Yes, I do.
That’s not “we” because I can’t speak for all of us, but yes, yes I do want attention. I want the asexual spectrum to get attention. I want everyone to know about it. I want every mention of sexual orientation, every sentence that begins “gay, straight, or bi” to include the word ace — on everything from the official Planned Parenthood website to guilt-tripping publicity stunts on Tumblr. I want there to be a book on asexuality among the shelves of others in my school’s diversity lounge. I want there to be a book on asexuality in my school’s main library. I want it to be impossible to forget about us. Every time a form asks for my orientation, I want there to be an accurate box to check.
“You just want attention.” Yes, of course I do — but when you say this, I know what you really mean: “You want more attention than you deserve.”
In other words, by claiming asexuality doesn’t deserve acknowledgement and education efforts, you’re saying that we’re supposed to stay quiet and that the way it is is the way it should be. That the damage the culture does to us is inconsequential.
There are aces who took years, decades, to find the words for their feelings, aces who subjected themselves to experiences they didn’t want because they were pressured into thinking they had to, aces who thought there had to be something wrong with them, who were taught that sexual attraction was an essential component to being human and who had to come to the conclusion that they were broken — and if you go through accounts of our experiences before we learned about asexuality, you’ll see this word over and over again: broken, broken, broken, a product of confusion and self-loathing and shame. They suffered because of ignorance and you’re saying that they deserved it. That their lives and their mental health are not worth enough for them to hear that they’re not alone and that it’s okay.
You’re saying that preventing that from happening isn’t worth it because it would be too inconvenient for you.
You think this is just a ploy to look “special”? You think we have any incentives to lie?
Of course some of us would want attention. It’s the least that we deserve.