When you look at the acronym LGBTQIA, you know what all of those initials mean, right? Well, maybe you think you do. And maybe you're right. But I just want to go through it with you, just in case you have any misunderstanding.
L stands for Lesbian. That's quite well known, maybe for the wrong reasons, but it's there. Girls love girls like boys do, it's nothing new. They're not just here for your entertainment, they're people just like you, and you need to respect that.
B stands for Bisexual. This isn't really quite as well received or understood as maybe some sexualities are, but still. Representation exists, people are becoming more aware of who these people are, and the respect that they - and everyone - deserve.
G stands for Gay. A no-brainer, really. Not anything people aren't unfamiliar with, the word that follows you in the playground if you hug your same-gendered best friend. Something that's become a quintessentially bad thing, even when it should be celebrated and treated the same as every other thing on this planet.
T is for Transgender, which is where it gets blurry for some people. Men are men, women are women, that's the end of that story. What we're assigned at birth might not be who we are inside, and that's perfectly okay. Not to mention all the minority genders which are constantly undermined and disregarded as 'fads' and 'not real'.
Q is for Queer or Questioning, because sometimes people don't want a defining label and sometimes they aren't sure. Taking back such a previously negative term is a massive thing for any discriminated group, including the LGBTQIA+ society. Questioning your sexuality is completely okay, even if you decide that liking girls was just a phase from your teens, and this initial is here to help you with that.
I is for Intersex. People that have characteristics of more than one gender, whatever that may be. They're still unknown to most people, that fact that sometimes our bodies don't have clear defined lines as society has tried to dictate is bewildering to some.
And then we have A.
A does NOT stand for ally, or allied, or ANYTHING like that.
Because allies are welcome, because equal rights are more than just including 'the gays', and although we don't need them to succeed, any help is important and definitely treasured.
But allies are not discriminated against.
Allies are not ignored, or pushed back, or ANYTHING.
Because they can go home, and not worry about anything. They don't need to worry about the questions, or the glances, or the constant worries about being 'outed' by anyone that knows who you truly are.
The A is not for allies. Because allies don't need a space in the acronym, when they have a space everywhere else. They don't deserve a place, because they don't go through homophobia, and name calling, and consuming terror, and being misgendered, and being completely marginalised, and being yelled at by your parents because you love girls when you're 'supposed to have a boyfriend'.
The A is for Asexuals.
Not for allies.
Because Asexual people are told that they are broken, that sex is a normal human function, that they've obviously suffered abuse or maltreatment when they were younger. That they 'need to be raped'. That they 'just need to wait to find the right person, then you'll want to have sex'.
They are given psychiatric treatment by their GPs because their doctor doesn't believe that asexuality is a valid orientation.
They're stigmatised, and called 'prudes', and given negative media representation in any way that Hollywood or anything can portray it. And then, they're often pushed out of the LGBT+ community, because 'they're not gay enough' or 'they don't share the same values as the rest of us'.
And then when we do get our initial, we are pushed aside by crowds of hungry people that want to be 'special', even when they've been granted a gift of privilege, something the rest of us will never truly know.
The A is NOT for ally.
The A is for Asexual. Because we've spent our time on the sidelines, being marginalised and pushed aside, and we've had enough.
Published by Ellie Crowson-Jeffery