn’t belong simply because allies “don’t need a letter.”
I really began my search for a more accurate identity less than a year ago. I got sick and tired of people asking me why I don’t date, why I don’t want to sleep with anyone, what’s wrong with you, etc. And I wondered myself. This isn’t just me being a “late bloomer” anymore. Upon further and more in depth review, asexual seemed to fit since, bottom line, I’m really not interested in sleeping with anyone myself, and I joined this group for all of the things “ACES” represents. It’s only been a few months since I found the term Autochorissexual and it was like the clouds parted and a huge lightbulb came on. I had to reread the description 4-5 times, pace around my bedroom, reread the description again, and almost cry because sweet baby Jesus there’s a word for it! It took me 32 years, but there it was.
Regardless of the fact that I know better now and ace invisibility, as my own experience clearly shows, is a serious problem, I cannot completely let go of the “A” standing for ally, because it takes away from my own journey, and I would never want to be the person taking it away from someone else who is in this moment just as confused and grasping at straws as I was not that long ago.”