I’m asexual and no that does not mean I am a plant

Charlotte Elliott, Campus Life Editor

Illustration by Madi Welch.

I am invisible. Not in the physical sense of course, I am but a human after all. It is more the feeling of walking around campus knowing that everyone I make eye contact with is not actually seeing me. They are seeing the version of me that I have had to put up as self-defense for the past three years in order to avoid being labeled a prude or mocked for my complete disinterest in all things sexual.

Whitman likes to pride itself for being extremely liberal and accepting of all sexualities; however, in reality, the ace community has been shunned into a dark corner of the classroom forever to be known as just another member of the + team that provides background support for the LGBTQ community. We are a sexuality that people are scared to acknowledge because god forbid anyone cares more about grabbing the last slice of garlic bread than making out with a frat boy in the Sig basement.

For the countless number of people who probably have no idea what being asexual actually means, don’t worry, you are not alone. There is a misconception that all aces are destined to remain a team of tragic virgins with families that consist exclusively of cats. While the cat part may be true for me, the reality of asexuality is that it is, like most things, a spectrum.

There are people for whom even the slightest mention of the s-word makes them uncomfortable and there are people who are perfectly happy engaging in sexual activities, however, they feel no or little sexual attraction for their partner. The presence of sexual attraction is the fundamental basis of the ace spectrum and the amount each ace person feels can vary.

Is this getting too confusing yet? What if I told you the ace spectrum is not a single line, it is actually formed of two different orientations. For the ace community sexual attraction and romantic attraction can be separated so, while someone may be asexual, they also may be heteroromantic, biromantic, aromantic, etc. 

For me, I can look at men, women, and anyone in between and maybe feel romantic attraction, however this never becomes sexual attraction. My happy little spot on the a-spectrum is always changing and that is okay because no one is bound to one sexuality for their entire life.

Now back to Whitman. A regular conversation topic around campus is sexuality and you are likely to be questioned about it at some stage of your Whitman experience. While there is rarely any pressure to share, I am quite happy to talk about being asexual whenever people ask. Maybe there is a small part of me praying that I will chance upon a new ace friend and we can go to parties together, eat copious amounts of cake and completely ignore the two people kissing on the dance floor that are getting alarmingly close. Our hiding spot from the allosexual horde would inevitably be found but the peace would always be worth it. 

I honestly don’t know why I still answer. Every time I tell a fellow Whittie that I am asexual they make the same jokes. “I bet I could change that,” coupled with a smirk I want to slap off their cringe face. “Of course, why else would you not be attracted to me,” trust me, that was not the only reason. Then there is my personal favorite, “wait, does that make you a plant?” Oh no, are my leaves showing again?

I don’t know if Whitman simply has an unspoken aversion to asexuality or if it is just a genuinely uneducated community, but I am begging you to try and at least learn what the word means before you open your mouth to judge. I don’t care if you can’t comprehend how anyone could possibly not feel sexual attraction because honestly I am living my best and happiest life without caring about your opinion. 

Ace people are just as valid as everyone else in the LGBTQ+ community and it is about time people start realizing that.