Poly Actually Doesn’t Want a Cracker, Thank You

Less popular, non-trending sexualities shouldn’t have to fight to prove that their identity is valid, especially to the LGBT+ community.

By Alina Shaikh, University of Toronto


There are a lot of ways to answer the age-old question all Not-Yet-Adults have to face in their lives: Who are you?

For the fiercely protective poly grads on campus, the bi frat boys doing keg stands, the aces in the hallways and the queers in the classroom, college is still a place for finding yourself—what you’re into, what you’re not into and who you’re leaving behind. All, of course, while passing your classes. No worries, right?

Asexualism isn't just for plants

But whether the question is asked in the middle of a job interview—palms sweaty, eyes darting, having only studied the company’s new business strategy; during your 8am musings at that existentialist class, or maybe at some exasperated session of late-night nihilism—the number of possible answers can throw any unsuspecting student off the rails, especially when combined with the newfound freedom of college.

A lot of people take orientation as a starting point, but really, your sexual interests can say as much or as little as you want them to say about your identity. Still, thousands of internet sexuality quizzes, hundreds of pride movements and a staggering number of on-campus clubs have enjoyed immense popularity.

Unfortunately, a lot of these categorizing mechanisms still deal in generalizations and brushstrokes of sexuality, whereas the reality is that every person is a unique composite of sexual interests and gender identities.

I’ll never truly understand the assumption that lies within everyone’s favorite generalization. “Well, if they like this person and this person at the same time, then they’re just into everyone, huh.” I’m pretty sure this thinking stems from someone trying to psych themselves into believing that they have a chance with someone based on that person’s past romantic and/or sexual experiences. But nah, it doesn’t work that way.

The ability to be with multiple partners in one relationship doesn’t equate to a neon sign flashing “everyone’s invited”; it just means all my poly friends have great time management skills, honestly. The same goes for pansexuals. They aren’t into everybody just because they might be able to like anybody.

The reality is that bisexuals and pansexuals are very real and very much out there. In the world. In their homes.

They could even be your neighbors. They could even be taxpayers.

A lot of the time these identities are brushed under the rug during LGBT+ discussions, which is funny because the B does stand for bisexual, as far as I’m concerned. What’s not as humorously ironic, however, is the exclusion bisexuals face because they don’t fit in either of the more widely-known gay or lesbian categories.

In a recent Buzzfeed video, a self-identifying gay man asked bisexuals if they think they’re being selfish by being attracted to more than one gender. He goes on to cutely tease, “They’re not real~!” but the fact remains that these groups are ostracized for being a mix-of-sorts.

Because bisexual people don’t fit into the established straight/gay label, they struggle to make sure that they’re identified as their own individual category. Since they’re not definitively in either camp, straight and gay partners may feel uncomfortable being with someone who is attracted to both genders.

No matter what relationship you’re in, married or otherwise, it’ll never change who the individual is sexually attracted to on a biological level. Just like marrying a straight woman doesn’t make her any less attracted to men, or vice-versa. Marrying a gay man when you’re a bisexual man doesn’t make you any less bi, or any less attracted to women. You don’t change your identity based on who you’re with.

Asexuality

Asexuality isn’t only for plants, though aces do appreciate the occasional bouquet of flowers and a dangerous amount of cacti decorating their dorm.

I acquired this super-secret information from experience with my friend Ben, who turns into an imaginary friend whenever the topic of LGBT+ awareness issues arise.

Possibly the only thing more difficult than fighting discrimination against your sexuality, is fighting disbelief in its existence. It’s hard to say that your identity is real when everyone is bugging you to “get your hormones tested already,” or that “you’ll meet the right person eventually.”

That’s why Ben is the boy who cried “enough.” Discrimination against people who simply don’t want to have sex is preposterous in every way. Being offended because of someone’s lack of sexual history or experience, and their continued disinterest in the topic makes you come off as a generally shallow and witless human being. Do you really think your bright personality and sunny disposition will make them change something as significant as what repulses them, what makes them uncomfortable?

It’s hard enough for asexuals to go through “coming out” to every single potential partner, just in case sex is a major make-or-break for them, so don’t make it any harder than it is. Or any, uh, less hard, technically. My bad.