Capture the Flag (Why I’m Concerned about Flag Discourse on Twitter)

Before we get started we’re going to need some context. It began (to my knowledge) when the creator of the pan flag came out and said that they supported bi-lesbians and pan-lesbians. Bi/pan-lesbian discourse is THE divisive discourse right now. Basically two kinds of people might call themselves a bi lesbian or pan lesbian; a) someone describing their romantic and sexual orientation (like aces and aros do) or more commonly it’s b) a nonbinary person who doesn’t feel like either label by itself is an accurate enough label so they’ll use the double label in community spaces.

Nobody is ready for the conversation on how terms like “SGA” and “het” get really complicated really fast when you actually account for nonbinary gender diversity. Regardless a lot of people believe that double labeling is invalidating for lesbians and discussions tend to get heated.

In response to the pan flag creator supporting bi/pan lesbians, a lesbian (as the Twitter rumor mill claims) created a “new pan flag”

In what I would consider an impressive counter tactic, pan-lesbians reclaimed the new flag and dubbed it the pan-lesbian flag:

It was at this point that I had a good laugh at the situation and assumed the issue would be self-contained.

It was not self-contained.

Soon newflagitis started spreading to other communities:

screen shot: “new bi flag”
“New bi flag” with stripe meaning

The idea of creating a new flag for bisexuality after BiNet’s “copyright” stunt and the resulting backlash is purely nonsensical and I would have been willing to dismiss the trend as merely teen boredom from Covid restrictions-

But then it spread to the ace community:

Screenshot: “new ace flag”

What was alarming about “new ace flag” posts was the misinformation that proceeded it. Once the word got out established ace accounts mobilized quickly to target the misinformation, namely that David Jay didn’t create the ace flag (see my previous post about how acephobes can’t get over a forum post from 2003). The AVEN threads showing the flag’s creation and unveiling were shared and boosted and the countering short hand narrative became “the ace flag was a community project”. It was noted that changing the purple to a gradient made the flag unfriendly for commercial production and artists. The flag itself was deemed mostly harmless and a fad that would likely die out quickly.

Shortly there after infighting broke out between aroace activist Yasmin Benoit and Rose from FYA. The flag situation was set aside in favor of what was seen as a bigger crisis that needed to be dealt with.

But then it happened again:

Once again someone posted a “new ace flag” proceeded by misinformation. I’m not sure if this is becoming a thing yet since the “antisemitic roots” mentioned in regards to the original flag is that AVEN’s symbol IS A TRIANGLE. That’s one hell of a reach, but he went for it and doubled down. Once again ace twitter mobilized to tackle the misinformation and point out that the “new flag” was too similar to other flags like the demi boy flag and the freysexual/romantic flag. As BiNet showed us, if you’re going to start flag discourse you better be squeaky clean. Similarly, when this flag maker was confronted by community members he started spouting exclusionary rhetoric like “allo is a slur” and “cis het aces aren’t LGBT” and eventually deactivated.

Our concern in the ace twitter community isn’t that people are making new flags. New flags appear all the time. The aroace flag, for example, has grown on me despite my initial rejection when I first saw it and it’s now one of my favorites for merchandise and swag. What made the “new ace flag” posts different from the pan and bi flag posts is that the ace flag posts contained misinformation directly lifted from anti-ace tumblr blogs like “David Jay is a misogynist homophobe” and “the AVEN triangle is a nazi symbol” and when confronted they used tumblr screenshots as “evidence”.

We’re not worried, per say, but we are getting a little nervous because we don’t know if this is just the latest teen fad as a result of being lonely and stuck inside during the Covid pandemic or if this is a symptom of larger issue that could negatively impact the community. We don’t know yet, but we’re keeping an eye on it.

One thought on “Capture the Flag (Why I’m Concerned about Flag Discourse on Twitter)

  1. Pingback: Linkspam: July 10th, 2020 | The Asexual Agenda

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s