Going back to old, old stuff…. I’ve gotten to thinking about this more, the implications of this idea… a definition of straightness that suggests, if not requires, an explicit hierarchy of straightness. All straights are straight, but some straights are straighter than others.
That’s what comes of a working definition of straightness that depends on absences & on what is *not* experienced (re: patterns of desire, attraction, unwilled feelings, etc.), without any dependence on what *is* experienced (re: patterns of desire, attraction, unwilled feelings, etc.), deliberately shaped to include pathologized experiences off of that list, as long as they meet the given absence criteria.
I just wanna say — it might actually be workable, for all I know, but there’s a couple things I haven’t seen addressed.
After the implied “multi-flavor straightness” model occurred to me (as an underlying meaning that I had to infer to make sense of some things people’ve been saying), I got to thinking about what other dominant class types work that kind of way, if any…
And then I figured, hey, could this be a “how the Irish became white” kind of thing? I guess it could, couldn’t it? Taking race and Whiteness as a basis of comparison, you could describe a dynamic where periphery-dominant or even subjugated populations trade on their similarities to strengthen relationships to central-dominant populations and expand the definition of the dominant class to include themselves.
But, funny thing about that, if that’s your basis of comparison. That describes a deliberate move on behalf of the population with more tenuous status. That’s something they’d have to do on purpose. Actively, even.
On that note, I’m reminded of what Siggy wrote on pre-2011 conversations among aces about the LGBT question:
Every few weeks on AVEN, someone would ask something along the lines of “Do you think we’re part of the LGBT?” And it would always trigger some passionate back and forth. I immediately became a partisan for asexuality being under the queer umbrella. I saw many of the opposing arguments as strained. For example, “But we’re already mistaken for being gay, so if we say asexuals are queer it would just make it worse.” Or simply, “But I’m not gay.” […]
When asexuals insisted they weren’t queer, I always worried about possible homophobia. Now, when allosexuals insist that asexuals aren’t queer, I worry about possible acephobia. How completely different!
Sometimes I find this new context surreal. To allosexuals who insist asexuals aren’t queer, I fantasize about saying, I’m sorry, do you not realize which side you’re taking? It’s the homo/bi/pan and trans asexuals who have been the fiercest advocates for asexuality being queer, and it’s the hetero asexuals who have most dragged their heels.
Branching off of that… and in light of a tiered model of straightness, where periphery groups jockey for affiliation… I don’t see why you’d see aces-deliberately-grouping-themselves-in-with-straight-people as as an… unambiguously… good thing.
And I’m wondering about another thing, while we’re here. I’ve seen some people using “woman-aligned” and “man-aligned” to refer to nonbinary people who align themselves more with one binary gender than the other. I’ve seen people invalidate nonbinary people, and I’ve seen people incorrectly postulate that all nonbinary people have a binary alignment (aka… invalidating nonbinary people…), but I haven’t seen anyone claim that all nonbinary people should be considered man-aligned. This is significant when the people who use binary-alignment language (both woman-aligned and man-aligned) overlap with the people who figure het-less people like aro aces have straight privilege. Aro aces are clearly nonbinary in relation to the het/lgb binary as much as people with nonbinary genders are nonbinary in relation to the man/woman gender binary… and yet I’ve never seen anyone talk explicitly of het-aligned and lgb-aligned aro aces. Not in so many words.
I bring that up not to suggest it as a thing to do but to highlight a difference in how two different kinds of binaries & respective nonbinary identities are dealt with, mostly because I think it’s interesting how that happened, and also because it feels like an opportunity for reconsidering some things. Functionally, classing aromantic asexuality as a form of straightness is about as coherent as referring to all nonbinary people as categorically male-aligned.
Leaning on breadth of straightness (covering people who ID as straight and people who ID as things besides straight) makes what-we’re-grouping-as-straightness this porous, mixed, layered thing… & it would seem to me that that opens up the possibility of talking about different relationships to straightness, and degrees of loyalty and investment in straightness, and even the idea of “political straights” in the same sense as “political lesbians” whose identification is based on allegiance/alignment rather than the presence of specific feelings… which! would be a new, fresh, exciting angle for criticizing “non-lgbt” aces! and which would also require paying attention to, for instance, the relationship between “cishet aces” and other kinds of cishets, instead of just the relationship between “cishet aces” and lgbt people (which imo is a really disingenuous divide where it fails to address the relationship between cis hetrom aces and cis aro aces and lgbt aces, in particular, but I digress).
See, though — there you have an expanded catalog of options. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, etc. etc. Somebody show me what you can do with that.