It’s 2020 and Acephobes Can’t Get Over David Jay’s Forum Post From 2003

[Edited: I noticed there might be some tonal issues with the post in its original and have expanded in a few places]

I feel like it’s been an eternity since I’ve contributed to my blog, but I’m house-sitting for somebody with a desktop this weekend so hopefully I can crank out a couple of drafts to post later. For now I’m going to address the click-baity topic I’ve chosen for this post.

Some context: Every couple of months or so acephobes will dig up an AVEN forum post David Jay posted in 2003 with the f-slur in it and shove it in ace people’s faces like “IS THIS YOUR KING?”

Continue reading “It’s 2020 and Acephobes Can’t Get Over David Jay’s Forum Post From 2003”
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Happy #AgenderPrideDay!

I’m going to be honest I didn’t know there was a semi-official official day until the hashtag popped up in my Twitter feed, but sweet! First rule of any pride day hashtag is “do not read the comments”. To my understanding the way pride day/week hashtags work is an LGBTQ+ group will pick a day and a hashtag and try to coordinate and build as much momentum as possible and a bunch of people will get mad like, “whaaaat, why do they get day?”

It seems like Pink News is leading today’s event since they were asking for coming out stories (but I’m not 100% sure since I haven’t gone through all the hashtags yet). The lesbian week event a while back was sponsored by a lesbian and bi women’s magazine. I thought that was a) awesome and b) hilarious that people were complaining about how it was executed because legitimate critique is one thing but complaining about an online event that you put zero effort into organizing because it doesn’t match your ideas another (and that last bit is definately a not so subtle potshot at Scarcella). Anywho! on to the actual post.

I actually have a really, really, really hard time describing and talking about my gender because, as the label suggests, I don’t actually have one. I am firmly on the “404 gender, not found” dot on the agender spectrum. If you thought sexuality and romance were pervasive concepts, try imagining what living life without gender for a day. I don’t mean suddenly picture everyone looking like a the robot from Metropolis (1927). Take a moment to imagine that you woke up tomorrow and everything is the same except gender is not a thing. Imagine if there were no separate men’s and women’s clothing sections in the department store and it was just “clothes”. Actually, other than the clothes thing picturing a world without gender is hard because of how ingrained it is into human culture. If I didn’t live my daily life without gender, I’d have trouble imagining it too.

During my typical day it’s nonstop “hey girl” or “Excuse me, ma’am” and a constant barrage of gender performance cues from everyone, even from nonbinary folks. I know you can’t really tell what somebody’s gender is by looking at them, but there are definitely people who give off “not-cis/binary” vibes. The frustrating thing for me is I don’t really know how to do that. How am I supposed to preform something I don’t have? It’s like when you ask non-asexuals what sexual attraction is like because you get the same really frustrating “oh, you just sort of know” for an answer.

My gender performance is a balancing act of doing what is socially acceptable for paycheck and social currency reasons vs trying not to think too hard about how other people might (incorrectly) perceive my (nonexistent) gender for dysphoria reasons. I mostly dress fem because I don’t exactly have a lot of options given my body type. Also fem clothes are more fun. I love overbust corsets because they have a complicated and misunderstood history and provide amazing back support. …and I can already imagine the Twitter comments accusing me of being a “cis woman who just wants to feel special”.

It took me a ridiculous long time to figure out my gender because I didn’t know gender was a real thing. I was almost 26 before I figured out I was agender. Before that point I assumed all gender was assigned based on culture. I thought the reason different cultures had different genders is they had had more time to diversify. For years I assumed that gender was just an arbitrary weird cultural thing like grammatical gender is just a weird arbitrary language thing (thank you linguistics degree). I had no idea that there was an entire psychological element to gender identity because I don’t have that tiny voice in my head telling me what gender I am.

Cracks in my “all gender is assigned” assumption began to form when I had to take a diversity training for a job and they talked about Two Spirit genders. That was the first time that it started to click that people actually felt like their gender and 23 year old me was sooo freaking confused. I didn’t “feel” like a girl. It wasn’t until two years later that I would have reliable access to internet and access to online ace spaces and chats that I could finally start asking questions. Trans aces in the chat groups were very helpful in directing me to trans and later nonbinary information resources. I basically went all the way down the list and crossed off everything that didn’t sound like me until agender was the only one left.

I’m going to finish this post off with how I found my pronoun. Before recently I didn’t particularly care for pronouns at all because like gender labels none of them really feel like me. I chose a really short name for myself (Lib) and I tried to gently encourage people to use that instead of pronouns, but I didn’t really care (and still don’t honestly) what people call me because my linguistics training says “I knew what you meant, so it’s fine”. I’m still not going to bite anyone’s head off for calling me the the “wrong” pronoun. It’s just a matter of “meh” vs “oh! that’s me!” My pronoun is thon/thon’s and it apparently has been around for a while and I’m very happy to have finally found it…in the dictionary of all places.

The Split Attraction Model has a PR Problem

[UPDATE: 5/19/20: Coyote was kind enough to make a brief history summary of the term “split attraction model” and I highly recommend taking a look at the post series specifically this post and this post. My post will remain in its original form (with the exception of grammar corrections and update notes) but my opinions will likely change as I encounter new and updated information.]
See: Apology Statement

Something I didn’t know until recently is the split attraction model (or SAM) has a bit of a PR problem. If you type “split attraction model” into the search bar on Twitter, here’s what comes up. Yikes.

Continue reading “The Split Attraction Model has a PR Problem”

Aromantic Awareness Week: The “You’ll Be Alone Forever” Myth

SInce I’ve turned 30 years old I’ve started to out right chuckle at the “you’ll be alone forever” myth (and yes it is a myth) directed at asexuals and aromantics. I know aces can kind of brush it off because sex and romance are two very different relationship sauces, but aros have to put more effort into pointing out some of the fallacies behind the “alone forever” mentality.

First of all, half of all marriages end in divorce. That number is a little skewed because that includes all marriages, meaning repeat offenders who get married and then divorced and then get married again. The statistics for first time marriages are a little better and those who wait and get married later in life report being happier in their marriages than folks for got married in their late teens and early 20s. You can look up the most studies on your own time, but when I looked all this up back before realizing it didn’t matter because I’m aromantic, that’s the gist I got out of the available articles at the time.

The thing most people don’t like to think about is “forever” is a long ass time. I’ve noticed most young people don’t realize that there’s life after 30, so the fact that there’s life after 65 must blow their feaking minds. If you think about it, if you retire at 65 but live to be 85+, that’s 20 freaking years of living without income. I hope you nabbed a good retirement package because that’s 20+ years of additional medical expenses that you have to account for also because you won’t be a spring chicken. Then at the very end, there’s Assisted Living you need to account for because you and your hypothetical spouse won’t be able to take care of eachother anymore. Then at the very, very end there’s hospice care because nobody actually lives forever. So the whole “alone forever” thing is heteronormative BS at its finest.

There is never going to be one single relationship that’s going to carry you every step of the way through life. Sure, we love it when lovely dovey couples are like, “oh, my wife/husband is my rock. I couldn’t do it without them.” But we live in reality and reality is messy and doesn’t like to be tied up in a pretty bow. That’s like the winner of American Idol saying “See? Dreams really do come true if you believe in yourself!” like you didn’t watch the first five episodes where millions of people got turned down. All those people did follow their dreams and they did believe in themselves and it still didn’t work out because of luck, fate, or whatever. The same thing happens with romance. We are so focused on the “success” stories that we overlook that for most people, even straight people, it doesn’t work out and it’s really mean spirited to everyone to keep pushing the myth that you’ll be forever alone and that is a bad thing.

So, for everyone else who’s realized they aren’t the star of their own romantic comedy here’s what you do:

1) Start saving up for retirement. I’m not kidding. You do not want to be homeless or cleaning toilets in your 70s. Throw some spare change in a pickle jar, stuff some dollar bills under your mattress, do whatever you need to do to put some money aside and then start looking at retirement savings plans because inflation is a thing and you want your savings to keep up. That way you can save up for a nice retirement home with cute nurses, good food, and lots of new friends with cool life stories. Don’t rush to old age, but don’t dred it either.

2) Get a new hobby. Pick something you like that takes YEARS to master and then find some local clubs or meetups based on that hobby. Rinse, lather repeat. You can have multiple hobbies and that gives you more opportunity to make tons of new friends who share a common interest with you.

3) Realize that who you are now is not who you’ll be forever. If you’re the kind of person who is constantly trying to improve as a person and stiving to be a decent human being you’ll continue to grow and change for the better. I don’t even like who I was ten years ago, I am not the same person I was ten years ago. I want my circle of friends to reflect who I am now, not the person I was 10 years ago. Because of that I’m actually super grateful that I’m aromantic because I don’t have to worry about a significant being resentful that I’ve changed or that my priorities have changed nor do I have to worry about maintaining a relationship with someone who more than likely has also changed as a person. It honestly gives me a headache just thinking about it.

Those are the kinds of things people don’t like to think about when they say, “You’ll be alone forever”. They’re not actually thinking about what “forever” really means. So what if you don’t have somebody to buy you flowers, give you a massage, forget your anniversary, and all that long term relationship crap.

Instead of investing in a relationship, I’ve invested in making myself the kind of person I’m happy to live with long term. I’m not lonely. I have my job that is both really challenging and rewardingin its own way. I have my hobbies. I have my cat. I’m happy and I don’t need another person coming in and messing that up for me just so I’m not “alone”.

Censorship, Anti-shiping, and Reasonable Bounties

I’m going to start by saying this is not my area of expertise and there’s a bunch of other people who can flesh out this topic a LOT better than I can. But they’re not here because this is my personal blog and I get to ramble about my very not-expert opinion. Yay! I’m going to be mentioning some heavy topics by name only like “child porn” and “pedophilia” but there will be absolutely no details, no graphic descriptions. I also talk about my own gender dysphoria. That being said, you will absolutely not hurt my feelings if you peace out now. Thank you for making passed the title.

Continue reading “Censorship, Anti-shiping, and Reasonable Bounties”

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.