I’m Not Really Attracted To Anyone…

2 May

  I remember the first time I had the courage to ask my best friend, indirectly, if he liked anyone. Obviously that was my way of finding out his preference. I remember feeling  guilty for wanting to ask, but at the same time, wanting to know after our six year  friendship so I could be that support he needed – like he was for me – without him  having to worry about negative reactions he thought I would have. I felt like keeping his romantic life out of our relationship was not fair to him. It was tiring how obsessed people were to find out what he identified as, it started to affect me, making me become hot tempered with anyone who asked. “I’m not really attracted to anyone,” was his response. I remember questioning him more, “really? Not even someone in high school dude, come on, we’ve known each other for six years.” Yet, he insisted that he never felt an attraction to anyone. I had never heard of this or discussed this topic growing up or in any of my classes at that time. This was the first time I looked up on the internet, or any reference book, what it meant to not be attracted to anyone. 

Asexuality was the termed that popped up and until the day he came out to me as gay, I always believed he identified as asexual. Yet, when we discussed the conversation mentioned above, we came up with different conclusions. Despite it being years, I still remember his response vividly, yet for him, being a first generation Latino male student and insinuating he was asexual was his way of assuring that his identity was not outed. It was an identity he was willing to use in order to express his identity to others, and served as assurance that he would stop being questioned. He and I spoke about it for a while, he explained he did not know how to explain his lack of a female relationships to impatient family members who constantly asked him about his romantic life or as he said, “trying to find out if I’m gay.” This temporary identity he took, was viewed as less detrimental to his overall well-being because he was not acknowledging an attraction to men nor was he acknowledging an attraction to women, thus still ensuring connections were kept with his family back home if anyone were to hear about his asexual identity.

I never realized how this identity could be used in instances such as these, and how it really helped my best friend incorporate it into an identity that helped him progress/survive through his own personal experience as a first generation gay male Latino college student. I am reading more into this and seeing if I find scholarly research on it, but what do you all think? My friend did not identify as asexual yet related to the identity whenever he wanted to give that impression in order to keep himself safe; can one say that is being selfish/claiming a word that is not yours? I know it’s up to the person and how they identify as, but I am asking this in comparison to the debate of the missing “b” and what does it means to have that identity and how you value it, versus how other people perceive you to be and question those individuals they may feel aren’t really bisexual; Lady Gaga being one of them as mentioned by Kelsey. Does asexuality have the fluidity that we acknowledged existed within the bisexual identity?  

Posted by Maria L”

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2 Responses to “I’m Not Really Attracted To Anyone…”

  1. annefola May 2, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    This is such a lovely narrative about how complicated our relationship to identity categories can be. Complicated not only by our own internal complexities, but also and perhaps even most of all by the expectations and values of those with whom we interact. And how things don’t just “mean” one thing, but meaning is completely created through interaction. I love the way you talk about how the *meaning* of “I’m not really attracted to anyone” changed over time.

    • Anna Schettle May 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

      This may be an odd way to think about it…but I see this as something similar to denotation and connotation.

      Denotation: what the latino community thinks of when they hear from this individual that he is not interested in anyone (he must be asexual!)

      Connotation: what not being interested in anyone or thought of as asexual means to this individual (security within his community, not being outed)

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