Steph Farnsworth argues that the community needs to be more accepting of different kinds of queer love
You’d think with the amount of times the LGBTQ+ community says “love is love” we’d actually be a little more accepting of the concept of love. Our ideal of love though is incredibly limited in scope. Only overtly romantic love is afforded a space in the community – and only love that is to a person of the same gender.
Romanticism doesn’t always align with sexuality, but that’s rarely acknowledged. Our language takes for granted the fact that love and sex don’t always match up to the same end result. In society generally, there must be sex to have truly intimate and passionate love, and sex is only given value if it is in the context of love. These are not romantic visions of how we should have relationships; they’re ultimately oppressive, particularly to queer people.
“hese are not romantic visions of how we should have relationships; they’re ultimately oppressive, particularly to queer people”
It is possible for a person to be sexually attracted to only people of the same gender, but romantically attracted to people only of a different gender. Homosexuality while being heteroromantic is possible. It’s also something silenced, shunned and never spoken about in the LGBTQ+ community for the same reason that bisexual and biromantic people are still treated as pariahs. Anything less than sexual and romantic desire for people of the same gender is still seen as less queer. Heteromanticism by those who are gay or bisexual then is treated as treachery. It’s seen as a cop out, that it’s caving to an allocishet society, its privileged and that it’s a weak excuse for an identity. Desire for people of a different gender, and especially those who are cis, is still seen as something to be distrustful of. There’s an audacious reaction akin to a ‘how dare they’ attitude. How dare a queer person not be fully queer, is exactly how they react.
It can be seen in the complete absence of discussions around asexuality and aromanticism – even on the queerest of platforms. They’re not see as real. Even queer people themselves will questions whether people are “truly asexual” rather than actually listening to asexual people. The LGBTQ+ community has become a fighting ground for egos. People don’t want to share in progress. They want the attention to only be on their identities so we’re shutting the community down rather than raising it up to be more inclusive. If asexual and aromantic people wish to identify as queer then they are free to do so. Frankly, I’d rather we discussed the position of aphobes in the community.
“They want the attention to only be on their identities so we’re shutting the community down rather than raising it up to be more inclusive”
Love can come in all different forms and we shouldn’t just be talking about romantic love or sex as an end to love. People of the same gender in a relationship based on platonic love, ace and aro people experiencing relationships how they want (or not, as the case may be), bisexual people in romantic relationships with allocishets are all still queer identities and existences worthy of respect, not scorn.
What threatens the community most is the tribalism and the insatiable demand there seems to be to police queer identities. We’ve learned absolutely nothing. When bi people speak on the oppression they’ve experienced by lesbian and gay people, they’re attacked. Ace and aro people are routinely shut out of the community (and that includes ace and aro bi, trans and gay people). Hell, some even resist talking about biromantics preferring to just lump everyone as bisexual – and yet those are bi are diverse and should be allowed to tell their own stories. Biromantics can be asexual, you know, despite what the queerphobes say.
The community seems to be at a crossroads, where people are more likely to embrace self love and see their own queerness but everyone else is trying to gatekeep them. Look at the serious problem with TERFs and how they refuse to respect trans women. The community can be a great place for acceptance – but only if you fit the bill. For the rest of those who are LGBTQ+ it’s often not a community at all, but a gang just as oppressive as allocishets who should be avoided. Prides are great events, but look at how many people feel unsafe by the presence of police, or the fact that UKIP might be invited to march. LGBTQ+ activism should be about making society better, not about fighting from within.
Follow Stephanie on Twitter (@Stephfarnsworth)