Why I'm an "Inclusionist" Part 2

Last time I was rambling about “ace discourse” on Twitter and now I’m going to ramble about “bi-lesbian discourse”. Those of us in the ace and aro communities probably wouldn’t bat an eye if someone told us they were a “bi-lesbian”. Most ace and/or aro folks probably have had a crash course in the Split Attraction Model (SAM). We know it, we love it, we use it regularly. We know that by “bi-lesbian” they probably mean that they’re either “romantically attracted to two or more genders and lesbian” or “sexually attracted to two or more genders and homoromantic”. Bi-lesbian just rolls of the tongue in comparison and Twitter only allows for 140 characters. Easy, peasy, we got it.

Continue reading “Why I'm an "Inclusionist" Part 2”

Why I'm an "Inclusionist" Part 1

Greetings everyone, I have finally returned to WP after a long break. I’m rested up. I’m done with school. All my bills are paid and I have a little money left over to go into savings. That last bit feels like a huge weight has been lifted and I now have energy to write blog posts! I’m just going to bask in that feeling for a moment before I move on to the topic I want to ramble about (in multiple parts because I didn’t realize how long this topic was going to be).

While I haven’t been keeping up on WP, I have been my snarky self on Twitter. I’m a nobody on Twitter and it’s great. I love being a nobody. I just get to like and retweet other people’s clever things and maybe one or two people like my ramblings about my cat. Basically, I just get to sit and relax and watch the trash fires burn.

My little Twitter sphere goes through different “discourse” cycles. I’ve expressed my displeasure before people using the word “discourse” to describe what amounts to social media mudslinging, but it’s definitely a thing so I have to just accept it. Each cycle I find myself siding firmly in the “inclusionists” camp in contrast to the “exclusionists” camp. The reason is pretty obvious, “exclusionists” get their name because they want to exclude heteromantic asexuals and heterosexual aromantics from the LGBT+ and since I happen to be both asexual and aromantic that kind of talk makes me nervous. The main arguments exclusionists use are 1) aces and aros are “not oppressed” and 2) aces and aros are secret cishets who want to “invade” LGBT spaces.

Obviously, there’s a lot to unpack there, but hoo boy where have I heard that rhetoric before? I’m automatically suspicious of anyone who uses the term “invade” because that’s definitely recycled terf/red hat-conservative/fundamentalist garbage. Most excursionists I’ve encountered are in their teens and early twenties and obviously fresh off of Tumblr. When they say “LGBT” they mean themselves and their two-three other friends. When I say “LGBT+” or “LGBTQIA+” I mean the an ongoing world wide civil rights moment with a long and rich and complicated history because I’m 30 and didn’t realize I was ace/aro/agender until my late 20s. My introduction into the ace community was through the WP community. I can’t even imagine being 13 and having my introduction into the LGBT+ be through the dumpster fire that is Tumblr. So, that’s where a lot of these younger folks are at. There’s a bunch of dedicated people working to try to reeducate them, but I don’t have the time or energy so I use the block function a lot.

If only it were that easy though. Way back during Ace Week and then again during Thanksgiving and yet again during Christmas a few acephobic shitheads specifically targeted ace people and added them to group chats specifically to harass them. The first group back in October was called “genocide time”. Subsequent groups had less obvious titles, but the intent was the same. It was a coordinated effort to terrorize and harass asexuals. Many of the targeted individuals were upset with Twitter’s lack of response because the offenders were suspended for a week, but they just made “sockpuppet” accounts to continue the harassment campaign. I was never specifically targeted because I’m a literal nobody on Twitter and thanks to screenshots posted by the targeted aces I was able to block the offenders. I know at least one person is taking legal action because death threats over social media are a federal crime and I know in the state of Texas any illicit social media activity is grounds for expulsion from school. State laws have been getting tighter in response to the numerous school shootings and they’re paying more attention to social media activity.

Not all exclusionists are that extreme, but their argument doesn’t really have much of a leg to stand on. The LGBTQIA is a civil rights movement. Oppression matters because that’s what we’re fighting against, but it’s not the Oppression Olympics. I, as a white person nonbinary person, will never be as oppressed as a black trans woman. That doesn’t mean that my rights don’t matter; it just means that since black trans women are the more vulnerable target I need to do my part to support them. This isn’t some macho military campaign where you can leave your most vulnerable troops exposed and expect victory and there are no acceptable casualties.

As for “cishets” invading LGBT spaces, a lot of SGA clubs and LGBT orgs welcome straight allies and volunteers. It’s not okay if a straight person talks over LGBT+ folks or makes assumptions about the needs of LGBT+ folks, but the more bodies we have in our fight for civil rights the better. We need more people spreading positivity, handing out informational flyers, writing letters to politicians, and VOTING. How we look to potential allies kinda matters if we want them to think about our needs while they’re in the voting booths or running for local office or organizing community events.

From the WorldCon Dublin Code of Conduct:

Dublin 2019 is dedicated to providing a harassment-free convention experience for all Attendees, regardless of ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual identity or sexual orientation, neurodiversity, disability, physical ability or appearance, race, age, religion, or fiction/fandom preferences (this list is not exhaustive).

The WorldCon Dublin Code of Conduct was primarily based on Irish equality legislation:

The Equal Status Act 2000 provides protection against direct and indirect discrimination outside of employment on the same 9 grounds: age, gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, marital status, family status and membership to the Traveller community

http://www.culturewise.ie/equal-check/equality_lagislation_in_ie.php

So, it really feels like a step backwards with the current US political climate and then to have a bunch young people on Twitter mirroring that red-hat rhetoric by trying to police what is or isn’t considered LGBT.

I consider myself an “inclusionist” because I believe aces and aros regardless of their romantic or sexual orientation belong in the LGBTQIA. Also it would be logistically impossible to exclude them. The question I have for exclusionists who don’t think heterosexual aromantics and heteromantic asexuals belong in the LGBT+ is “how are you going to spot check?” ID cards? Secret handshakes? The most resent ace polls say nearly half of asexuals reported being trans. Most aces have are queer romantic attracted. It is logistically impossible (and very reminiscent of state “Bathroom Bills”) to only exclude heteromantic aces and hetersexual aros. How do you know they’re not trans, not a bi or pan, or in the closet? How are you going to stop and check every. single. time. you see the word “ace” to make sure they’re not “cishet”? It’s logistically impossible.

That’s usually the point when I get blocked, which good riddance because in their quest to chase out “cishets” all aces get caught up in the crossfire and only get a “oops, my bad, I thought you were het” half-assed apology.

Well, that’s about as clear and concise as I can be on the issue. I’ve pretty much placed myself firmly in the inclusionist camp because of survival reasons (aro, ace, and agender) and ideological reasons (the logistics alone, ugh!) Some side effects have included agreeing with intersectional feminism views and getting dragged into other discourses. Remember how I mentioned that there were “discourse cycles”? Well every few weeks it’s rinse lather repeat and this week happens to be “bi-lesbian discourse” week. Yikes. And that just happens to be my next rambling topic.

Bisensuality (or That Little Nuance I like to Ignore)

I’m very, aromantic. Out of all of my identities that one is the loudest. My asexuality and agenderness are barely more than a whisper most days while my aroness is constantly shouting into a megaphone. In between those two extremes is my sensual attraction. It’s there, but I ignore it because without romantic or sexual attraction to give it some oomph I can usually tune it out. It’s just this weirdness that pops up and makes things awkward because I can’t act on it and still exist within the bounds of social niceties. I’m aromantic, asexual, agender, and bisensual and it’s just there to be weird. For me sensual attraction makes me want to get all up in your business, proximity is important, as more than platonic touching, but not quite sexual and definitely not romantic. It’s weird, it’s nuanced, and not something I generally trust people to understand. It just gives me a tiny view into the world of attraction.

I think I’ve mentioned it before when I was thinking back to puberty and I was getting flashes of sensual attraction towards my classmates, but without the romantic or sexual attraction to give it context it would just freak me out because I sort of knew it wasn’t “normal”. Learning about sensual attraction as an adult finally gave me the context and was a sigh of relief because it meant there wasn’t anything wrong with me, it just meant that my identity had a nuance to it. It’s weird, it’s there, and honestly I’m not sure what to do about it so I just accept it and ignore it. I do wish more people would talk about these little nuances, though.

Apologies for Being MIA

I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog the last couple of months; the main reason is I don’t have internet at home and I’ve been too busy and tired to go to coffee shops and the like to use their wifi. The main reason I’m tired is because of work. Work is very stressful right now for what are frankly BS reasons that I have no control over. I don’t want to turn this into a work bashing post, but that unfortunately plays a huge role in why I haven’t had the energy to write.

In my defense, there were maggots. Labor Day weekend was especially difficult and I ended up lashing out in a note to another employee, my manager found the note and I got in trouble. It’s purely coincidental that the same day I got chewed out for my note we do a deep clean of the department at closing time (at my urging, since it’s what was stressing me out) and we find maggots in the wooden shelf that our register sits on.

The meeting I had with my boss earlier that day basically amounted to me being chewed out for being unprofessional, but in retrospect I have no regrets. We’re a food establishment. It’s not enough to only be spotless when the health inspector comes around. We need to be safe and sanitary. It’s my job to keep the place safe and sanitary and when I literally can’t do my job because we’re understaffed, don’t have enough labor hours, and the place was built incorrectly to begin with and nobody knows how to follow up on problems. I was just stressing about how dirty the floor was after we’d “finished” closing duties, but in the meeting my boss was like, “Oh, but we have all these other problems you’ve obviously overlooked because you’re focusing on the negative. You need to look on the bright side.” Bad paraphrasing I know, but no, I don’t have to look at the positive of anything. It’s been ten days since we found the maggots under the wood and nothing has been done other than us, the employees, dousing the floor with heavy duty cleaning chemicals so the best case scenario is there’s a bunch of dead maggots under the register. I am literally disgusted and going out of my mind with stress.

My boss is on vacation this week and I’m supposed to have a follow up meeting with him and his boss eventually, but I’m just so done with everything. I applied to another position in the same company and it’s looking promising. I’ve already done the interview, background check, and drug test. My mom wasn’t exactly supportive of me applying for a new job. She said I was being emotional and acting rashly and I should have waited until I had a cooler head and honestly all that really hurt my feelings. She was throwing Stoicism in my face. Her view is I should have kept a stiff upper lip and rode out the bad stuff at work; My view is I saw my chance and I took it and I’ll be fine whatever the results are. If I get the new job, great, a change will be healthy for me. If not I’m not going to be any worse off than I currently am and my boss will know that I’m not playing games.

My saving grace is twice a week I have my one calculus class. That’s right, I go to calculus class to decompress and just have a moment that’s all about me and what I think. My boss gave me an info card with the company’s mental health services on it and I haven’t contacted them because my queer status automatically makes me very leery of corporate sponsored mental health care and I’m terrified that they actually can’t help me because I might not actually be the problem. We’re very understaffed because working at my job sucks. People who have been there for years finally go fed up and left. New people coming in just wait the 90 days and then transfer out. The corporate office doesn’t care at best and at worst is stupidly incompetent. It’s been ten days and nothing has been done about the maggots.

So, that’s the gist of it. Happy belated Labor Day everyone. I can’t promise to write more consistently since all of my writing projects are currently on hold until the work situation stabilizes, but I did want to at least give an update on why I’ve been absent for a few months. I really miss doing the Carnivals, but I couldn’t even find the energy to do that and decided to focus on my mental health which is complicated right now, but overall getting better compared to ten days ago so I’m very happy about that at least. I hope to get back into writing soon, but I won’t be too hard on myself if I need a little extra time to pull myself back together. I really am enjoying my calculus class and look forward to hopefully passing this time and finally start calc 2.

Carnival of Aces Round Up: Then, Now, & Tomorrow

Alright folks, this is the Carnival of Aces Round Up for June 2019. The topic for this past month was Then, Now, & Tomorrow.

<> Our first submission is an enlightening post titled “On Purity, Asexuality, and Timing” by Perfect Number . In it she talks about Christian purity culture and touches how she would like to see asexuality included in sex education:

…if I wasn’t in purity culture, would I have had sex I didn’t want, because I thought it was “normal”? The sex-ed stuff I read now, it’s not written in a way that’s inclusive of aces. (ace = asexual) I’m trying to imagine an alternative to purity culture, that teaches kids it’s okay to have sex before marriage, but also helps asexuals understand their asexuality and be confident in their feeling that “no, I really don’t want to have sex…

<> Next up Jess wrote about both physical health and mental health in a fantastic post that is sure to get everyone thinking about their own future challenges:

… over the past year or so, I have dealt with new challenges to my mental and physical health that have really made me reconsider my priorities… [Aro-ace] lives have the potential to be very different from whatever roadmap we envisioned when we were younger, and living life without that roadmap …

<> Ace Film Reviews wrote a riveting post titled “Unhappiness and Other Unexpected Blessings” that will hopefully get folks thinking about something to look forward to:

…Is there a word for the opposite of nostalgia? Whatever it is, it’s what I felt as I stood in that chocolate shop. Not a memory of the past coupled with sorrow and longing to return to it. But a memory of the past coupled with relief and gratitude that it was over!

<> The last submission this month IS A POEM! titled Then Now & Tomorrow by LoyalTiger06 so be sure to check it out and let them know how awesome they are in the comments

A BIG “thank you” to everyone who took the time to make a submission this month and I hope everyone had a happy Pride. To see past Carnival of Aces submissions and/or to volunteer to be a future CoA host (it’s super easy, I promise) please check out the master post on The Asexual Agenda. The next Call for Submissions has been posted by The Ace Theist

Carnival of Aces Call for Submissions June 2019

First of all, Happy Pride Month Everyone!!!

This is a Call for submissions for the Carnival of Aces for June 2019. A “blogging carnival” is when a bunch of blogs get together and post about a single topic. The purpose of this is to bring awareness to the topic and to gain a variety of perspectives and voices. At the end of the month the host, yours truly, will collect all the links into a single post for everyone to see. To learn more about the Carnival of Aces, see past topics and submissions, and/or to volunteer to be a future host please check out the master post on The Asexual Agenda.

Last month was hosted by Demi and Proud on the topic of “Asexuality and Gender At Play” which you can view by clicking here.

For this month I picked the topic of “Then, Now, & Tomorrow“.

I’m turning 30 this year and my life is completely different from what I thought it would be when I graduated high school in 2008; Not better, not worse, just different. I’m actually pretty happy with how I turned out as a person, specifically as an aromantic asexual in an alloromantic/allosexual world and I’m looking forward to continuing that positive trend. On that note I’m curious to see how you folks have:

  • Grown as a person the last few years
  • What factors or people have helped you grow
  • What set backs you might currently facing, past obstacles, or even possible future obstacles and how you’re dealing with them
  • What you’re doing now to continue learning and growing
  • Where you see yourself in the next few years
  • Where you see yourself when you turn 25, 30, 40, 50, or whatever milestone is next for you
  • Any combination of the above
  • Or anything else you can think of along the lines of the prompt “Then, Now, & Tomorrow”

I’m looking forward to seeing where everyone is at in their life’s journey. To submit a post you can just put a link down in the comments or send the link in an email to LettreDeMarque(at)outlook(dot)com (mind the spelling) with your preferred name and pronouns. If you want to submit an anonymous post let me know in the email and I’ll put the post on my own blog. Just a friendly reminder that submissions are not limited to blog posts and that video essays, poems, comics, and other formats are perfectly fine as long as I can get a link for the round up post at the end. I’ll also take late submission up to 3 days after the deadline (I know the evils of writer’s block and that life gets in the way) which will be midnight Eastern Standard time on June 30th.

Happy writing everyone!