A + I Inclusion Statement
October 30, 2020
You Were Always Here – Aces, Aros and Intersex Folk
QMUNITY, BC’s queer, trans, and Two-Spirit resource centre is excited to announce an expansion of our own acronym that we use in our communications: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, 2S (Two-Spirit), Asexual/Aromantic and Intersex. With a bit of practice, LGBTQ2SAI+ is rolling off the tongues of our staff and volunteers!
Intersex is a general term used to describe a variety of ways in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy, genetic makeup, or hormonal levels that do not fit into a rigid and binary understanding of sex. For decades, and even to this day, intersex people may undergo non-consensual and/or unnecessary medical procedures, especially at a young age, in a misguided and oppressive attempt to fit people into preconceived notions of male or female.
Our work, especially in advocacy and training with healthcare professionals, must continue to share stories of oppression and resiliency from within the intersex communities. Parents and caregivers need access to intersex-affirming medical guidance that does not pathologize natural ways of being born. Our governments must support refugee claimants on grounds of being born intersex and an empathetic appreciation for the discrimination and violence intersex refugees face in their home countries.
The asexual and aromantic communities have been lively and proud contributors to our work and services for a number of years, including staff who identify as asexual; many youth accessing our program self-identifying as being on the ace and/or aro spectrums; a peer support group with the ace and aro community; and engagement in our education and training programs including co-facilitating workshops and helping us revise and update our Q Glossary to expand on ace and aro definitions.
The prefix a- denotes nil, or non-existent. Asexual folk may not experience sexual attraction to other people, but this orientation also exists on a spectrum and might fluctuate over time. Similarly, aromantic people do not experience romantic attraction to other people, but this can also be on a spectrum and can fluctuate over time.
The ace and aro communities experience trivialization and erasure, even and often from within the broader queer community. We know and will work to support an expansive understanding of sexuality and romantic orientation, challenge presupposed ‘norms’ about attraction and relationships, and celebrate, affirm and honour the multiplicity of relationships and love that exist in our community.
The + sign is not a new addition, but speaks to the notion that our programs, services and own understandings of sexuality and gender must continue to be expansive and reflective of the millions of ways intimacy, relationships, love, gender, sex, and orientations are expressed.
Language can be a powerful tool of oppression, and liberation. QMUNITY’s work is, among other things, in the business of language, and it is important for us as a leader in the community to do good work for all members of our community of communities, practice self-reflection, and act and do differently when we haven’t done enough in the past. This is not the first step, and it won’t be the last, in our work serving all members of the LGBTQ2SAI+ community.
Are you ace, aro, or intersex? Want to get in touch with us for more information, volunteering, or engagement? E-mail us, we’d love to hear from you!