GS: Perspectives & Prejudice

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Many respondents to the survey selected the same answers in this section. However, the free-write answers were more diverse than those numbers would suggest.

First off, here are the stats: On identifying as gray-ace/aro, the place of gray-aces/aros in ace/aro communities, and the degree of prejudice faced by gray-ace/aros, the most popular answers were “People who identify as gray-asexual are gray-asexual” (93.5%), “People who identify as grayromantic are grayromantic” (92.6%), “Gray-asexuals deserve a place in the ace community” (96.5%), “Grayromantics deserve a place in the aro community” (92.1%), “Gray-asexuals face prejudice like asexuals” (69.8%), and “Grayromantics face prejudice like aromantics” (63.3%).

Based on the free-write commentary, I can tell you that these numbers should be taken with more than just a grain of salt. It wasn’t uncommon for respondents to select one of these ostensibly affirming responses, then convey a different perspective in the free-write boxes. In one particularly extreme example, a respondent selected the “People who identify as gray are gray” answers, yet also asserted that they’re actually straight.

In a future survey, I think it would be best to revise the questions in this section. There could be one question that asks “Do you believe that gray-a people face prejudice related to being gray-a or aro/ace?” [Yes/No/Unsure], a separate question that asks, “Do you believe the amount of prejudice against gray-a people can be compared to prejudice against ace/aro people who are not gray?” [Yes, gray-a people definitely face less/Yes, gray-a people definitely face more/No, I do not believe such comparisons can be made/Unsure], and a separate question that asks, “How do you believe the nature of anti-gray prejudice compares to prejudice against aces/aros who are not gray?” [It’s two different kinds/There is overlap with some differences/It’s basically the same/Unsure]. This last one could potentially be presented as a likert scale from 1 to 5. I would also like to expand the “People who identify as ‘gray’ are actually…” answer options to add an “actually straight” option, and I would rephrase these answer options as “People who identify as ‘gray’ are not gray. They are actually [insert variations here].”

Here is a selection of free-write commentary from the survey, indicating some respondent perspectives on gray identities and anti-gray prejudice:

Re: prejudice, it’s complicated. Grey-aces can face prejudice specifically due to their greyness (anti-grey/anti-gray prejudice), and they can face prejudice that affects asexual people the same, but they can in certain circumstances avoid prejudice that asexuals would get. It really depends on the situation. *

I answered ‘Gray-asexuals face prejudice like asexuals’ to the previous question because it feels closest to what I think, but it’s also kind of the opposite. Gray aces often do experience anti-ace prejudice ‘like’ asexuals, but I think they also experience some forms of anti-ace prejudice that are unique. Maybe like how a bi person can experience both homophobia and biphobia, but they’re distinct. And this goes for grayromantics, too. *

I am less familiar with this term and people who use it. Romance is already understood culturally as a concept that does not strike often and cannot be forced, so I am unsure of where this compares to alloromantocism. *

I feel like gray-asexuals may face less prejudice than other asexuals because they may be more likely to be in relationships or participating in sexual actions and may thus appear more “normal” to allosexual people vs an asexual who has no interest in relationships or sex who might be more likely to seem “weird” or “broken”. This may not actually be the case (and obviously varies depending on individuals), but that’s just from my perspective as someone who’s had to be in awkward conversations about why I’m doing stuff just as friends and not dating/sleeping with people. *

I want to elaborate on the anti-ace prejudice question. I think that gray-asexuals face the same challenges as asexuals, but gray-asexuals are taken less seriously by allosexual people because of the belief that asexuality can’t be a spectrum. This also gets thrown onto both asexual and gray-asexuals in bad ways due to others believing that asexuality isn’t real because sometimes they could feel sexual attraction or participate in it. *

I think that if the community was less prone to essentialism (or both the attraction-based variety and the desire-based variety) a large portion of people who are currently gray-asexual identified could identify as asexual without harming the community or people who currently identify as asexual. I guess the question about prejudice depends on who’s doing the attacking and how much they know about ace communities, but I think gray-aces probably fair a lot better than demisexuals do so far as being singled out for attack goes. *

As someone who oscillates between labeling as gray-ace and ace, I feel very strongly about the fact that the aphobia I’ve seen hasn’t been lessened depending on whether I’m self-identifying as gray-ace or ace at that particular moment in time, and that our community is stronger and more supportive when we can accept that our experiences are not always going to be clearly defined and easily labeled, particular as ace folks for whom the *absence* of interest/desire/etc. is the defining factor – it’s much harder to establish a negative than a positive. *

Gray-asexuals face *different* prejudices (as well as different challenges in their life relating to their orientation) than many non-gray asexuals. It’s not necessarily clear week experiences “more” and it depends on the specific person and how they experience their orientation and what their social circles and life is like. It’s hard to compare the difficulties in a direct way. One example: Sex-repulsion and being someone who doesn’t want sex at all ever is treated differently than sex-favorable asexuality which often manifests as sexual desire without attraction. Both are not treated well generally. Gray-asexuals and non-gray asexuals both sometimes feel unwelcome in ace spaces, like they’re the only person who feels differently about sex than everyone else there, depending on which exact ace space you’re in. It’s a really complicated issue. *

It’s easier to say I feel that “sometimes” than “I never feel that” people have a hard time with never *

I may be biased by my own experience as a gray-aro asexual individual but it feels like aro communities understand grayness more, or maybe grayness is more common and many people take more time being unsure if their aro or not because the boundaries of romance and friendship can be blurrier. Aromantic people may potentially be interested in dating or partnership of either a romantic or non-romantic type, however most people who identify as non-gray aromantic seem less likely to want to partner or date than the gray-aromantic people. Because of the way amatonormativity functions, it feels like non-partnering people in the aro community face more discrimination from society than partnering aro-spectrum individuals, because partnering aros fit in to society’s norms more. So that to me would mean gray-aros face less prejudice than non-gray aros. There are other types of prejudices gray-aros face, people not believing their identity is real or valid for instance, but aros face that too. *

Gray-asexuals face prejudice like asexuals – but we ALSO face prejudice from a portion of the Ace community that believe we’re not “actually” asexual in textbook definition and don’t deserve a space within the community. *

Gray aces belong in ace spaces but at some point when they feel sexual attraction aces can’t really relate anymore, so I think it’s a good idea for them to have their own spaces as well with people who can relate to their experiences better. *

As an asexual, I want a label that communicates “I’m not going to have sex with you” to potential partners and friends (as I’ve experienced a huge amount of unwanted sex/touching/harassment/begging/pleading/guilt-tripping through people assuming I’m up for sex despite identifying as ace, which has resulted in lasting trauma). Greyasexuality complicates that label. *

Our culture tends to push people to take sides and trend toward extremes, and then become entrenched there. It encourages black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking, and that makes it hard to explain views and identities which are either between other terminologies or which shift over time. That’s why “grey” was picked, after all; it is neither black nor white, and can have many tints, shades, and tones. I think that grey-asexuals are more able to pass in our culture because feeling (only) specific instances of sexual attraction allows us to empathize with allosexuals AND asexuals. My perception is that fully asexual people face a lot of misunderstanding and prejudice, mostly because our culture and economy is driven by generating high emotional states reliant on basic drives (“sex sells”), and asexuals are seen as not being participatory. *

Though I’ve selected tbat graysexuals face more prejudice than asexuals, I would rather say they’’’re affected differently and by things that wouldn’t necessarily affect asexuals. For example, gray aces have to deal with their identities being more confusing to most people; most allosexuals misunderstand graysexuality and don’t understand that asexuality is a spectrum. Asexuals don’t face this issue as they are strict cases, whereas being in the gray area makes it hard for people to understand and can often lead to both allosexuals and asexuals invalidating you. *

Something to add to my statements on Grey-asexuality: grey-ace/aro people deserve a place in ace/aro spaces, but ace and aro people also deserve spaces which are wholly their own. I think aromantics face, if anything, more prejudice than asexuals. As I’m sure you know, a Master’s thesis could be written about the sociocultural influences that make romance more public-facing than sexual attraction. *

I mostly identity as aromantic but there are times where I wonder if greyromantic is a better fit because I like I do understand what romantic attraction can or might feel like. However, I don’t think I am able to experience romantic attraction as much as most greyromantic folks might do, like my aromanticism can let me feel something but its much more of a rarity than it many be for greyromantic indiviudals. *

I’m not sure if grayromantics should be in Sri communities mainly because if they are looking for romantic partnership they would not find it within the community. However, they do share the struggles of being accepted as one who does not want to be in a romantic relationship (mostly). *

They get a different type of prejudice similar to biphobia where they’d be more accepted if they were either allo or ace/aro (instead of somewhere in between). I think being gray-ace/aro is fairly common (though I’m not gray-ace/aro, so I might be wrong – in my mind, it’s very close to demisexuality, which IS very common). *

My answers have to do with the language/naming, not the experience, in that “gray-ace” is its own experience distinct from both asexuality and the standard idea of allosexuality. I take issue with it being categorized as a form of asexuality. There are shared experiences that I believe means they belong in both ace and allo spaces even if the identity is inherently an allo one though; it’s like how someone who’s NB can find camaraderie in binary trans spaces because there are still tons of experiential overlap, and thus they should be welcomed. The naming and categorizing of experiences as identity labels should be logical and as straightforward as possible (autological? not sure if that’s the right term, but basically since identity labels are utilizing widely-understood prefixes, the things they are describing should actually /match/ the prefixes). It should communicate an experience clearly without needing to attach lengthy follow-up info; like, if you need to write a paragraph to explain what a label is because there are a ton of caveats, why use the label in the first place? You’ve missed the point of condensing it into a single word…? “Asexual” = no sexual attraction, and anything that does not fit that (i.e. there IS sexual attraction) is not asexual. Defining asexuality as a spectrum by then saying something like gray/gray-A = ace is bonkers to me. Sexuality is a spectrum, but you cannot break a zero down into increments, and asexuality is that zero. It also warps external understanding, wherein I couldn’t say I’m aroace without people going “so like… are you [definition of aroace] or are you [definition of gray/demi/etc.]”. Literally just consider what “spectrum” or “umbrella” or “a-” /means/ before slapping that term onto something else and modifying/expanding definitions in cases where a new word within another “umbrella” works just fine (gray! the gray label! just drop the random “a-” modifier!). [Coyote’s Note: this respondent picked the “deserve a place” and “face prejudice like asexuals” answers.] *

I struggle to acknowledge my gray-asexuality because of the issues I have had in the past. Sometimes it is just easier to say I am bi and only have to deal with one side of the bigotry/harassment and not the rest. *

Here’s an argument for why grayromantics have even more struggles than aromantics even ignoring the bullshit inter-queer gatekeeping nonsense that this survey is helping increase: If you never have romantic feelings, that sucks, and you have to figure out how to deal with it. But in our culture, romance is considered *the* most important thing and a sign of adulthood. If you’re greyromantic and you’ve felt that feeling *once,* then suddenly not being able to be with that person (a statistically likely occurrence) is actually a sign of you failing to become a fully fledged human being. There *aren’t* other fish in the sea. You’re sunk. At least if there were no fish you could be like, I just don’t like fish. But now people think you’re picky or weird or star-crossed and obsessive. Enjoy. *

Per the first question: I’d say they’re technically allosexual in the sense that they do experience attraction, but given that it’s important to have a word for your experiences and “well I’m allo but I’ve experienced sexual attraction maybe once and I also really relate to ace things” is a lot more complicated to explain than just having a word for it, there’s no point in excluding them because they do technically experience attraction. *

I feel that to exclusionists, the difference between gray-ace/aro and ace/aro is unimportant. *

Graysexual people can often fly under the radar because they are sometimes sexually active they don’t draw as much attention as someone who is never sexually active. […] Grayromantic people can often fly under the radar and don’t draw as much attention/stigma as someone who never dates. *

I’d say graysexuals face almost the full brunt of acephobia because a lot of it has to do with people shunning asexuals for engaging in perceived sexual behavior, which graysexuals would obviously also engage with *

I feel like if you feel sexual attraction sometimes/a little bit, you’re much more likely to be written off as just “picky” instead of broken like aces are. I could be wrong though. *

In regards to the acephobia question, I would not say that they always face the same prejudices as strict asexuals, but there are many things that are faced in common, such as erasure, medicalisation, and people attempting to ‘fix’ them. There are also differences, of course, as grey-aces actually do feel some sexual attraction, so they might do things like make even more of an attempt at forcing themselves to be ‘normal’, knowing that feeling these feelings is possible for them. Or the way their specific grey label works might invite even more medicalisation, eg: with fraysexual people they might go through something like exposure therapy or go on medication to ‘fix’ whatever’s making their sexual attraction disappear. *

i dont think ace and grey-ace people face “more” or “less” prejeduce, more like… it looks the same on the surface but the root cause is different, i think. i dont really look at the community as a whole so i dont feel comfy making big statements, but i do think that the problems faced by grey-aces and aces are similar enough to be confusing and different enough to require a lot of different solutions […] same thoughts on grey-aros as grey-aces. similar problems that are treated the same despite the fact that they shouldnt be *

I think that ace is the biggest umbrella term, like how NBs can identify as Trans*. I’m not saying that they are facing their identity or are confused or anything. [CN: This respondent selected “People who identify as ‘gray-asexual’ are actually asexual.” *

The shape of the prejudice experienced by grey-aces is sometimes different than that experienced by aces but that doesn’t mean it isn’t prejudice. *

I believe gray-asexuals often face prejudice that is similar to anti-asexual prejudice, but is unique from it in subtle ways. It doesn’t make sense to me to compare the severity of the prejudices. It’s always going to vary from person to person. From inside the queer community, aphobic exclusionism may hit gray-asexuals harder (if they seem straight to aphobes) or less hard (if they seem gay to aphobes). From outside the queer community, prejudice may hit harder (gray-asexuals have even less visibility than other asexuals, and prejudice may take the form of statements like “you’re just making this gray-ace thing up looking for attention,” or “you’re so perverted you can’t even form normal sexual relationships”). It may also hit less hard (if their sexual behavior and feelings seem more “normal” on a surface level to allosexuals). *

I think gray-asexuals face prejudice from exclusionists like asexuals do, and I think they get hit with the “Maybe you haven’t found the right person yet” even harder than asexual people, since there is a possibility that they might indeed have sex with their partners. I think they are also seen as more acceptable to exclusionists, since they sometimes do have sex, and that sex might even be with same-gender partners, and that makes them “acceptable” to exclusionists. I think they also face prejudice from asexuals, since the existence of sex-positive asexuals can be seen as undermining the message that asexuals exist and asexuality is not a fluke/trend/phase/etc. With my own ears, I have heard other members of the queer community deride asexuals by lifting up gray-asexuals: “Well, if Gray-Asexual is asexual but still has sex with their girlfriend, then the Other Asexuals are just homophobes who want to be seen as special” that sort of thing. So they get it from both sides. *

Being gray-asexual might mean that you are more likely to be percieved as allo-sexual. *

many aphobes don’t care what the difference between aces and greyaces is, so we experience much prejudice along with them *

I feel like simply because people hear of the term asexual more often, asexual folk face somewhat more prejudice? *

grayaces face less prejudice (but still do face prejudice) because they can be allo passing when in relationships […] allo passing when in relationships so less prejudice *

Asexuals and greysexuals as a whole tend to face equal prejudice from non-asexual communities, though within the asexual community, greysexuals do face a degree of prejudice regarding how “worthy” they are of being asexuals on behalf of waht attraction they do feel, regardless of how their asexuality presents itself in their attraction’s frequency and/or effect. I have seen greysexuals be referred to as somewhat predatory in nature, behaving as misnomers to the community to “lessen” the value of what it means for someone to call themself asexual, regardless of how much their asexuality presents itself in comparison to the attraction style of allosexuals. […] I have seen greyromantics referred to as misnomers to the community to “lessen” the value of what it means for someone to call themself aromantic, regardless of how much their aromanticism presents itself in comparison to the attraction style of alloromantics. (The treatment of the grey-spectrums is alarmingly similar in both aromantic and asexual spaces) […] A lot of times, people assume asexuals to also be aromantic (which is evidently false, but our yet heteronormative societies expect sex as a part of a romantic relationship and generally dont accept that intimacy can be shared in both non-romantic and/or non-sexual contexts), and that aromantics are asexual. The latter is especially harmful (though not to discredit the harm of the former on the community) on behalf of how it paints any allosexual or greysexual aro/greyromantics to be sexual predators, as those same heteronormative societies don’t accept that sexual attraction can be present and expressed without romantic attractions as well. […] my general and almost absolute lack of attraction keeps me in a pretty safe space in the aro/ace communities, but for those who have more frequent or more “effective” attraction, i’ve seen firsthand how quickly those same “safe” communities can turn exclusionary and even somewhat violent against those they don’t like/understand/accept. *

I put grey-sexuality as receiving less prejudice than other labels for the sheer reason it is so rare and unrepresented that a lot of people will not know it exists or what it means to be prejudiced against. beyond that, its possible grey-aces receive more vitriol from both exclusionist aces and allos. *

I think we face more prejudice. If I say I’m ace most people respect my identity without fuss, but if I say I’m gray ace most people question my identity and refuse to believe me. I get told I’m just confused or looking for attention or faking it or making things up. *

I’d assume that gray-aces face less dehumanization from allos than non-gray aces do, on account of feeling sexual attraction sometimes, but also that gray-aces are more likely to have their identity invalidated and considered not really asexual (i.e. allo but “just trying to be special”). […] I’d assume that gray-aros face less dehumanization from allos than non-gray aros do, on account of feeling romantic attraction sometimes, but also that gray-aros are more likely to have their identity invalidated and considered not really aromantic (i.e. allo but “just trying to be special”). *

I think gray aces probably experience slightly different types of prejudice than other ace people. One one hand, allosexuals will judge them for not being sexually attracted to most people as they would other aces, or perhaps insist they’re just making it up. On the other hand, some asexual people might view them as not “really” being asexual and therefore not belonging to community. So with that considered they may experience more prejudice at times. However, there’s also a certain amount of privilege involved because they could potentially pass for straight if their instances of sexual attraction are towards the opposite gender *

there’s a greater prejudice I believe people who do not experience normative romance face over people who have non-normative sexual attraction. *

If ‘grey-asexuals often face slightly less prejudice than asexuals due to at least sometimes being able to fit allonormative society’ was an option I would have selected that one. *

I suspect gray-aces get even more shit than regular aces, since any time they do experience sexual attraction can be twisted to mean that they weren’t really ace of any sort. […] As with gray-aces, I’d expect gray-aros to run into extra issues because any time they do experience attraction, jerks will assume that means that they were lying about being aro. *

as far as grey-asexuals facing prejudice “like” asexuals, I mean it in the sense of degree/severity, not necessarily the manifestations or character of it – so, generally equal in degree, but looking somewhat different in the actual expression *

I think gray-aces face /different/ prejudice, both from within and outside of the ace community. *

While I do think gray asexuals experience different kinds of prejudice at time than asexuals, I do not believe one experiences more than the other. *

For the last one, I believe this is because how sometimes grayasexuals are not so well received in the ace communities. The fact that it isn’t quite “no attraction” nor “yes attraction” makes both allo and aces have something not in common with grays. *

I feel gray-asexuals likely face more prejudice because they are the in-between. A-phobes give them the usual prejudice, but there’s also the added flavor of “you’re not special, you’re just picky” *

i’d imagine grey asexuals would experience prejudice from allosexuals as well as some asexuals who are trying to enforce a right way to be ace based on their own complete lack of attraction in a similar way that bi ppl are invalidated from all angles and told to pick a side *

I would say that the types of prejudice tend to revolve around the label itself and how ‘one shouldn’t have to label in the middle because they’re actually either ace or allo.’ In some ways they experience more prejudice due to this, however as they are sometimes ‘allo-passing’ many allo people act as though they do not care as long as they continue to be allo-passing. […] Grayromantics experience different kinds of prejudice than aromantics. Grayromantics are typically ostracized by allos and aros due to the fact that many believe that there’s no need for them to identify that way and that they are either allo or aro. However, grayromantics experience less aromantics because while aromantics cannot identify with alloromantics, grayromantics may often identify enough to be consided allo-passing. *

Practically, it’s easier to function in an allo world if you can relate to them and follow their social scripts, which often include experiencing and acting on sexual attraction. However, 1- being on the asexual spectrum means you are removed and find it difficult to fully operate in an allo world and may feel restricted or misunderstood, while also 2- not being able to identify fully or relate with the asexual community, such as with the amount of sex-negative and sex-averse jokes and memes and conversation ans “lol what is attraction,” and may not be fully accepted by some fellow aces either for being allo-ish in that respect. […] Romantic partnerships are a much more visible and essential part of our society’s organization than sexual ones, I think, and so an aromantic person is much more likely to be socially penalized than someone who still has the potential to be happy in a romantic relationship. *

I think gray-asexuals still face prejudice from society, but I do think it is probably more accepted because people can at least wrap their heads around seeking sexual experiences every now and then versus not at all. […] Again, I think its less so than aromantics but still faces prejudice. However, I think not being romantic is more acceptable than not wanting to have sex. *

Many aros attack grey-aros for not being ‘aro enough’ and i think this has so many parallels to lgbt people saying that cishet aros and/or aces aren’t ‘queer enough’ *

For the question before this, I believe graysexuals experience prejudice in a different way than asexuals do but that is still equally problematic. I think prejudice towards asexuals revolves more around either the decision to not engage in sexual activity or identifying as asexual while still engaging in sexual activities, whereas with graysexuals I think the prejudice lies more in identifying under the asexual spectrum while experiencing sexual attraction and being seen as trying to make themselves seem special or attention seeking despite actually facing real issues. *

I’d like to clarify that yes, I think that gray-asexuals are technically a subset of allosexual, in the sense that they do potentially experience sexual attraction unlike asexuals, but that that doesn’t accurately describe the reality of the various gray-asexualities much the way that describing bisexuals as “experiencing homosexuality” is also accurate but misleading. *

Because gray-asexuality is such a huge spectrum, some gray-aces will have experiences very similar to those of aces and will face a huge amount of anti-ace prejudice, but some others might be read as allosexuals by other people and escape overt discrimination or prejudice. Regardless of that, I think that the existence of anti-ace prejudice hurts all gray-asexuals, no matter how visible they are, by leading to internalized aphobia. *

I am more unsure about the place in the aro community question. If they want to be there, 100% they should be there, but sometimes they might have a romantic partner and may not experience the same kinds of things? But also I’m not grayaro so idk *

Same sentiment as with gray-asexuality, however, I would believe they face more prejudice than aromantics, as they are not adverse to all romantic attraction, and as such, may receive more pressure to engage in romantic relationships. *

other people can interpret a lack of explicit interest in one gender/sex as an automatic indication of interest in another, happened to me all the time growing up. In my early teens I got frequently called “disgusting” and was physically spat on by homophobes who assumed I was gay. *

I am 40+ and consider myself gray aro for the time being. I feel I belong in the aro community better than in the allo community which is clearly not my place – my lack of romantic interest has caused a lot of issues over the years. *

Graysexuality is such a broad label that if someone is closer to the “allosexual” side of the sexuality spectrum, they will not face as much prejudice as a graysexual that identifies closer to full asexuality. *

For me (aroace), the gray labels were stepping stones in helping me come out more fully to myself. That’s obviously not the case for everyone who uses those labels, but I mention that because it was the affirmation of the gray folks that I saw in the general ace community online that helped me begin to realize who I was. I think they are generally well-affirmed by the ace community (though not as much by the allo community of course), but I’m sure there are instances where that’s not the case unfortunately. *

I mean, graysexuals and asexual people don’t have the same issues, but they definitely both face issues *

Greyace people face more prejudice because they experience attraction sometimes (or have a complicated situation with it). Their complex relationship with sexual attraction makes them an easier ‘target’ so to speak. […] Grayromantic people have a complicated relationship with romance that isn’t easily categorized. This means that people aiming for aromantics will scrutinize them even more. (Like grayace people in regards to anti-ace prejudice) *

Maybe a weird take, but I feel like greysexuality gets a bit more bashing because it faces what sex repulsed aces face but then also gets pushback from the ace purists for experiencing any kind of sexual attraction or god forbid having sex. But that’s specifically my experience on Tumblr which has been getting more and more radicalized on those topics in the recent years. *

There might also be some friction between people who identify as gray-ace, and sex-repulsed aces, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t all part of the same community. *

I can see how it’s at the same time harder and easier for gray-aces to like, exist. On the other hand, they do experience sexual attraction, which allos do and aces don’t, so they can participate in that side of. Like. Uh. Life? But they don’t always or as often as allos, so it can be hard for them to relate to exactly how important sexual attraction is to other people, allos that is. Also they might not completely get aces, like not experiencing sexual attraction at all. On the other other hand, I guess they’d also know what it’s like to not feel sexual attraction too, to a bigger degree than allos, so they might have advantages in like… being a sort of bridge between full aces and allos? *

I’d say anti-asexual prejudice and anti-gray-asexual are not totally a 1:1 equivalents, but that the two essentially have some areas where they may have an advantage, for example, a grey-asexual person may be able to “pass” as an allo person where an asexual person would not, but those advantages also come with drawbacks, such as grey-asexual people facing erasure in the form of being to told they’re really just allo/ace, to pick a side, etc. […] I’d say anti-aromantic prejudice and anti-grayromantic prejudice are not totally a 1:1 equivalents, but that the two essentially have some areas where they may have an advantage, for example, a greyromantic person may be able to “pass” as an allo person where an aromantic person would not, but those advantages also come with drawbacks, such as greyromantic people facing erasure in the form of being to told they’re really just allo/aro, to pick a side, etc. *

I answered “unsure” to the last question because gray aces may not experience prejudice when they’re in situations where they might be allo passing, but they also can experience prejudice from both aces and allos. […] I answered “unsure” to the last question because gray aros may not experience prejudice when they’re in situations where they might be allo passing, but they also can experience prejudice from both aros and allos. *

Not speaking as someone identified as grayromantics, but honestly, I see them as alloromantics who generally enjoys the idea of being in a romantic relationship or in them themselves. They just want to be specific about how those ideas aren’t what they want as much as others. They tend to appear more rational or indifferent. In the end they still are alloromantics. *

I think aromanticism in general is less well understood than asexuality, because asexuality already exists in our cultural environment within the context of sexual trauma. Because aromanticism is foreign to our cultural environment, I think gray romantic is on equal terms with general aromanticism within the aro community. The aromantic community seems to understand gray aro better than the asexual community understands gray ace, and gray romanticism is more easily accepted. *

While I understand the purpose of this survey, I fear that gray or grey aspects of sexual or romantic spectrum are only complicating things. Sorry. *

In my experience, gray-asexuals face a slightly different kind of prejudice to asexuals. Upon coming out, I’ve been told several times some equivalent of “everyone is gray-asexual (or demisexual, which I count as a form of gray-asexuality); it’s just a common sense approach to sexuality!”. I suppose this stems from not understanding the difference between exercising restraint and lacking attraction altogether. *

I’m not keeping up with what’s happening in communities anymore, so I can’t fully determine current prejudice. But I can say that in everyday life gray aces can pass for allos better, so it’s easier not to face prejudice (by masking) *

I think it’s up to the individual to say whether they are strictly gray, identify as a gray among aces or a gray among allos, and that they should be granted space in any and all of these communities. Because they have sex, maybe they aren’t as shunned by the allo community? But in these cases it’s more likely because the allos can just understand that they have sex and may apply their own label (dismissing the gray as allo, etc) without understanding what’s going on at deeper levels. *

I don’t really like the first question; I identify as grayromantic, sure, but I identify as aromantic (or more precisely arospec) because my infrequent romantic attraction feels like something happening TO me, rather than something that’s part of me. Leaving my answer as-is for other grayromantics who don’t feel the same way, but I don’t like that “both grayromantic and aromantic” (or gray and allo) isn’t an option, and the only way to say we’re aromantic is to imply we’re lying about being gray. *

There are different kinds of predjudice and discrimination and I cannot and will not confidently claim there is a vast difference between the experiences of grayromantic and aro people- though it may be easier for gray-spec aros and aces to mask their asexuality to avoid certain kinds of interpersonal predjudice through the occasional relationship. *

Gray aces are frequently seen as allos with low sex drive, or allos that choose to wait, there’s a lot of prejudice inside the community *

For the last question: not only do they have to deal with the usual acephobia, but also stuff like “but if you have sex that means you’re actually allo” and such, from both allos and aces *

i think it might be harder for the aro community bc those who experience no romantic attraction at all might be faring worse than anyone who is grey or demi, especially when it comes to outside prejudice but even within the ace and lgbt+ communities. it seems that romance permeates our cultures even more than sexual attraction does, so i have the impression that those of us who do experience even a little bit of romantic attraction to others are generally more willingly accepted by society *

Any supposed advantage grey-asexuals ‘enjoy’ by being able to ‘pass’ as allosexual, are in fact invisibility, erasure, and invalidation, equivalent to the ‘advantage’ of being in the closet rather than out. Accordingly, grey-asexuals do not have any greater social privilege, for reasons of orientation, than asexuals, and they are somewhat more likely to suffer exclusionary treatment by the asexual community. […] Grey-aromantics are more likely to experience exclusionary treatment within the aromantic communities online, and do not have any special ‘passing privilege.’ The cosmetic appearance of such privilege is actually erasure, invalidation, invisibility, etc., equivalent to being in the closet. *

Grayromantics face some prejudice that “pure aromantics” don’t and don’t face some prejudice that “pure aromantics” do, but I’m not here to do the calculus for the oppression olympics. *

Additionally, romance is a much grayer area for me than sex, so I often feel I don’t want to step in spaces where I might not fit or might not be permitted to fit. *

Gray-asexuals often face prejudice within the community, but gray-asexuals who are in typical sexual monogamous relationships don’t have to deal with certain kinds of prejudice […] As with gray-asexuality, the experience of prejudice has to do with the complexities of “stealth privelege” in general — messy and not easily defined as yes or no. *

I think a LOT of allosexual folks think of sex as a necessary and inherent part of the human condition, and someone who is completely ace would be seen as weird and alien whereas someone who *very rarely* wants sex would be maybe odd but more normal. […] Much like previous questions. I think the way the general public sees asexuality vs. aromanticism is very different, though – they see being asexual as alien and being aromantic as some kind of moral choice. *

Straight but likes to RP as oppressed. […] Gray-asexuals deserve a place in the ace community, but for accuracy the enitre ace community should be refered to by its more common name, the straigt community. […] Grayromantics deserve a place in the aro community, but for clarity we should remember that the entire ago community is a subset of the straight community that likes to pretend that they are in the gay community. […] When you grow up and accept your heterosexuality don’t forget to help rebuild the gay community that you are currently helping to destroy. [CN: This respondent selected the “people who identify as gray are gray” answers.] *

For the last question, it’s hard to answer because it depends on if people verbally identify as grey-ace? They might not have the opportunity/need to talk about it as much as “total” ace people, so they may experience less prejudice in their daily lives, especially if they are in what appears to be “normal” relationships. […] Again I’m not totally sure about the last one, similar reasons. For both, they may face additional prejudice just because it’s even more rare and less understood by the general population, and so susceptible to the “too many labels” and “special snowflake” kind of prejudice. *

The anti-ace phobia probably varies from person to person.Gray-asexuals probably can also (potentially) face their own unique phobias, fir instance, people thinking that the fact that they feel any sexual attraction invalidates their identity and may acuse them of being a.”attention seeking”. I haven’t really read about a lot of gray experiences though, so maybe I’m just making that ask up. *

Gray-asexuals might sometimes face the same kinds of prejudice as other aces and sometimes different kinds. They might also face prejudice specifically as gray-asexuals (for example, some aces might think gray-asexuals shouldn’t identify as ace). *

Grayromantics seem to face slightly less prejudice because they are more likely to be in a romantic relationship and do not have the same questions asked of them than aro people not in relationships. *

If we take the definition of “gray-asexuality equals experiencing sexual attraction infrequently”, then I think it’s accurate to say that it is generally well understood withing the ace community. However, I believe that restricting gray-asexuality to only this definition diminishes its potential as an identity label. If we take the more broad definition I offered in the previous section, then I would say gray-asexuality is largely misunderstood in the ace community. *

Mean as it may seem, as an ace aro, I do want to have some filtered social space somewhere in which everyone in the space has identified themself as someone who is not potentially going to see our interactions in a sexual or romantic light, nor try/want to pursue those things with me. It can make me uncomfortable to realize that someone’s motivations for talking to me have changed in either/both of those ways, and they don’t need to be predatory or underhanded about it for me to feel this discomfort. It’s just an uncomfortable situation for me that I have experienced before, with people adding grayness as a qualifier after they initially told me they were ace and I got comfortable with them. I think one or two of said people might have been flirting with me in the minutes/months that followed their grayness reveals, but I admit that’s my uncomfortable and biased guess. The point is, I think community separation, if it doesn’t hurt the gray aces in some way I don’t understand, could help me and maybe others avoid this nuanced game-changer. *

I wouldn’t say definitely but they sure do face prejudice in ways fully aros don’t as well as aros do; saying that they are simply allos who “want to be special.” *

Graya’s face anti-ace prejudice and this can include from other aces. I don’t think we can or should quantify a value of “more prejudice” (whatever that even means). But they can face prejudice in multiple ways, such as being invalidated by allos who don’t accept asexuality at all while simultaneously being invalidated by aces who call them “disgusting” and want to clearly separate categories from them as to not be associated with them (ex. angled aroace still have space in the community when oriented aroace already exists and absolutely doesn’t need to gatekeep graya’s) *

Re: prejudice; I think that greyaces face less prejudice outside of the queer/ace community as the label isn’t well known, but similar or more prejudice within the queer/ace community *

In terms of that prejudice, I can’t make generalizations about peoples’ experiences. However, in my PERSONAL life, I feel that I have more privilege from people who are “aro-aro” and don’t seek relationships; this is because I fully plan on getting married. This secures me certain privileges that are only afforded to married people. However, because I’m also trans, those privileges are EXTREMELY tenuous. Nevertheless, my relationship does protect me from the harshness of a lot of arophobia; it just also opens me up to a lot of other prejudice and oppression at the same time. […] In regards to “In the aro community, grayromanticism is generally misunderstood”: Similar to my understanding of gray-asexuality, I see grayromanticism as a broad umbrella term intended to include experiences falling between/outside of the aromantic/romantic binary, and/or for people who identify somewhat with aromanticism and also romantic experiences. Many people don’t use it as an umbrella term, and instead exclusively use the “rare attraction” definition, which I find frustrating. I also become frustrated because I feel that grayromanticism can be used to explore the deep nuance of emotional experience and variance. When it’s used as a point on a line, it flattens that nuance rather than explores it. *

i have seen more hate, including death threats, for grey-sexuals/ demisexuals and grey-aros/ demiros than I’ve seen for aces and aros. *

Gray aces are often left out of spectrum conversations even by better known ace advocates, or were included as a footnote but treated as “less ace” by default. There’s a hierarchy in the ace community for the “gold star”, even if we try to say it’s not there. *

While it’s true asexuals experience prejudice from allosexuals, most gray-ace identifying people, and people who identify as gray-ace terms like demi, aego ficto, ect, experience predujice not only from allos, but from other acespec/grayaces as well. It’s, quite frankly, ridiculous how difficult it is to be accepted by your own community. *

I think gray-asexuals probably generally face anti-ace prejudice like asexuals, but I have no idea if they face more or less prejudice. On one hand, I know that people take gray-asexuals less seriously than they take asexuals, but experiencing sexual attraction to some extent might also reduce some of the prejudice they receive? I genuinely have no clue. *

Gray-ro people actually do have a slightly less prejudice experience because people have a way harder time wrapping their heads around the idea of someone who never under any circumstances experiences romantic attraction. *

I find that people that find out I’m not actively pursuing dating or choose to be sexually inactive for long periods, treat me as if I’m an oddity. Allo people want to know why or try to fix me up or pressure me into online dating. It’s incredibly uncomfortable and makes me feel like I’m not “normal,” because I don’t seek out sex or romantic relationships the way most people do. [CN: This was a gray-asexual respondent.]

I would choose an option between “definitely face less prejudice” and “face prejudice like asexuals”. They face prejudice like asexuals, but on some occasions they may face less (not “definitely” less, though). *

In terms of prejudice, I think gray-asexuals face prejudice just as asexual people do but that it can take different forms. They may receive prejudice from those who don’t believe it’s a real sexuality (whether from allo or ace people) as well as the pressure to “choose one” or many other things. *

I would say that generally if I had to guess, they probably face as much or slightly less prejudice as asexuals from allosexuals depending on how allonormatively they are presenting. But most likely face more prejudice from within the asexual community than “full aces”. Much like how there are some queer people who do not feel that asexuals belong in the LGBTQ+ community, I imagine that there is gate keeping within the ace community that may make gray-aces feel unwelcome […] My opinion for gray-romantics is the exact same as for gray-sexuals *

Most of all I think there are unique challenges. There are specific misunderstandings, often shared by asexuals.* I think of assumptions not only of safe behavior, but “safe internal experience” – assumptions there will never be any possibility of sexual attraction – and how this especially impacts demi folks, and greyces like me who have experienced sexual attraction as unpatterned, unexpected, rare, confusing, etc. There are also parallel misunderstandings ASSUMING sexual attraction (in my experience this has been by ace umbrella folks). *

“Gray-asexuals face prejudice like asexuals.” The prejudice we face can be similar and come from the same core assumptions, while also having unique stigmas with a side of gatekeeping. *

It’s a double edged sword of being able to pass, but also of potentially facing rejection in both the aro and allo communities. *

I think gray-ace folks can face different prejudice, not necessarily more or less. E.g. not being treated like an alien for unquestionably never experimenting attraction, but maybe bring seemed snobbish or defective for times when they don’t experience it *

I think grey-ace people might fall into a weird ground due to the hazy nature of their identity. On one hand, its likely not an identity which has widespread media or public attention so may avoid a lot of the stigma of other more well known identities (ie specific grey-acephobia is likely less common than transphobia or homophobia simply due to less people knowing it exists). However, due to the complicated nature of grey-sexuality it could face prejusdice from both allo and exclusionary aces. *

Someone who never dates due to their gray-aromanticism will face as much prejudice as someone who is aromantic, whereas another gray-aromantic may be able to avoid prejudice because they’re romance-favorable and in a relationship.

grey-asexuals face just as much prejudice as asexuals; however, the forms of prejudice differ: while the asexual spectrum as a whole is discounted as a legitimate orientation, i feel like asexual people are rather dehumanised and infantilised while grey-asexuals face ridicule on being indecisive of whether they are “truly” asexual, additionally to being regarded as “special snowflakes” for occasionally feeling sexual attraction as supposedly any allosexual; in these instances, a lack of understanding what grey-asexuality antually entails is displayed *

As a gray ace with very ace friends, I find I tend to “blend in” better because I’ve had partners, I’m just seen as “super picky”, as opposed to some of my friends who get a lot of questions about not having partners. *

Graysexuals can face less prejudice if they are already in a sexual relationship, however having your identity erased is not a privilege […] People can understand “romantic attraction just not often” a lot more than “no romantic attraction” *

i think grayromantics probably face less prejudice than aromantic people because they do experience romantic attraction but that is probably not true of everyone and i cant be sure *

I think that the wider society struggles to accept aromantics for what we are and see us as cold, heartless, sociopathic, evil … I’d imagine that they write greyromantics off as “special snowflakes” but that they still see them as “redeemable”, one of their own, “normal” … Because they see even infrequent or weak romantic attraction as proof of humanity. And I’m not saying that that kind of prejudice is “better” than the kind that other aros face, it’s just different and perhaps less vitriolic. *

Greysexuals (and other ace spectrum identites like demisexual or alloromantic aces) are in the tricky position of facing prejudice from both outside and within the ace community at times *

The issue is only with people who don’t believe in it, not with people who do. However, they are closer to “normal”, and so don’t face prejudice in some other ways. Also, they’re not told that they’re heartless with no emotions. They’re seen as more human. *

Some recurring themes here include

  • the assertion that gray-asexuals and grayromantics are more able to “pass” than asexuals and aromantics
  • the expectation that gray-asexuals and grayromantics can be shielded from prejudice by participating in sexual/romantic relationships
  • the expectation that gray-asexuals and grayromantics experience sexual/romantic attraction
  • the attribution of anti-gray prejudice to binary thinking
  • the expectation that anti-gray prejudice primarily takes the form of negative reactions to the label, specifically, or to infrequent expressions of attraction

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3 responses to “GS: Perspectives & Prejudice

  • epochryphal

    Damn this is depressing to read. The amount of speculation without even an “I’ve seen” especially (though I appreciate, and would be interested in collating, the “this is a total guess” qualifiers). Definitely has me leaning towards filtering these responses by “indicated some kind of identification with grayness” in hopes to lessen the sting of reading through.

    Which means extra thanks to you for pulling out themes, and especially the assumption of gray = experiences attraction. Looks like it’s also an expectation of gray-asexual = has sex, gray-aromantic = has romantic relationships. Lmao.

    I’m surprised how little predatory, deceitful, and lying explicitly showed up, but it *is* here both in the “gray gets seen as predatory” sense and in the “I experience gray as deceitful even when it isn’t meant to be predatory” sense. And it’s arguably implicit in responses that consider grey to be allo and/or needlessly complicating.

    Also interested in further confronting the “gray is seen as human, not heartless.” Makes me think of claims that nonbinary is seen as just confused, not predatory, and the associated coercive recategorizing as binary and reinserted into the literal reproductive cycle of cisheteropatriarchy. And how one can be ~too far gone~ to be retrieved from supposed confusion, and then is indeed broken and/or predatory. Mm, that and the well-drawn parallels in some of these responses with bisexuality feel worth exploring to me. (I think I’ve seen some folks talk about bi and gray parallels? But it feels buried under the discussions of bi and ace cohistory, unfortunately.)

    • Coyote

      Yeah, it’s a lot.

      The assumptions that gray-a folks do romantic/sexual relationships (and that we “pass” in these contexts) was surprising to me, given that “aces who like sex” and “aros who like romance” were so thoroughly rejected as definitions. There seemed an odd lack of consideration for what it would mean to express grayness in the context of such relationships. It would seem that “experiences [x] attraction infrequently” translates into feelings that are otherwise normal, on those occasions when they do occur.

      “I think I’ve seen some folks talk about bi and gray parallels?”

      Probably not what you had in mind, but I’ve written before about gray-asexuality and bisexuality as aggregate identities.

      • epochryphal

        “It would seem that “experiences [x] attraction infrequently” translates into feelings that are otherwise normal, on those occasions when they do occur.”

        Ooo. Astute observation. It also then seems to presuppose said feelings are responded to as normal and expected – belying the whole issue of betrayal/predation. At least a few responses did remark they’d expect increased pressure to Succeed when a rare Opportunity Of Feeling occurs.

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