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 August 2020 Round Up: What are you Hoping to get out of the Ace Community?

[If I’m missing anyone’s submission please post a link or a note in the comments or send me an email at lettredemarque(at)outlook(dot)com. I’ve been checking my spam box but life happens. Speaking of life happens if anyone has a late submission they want me to retroactively add I’m okay doing that too]

Greetings! This takes us to the end of this month’s Carnival of Aces and I’m happy to present our five fabulous submissions based on this month’s topic of “What are you hoping to get out of the Ace community?”

First of up we have Coyote, the author behind The Ace Theist here on WordPress, with “Directions for Ace Community Advocacy”; It’s a quick read that brings up several advocacy points the community needs to be thinking more about and individuals should probably be incorporating into their advocacy plans:

…I see mental healthcare as a key issue for the ace community for a number of reasons — because it can be psychologically damaging to be trapped in a sexnormative culture, because it can be difficult to access treatment for other mental health issues when anti-ace narratives stand in the way, and because “low sexual desire” is officially pathologized as a disorder in the DSM. For all these reasons and more, I think ace advocacy should be prioritizing therapy as an important area of concern…

Up next we have redbeardace’s post “Get Out Of It” about wanting to step back as an activist but not willing to leave the community floundering to repeat past mistakes or without a clear direction forward:

…For years, the primary drive has been visibility.  Shouting “WE EXIST!” as loud as we can until someone hears us. Okay.  They’ve heard us. What now? How about fighting singlism, pushing for better mental and physical healthcare, tearing down compulsory sexuality, inclusion in anti-discrimination policies, more and better media representation, sociological research that’s not mind-numbingly out of touch…more and stronger advocacy groups and closer ties/direct involvement with general queer groups, reaching all the people who are long past high school and feel lost and broken and confused because they haven’t heard of asexuality yet, and that’s just the beginning

Moving right along Henry sent me a submission via email; “A Disconnected Past, and A Curious Present” brings the perspective of feeling unwelcome and disconnected to the ace community. This post actually reminded me of when Vivek Shraya (a Canadian trans activist) visited my college and mentioned that community spaces were some of the loneliest places she had ever been in and it was in the art community that she found love and acceptance. Henry had a similar experience and reminds that while there’s a lot of shared experience among aces, not everyone’s asexual journey is going to look the same:

…I had instead followed my fantastic side to a very different community. This other community is all about self-discovery and self-expression, and both is very open about sexuality and extremely non-heteronormative. Their art was the perfect thing to feed my imagination and my fiction writer’s pen. The friends I made were just who I needed. Not only could I talk to them about my imagination, but I could write very NSFW stories from it they would eagerly lap up…

lokiofjotunheim’s post simply titled “Carnival of Aces – August 2020” talks about being relatively new to the ace community, how they discovered asexuality, learning community history and what they’re hoping for in the future:

…I want other 15, 16-year-olds, 40, 70, 90-year-olds who’ve never quite had a word that fit to find that for themselves. I want people to not have to be resigned to (and I was resigned, heavily) living life as “straight by default.” I’m not active in the sense that I’ve done activism. I have my Tumblr, sure, where I reblog ace posts and sometimes add a comment or two on the occasional post. I’m in several ace discords, and I have my ring, and my flag but…that’s about it…

Lastly we have my own submission for this topic, “I am not an Activist” which is basically just me venting about acephobia for three paragraphs and listing things I appreciate about the ace community; namely it’s nice not to feel alone in my experiences as an asexual even if I don’t have the skills to necessary to carry the community forward.

Edit: Not your professor, I accept late submissions! Drop a link below and I’ll add it to the round up. Here are the posts that were added after Aug 31st:

Elisabeth talks about “Virtual Meetups” (click here to read part one of “Increasingly Accessibility” series). Your asexual movement isn’t inclusive unless it’s accessible. With the world in the middle of a global pandemic the logical thing seems to move meetups online, but that doesn’t automatically mean online meetups are fully accessible to everyone:

My biggest problem with the state of virtual meetups in asexual communities right now, though, is just the sheer amount of effort it takes to even find out about them. Most groups are set to private, so you have to already be a member to know what they’re up to

The Call for Submissions for September is already up with the exciting topic of “Manifestos”

Please help us keep the conversation going by volunteering to become a future host!

[Carnival of Aces Guest Post] The Ace Community and Me: A Disconnected Past, and A Curious Present

This is a submission for the Carnival of Aces August for the topic of “What are you hoping to get out of the ace community” written by Henry:

I would like to thank Lib for posting this. Though you can find me in a couple places on the internet if you look for me, I didn’t feel any of them were a place to host this essay.

That fact is probably a pretty good introduction: you are about to read about my early struggles with asexuality, why I didn’t feel like the community spoke to me then, and why I am cautiously looking into it more now.

Continue reading “[Carnival of Aces Guest Post] The Ace Community and Me: A Disconnected Past, and A Curious Present”

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”

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.

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!

Calling for Submissions: Carnival of Aces December 2016 “Asexuality and Privacy”

This is a call for submissions for the Carnival of Aces for the month of December, 2016: The topic I’ve selected this month is “Asexuality and Privacy”. (Last month’s Carnival was hosted by It’s An Ace Thing on the Topic of Relationship Anarchy. Click the link to see the Carnival Round up.)

Privacy is defined as: “the state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people”. Possible post topics for this prompt might include:

As an asexual, what is your general view on privacy or the right to privacy?
-Do you think privacy or the right to privacy is more important to you than it would be for another sexuality or for someone who identifies as straight?
-Since identifying as an asexual has your view of privacy changed compared to before?
-What do you consider private about your identity? Would you be comfortable disclosing your asexual orientation to a counselor or medical doctor; why or why not?
-Does identifying as an asexual play a role in your social media privacy settings and why do you think that is?
-Any other topics about asexuality and privacy.

If you wish to make a submission please post a link in the comments below or email the link to lettredemarque(at)outlook(dot)com. If you wish to make an anonymous submission you may also send your submission to the email address with your desired pseudonym. I look forward to reading everyone’s submissions; The deadline to make a submission will be December 31 by 8pm Eastern Time so I can get everything compiled before the New Year’s festivities.

Happy posting!

15 Day Asexuality Challenge: Day 6

Tell us about a time you met another asexual, whether in real life or online.

The majority of asexuals I have “met” are online. I’ve met only one asexual in real life since it turned out that one of my friends from high school is also an aromantic asexual. We met up for tea and I basically just blurted it out because I just wanted someone to know and they said, “Me too.” We didn’t end up talking about our asexuality, but I wish we had. I would have been nice to discuss asexuality outside of the internet so it would feel more legitimized for me and not “just a tumblr thing” as some would claim. Unfortunately since then I have lost touch with this friend despite several attempts to reconnect. Since then I’ve felt distant from most of my friends from high school.

There were four of us who were really close, shared interests, have similar world views, and are unfortunately in the same drifting-not-knowing-what-to-do phase in our lives. All of us are college educated, for all the good it did us. Another of my friends is moving out of state an I can’t find the energy to pick up the phone and talk to them or confess to our mutual friend that I didn’t keep the number when I switched phones. I’ve come to the conclusion that trying to tether these old friendships instead of letting them run their natural course would do me more harm than good. It’s lonely sometimes, but I realize that’s just how I am. I’m not really the one to make the first move which makes me appear unfriendly, guarded and uncaring. I care deeply, but quietly. I need friends who understand and accept that as well I my “new” identity.

I’ve met one asexual in real life, but I hope to meet many more and make new friends where I can be myself and not just the warped shadow of who I was in high school.

 

 

Prompt: What is your favorite work of art?

Writing Prompt: “What is your favorite work of art? What do you love about it?”

“Work of art” is such a broad term that I can proudly declare that my favorite “work of art” is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Captain America or at least most artistic renditions of said character. Specifically images of Captain America’s iconic circular shield.

captain-america-wallpaper-1

(randomly selected image from google)

Continue reading “Prompt: What is your favorite work of art?”