Pulse and Pride and Social Justice culture got me questioning my queerness.
The beauty of my asexuality is that it leaves me equally attracted to men and women. The ugliness of it is I’m left disappointing even more people.
Heyy pretty lady 🙂
Unanswered messages from women I right-swiped before being hit with fear.
Pride was Sunday. My friend wanted to go, and I did, too. I packed gray lipstick when I went into the city, and then couldn’t put it on. I didn’t want people to think I was using pride as an excuse to look weird, wild. Blue hair, rainbow shorts, gray lipstick, what are you doing in this place you don’t even feel completely welcome? It would have been my own individual pride. Taking the opportunity to lean into myself and try to feel safe. My flag isn’t rainbow. It’s gray. And purple, white, and black.
There’s some documentary about asexuality on Netflix that people (straight and queer alike) love to tell me they’ve seen. They all seem to have appreciated and learned a lot from it. I hated that documentary. Found it thoroughly depressing. The icing on the cake was when a group of asexuals went to Pride to show their presence and pass out little pamphlets about asexuality…and the majority of the gays and lesbians there either laughed at or derided them. One guy even said, “I don’t agree with your way of life,” and then continued to cheer for the rainbow parade.
So, there’s that. There’s a reason I have trouble talking to women I find attractive. We can match on Tinder, we can wine at queer dance halls, but when it gets to the point of moving past that, I freeze. I don’t want to disappoint women, give them lady blue balls. It’s ‘easier’ to do that to guys, because to a certain extent that’s already written into our patriarchal culture. With women, I’m afraid of hurting their feelings by slipping into the role of the “straight lesbian” who’s fine kissing but uninterested in anything else. I don’t know how to move past that block. And it sort of feels like I should, a lot of the time, if I want to be taken seriously under the queer umbrella. How can I claim queerness and more easily be with men? How does that work?
“The thing is, I could have been somewhere like Pulse,” I’m saying to my friend. “I mean, we’ve been places like that before. And they do feel safer. Not even in the sense of the outside world judging, but because the people I interact with there actually care about consent. And what if I just wanted to go somewhere and dance and feel safe and not get handled, and then I ended up shot and got on the news and was dead? What would my family, who does not acknowledge asexuality, think?”
“They’d think you were gay,” she says simply. Easy.
That agitates me, and at first I can’t tell if it’s not because of the strong Congolese sentiment against gayness, and the desire to still be accepted by the most distant relatives. Maybe that’s a part of it, but I think a bigger part is knowing that it just isn’t. Easy.
Yes, I could pass as straight for the rest of my life, and there’s a privilege to that. I guess really anyone could. Pass. It would just be easier for me to do so. But that puts me at increased risk for damage to my person. Real, real risk. Like
The message comes in from my friend.
He’s in NYC. There was an apartment I’d been looking to move into, subletting from an alum. Her roommate brought him into the city. The man whose name I shouldn’t legally say now, since he threatened to sue me for defamation of character. Apparently, it’s wrong for me to name my rapist to the public. Not that any of that matters, because he’s here. He’s here, and lions have turned into kittens, and my mind is beyond spidering and I want to
actually, never see another man. They’re scary, in the deepest sense of that simple adjective.
Also, a bit, I don’t want to see another person. I can’t go outside for it. I want to cocoon myself in blankets and stay in my bed where loved ones can come visit me and tell me stories and bring me tea, but please don’t expect me to go outside again, or into the city, where he can just pop up on me.
The thing is that the break and spaces just now, between saying what I want and actually putting something in that looks like it could finish that thought, is the amount of time it takes me to unthaw and keep moving and unpack everything, and by the time that happens I’m on the C train going towards Pride. Realizations and asexual situations and the energy it takes to do all that have me tired. Of course. So instead of going to Pride, I just stay on the train until I’m in Times Square, and then I shuttle over to Metro North and ride that train home. The whole time, I berate myself for being a bad queer, and chastise myself for wearing short shorts when there are regular men all over the place. Pride would have made what I wore safe. Pride would have drained my mental energy.
I’m not really sure what I feel now, going home. My mind is a soup of questionable ingredients. Guilt-confusion-fear-uncertainty-acceptan-pri-shame-alertness-fog are the only things that briefly bob to the surface. Mostly I feel tired. A man sits next to me and I turn the pages of my book into a cocoon until I can fall asleep.