'Drag Race' Judge Michelle Visage Puts the Spotlight on Abrosexuality

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday June 22, 2021

There's a whole spectrum of sexualities and orientations that are gaining recognition in addition to the longstanding designations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, straight, and queer. Some of the more recently codified stripes in the sexual rainbow include polysexual, imprisexual, and abrosexual.

Singer and "RuPaul's Drag Race" judge Michelle Visage put the spotlight on the latter recently with an Instagram post that explained how an abrosexual individual might have feelings of sexual attraction to one gender on a given day, but throughout a lifetime — or even within mere days — might find that their sexual attraction has shifted.

In other words, while it is typical for human beings to identify with different places on the sexual spectrum, some individuals can also find themselves on different parts of the spectrum at different times.

This can present unique challenges (or opportunities) when it comes to relationships, Visage pointed out.

"Because of their inconsistent attraction, some abrosexual people may not feel compelled to seek out a relationship or may prefer a wavership," she noted.

LGBTQ Wiki defines a "wavership" as "a form of relationship where the exact type of relationship changes."

Another factor, Visage noted, is the timing of such fluctuations. For some, changes in sexual attraction "may be erratic and for others they may be regular," she wrote.

"The sexualities that a person fluctuates between also varies. Some abrosexual people may be fluid between all sexualities, while others may only be fluid between a few." Those shifts can also take an individual into the asexual spectrum.

Though the different shades of human sexuality can seem similar, specific designations refer to distinct orientations. To be abrosexual is not the same, for instance, as pansexual; as Gay Times noted, while "Pansexuality is not limited in sexual choice with regards to sexual orientation or gender... abrosexual individuals may be gay for some time, asexual the next, then bisexual and pansexual afterwards. Their sexuality is always in a state of flux."

The word "abrosexual," Gay Times explained, derives from Greek, with "abro" meaning " 'delicate' or 'graceful' " and originating from the "Ancient Greek word habrós or its Modern Greek descendant avrós, which suggests flux and movement."

But not everyone is sexually fluid in this way. Even if they were, the language around different sexualities indicates how any such sexual fluidity arises from a person's own natural feelings and inclinations. It remains a traumatizing form of violence to attempt to impose a different sexuality on a person than the one that comes naturally to them —†or the one they find themselves experiencing at any given moment.

So-called "conversion therapy" is a case in point. Touted by adherents and practitioners as a way to "convert" LGTBQ people into heterosexual, cisgender individuals, "conversion therapy" has been discredited by the American Psychiatric Association. Research indicates that, just as survivors testify, such "therapy" amounts to little more than an ineffectual attempt to change a person's innate nature — although the cost to a person's mental and emotional well-being can be devastating. Indeed, survivors have likened their "conversion therapy" experiences to torture, detailing how "treatments" have included electric shocks and having their hands immersed in ice water to inflict pain and suffering.

Moreover, once-prominent practitioners and promoters of "conversion therapy" have denounced the practice; some have even apologized for their role in promoting it.

Survey findings from The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to fighting LGTBQ youth suicide, underscore the point. The Trevor Projects' 2019 Mental Health Survey noted that "two in three LGBTQ youth reported that someone tried to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, with youth who have undergone conversion therapy more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who did not."

The situation remains worrisome. The Trevor Project's 2020 Mental Health Survey records that "10% of LGBTQ youth reported undergoing conversion therapy, with 78% reporting it occurred when they were under age 18."

Visage posted on abrosexuality as part of a series of posts discussing different sexualities. A more comprehensive list of human sexualities is also available at LGBTQ Wiki.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.