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 an ace activist based in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and has a Ph.D. in physics. He has another blog where he also talks about math, philosophy, godlessness, and social criticism. His other hobbies include board games and origami.
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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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