LGBT Rights! Great. What about the minority who do not fit this neat bracket?

 

Sexuality; it’s a tricky subject that some struggle to talk about, largely down to the fact that some just find that it alienates them or take the view that for the more minority sexualities, some people deny that they even exist. I’m under the view, given that I am openly demisexual, that while some may be tagging along for the ride, it is out of order to deny someone what they personally identify with.

On top of the awareness of the LGBT movement, highlighted by the many days, weeks or months that are dedicated to it, there are other, lesser-known sexual and romantic orientations. The full acronym, which I would have to say, rather defeats the point of having an acronym, is LGBTQQIP2SAA. To break this down, there is the obvious and then: Queer and Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, 2 Spirit, Asexual and — although I do not personally agree that this should be included — Allies. The reason that I don’t agree with the last letter is that Allies simply means those who support the rest of the movement. This, for me, does not make them part of the movement.

Within the asexual community, there is a further spectrum, including asexual, demisexual and gray-A. An asexual is someone who doesn’t experience any sort of sexual attraction whatsoever, a demisexual is someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction unless there is an existing close emotional connection. With regards to the origin of the term, demi is Latin for half, meaning that demisexual is halfway between sexual and asexual. Gray-A is an umbrella term for those who know that they are on the asexuality scale but do not fit with one of the three definitions.

Pansexual relates to those who can be attracted to anyone, regardless of gender or sexuality, while queer is still up for debate, given that the origin of the term used to mean gay. However, it is now unclear what the definition of queer actually is. Some suggest that it is used to refer to the whole LGBT community; however, this is controversial and to some, even offensive.

Sexuality is confusing to some and while people may say that you don’t have to put a label on it, the very fact that you do, in a way allows you to feel that you are a part of something and to know that you are not alone. There is the issue of gender identity, completely separate from sexuality, however, that is for another article.

While keeping your sexuality secret may be known as being ‘In The Closet’, it would be fair to say that our awareness of some sexualities is itself In The Closet.

While I may be exaggerating slightly, it is felt by those who are outside the narrow LGBT definition that there is an attitude from some that demisexual, asexual, gray-A and other are just simply not legitimate sexualities. While the terms may have only come into use in recent years, this doesn’t mean that these sexual orientations didn’t exist prior to there being a word for them. In fact, according to the AVEN Census 2014, 49.2 per cent of respondents, in other words, 6,991 people said that they identified as asexual, while 11.1 per cent (1,557 people) identified as demisexual and 16.2 per cent (2,302 people) identified as gray-A.

While this may be a small percentage of the overall population, the very fact that there are a significant number of people and a whole organisation dedicated to this sexual category — the Asexuality Visability and Education Network — means that there is no doubt that it is a genuine identity.

As for pansexuality, it is a rarer sexuality but nevertheless, a genuine one. Among the AVEN Census, on top of identifying as asexual, demisexual, gray-A or otherwise, 16.4 per cent (2,330 people) identified as pansexual. On top of this, the identity has slightly more public awareness due to high-profile figures, such as Tom Daley and Miley Cyrus, coming out as pansexual.

Perhaps the real reason why asexuality is still in the dark is because of the Kinsey scale. Named after Alfred Kinsey, this is the means used to measure whether you are hetero or homosexual. It does not, however, fully take into account differences in the asexuality scale.

While I understand that it will take some time, the very fact that these sexual differences are finally being discussed is a step in the right direction. Let’s keep on walking.