“I’m sorry, I’m not interested.”
“It’s not you, it’ me.”
And, that is precisely how my 21-year-old self describes herself. As a cis-gendered asexual person, my life so far has been an agglomeration of confusion, self-doubt, self-hatred, bouts of short-lived (often unattended to) depression, and unsolicited advice for recovery and improvement. To provide a clearer picture, it must be mentioned that I have been single (in the absolute sense) since birth.
I have always had difficulties in understanding relationships, not because I was discouraged or sceptical; I failed to trace the dynamics that might have been operational in the conception and survival of the same. My friends would tell you I was ‘retarded’, or poor in the head, or make some similar derogatory comments, questioning my intellectual faculty. I dealt with that.
Sex was always scary. Yes, scary, discomforting, devilish. But, that could probably be owed to a strict missionary school upbringing. But, college was different; here lay all the liberty, all the freedom, all the spirit, all the drunkenness, all the madness. Why then, was I still averse to sex, or relationships? Why was even the thought of being in bed with the guy friend I had a crush on, or being in a relationship with him discomforting?! I had no answer. “This is a problem that I have and I need to be fixed!”, I thought.
In June 2017, while reading an article on how Sherlock Holmes was painted as being asexual by Sir Doyle (on a Cumberbatch fan page on Facebook), I happened upon another article on Youth Ki Awaaz.
“Hey!” I thought as I looked at the list of basic features of asexuality as identified by research – “that sounds totally like me!” It isn’t a problem, I understood, it’s an orientation. I don’t need fixing, I need to take cognizance of my orientation and be proud of my identity. I finally know who I am, where I belong, what I like, what I dislike.
I don’t owe an answer to anyone for being what I am. I’m not accountable of having to ‘prove’ my orientation. In a world where sex is treated like a ‘dirty secret’, I’m gladly out of the frame.
Mine is an orientation defined by the lack of sexual desires, of attraction. And, in a movement whose cornerstone is the assertion of free right to sexuality, my struggle consists of efforts to define a dignified position for all the aces out there, whose sexuality is marked by the very lack of it.
Queer Pride has paved for me the road to self-love, of self-exaltation, and pride. As a proud Ace, I pledge to strive towards an egalitarian society, a world that comprehends the music of love. I shall go through fire for all those who battle for love. I shall stand by them till the end. Sometimes you need to wage a war only to make people realise the value of love!
– Rajendrani Sarkar
(The author has written this article for ‘Delhi University Queer Collective‘ and was originally shared on Youth Ki Awaaz)