rough outline of asexual community development on tumblr, or: how asexual discourse on tumblr got this way

Via (tumblr) metapianycist: A Rough Outline of Ace Tumblr history

2011-2012: multiple non-asexual individuals posted frequently in asexuality-related tags arguing that asexual identity was inherently homophobic or misogynist. many of them were straight women, and some of them were TERFs (galesofnovember). there were a few sga people (including one gay man), but it wasn’t the case that “gay people started it.” there was even a non-sga anti-sjw (using the handle meravie) posting that asexual identity was inherently homophobic & misogynist.

asexual people got incredibly defensive in response. there was lateral violence in both directions (aces being homophobic to the lgb non-aces, non-ace lgb folks literally arguing that asexuality was always an illegitimate or even harmful identity for same-gender-attracted aces to have). there were very long argument threads. it was rare to find someone willing to take criticism of their viewpoint seriously, on either side. i and a few other asexual people tried to have conversations with the individuals involved, and it was ultimately futile.

2012: many non-aces said not to call them “sexuals.” many alternative words were created by asexual people. the one that became most popular was “allosexual.” in the time of the coinage of allosexual, the individuals who made the aforementioned anti-asexual posts (again, mostly the straight women) had no criticism of allosexual other than “lmao it sounds like allosaur, asexuals are so fucking st*pid” (the legitimate criticisms of the word came much later on, from different non-aces)

2013-14-ish: asexual community develops a culture of being extremely defensive in response to all criticism of asexual discourse from non-asexual people. by this point, most of the non-aces voicing criticism of the homophobia in asexual discourse were sga.

2015: asexual community is also extremely defensive in response to criticism of asexual discourse from asexual people.

present: no non-asexual person involved in the original massive organized asexual invalidation from 2011-12 posts in asexual tags anymore (sometimes one or two of them post in demisexual tags though, with arguments that demisexuality is an inherently homophobic, misogynist, illegitimate, and/or harmful identity). almost every asexual person currently involved in asexual discourse is someone who was not present in the community during 2011-12. (a lot of Tumblr Asexual Elders got extremely burned out.)

presently in asexual discourse: there are no non-aces claiming that asexuality is inherently and literally a homophobic, misogynist, illegitimate or harmful identity. non-aces argue that it’s homophobic to apply the split attraction model to people without their consent (i agree with them). there is still lateral violence on either side: anti-asexual comments paired with often legitimate criticisms of asexual discourse, and homophobia from asexual people (often from the cis het ones, but also from the sga ones). (note: homophobia from cis het aces is punching down and it isn’t accurate to call it lateral violence.)

so: my recommendation to fellow asexual people is not to respond to lateral asexual invalidation with homophobia. it’s okay to be angry and express anger in response. but it’s not tone policing or respectability politics to say “my fellow asexuals, stop saying homophobic shit like ‘gay people fucking suck’ in response to non-asexual lgb people being acephobic” *

* fun fact: i was actually called victim blaming by another asexual person in 2015 for saying “don’t say ‘gay people fucking suck’ in response to a gay person being acephobic”


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