I completely understand the GLBT movement and the need to end discrimination for these sexual minority groups. But some people seem to be adding asexuals to the list of groups. What on earth is that about? Are asexuals really a persecuted minority? What's up with that? Anon.
When it comes to asexual men, there probably isn't much that's up, if you know what I mean. Or at least they don't get up to much that most of us would consider fun. All kidding aside, there are three kinds of asexuals. The first kind [type A] includes people who, for whatever reason, decide to live a life devoid of sexual activity. It's similar to being celibate but asexuals are not priests or people who give up sex for religious or other reasons. Most people are not asexual by choice, of course, and frankly I believe many who call themselves asexual make that decision at a point in their lives when it's difficult if not impossible for them to find sex partners. Declaring themselves "asexual" is their way of dealing with the problem. That begs the question: Does a true type A asexual eschew masturbation as well as sex with other people?
The second kind [type B] of asexual would be better described as gender-free, someone who does not identity as male or female or who rejects all gender classification. This is quite different from someone who swears off sex. We often use the term asexual to describe those androgynous individuals who lack distinctive masculine or feminine qualities, people who -- like "Pat" on Saturday Night Live -- seem neither male nor female. Not only are we unable tell what sex they are, but sometimes they can't tell as well (sometimes they are simply confused transsexuals). These people can identify as either gay, straight, bi or transgender.
The third type of asexual [type C] is someone who simply has no sexual attraction for anyone, male or female. Some asexual activists -- yes, we even have those -- claim that asexuality is an orientation, but I completely reject this notion. It is not normal or healthy to have no sexual feelings and it does these unfortunate individuals a disservice to claim that it is. Many people are asexual because of conflicted sexual feelings or depression or both. Asexuality is a medical condition that should be treated.
NOTE: Yes, I'm perfectly aware that homosexuality was once thought of as an abnormal medical and psychiatric condition, but lacking all sexual feelings is something entirely different. Gay is Good. What's good about being asexual? In these "progressive" days everyone wants to jump on the GLBT bus but some passengers are headed in the wrong direction.
I'll leave the whole gender-free business for another post. As for people in the first group who lead an asexual lifestyle, as far as I'm concerned, it is ludicrous to think of them as a minority group like homosexuals or lesbians. These are people who make a choice to strip their lives of sexuality -- or to deal with their sexless lives by declaring themselves asexual -- and that's their own business. As for people in the third group, I do not see their struggle as being similar to that of gays and lesbians, sorry. I for one will never get on the band wagon for asexuality, as it is a "lifestyle" that eliminates one of life's greatest pleasures and consolations. Goodness knows, today's overly politically correct activists, in a well-intentioned but often misguided attempt to include everyone who may be oppressed, often add or want to add all sorts of groups to GLBT, but somehow I can't see A for Asexual being added to the list by the more sensible among them.
UPDATE: I've been told in no uncertain terms that many people -- especially those who identify as Type C asexual -- vehemently disagree with me on the issue of asexuality as an orientation vs. disability. Additionally some GLBTers disagree with me that asexuals are not a sexual minority -- also vehemently. At a future date this issue may be revisited -- but for now I'm worn out.