Carnival of Aces: Briefly Comparing My Communities Online

[This is my submission for the Carnival of Aces for February 2021 hosted this Month by Ace Film Reviews on the Topic of “Comparing Ace Spaces“]

My first introduction to the Ace Community was through the WordPress community in 2014. I was 25 and had just come back home to Texas after working out of state for two years and had finally ran out of excuses for why I had literally never dated. Well, obviously the answer is my interpersonal skills leave much to be desired BUT I had also come to the conclusion that if dating had been a priority in any way for me, I would have found a way to do it. So, the real question was, why wasn’t dating even on my list of of priorities? With that in mind I finally sat down and literally Googled “25 and never dated”. After skipping over a bunch of pop-psy articles that amounted to “don’t worry, your prince will come” I finally came to a wordpress blog by an asexual man.

I kick myself everyday for not bookmarking the page because I have never been able to find it again nor thank him. Part of the reason I keep this blog going is as a way to pay that moment forward. That man’s blog post means a lot to me because it set me on the right path to finding out that not only am I asexual, but I’m aromantic and agender too. Before that I was living and believing the lie that I was cis and straight “by default”. It’s scary to think it’s like I didn’t even know myself before that. Because of that the WordPress community will always have a special place in my heart as a place of learning and personal growth.

The next community that meant a lot to me was Tumblr. Specifically the chat created by The Asexuality Blog. I’m missing a huge chunk of history and discourse knowledge because I tended to avoid drama. I mostly used tumblr as a resource for writers. Every single job title you can think of was putting out lists of common bad tropes and mistakes writers make. Doctors, EMTs, MEs, nurses, lawyers, firefighters, *literally every professional* you might have as a background character had wishlists of tropes they wanted writers to stop using. Historians and scientists putting out debunk lists. Every minority group you could think of was putting out dos and donts and how to lists as well as answering plot specific asks. It was a magical time to be a would-be writer. I eventually left tumblr because the nsfw ban also nuked my *collection of writer’s resources*, but before that the ace chats gave me a chance to talk to real humans in real time and that was an important step in not only accepting that I was aromantic, but also an important step in figuring out I was agender.

One major difference that was kind of alienating between wordpress and the TAB chats was the age difference. Most of the aces in the chats were in their teens and I very much wasn’t. It just felt weird for most of the chat to be talking about figuring and setting into their ace identity on top of highschool problems (by which I mean absolutely zero judgment because high school problems are serious, serious business) and then I was off in the corner figuring and settling into my ace identity while complaining about paying rent, the ethicacy of tax returns, and debating the pros and cons of coming out to coworkers. Granted the chat mods were older and wiser, but they were there to moderate rather than counsel. I still owe a huge debt to the chats for helping me figure out I was nonbinary.

Another alienating thing about the chats is how amatonormative they were. Even the aro chats! I now know that I’m a romance-repulsed aro trying to figure out life and stuff, but people are constantly wanting to talk about how cute/amazing their partner/gf/bf is. I’m not anti-romance; absolutely gush about your five year anniversary, but sometimes I *just want a break* that doesn’t involve isolating myself from other humans.

Last, but not least, I’m now mostly involved with the Twitter community. It’s kind of a mix of both info dump and real time interaction. I’ve tried discord, but that gets too overwhelming. Twitter offers a lot of control over what content you want to interact with because you can save searches and mute words as well as accounts. Since the pandemic started I haven’t actually been doing the most “healthy” of searches since most of the time I’m snooping for content for @AphobeHottakes like a sleezy mag reporter. There ain’t no drama like Twitter drama. If you missed the tumblr discourse era, don’t worry, it plays out every week like it’s on syndicate in the Twitter stream.

I can’t attest much to the conversation about RL meet ups because the only other ace I’ve met in RL is my high school friend who stopped talking to me for other (and I’m prerry sure are perfectly valid) reasons. Even at 25 I still had a LOT of growing to do as a person and while I mourn the loss of a friendship even after five years, the only thing I can control is trying to maintain what I only hope an upward trend of personal growth. For now RL meetups are on hold because of Covid, but I maintain the hope that they’ll happen some day in the future.

Carnival of Aces Reminder

Hey folks! We’re about half way through the month of December and so far I only have one submission for the Carnival of Aces this month.

“A blogging carnival is an event in which various people blog around a single topic.  At the end of the carnival, a host blog collects all the links.  It’s a way of encouraging a variety of different voices, and a way to bring attention to blogs that would otherwise go under the radar.
A Carnival of Aces is a monthly blogging carnival centered on asexual and the asexual spectrum (gray-As, demisexuals, etc.).  Anyone can participate, but responses should deal with asexuality or the asexual spectrum, and they should relate to the month’s theme (which is announced each month by the host).  Responses should postdate the call for submissions.  Alternate forms of media besides blogs are also welcome as long as they deal with the prompt.”

This month’s topic is “Asexuality and Privacy” which is a topic near and dear to my heart. If you need help with some ideas or aren’t really sure what privacy means to you here are some videos you can watch about why privacy is a serious and sometimes scary topic:

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: “The Russians aren’t the only ones watching you.”
TedTalk: Christopher Soghoian “Government surveillance — this is just the beginning”
TedTalk: Glenn Greenwald “Why privacy matters”
TedTalk: Andy Yen “Think your email’s private? Think again”

Feel free to watch one of the videos and just send me your thoughts on that or see the original Call for Submissions for ideas. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be written. Art, videos, poetry, are all acceptiable for submissions as long as they are relivant to the the topic. A lot of the privacy-topic videos I see mention how privacy is important to LGBT+ and minority groups, but nobody mentions asexuals specifically so I wanted to hear from you all and what you think.

Please have your submission in by December 31st for the link round up. You can leave a link in the comments below, submit via tumblr to http://a-cubedblog.tumblr.com/, or send me an email to lettredemarque(at)outlook(dot)com. If you sent something to the email and did not get a “thank you” reply, let me know. It means I probably didn’t get the message and I will try to find the lost email.

Good luck everyone!

Call for Submissions Carnival of Aces April 2016

Calling for Submissions for The Carnival of Aces for April 2016! What is a blogging carnival? See the master post here! Last month’s topic of “Gender Norms and Asexuality” was hosted by valprehension and you can see the round up of submissions here!

For this month’s prompt I’ve decided on the topic “Be yourself (but stretch)”. What I want to know is how on a day-to-day basis you affirm and express your asexual identity while navigating though established social norms that are, unfortunately, unavoidable. The term “be yourself, but stretch” comes from authentic leadership techniques, where to be an effective supervisor you need to be authentic (be yourself), but also stretch to match the expected norms that come with leading others.

Growing up in the 90s I feel like a major moral of every kid’s show was “Be yourself”. The many episodes would start off with one of the main characters trying to blend in with the cool kids or try to reinvent themselves after an embarrassing mishap, but in the end they realized that all they needed to be happy was to be themselves. I wish a screenwriter or two had had the foresight to write and episode where “Be Yourself” didn’t work. You know, something for the rest of us who came out to our parents and it backfired, for those who came out to friends who still think we’re “basically straight” or just “gay and won’t admit it”, or maybe something for those of us who haven’t come out and have to fake chuckle at bad sex jokes at work or artfully dodge awkward questions about the significant others we don’t have.

I’m looking for posts, stories, comics, poems, art, videos, or a comfortable digital medium of your choice about how “Be yourself” doesn’t always work; About how you would love to be out and proud, but can’t because people just don’t get it or you can’t risk your livelihood or it’s just not worth the drama. How do you be your wonderful, asexual self and how do you “stretch” to fit in the roles you need to be to make a living or just make it through the day?

If you’re still not sure what to write about, here are some suggestions. These are not meant to be all-encompassing, only to provide possible ideas.

-Have you mastered the art of balancing your ace identity and your family, friend, and work relationships? Make the How-To guide you wish you had a year ago.

-Any advice for making it though that awkward family dinner that’s just around the corner? Parents/Grandparents are probably going to be asking some uncomfortable questions.

-Do any of your friends not accept your asexuality? How does that affect your friendship? What compromises are you willing to make between your identity and loyalty to friends?

-What do you do or who do you go to when you need a confidence boost or to reaffirm your ace identity?

-Show some support for your fellow aces who haven’t come out and don’t plan to because of some very good reasons.

-How do you be yourself when most of society says that isn’t good enough, that we’re “missing out” on what is considered part of human nature? If you wrote an article to your local news paper about being asexual in your community, what would you say?

To submit you can leave a link in the comments below, submit HERE tumblr, or shoot me an email at lettredemarque(at)outlook(dot)com with the link or submission.

I will be accepting submissions until midnight Eastern Standard Time Saturday April 30th, so you’ll have plenty of time to whip something together.

Happy Blogging!