It’s Pride Month. Or so social media keeps telling me.

I wish I felt like those cute twenty-somethings in sunlit Instagram photos — rainbow filters, flowers in their hair, holding hands and kissing and laughing, proud to be themselves. People who go to parades, form tight-knit communities, and live out their queerness in proud defiance of a world that holds them back. I wish I felt it in my bones the way so many others do.

My queerness, however, is the opposite. My asexuality is limiting. Alienating. When most people come out, it’s the beginning of their story, a chance to start over as the person they were meant to be. For me, it was the opposite. Accepting that I was asexual meant closing a door. Accepting the fact that there would be no love story. No spouse. No great, epic Hollywood romance. No children. No legacy. It would be me, alone, until the end.

Whether we like it or not, the world revolves around sexuality. They don’t make multi-million dollar films or write epic pop ballads about platonic relationships. On a social scale, they just don’t compare to romance.

If only wishing could make it otherwise.

Asexuality has never been something that made me proud. Instead, it was a way of explaining myself. Of justifying my singleness and virginity at an age long past the point when I should’ve had sex. Asexuality explained my aberrant behavior. A synonym for broken, the word that I used to describe myself long before asexual ever entered my lexicon.

Asexuals don’t belong. On Twitter and Tumblr, some allosexual queer people argue that if you can pass for straight, you’ve never truly suffered. Queerness becomes the Oppression Olympics: If you don’t have it as bad as me, you’ve never had it bad at all.

Family members expect you to fall in love. They take it as a personal affront that you haven’t found somebody. Or, on the other hand, they seek to reassure you that oh, you’ll find someone out there who’ll like you.

I’ll admit, sometimes I think that people who love the same sex have it a little easier than us aromantics and asexuals, at least in one small regard: most people can understand the idea of loving or being sexually attracted to somebody, even if they’re of the same sex. But to not have those feelings about anybody? That’s inhuman, robotic, villainous.

Perhaps the most obvious symptom of this perception is how we constantly have to remind people — queer or not — that the A in the acronym (when it’s used, which is not often), does not stand for Ally. At my alma mater’s gay-straight alliance, the advisor — a dear man, a wonderful mentor, and flaming gay as the sun — referred to the A standing for ally. More than once, I had to explain to people — who should already know this shit — what it means to be asexual, aromantic, or agender.

That’s what the A stands for, by the way. No, you cannot squeeze Ally in there as well. Being an Ally does not entitle you to Queer spaces. It merely means that you’re not a shitty human being. Being an Ally should be the default state of anyone who doesn’t identify as Queer.

I’m going to keep looking for pride. I am going to keep fighting for my identity. I’m going to do the internal emotional work, as well as the external work of educating others.

Many people talk about how coming out has opened them up to a whole new world, a whole new community, a whole new group of people who understand them and love them wholeheartedly. That’s great. That’s wonderful. I’m happy for them. But I haven’t found that yet.

I know I’m not completely alone in feeling this way. But it still hurts to miss out on the Holy Rainbow Mecca that it seems every other Out and Proud person in this country has found.

Still, I shouldn’t complain. I know that there are so many Queer people in this country and in the world that live under fear of death. I don’t. I know that I should be grateful for that. I am grateful for that. But still: I want to feel like I belong somewhere. Right now, when I look at the Queer community as it’s portrayed on social media — cute, conventionally attractive people dancing in big pride parades — I don’t see myself. I don’t see a place where I belong.