I’d like to propose that the word “easy” be banned from the English language, along with the word “lazy”. The latter is especially egregious because it seems to have no real value beyond attacking someone who you don’t like, especially when you have no knowledge of what they actually do.
But that’s a subject for a different blog someday. Right now I’m taking offense at the word “easy” because it seems to be slung around without abandon, as an accusation against people who are fighting for their lives, because someone else doesn’t understand their experience.
In other words, asexuality isn’t easy, folks. Being transgender or gender-variant isn’t easy either. Stop saying they are. When you do, you just show your own ignorance.
The last couple of weeks have been extremely difficult for both me and Hadassah, for separate reasons. She and I have been talking a lot about making sure our friendship remains a friendship and doesn’t veer off into romantic territory, which neither of us wants. She has been feeling that we are too much like a romantic couple. As I shared in a previous blog, it is very difficult to communicate because what she calls romance I call friendship, and I am coming to realize that my ideal partner is a best friend, not what I would call a romantic partner at all. But she is not asexual and it would not be healthy for our friendship to veer into that gray area between friendship and romance. So we have to distance ourselves from each other while still supporting each other.
We’ve been talking very honestly and trying to work things out so that we can have a friendship that we both feel comfortable with and not feel that our friendship is stopping either one of us from finding a suitable life partner. And it has been painful at times. I have cried, a lot, because I feel like I am losing my best friend even though I’m not, really. We’re just redefining our relationship and making it healthy. We have fought at times — and we are people who get along extraordinarily well, usually, and hardly ever argue with each other. We have stayed up all night trying to explain to each other what words such as friendship, romance and love mean to each of us respectively and find some common ground for discussion so that we can hopefully move past our different understandings of the whole relationship thing and rebuild our friendship.
And people dare say that it is “easy” to be asexual. “It’s so much easier for you. You aren’t tormented by sex.”
Try being tormented by desire for emotional intimacy with someone who can’t give it to you because they want and need to reserve that for their sexual partner. Try loving your best friend without being in love with her and not having any words at all to even describe why it hurts, never mind how broken your heart is. Try having to let go of the person you love most in the world in an attempt to keep them in your life at all while knowing it will never be what you want and need it to be and having to find a way to move forward when it all seems impossible.
Then tell me it’s easy to be asexual.
I hate having to rant about this. I really do. Because actually I’m pretty happy with my asexuality, especially now that I’ve discovered a whole community of bloggers and am starting a meetup group and am participating in the asexual community in all sorts of ways. But this perception that asexuality is easier than sexuality really bothers me, because not dealing with sexual attraction doesn’t make me immune to heartache, especially right now when the major relationship in my life is in such a state of transition and some things I had hoped for just… cannot materialize. Ever.
I’m not the only one who has been hurt by the careless swinging around of the word “easy”, either. Some transphobes, for lack of a better word, have latched onto using this particular weapon to hurt the people they don’t understand. Hadassah got told earlier today by some gay person that transgender people have it “easy” because “they can get married and gay people can’t”. This was an excuse for not standing up against the deplorable transphobic skit on last week’s Saturday Night Live.
Never mind that some trans people are gay, and that in any case transpeople get caught in a kind of limbo where the state can’t figure out what sex they “really” are so they don’t let them marry either sex thanks to same-sex prohibitions on marriage. Even leaving all that aside, Hadassah is currently unable to do many things that she is supposed to have the right to do because the state of North Carolina will not allow her to have a name that matches her gender identity. I’ve blogged about this before, and it’s worth repeating. You cannot even get a job or buy a car without giving your name and Social Security number to the government. According to that government, Hadassah is male — and the state of North Carolina will not even let her have a female name. To use her male name would be to cause massive psychological damage and possibly undo the hard work she’s done to overcome suicidal impulses. And if she were to be suicidal and try to get help in a hospital — they would call her a man too, or at least by a man’s name.
So you see, being trans is not easy any more than being Ace is.
Stop using the word easy to try to erase the struggles of anyone who is different than you or who you do not understand. Focus on your own life and how to make it better instead of accusing other people of not appreciating how easy their life is when they try to make themselves visible to the world.
People should not have to fight for the right to be seen. This should be a basic privilege that is taken for granted by everybody. Don’t make it any worse by calling someone’s issues a waste of time or accusing them of having an easy life so that you don’t have to deal with them.