Casey W. E. Robinson
October 7, 2018
Today, I filled out a survey regarding physical, emotional, and ****** abuse suffered within the asexual community. As I wrote down one of my answers, I remembered one of the hardest days of my life. And what made me the most sad, was how invisible my experience was. How to this day, only a handful of people know what I went through. But things don’t change if we don’t tell our stories and so I decided I want to share my story today. Here is my answer to the survey question:
“I grew up Mormon. In order to be married within the Mormon faith, you have to pass an interview to deem your worthiness. Only by passing the interview can you be married in the temple which allows your marriage to continue after death. I was 22 when I got engaged. I was concerned about my future marriage because I am ***-repulsed and asexual. My fiance was aware of this and said she still wanted to marry me, but I was afraid that she was making a mistake. I didn’t know if someone could possibly consent to a sexless monogamous marriage at such a young age and with so little experience. How could she make a well-informed decision about whether or not to give up *** for me when she hadn’t even had *** before?”
“I loved her, but I was afraid. I was afraid we would get married and she would regret the sacrifices she had to make for me. I was afraid she would be unhappy and I would be reminded of my shortcomings every time I looked into her sad eyes. I already felt like a freak because of my sexuality and I was terrified that being married would remind me of how I felt every single day. But I wasn’t just afraid of getting married, I was also afraid of ending the relationship. This may be the only person I’ll ever find who agrees to be with me, I thought. More than my fear of marriage, I was afraid of being alone.”
“A couple months before the wedding, I had my worthiness interview. The interview is done with a Stake President, the highest authority in a local area. I decided to share my concerns in hopes that he could provide me some inspired counsel. What I received was anything but. He told me he would not let me be married. He had seen other men who lacked a desire to have *** with their fiances and they always ended up being ***. And when the man was ***, marriages were destined for failure. He could not let that happen to my poor fiance. He counseled that for me to stay in favor with the Lord, I would have to stay single for the rest of my life. And then he walked me out of his office.”
“With one short interview, everything I planned for myself came crashing down. After 22 years of filling my head with dreams of eternal companionship and raising children, I was suddenly told to throw it all away. Love was for other people, not me. I was too broken. I was a freak, the freak I always believed myself to be.”
“I quickly made my way back to my car so I could have some privacy. With the door shut, I exploded. I felt utterly devastated. I could handle neither the long-term implications of what I just been told, nor the short term implications. I was now supposed to call my fiance, who I loved, and tell her it was over. I was supposed to announce to my friends and family that the wedding was off. They would surely ask me why. And the only answer I had for them was that I was a freak, I was not meant for love.”
“I felt my blood boil as I screamed and sobbed in the car. I was overcome with anger and sorrow. Unfortunately, it was not safe for me at the time to direct my anger at the most logical place it was due - my religion. Everyone I knew and loved was Mormon. The university I attended was Mormon. I could lose everything if I directed my anger in the wrong place. So I took it all out on the only person I knew how to - myself. I found a paperclip in my car and started digging into my arms ferociously. I hated myself for being different and the only thing that could grant me temporary forgiveness was to feel blood trickling down my arms.”
“This was the single worst instance of emotional abuse I suffered as an asexual person. Unfortunately, it was far from the only abuse I suffered. By my early teens, I had already internalized being different as being broken. And to hide my brokenness, I betrayed myself over and over and over again. I joined with my friends in stating which girls in school I would “tap”, knowing full well I hoped to never “tap” anyone ever. I kissed girls and tried to contort my face to show passion instead of discomfort. I made sure to never talk about my deepest fears.”
“And over time as I hid myself more and more, I found that I stopped existing altogether. All that was left of me was a teeny glimmer of consciousness observing as the people-pleasing puppet I created continued through the motions of what was supposed to be my life. I spent years and years of therapy trying to get myself back, but was unsuccessful. I was diagnosed first with depression and later with PTSD. I tried all the medicines, all the therapeutic modalities, and 10 rounds of electroshock therapy. Everything failed - nothing could change the hate I felt deep down for myself.”
“I continued to experience daily suicidal ideation until late last year when I finally found the key to saving my life - MDMA assisted therapy. MDMA is the pure form of the street drug known as ecstacy. By doing therapy while on MDMA, a person is able to feel safe and secure enough to bring light into their deepest, darkest spaces. In the first 2 rounds of FDA trials, MDMA therapy has found a 70% cure rate for treatment resistant PTSD. I am incredibly grateful to be among the cured.”
However, now that I finally on the other side in my own personal healing, what still breaks my heart is knowing that there are thousands of kids and teenagers out there internalizing their differences to mean that they are broken. And just like me, those internalizations will stay with them for years, if not the rest of their lives. Like me, it will cause them to dissociate, to hide, to cut themselves, to attempt suicide. And it breaks my heart to see family members and friends raise their kids in the same environment that has the potential to cause all this pain.
As I see references to the Mormon general conference all over my Facebook wall this weekend, my heart aches for those that are still stuck in it. Stuck believing in a God that asks them to betray their own health and well being. Stuck hoping for a change. I wish so badly I could drag them all out of it. It is hard to transition but it so, so, so much better on the other side.
Over the years, I’ve had some more open-minded Mormons ask me how they can be allies to their LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Here is the hard truth that I’ve only fully learned since leaving myself - you can’t. You can not be a good ally and believe in a God that asks people to betray themselves. You can not be a good ally and pay 10% of your earnings to an organization that contributes to LGBTQ people’s suffering and suicides. You simply can not. You can either walk the tightrope of non-orthodox Mormondom or you can walk away completely. But you can not be both a good ally to LGBTQ people and have an uncomplicated relationship with the Mormon church - it is not possible.
Thanks for listening to my story.
Came up today