By Meghna Mehra
TW: mention of abuse, bullying, aphobia
I am an asexual woman and here’s my coming out story.
I started activism in college, before that I was involved in rescuing stray animals. I participated in the occupy UGC movement against the privatisation of higher education in India. For four years, I was actively involved in student politics. However, my personal life was not as good as activism life. I was a survivor of child abuse, pedophiles flock to me during my early years and I went on thinking that I was repulsed by sex due to it. I fall under sex repulsed part of the asexuality spectrum.
I started “dating” during teenage but one always bothered me – I was never feeling sexual attraction towards the person I was dating. I would feel totally repulsed over mere sexting and I started searching about phobia of sex, but the problem was – I wasn’t scared of sex, I thought of it as a natural process but something that I do not want to do. For me, it was equivalent to eating a vegetable that I do not like, so I would stay away from it. Teenage was also the time when my political ideologies evolved, I turned atheist from an overly religious person. Earlier, I thought that my repulsedness had moral and religious reasons but later, as an atheist, I discovered that I do not feel sexual attraction towards my partners. Being a womxn it is often expected that we should “provide” sexual pleasure to men in a heterosexual relationship, I bore the brunt of this belief by facing a lot of abuse in my relationships.
I came out accidentally to the organisation I was doing activism in during a meeting when I laid emphasis on adding the word “A” for Asexual, Aromantic and Agender people. After that, in 2018, my vice India interview went viral and I faced massive trolling for being sex repulsed asexual. I was bullied by a fellow asexual person as she couldn’t understand that I was speaking on the behalf of sex repulsed asexuals.
Coming out to my family –
I came out to my sister who is very supportive of it. My mother knows about my orientation as she has read my books – Marriage Of Convenience, The Ghost From Revolutionary Past. However, I never felt like coming out to my extended family, some of them just know. The most oppression that I faced was from outside the family forces like spaces of activism, few fellow comrades, few political rivals, and partners.
bullied for BEING Asexual
I contested two college-level elections in 2016 and 2017, both of these elections made me realize that queer issues were still not on the agendas of many student wings in my college campuses. I was bullied for being Asexual, all sort of misinformation has been spread about me. For example- a person said I do not have a vagina as I am asexual. This was also a time when a partner sexually harassed me and tried to bully me into having sex with him. I broke up with him but his group and he never stopped stalking and bullying me until a few years. Dating is a very sensitive topic for me as it brings out traumatic incidents, I realized that even if I wasn’t asexual, as a womxn I would still face harassment and coercion into having sex. This needs to stop.
Another instance where I felt that I am facing discrimination was when I was fired for being Asexual, I was working for an NGO which found out about my orientation during my first week of work and told me that it would bring problems for them and told me to resign. I have been told by many people to hide my orientation from my social media accounts so that I do not face discrimination as “I don’t look queer”, this made me realize how bad the situation is when it comes to asexual erasure. Sometimes people mistake me for a heterosexual person during pride as well. I am often bullied by gay men too, one of them put false allegations on me while he was harassing multiple gay men. Since asexual voices are often given less value in the community and the misogyny still persists, this bullying stayed and caused me trauma. There was a time when I would feel hopeless but I realized that life is too short to feel that way and I focused on my health and my work.
There was a time when a political candidate came and “joked” about conversion therapy asking me, “so there is no treatment of homosexuality” and many other people around him laughed. There were plenty of microaggressions that I faced. One time I was almost beaten up by a person who calls herself a radical feminist, this scared me as I noticed how my pleas went unheard for years of gender sensitization. After facing discrimination in previous spaces and noticing how our community needs more queer-friendly spaces, I started the All India Queer Association in 2019. Some people still think that Asexuality isn’t valid, isn’t part of the LGBTQIA+ community but I believe that we are here, sitting at the table, making the table longer for all other orientations and identities together. My blood, sweat, and tears go on making AIQA better, I know I am not perfect but the aim is to make others feel safe and I wish nobody goes through all the things I went through. We need to teach kids about asexuality so that they do not feel that something is wrong with them.
TIPS ON COMING OUT (for asexuals and for everyone else because you all matter to me)
- Try to understand your social settings, some of us are privileged, some of us aren’t.
- Come out only if you feel like coming out
- Stay mentally prepared for both support and backlash from those you are coming out to
- Life is not a bed of roses, we heard this a lot. But my dear queers, life is not a bed of thorns either, we will fight it together.
- Brahminical Patriarchy demands heteronormativity, smash it.
- You do not need to put people on a pedestal just for “accepting” you, if you love yourself, you are ENOUGH.
- Economic independence is necessary for our community.