I must admit that my eyebrows raised when I heard that "A" was added to the PRIDE agenda. A for Asexual. I've defended asexual orientation in the past for individuals coming to terms with their disinterest in sex, but I didn't fully understand the idea of identifying with that which is not present. Shae Collins, the writer of A Womyn's Worth, writes an honest conviction for an affirmative Asexual identity: How I Confront Sex Positivity and Consent as an Asexual Feminist.
"I WASN’T QUITE SURE HOW MY FEMINISM WAS SUPPOSED TO INCLUDE A SEXUAL ORIENTATION THAT WOULD, WITHOUT HESITATION, CHOOSE A PIECE OF CAKE OVER SEX."
I get it. Put the A up on the Identity Flag. As I've written before, there's always enough room.
The letters on the Pride Banner has grown.
LGBT: Abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. An umbrella term that is used to refer to the community as a whole has expanded to LGBTQIA to intentionally include and visibilize the Queer, Intersex and Asexual communities under our rainbow umbrella.
I, personally, identify as Queer (as I have always found bisexual to be too limiting, too binary, in its definition), and enjoy the ever inclusive span that the community can reach, but I can't help but think of a children's book that my daughters love in which all the letters of the alphabet climb a coconut tree and fall into a weeping and injured heap on the ground: "skinned- nose D" and "loose toothed T." The repetitive question is "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Will there be enough room at the top of the coconut tree?" Identities are constantly shifting and we are discovering and claiming new ones all the time. How many more letters will be added?
I've definitely made identity mistakes in my casual banter as well as in my casual online writing. I've stepped on people's pronouns and labeled others who didn't self identify with the label that I carelessly stuck on them. For example, I was speaking with another woman who has been in the dominatrix profession for as long as I had and I spoke with a sweeping reach of our experience in the sex industry. She looked at me and stated, "I don't include myself as a sex worker. My work is about sadism." I was shocked and made a flippant reply about also believing in unicorns in hopes to add humor and we continued our discussion. Later, the same woman told me that she realized that she had an issue with the idea of sex work and wanted to self investigate her personal reasons, but I also learned about myself and my motivations to identify others with my own label tabs.
In-group. Out-group. It's pretty basic social psychology about wanting to fit in, yearning for community, self approval.
I am really enjoying learning about how others identify as individuals and as communities. Will there be enough room? Yes, always.