Asexuality, Muslimness, and accessibility
elainexe‘s recent post Ace Problems, Non-Ace Solutions helped me to crystallize some ideas I’ve been thinking a lot about this summer.
In Obstacles to therapy as an asexual Muslim convert, I wrote about how my identity as an aromantic, sex-averse asexual, my being a hijab-wearing Muslim convert, and my accessibility limitations due to not being able to drive all come together.
This is true almost any time I think about accessibility to offline spaces. Whether it’s deciding where to live or what jobs I can take, figuring out how to get to anything from a medical appointment to a march, even my experiences at the mosque, it’s always those same three things.
They don’t always combine in the same way. Being a convert is the most relevant in Muslim spaces (where converts are often marginalized), while being Muslim itself and wearing hijab is more relevant in non-Muslim spaces (where I may face prejudice or stigma). Being asexual instead of some other flavor of queer matters in some contexts, particularly LGBTQ ones. Other times, the key is the lifelong celibacy I have chosen as the most authentic way to live in my asexuality, aromanticism, and sex aversion.
Being celibate means I can’t rely on a partner to drive me places I can’t get to by myself. There are practical benefits - there is security, as elainexe notes - in being married or having another type of long-term primary relationship. In fact, part of the reason I’m interested in forming a queerplatonic relationship is simply to have somewhere there to help with the practical details of life, especially as I get older.
What would make my life easier? Above all, changing society so that people do not have to rely primarily on family and marriage to get certain types of care and support. Reform of family law and of societal structures of care is, in a way, my top political issue as an ace. Better public transit would make a big difference too.
It would also make my life easier if both the larger American society and also many Muslim communities would stop treating Muslimness and being a white American as mutually exclusive, recognized that some of us are both at the same time, and were more welcoming and inclusive.
And finally, it would help if asexuality were recognized as a valid sexual orientation and people were familiar with it and accepted it.