On Identification as an Act

In this post, I’m contrasting a more conventional outlook on identity (identity as trait) against another way of thinking about it (identification as an act). The first one is mostly fine to fall back on as a useful simplification, but there are also times when it can lend itself to problems, which is why I think it’s sometimes worthwhile to shift into another mindset. Note this post was written with orientation/sexuality/gender identity in mind, and whether it’s more broadly applicable is a question I leave to your judgement.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Reinhard Link.]

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The Call (to Abandon Card Suit Sorting) is Coming from Inside the House

This month we’ve got yet another case of somebody over on Tumblr trying to revive card suit sorting, plus even more people claiming it was only abandoned because of the anti-ace brigade. I’ve put this post together just to explain that, in actuality, this narrative is false. The call to get rid of that junk isn’t some hostile outsider perspective. The call is coming from inside the house.

In this post, you will find what I mean by “card suit sorting,” how it’s not quite fair to fellow aces, and how this connects back to larger problems of absolutist thinking within the ace community.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Poker Photos.]

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An Open Letter to TAAAP: You Do Not ‘Use the SAM’

Hello, it’s me again.

We’ve been talking for several weeks now, but for the other folks just tuning in, give me a moment to establish a bit of context here.

Last month you announced the theme for your December chat event in your discord server. I have written before about where that particular phrase comes from and what’s happened because of it, so when I saw the announcement, I knew it was time to speak up. Fortunately, you facilitated a private conversation by providing me with your contact email, and that’s how this conversation began. During that conversation you worked very effectively to persuade me that a private conversation with you was a dead end. For that reason I’ve decided to write this open letter, inviting more people to contribute their perspective on the subject and join me addressing you, too.

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Links on Grayness

A compilation of links on the gray areas of the ace & aro spectrums. Contributions welcome.

Note: some of these links have been copied over from Queenie’s 2014 teeny tiny linkspam on greyness, which is also worth checking out, but since it’s been a few years I decided to put together a new one in order to highlight some more recent posts, as well.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Steve Johnson.]

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Spec Work: Tracing the Emergence of “Spec” as a Suffix

A post on the “spec” suffix, as used in “arospec” and “acespec” (*shudder*), and its (un)surprising connection to certain ways of thinking about grayness. Because there’s nothing like fixating on lexical minutiae to help me avoid thinking about bigger problems.

The title here, for the record, is a joke based on the term spec work (as in speculative wages), which makes it something of a pun, since this post is also speculative. The evidence is fragmented, and piecing together a timeline involves some amount of guesswork. Corrections and contributions welcome. Still, Zhyrs asked to see what I’ve dug up, so here we go.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Fredrik H.]

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Ace, Just Ace: A Personal Response to Unwanted “Inclusion” in the LGBTQ/Cishet Binary

I am ace. Just ace. Neither cishet nor L, G, B, T, or Q. And apparently quite a number of people are dedicated to unspeaking that possibility out of coherence.

A companion post to Ace, Just Ace: A Personal Response to the Combined Spectrum Model.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Petri Damstén, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.]

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Not a Priority

Back in the summer of 2014, Queenie wrote a post titled “Prioritizing identity” in response to a pervasive pattern of divvying up the ace community by romantic orientation. This was specifically in the context of the “are aces queer” debate, and so it involved both 1) splitting off the gay/lesbian and bi aces from the rest (the focus here was overwhelmingly on cis people) and 2) dictating that in order to be let into LGBT communities, it’s not just enough for cis aces to be L, G, or B — they specifically need to deprioritize their ace identity, putting other identities first. To date, this remains one of the main associations I have with any kind of pressure on aces to prioritize their romantic orientations.

This post, too, is about priorities, but to be more specific, it’s largely a post about deprioritizing. It’s post about my decision to deprioritize the romantic orientation model, and it’s a post about quoiromantic aces like me being deprioritized by a community that likes to claim us, and it’s a post about why getting hitched (as in married) is a logistical priority for me in way that has nothing to do with what gets prioritized in aro community discourse. It’s about politics and it’s about financial insecurity and it’s about the thought of dying. It’s about saying, and being, not a priority.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Morten F, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.]

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What Does it Mean to Remember?

A post on preserving ace community memory, written for Ace Week 2020.

In my line of work, we have this concept called public memory, which is a whole different animal than psychological memory. As distinct from individual remembering, public memory is about the ways that certain parts of history are narrated, commemorated, and understood collectively at a group/societal level. Studying public memory can involve studying memorial sites, historical markers, museums, holidays, commemorative speeches, remembrance rituals, documentaries, and even historical fiction. With public memory, the question under investigation is not so much “What happened?” as it is “How does this group remember what happened?” How do they articulate it, how do they frame it, what gets highlighted as other things get left out, and why?

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Marco Verch, licensed under CC BY 2.0.]

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A few days ago, Jean wrote in:

Can asexual people have partners? Or children?

By the sound of this question, what you’re looking for is Asexuality 101 resources — I’d recommend Aces & Aros and Asexuality Archive to start.

To answer your question, though: asexuality isn’t a set of rules people have to live by. Asexual people will have different individual preferences on a lot of things, and that includes partnership and children. So yes, there are some asexuals who can and do have partners and/or children. You didn’t elaborate on your reason for asking, but if this is something you’re wondering might prohibit you from identifying as asexual, it’s not.

A Condensed History of Asexuals Arguing with Asexuals Over What Asexuality Is

Note: this post was originally posted to Pillowfort last June, but I’m belatedly reposting it here for the October Carnival of Aces on “multitudes.” Credit for the preview image to Bailey Rae Weaver, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Recently I was reminded that some people read some kind of sinister conspiracy into the fact that the asexual community is not a hivemind — and lambasting various definitions of asexuality as “incoherent” (though to be honest, I think what they actually mean is “inconsistent”). It seems like the traditional response to these accusations has been to say “no it’s not, it’s just ____.” However, I think it’s worth remembering — and embracing! — the fact that what we call “the asexual community” has rarely if ever had a total consensus on anything, including the definition of asexuality itself. 

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