Question of the Week: September 16th, 2014

Do you feel that any particular aspect of your identity is a choice?

I identify as gray-A, but this identity feels somewhat chosen to me.  A person with similar experiences could plausibly identify as asexual or non-asexual.  I choose to identify as gray-A, not because I think I have some experience which completely disqualifies me as asexual, but because I think it works out better for me this way.

About Siggy

Siggy is a physics grad student in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and makes amateur attempts at asexual activism. His interests include godlessness, scientific skepticism, and math. While not working or blogging, he plays video and board games with his boyfriend, and folds colored squares.
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17 Responses to Question of the Week: September 16th, 2014

  1. Isaac says:

    For me the labels like ‘asexual’ or ‘aromantic’ are descriptive, neither prescriptive nor a choice. I’m not forced by the identity to fit, but I don’t force the identity to fit me, either. I use the labels as far as they describe me faithfully and are useful to me, with the nuances that I find necessary. I can choose to describe me as asexual or not to do, but I would be asexual anyway.

  2. Ella says:

    For the most part, my identity is not a choice, but I identify as Greyromantic Asecual because of one romantic experience in my past that I choose to me meaningful and important enough to include in my identity. I could probably choose to identify as Aromantic (with an exception) or Demiromantic, but for me, Greyromantic feels most comfortable for me.

  3. Carmilla DeWinter says:

    Depending whether I want to include past experiences or not, I vary between discribing myself as gray- or aromantic.
    Also, I consider myself part of the queer spectrum, and that identity is definitely chosen.

  4. Estrid says:

    I identify as asexual, and recently, “asexual” is beginning to feel more and more like a choice, in the sense, that the label not only describes that I don’t feel sexual attraction, but also signifies a position from I’m able to say: “I don’t want sex” (this position, in my view, should as such be open to anyone, who wants to challenge notions of compulsory sexuality – and I apologize if this doesn’t really make any immediate sense; I’ve just finished my BA on asexuality).

    • Siggy says:

      That makes sense. Asexuality is not a purely descriptive label, it’s a label that people consciously adopt, often as a way to opt out of compulsory sexuality.

  5. notunprepared says:

    I don’t see my asexuality or aro-ness as being a choice, because if it was I would still be with my rather wonderful ex. But I do kind of see my gender as a choice, but I haven’t decided on a label for it (other than “some flavour of nonbinary”) so describing why I feel that is near on impossible. Gender is hard!

  6. Sara K. says:

    I think I can choose how I interpret my experiences, and choosing a label is a form of interpretation. So the label is chosen. But the underlying experiences are not chosen.

  7. queenieofaces says:

    I feel like my choices come down to choosing one label over another. For example, I could probably self-describe as either biromantic or panromantic…but I tend not to use either (although if pressed I’ll say I’m biromantic, usually). Or I could just as easily say that I’m demiromantic as that I’m greyromantic…and I use both. Basically, I don’t really make choices, oops.

  8. Seth says:

    I agree that I don’t choose the identity so much as the label that best fits it, and that’s becoming more relevant to me as I’ve lately been wondering: if my identity were to shift from demiromantic to aromantic… how would I even know? Maybe it’s happened. I haven’t felt anything to suggest it hasn’t in years, after all. I may be switching labels sooner or later.

  9. TheOneWhoNose says:

    I feel like it is a choice, not insofar as ‘I am asexual’, but being okay with it. I know a lot of people find the term and STILL think they’re broken. I think it also a choice for me to use that word to describe myself when many would say I was too young.
    I still have no clue about which romantic orientation I am, but my friends got the basic ‘asexuals and aromantics are real’, from another mutual friend… who I did not hear about it from, and discovered on my own… but they didn’t get the whole spiel about demisexuality and grey-asexuality. And I’ve been making the choice to tell them about that.
    And I like making choices in general, I would have said others, but those weren’t ontopic, so I think a lot about my identity is choosing to make choices… which sounds pretty redundant, but oh well.

  10. Dawg4280 says:

    I am who I am and I did not choose that. But the labels I use are a choice, I identify as a Demi-gyneromantic Asexual. I could use either Hetero or Aromantic If I want and when talking to people outside of the community I often do, but I find Demi is a better fit. And I use Gyne instead of Hetero since it is femininity that I am attracted to not necessarily women, so I can find Trans women and non-binary femme presenting people to be attractive too.

  11. I guess most aspects of my identity have involved some choice between possible labels, so to that extent, yes, I have chosen. I’m rather attached to being bi, even though it’s rarely relevant (in light of being on the ace & aro spectra), and I definitely prefer that for myself over pan. And then there’s the gray label, when I could potentially call myself demisexual and/or demiromantic–I just like that gray- leaves me more room for uncertainty and exceptions.

  12. I definitely feel like parts of my identity are things I’ve chosen. Like a lot of people have mentioned, there’s overlap between demisexual and grayasexual, but I identified so strongly with demisexuality that I chose it specifically. I also ID as bisexual, and I tend to put that first when talking about my orientation. So I tend to say “I’m bisexual and demisexual”, and that feels like a specific choice to me, because I could choose to say “biromantic demisexual” or “bidemisexual” but I like having the two sexual identities side by side, holding their own with equal weight. Also, I choose to say that I am “ace-spectrum” rather than ace, mainly because I feel like I have very different experiences than those on the other end of the spectrum.

  13. anon123 says:

    I feel like I chose “nonbinary” even though my previous choice to be cis was hurting me. I could have kept choosing that. I choose to publicly identify as “queer” because I don’t feel like ace/aro identities are accepted and because I still feel as though all of this makes me broken. At this stage it feels safer to say what I’m not rather than what I am. My public identity is basically “not straight, not cis, not explaining.”

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