Oh it was even WORSE than that.
For people who weren’t there in 2011/2012, a very common refrain from acephobes was that asexuality did not exist. Instead, they argued that ALL asexual people were actually gay but had so much internalized homophobia we literally stopped experiencing sexual attraction. All we had to do was unlearn the harmful things we had been taught by society about gay people, and then we’d start experiencing sexual attraction to people of the same gender and everything would be wonderful! And yes, this fed into a different point that is still floating around in a new form today – that being, the belief that the existence of asexuality is dangerous to questioning gay youth. They felt that gay youth would just convince themselves that they’re ace instead of embracing their same gender attraction, because being ace is “easier” and “less scary” than getting rid of
(I literally can not imagine what it was like for homoromantic asexual people on tumblr back then, I cringe thinking about it.) (And if you’re wondering, but Sphinx, what about bisexuality? I never saw these people mention it as a possibility… ever. Bisexuality was simply not part of the conversation.)
So when the Trevor Project announced they were teaching their staff how to deal with suicidal asexual youth, these people hit the roof. Multiple people wrote posts about how harmful this would be – to confused gay youth. There was a strange line of thought going around that if these counselors knew about asexuality, they would start convincing confused gay youth they were really asexual. Its been so long that I’m fuzzy on why they believed this would happen. I think it was tied to another very old argument you don’t see much anymore, which is that homophobic Christian conservatives love asexual people and if they knew about asexuality, they would 1) abuse their gay children into being ace, or 2) their closeted gay children would brainwash themselves into thinking they were ace because then their parents would accept them.
So that was the reasoning that led to the WORST part of all of the backlash. Which was… I saw multiple people state that what these people working for the Trevor Project really needed to do, what would be the absolute best thing for everyone, was to question the identities of the kids calling in. The suicidal kids, mind you. To encourage them to question their
internalized homophobia, to ask them – are you SURE you’re asexual and not gay? Why do you think that? What’s wrong with being gay? Are you SURE this isn’t the result of
Because that’s what a young suicidal person needs when they call an LGBT+ hotline! Identity policing! Hooray. e.o
(And before anyone thinks I’m hating on LG people here… it’s very hard to talk about this period of tumblr history, because I’d say a large chunk of those acephobes identified solely as queer. No other labels. And several of the ones I saw discussing their attraction, if their attractions/ways of defining their attractions did not change from that time period, would fit into the pansexual box now. It’s not about LG people versus ace people (hello some people fit in both of those boxes!), it’s about acephobes versus ace people, and sometimes how the aphobia perpetrated by fellow community members is different than aphobia from straight people.)