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.