Marriage Tax Cuts Should Be Abolished

[Image Description: two wedding rings tied together on top of some US currency]

Marriage tax cuts ought to be abolished. Their existence is evidence that the state prefers humans to be in monogamous, legally-constituted unions over all other ways of living one’s life, and this is an outdated view that we must challenge. Marriage tax cuts discriminate against people who cannot be in a monogamous relationship for whatever reason, and if we want equality, they must go out the window.

Polygamous relationships exist, and can be perfectly healthy. If all partners in such a relationship are consenting to a polygamous relationship, then there is nothing which says this is any less or more valid, or that these partners are any less or more in love with each other, than those in a monogamous relationship. Since polygamous marriage is illegal, the existence of marriage tax cuts necessarily discriminates against people in such relationships who cannot marry.

Asexual and/or aromantic people also exist. While we can be in relationships, monogamous or otherwise, we often choose not to be. People who do not feel attraction, who do not want to be in a relationship and are perfectly happy to remain single throughout their lives cannot benefit from marriage tax cuts. Yet another group these exclude.

Marriage tax cuts are state endorsement of one very particular lifestyle, and they penalise people who do not conform to this specific lifestyle. It is a form of cultural hierarchy, whereby those who live as the government thinks they should live are rewarded while others are excluded. It is government overreach.

For those living in poverty, these probably seem like a lifeline, but what happens if the relationship starts to break down? People may fear having to pay more tax if they leave a relationship that is making them miserable. Coupled with the high cost of divorce, the current system in the UK encourages working class people in abusive relationships to remain with their spouse regardless. If we’re serious about tackling domestic violence, we need to change the system.

The institution of marriage is not, in itself, a bad thing. Yet the way our society places value on this institution to the exclusion of all else is a problem. There needs to be wholesale reform of the legal implications of marriage to bring relationship law into the 21st century, or people will continue to be excluded or trapped when they shouldn’t be. Therefore, we need to look at ending marriage tax cuts, and streamlining the divorce system.

What Asexuality Means For Me

CW: mentions of (theoretical) sex

As with all identities, every asexual person is different. Some are also aromantic, some are alloromantic and some are in the grey area. Some aces are sex-repulsed, some sex-favourable. I’d like to talk about what asexuality means for me – to be clear, this is my personal experience and other asexuals may be very different.

I do not experience sexual attraction, ever. When I see someone, I may think they are attractive in an aesthetic manner, but I do not want to have sex with them, I only like the way they look in the manner one may like a painting. If I get to know someone I may want to be in a romantic relationship with them, but the physical terms of that relationship would need to be restricted – hugging yes, anything involving genitals no.

I am homoromantic; I am romantically attracted to women. I have never been in a relationship, but I want to be, or I think I do. It is not a priority. I don’t find any of this to be a contradiction; when I’m in an exam I might want cake but I’m hardly going to run out the exam to eat cake – it is not a priority, even though I want it.

I do not want to have sex with anybody ever, but I wouldn’t call myself sex-repulsed. This is because I am totally fine with discussing sex and seeing sex scenes on TV (not full porn, but the stuff in normal 18 movies). I also make a ton of sex jokes, which are often more funny to me simply because I have no interest in actually doing it myself. I would call myself sex-averse instead, with my aversion only to having sex myself.

I can’t guarantee, of course, that at some point in the future I won’t want to have sex. Ten years ago, the idea that I would be politically active and voluntarily make speeches in public would have sounded absurd to me. The future is equally unclear to the present. But I cannot at this point in time imagine myself feeling that way.

As things stand, I feel really uncomfortable in nightclub style environments, and not just because of my oversensitivity to noise. I dislike being in such sexually charged environments where many people there are aiming to find sexual partners. People will hit on me in ways I find really uncomfortable and make inappropriate comments.

People have called the way I dress prudish, especially on the few occasions I have attended such gatherings, which actually has nothing to do with my asexuality – I wear many layers because the more skin showing, the more skin that can be covered in germs. I do not like germs as I have no pain tolerance so I become nonfunctional when I am ill and I don’t have time for that.

While I like hugging and some kinds of massage, I generally avoid most forms of physical contact. I’ve done kissing with tongues three times and I didn’t like it on any of those occasions. Generally, things involving the mouth or genitals are off the table for me. I find it curious and a bit gross when people who have colds kiss – surely you are just getting germs off your partner? Why would you want that? If I was ever in a relationship and my partner became ill I wouldn’t touch them until they got better nor would I sleep in the same room.

With regards to platonic and romantic attraction, I often find it difficult to tell what I feel for some individuals. I sometimes think this is alterous attraction. I believe I can form a very strong purely platonic bond with some people – I have had friendships end before that have devastated me more than the end of some others’ relationships have them.

I do not believe that romantic relationships are inherently stronger than platonic relationships. I do believe that some relationships are stronger than others – but I do not believe that this scale is strictly platonic to romantic. I would suggest that there is a stronger link to both time and number of common interests than there is to how platonic or romantic the relationship is. I’d study this hypothesis further but it’s not my area of expertise nor one of great interest.

For me, asexuality is just one little part of my identity. It’s a part of me, that I give that label because it is the most accurate, but everyone who claims that label will have different experiences and different views, because we are all different people, and however similar some of our parts may be, the whole will always be different.

Discovering my sexuality

For such a long time, I had no idea what my sexuality was. Before I started university, I believed everyone was either straight, gay, or bisexual. I had no idea there were any other sexualities (and I also had no idea non-binary genders existed, but I’m going to discuss gender in another post sometime). So considering how many words I need to use now to accurately describe my sexuality, it’s unsurprising I didn’t have a clue back then.

The assumption in our heteronormative society is that an individual is straight. So that is what was assumed by my classmates in school. They used to corner me (sometimes literally, other times metaphorically) and force me to answer the question “which boy do you fancy?”. The truth, of course, being none. But apparently that was ‘impossible’ and I was ‘obviously lying’. I eventually learned they would never believe the truth, and so would choose a random boy to fake a crush on.

At the time I believed I was choosing at random, in hindsight, I was choosing the most ‘feminine’ appearing boy I could at the time, in general. This was to become one of many signs I would see only years after the event.

I had no interest in sex at all at that point. In sex-ed classes I sat there thinking ‘eww I never want to do that ever’. Even nowadays, I have no interest in pursuing a sexual relationship. I’m not as completely repulsed as I used to be, and I would consider it in the future, but it’s not something I’m actively seeking. In those days, I thought I was missing something – why does everyone else seem to be interested in this activity that I find so repulsive?

When I discovered the term ‘asexual’, I felt elated and understood. It was so exciting to realise I wasn’t alone or defective, or that something had gone wrong during puberty (yeah, I thought that). But it still didn’t fully explain what I felt, because I still wanted a romantic relationship, despite not wanting sex.

Once I realised I was somewhere on the asexual spectrum, I still had to work out my romantic orientation. This I did mostly by recognising that my crushes on fictional characters were on women.  There were also many signs throughout my past that I was attracted to women, that I had been ignoring throughout my life. I don’t want to get into them all here, but suffice to say they helped lead me to the discovery that I am homoromantic.

I believed for a while that I was grey-asexual (experiences sexual attraction only rarely), but what I thought was sexual attraction was really aesthetic attraction (something I realised while watching this fantastic video by Ash Hardell). So now I just identify as asexual.

I would use any of the following to describe myself:
– Asexual homoromantic (most technically accurate)
– Asexual lesbian (one I use the most)
– Ace homoromantic/lesbian
– Gay/lesbian (not fully accurate, would only use in cases where I need to be brief, e.g. tweets, or as an introduction when coming out to people who wouldn’t know the more specific terms until I explain them).

Now I’ve worked out what I feel, or at least have a better idea than I used to – after all, who knows what new things I might feel in the future that I haven’t yet. Now I face the other battles: coming out to family & friends, general discrimination.

Discovering my identity took so long, I’m so relieved I now understand myself, and have found labels that allow me to find others who feel the same way I do. Moving on from here, I still have a lot of work to do in educating people who don’t understand asexuality, and in coming out to those friends & family who I have not yet spoken to.