I don’t consider myself queer.
For a long time, I thought the word “Queer” was only something that white people could be. No one in my family, that I was aware of, was queer. None of my friends were talking about being queer. It wasn’t being said on the tv. It wasn’t being sung in songs. Whenever my aunts talked about someone being queer it was always a white person. I’m not white, so back then, I thought I couldn’t be whatever this mysterious queer thing was. I didn’t think I could ever label myself a queer being.
Many of my friends do though; they consider me the queerest of the bunch. Even though my older sister is a lesbian and one of my closest friends is trans. To the people around me, I’m queerer than they are because I’m asexual. A word that many people haven’t ever heard of and can’t begin to define. Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction and/or desire. That’s the simplest and easiest definition that can be given. I’m not attracted to people, sexually. I’m not attracted romantically either but that’s a different story, different article. I’ve had sex before, a bunch of times with several people so I’m by no means a virgin or inexperienced. I can still look at a celebrity and automatically think “I want to fuck them”. I understand the general idea of why sex is enjoyable to people. But it’s not to me and it hasn’t ever really been. A few of the times I had sex I enjoyed it, but I rarely saw myself actively seeking it out. Those celebrities I’d like to fuck are more enjoyable in theory because whenever I imagine a scenario of it actually happening I end up shutting down. I wasn’t able to properly express this when I was younger, when my boyfriend demanded sex from me daily or when girls weren’t taking the hint that I just wanted to be friends. Now though, I have the tools and the language to get my point across. I use this to my advantage at all times possible.
I don’t like to be touched. It’s a trauma thing and something that grew and crossed over with my Asexuality. When one is in a relationship, you realize it involves A LOT of touching. I’m not with it so I removed myself from the equation of sexual/romantic relationships. Other people, however, haven’t removed me and still expect me to be interested in them when they show interest in me. Nevermind what I want, all that matter is what they want. They don’t consider the idea that I’m not interested in anyone at all. As a Black woman with the face and body I have, I must just be curving niggas when I decline their advances. My ass cannot be this fat and there’s no man or woman claiming it. I haven’t had sex in five years so I must be “crazy” because only a mentally unstable person wouldn’t want to engage in that universally loved thing. I have been preached at, screamed at, lectured and given looks full of pity. And all the while, I simply sat back and observed what I saw happening around me and the things happening around Black Queers. It all comes down to one thing for me, personally: Black Queers are constantly being policed and it needs to stop.
My perspective on sex comes from a different angle, one that most haven’t thought of before. And that somehow makes me both broken and queerer than the people out here having sex. Which is strange to me. I’m broken because I lack sexual attraction but I’m queer because of that as well? I often lost track of time trying to figure out if when someone called me queer were they really calling me broken in a nice way. What’s even stranger though, is the idea that something or someone must be invalidated in order for one thing to make sense. While my friends around me have been calling me queer for a while, once I got on the internet, I was told with a hard resounding “No” that I’m not queer and it’s disrespectful for me to even think of myself that way. Because I’m not interested in sex, and honestly that’s fine with me. What isn’t fine, however, is the way that Black people are constantly policed by queer white people because we don’t fit in the definition they deemed would define “Queer”. If you’re not X, Y, Z then you’re not queer and can’t be apart of the LBGT community. As if all sexuality isn’t a spectrum and ever-changing, but that seems to only apply when discussing white queerness. The only people who told me that I can’t be queer because I’m Asexual, have all been white. It’s very noticeable on the internet that if you’re not thin, white and pretty by European standards then your experiences, words, and perspective as a queer person aren’t taken seriously. Queer white people aren’t interested in hearing how being LGBT interests differently when it comes to Black people because they aren’t able to wrap their minds around any suffering that doesn’t directly affect them. They refuse to. And in that refusal, Black queer people can end up drawing the short end of the stick.
In the Black community, sexuality is a sensitive subject. It’s not talked about. If it’s not a man and a woman having sex then suddenly it’s problem, or it’s mocked. Queerness isn’t a joke, it’s an important part of many young Black peoples lives. As a community, it seems we’re fighting amongst ourselves for the idea that we are all Black despite what happens in the privacy of our bedrooms. It’s the old heads versus the youngings and I don’t really understand it. Especially because there are definitely Black queers that are 50 years and above. Any time Black men are near each other and show affection, they’re called gay. Black women are hypersexualized by the masses (men and women alike) and expected to like it. Black children are groomed to be homophobic. Our instant reaction to something that makes us uncomfortable is to crack a joke, to put down whatever the thing is. Instead of talking about why it makes us uncomfortable in the first place. The safe space for Black Queers in the Black community is very small. That’s gotta change before we lose even more Black Queers than we already have. The problem isn’t the Black community as a whole, the problem is we’ve been conditioned for literal centuries to think and react to differences in a white way. We react in the only way we know how. However, every once in a while I see something that lets me know we’re headed in a better direction. A progressive direction that we as Black people should and need to define ourselves. I’d never met another Black asexual until I started posting about being Ace on Twitter. I found other Black individuals like me and they’ve put me on to even more Black Aces than I could have ever imagined. We’re out here, we exist.
I don’t consider myself queer, but there are hundreds of thousands of Black people who are queer and deserve to be so in peace.