Don’t Assume I’m Straight

“Don’t Assume I’m Straight” by Mika Babineau (2017, 18×24 inches, Acrylic on stretched canvas)

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To begin this series, I’d like to take a moment to explain what asexuality actually is: the lack of sexual attraction towards any and all genders. You heard correctly, there are a significant number of people – about 1% of the population – who do not feel sexual attraction to anyone. However, asexuality exists on a spectrum, and there are many people who identify as asexual – “ace” for short – whose experience range from not feeling any sexual attraction at all, to only feeling it with specific people after forming a close bond (demi-sexual), to feeling it once in a while (grey-asexual). Though aces may sometimes feel sexual attraction, it’s definitely much less often than people who do feel sexual attraction regularly (allo-sexual).

Don’t worry if the concept might seem confusing at first! We will dive into the topic in more depth with each painting. I want to use my experiences to better explain and educate people on the topic.

I actually used this first painting to come out to my friends and family, as I was so frustrated with everyone considering me straight that I couldn’t take it anymore. For so long I held out on telling anyone because I told myself “it doesn’t matter”, and “it’s no big deal”, but you know what? Being true to myself is a big deal. I should never have thought of myself as less important than other people who come out. Many aces feel shame and inferiority about their experience, and I don’t want anyone else to ever feel that way.

Straight should not be the default. Straight should not be the only orientation considered “normal” or “natural.” Look around you. Do you assume all the people you see are straight without giving it a second thought? Straight or cis should not be your default assumption about anyone. While someone may look like they are in a “straight” relationship, one or both of them might be bi, ace, nonbinary, or any other combination of complex personal identities.

While it might seem like a privilege to be straight-passing, I assure you, having your identity constantly erased is no privilege. I never feel more ace than the times I’m in a room all day with a bunch of people who are straight, and who assume that I am, too. It is so exhausting to constantly be around people who don’t understand who you truly are. Let go of heteronormativity.