What’s it Like Running an Aphobe Hot-takes account?

Greetings! My internet is absolutely crap right now so I just wanted to do a quick post and the easiest topic I can throw together is about running @Aphobehottakes on Twitter. It’s actually not very exciting.

TW// aphobia because I will be showing some screenshots. yay. Fingers crossed that all of my screenshots still load after I hit “Publish”
(TW is short hand for trigger warning)

Continue reading “What’s it Like Running an Aphobe Hot-takes account?”
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What are you hoping to get out of the ace community?

This Carnival is already closed and you can find the Roundup Post Here

Greetings! This is the call for submissions for the Carnival of aces for August 2020. A blogging carnival is where a bunch of blogs will get together and post about the same topic and a host will select the topic and gather all the links in a round up post at the end. Future host spots are open!!! To see past round ups or volunteer to be a host check out the Masterpost on the Asexual Agenda. The topic I’ve selected is “What are you hoping to get out of the ace community?” To see July’s roundup on the topic of “Renaissance-people’s experience with ace culture and how they have seen it change.” hosted by the Ace Initiative Center (AIC) the link will be HERE when it becomes available.

What are you hoping to get out of the ace community? This is intentionally a broad topic, but here some suggested ideas to get you started:

  • How did you find the ace community and why did you decide to join? If you’re not an active community member, why not?
  • How is your experiences in the ace community different from the larger LGBTQIA+ or other communities (ethnic, religious, ect..) you belong to?
  • What are new activists doing that you think is working or not working? Who are your favorite activists and why? What have activists done in the past that you’d like to see make a comeback or you’re glad people are no longer doing?
  • What would you like to see more of in the ace community or is there something lacking?

Submissions can be blog posts, videos, Twitter threads, poems, whatever, as long as it relates to the topic. Just drop a link in the comments below or send an email to lettredemarque(at)outlook.com. I will be posting the round up on September the 1st so please have the submissions in to my by then. Happy blogging!

30 Minutes into My New Project and I’m already Conflicted (Quick Read)

Ever since taking a deeper look at the Medium Article ace-exclusionists like to cite I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a rebuttal as just sort of a demonstration that literally anyone can write and post something to Medium, but instead of just doing a sloppy copy-paste like the original I would treat it like more of a final project worth 25% of the class grade. Research actually isn’t one of my favorite things, I much prefer direct teaching methods like you find in traditional math classes, so I let the idea simmer for about a week to see if it would go away. It didn’t.

Another reason I was hesitant to adopt the rebuttal project is all the community college campuses are closed because of Covid so I don’t have easy access to archives and databases which limits my pool of sources to secondary and tertiary sources. I wouldn’t be satisfied with that. If I’m going to put time and effort into a project like this, because it’s about my sexual orientation it needs as pristine as I can possibly accomplish even if that pushes the timeline back. There’s no real rush. The original Medium article, despite the blatant copy-paste format isn’t going anywhere.

Just to test the inquisitive waters I started looking at the section of the article I could address, the part about David. The original article referenced rumors (although it didn’t refer to them as such) about David Jay being homophobic and a misogynist, but didn’t actually cite any sources. Since I had already gone down that rabbit hole before it was just a matter of going over the tumblr posts again specifically looking for things I had missed.

Tumblr is both a curse and a blessing because even if the original blog is deactivated any posts that were reblogged are still preserved. One blog in particular kept popping up in my search as not necessarily the original source of the rumors, but was definitely an agent in passing them on. When I went to their bio I found a link to her book. She had a book. This was no longer a nameless, faceless person on the internet. This was a writer and activist living in Montreal. What am I supposed I do with that information?

Do I blast this woman on Twitter (obviously not)? Should I pass the information on to ace activists (maybe)? Do I include that information in my rebuttal? Is her identity even relevant or is citing the original tumblr posts enough and it doesn’t actually matter who actually wrote it? I guess the shock of actually putting a face to the baseless tumblr claims rattled me. This is why I don’t like research, the pursuit of truth isn’t about comfort and the truth is rarely comfortable.

What Does Iris Young Actually Say About Oppression?

In my previous post I pointed out that a Medium “article” commonly cited by exclusionists looks more like it was written by a rushed undergrad who cut and pasted their paper together hoping the prof wouldn’t notice than a serious article. In the “article” the author cited Iris Young’s “Five Faces of Oppression” not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times so it might be worth a quick look at why this thirty year old paper is so important and how it relates to the topic of ace exclusion.

First things first, who is Iris Young? Turns out she’s a pretty big deal. “Five Faces of Oppression” (pdf link) is just one of many, many publications she wrote on political and feminist theory. But for today we’re just going to be looking at the Five Faces paper.

Continue reading “What Does Iris Young Actually Say About Oppression?”

That One Medium Article Acephobes Love to Cite

There’s a Medium “article” that acephobes like to cite as “proof” that Aces aren’t inherently part of the LGBTQ community. Throwing the link into the Twitter search bar is an easy way to get a block list going.

Twitter Screenshot: “This article does a great job at explaining why asexuals are not inherently LGBT”
Twitter Screenshot: “worldpride madrid is wrong”
Twitter Screenshot “cishet aces in our spaces put us at risk.”

Today I’m going to put this article under the microscope. Who wrote it? What sources did they use? Is it accurate or is it just a hodgepodge of tumblr posts spliced together to look official?

Continue reading “That One Medium Article Acephobes Love to Cite”

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.

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.

My Weird Coping Mechanism for Dealing with Pandemic Stress

I’m an essential worker and work in a pharmacy during the middle of a global pandemic while living with my parents who are both over the age of 50. I am STRESSED to say the least with limited coping options, basically whatever I happen to have on hand. If you had asked me a week and a half ago I would have said that I was not coping well. The flood of information on social media was overwhelming, but at the same time I was feeling disconnected because of social distancing. Another issue is my family driving me up the wall as we’re now pretty much all on top of each instead of doing our own things like normal. My dad and my sister are working from home and my mom’s pet-sitting business is toast. Finances are tight for everyone and the Texas heat is creeping in making everything even more miserable.

So, on what was pretty much a whim, I created a new twitter account that posts screenshots of acephobes being assholes on the internet.

Continue reading “My Weird Coping Mechanism for Dealing with Pandemic Stress”

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”.