Let me walk you through this series of events: I visited Rowan’s and Queenie’s blog and saw these two posts within a short timeframe of each other, so I thought, oh, looks like Redbeard’s been making graphics, I wonder what else he’s uploaded lately. Turns out: animated flags. Flags which I mostly recognized, except for… one, labeled as a “gray-asexual flag.”
For your convenience, I’ll skip over the “I thought gray-aces already had a flag” reaction and jump straight to these other parts:
1) Who made this design? Where did it come from? To be honest, this is the second time I’ve encountered it, but that first time it was on a blog that had millions of flag designs (compared to this set of 14 or so). …Has it proliferated? What’s the origin story?
Why didn’t anyone tell me?
2) I am, honestly, conflicted over what to make of this. I don’t want to say that gray-aces can’t or shouldn’t make our own symbols for ourselves to represent gray-asexuality specifically… It’s not a generic “that’s too many/that’s too far” complaint you’re seeing here. What I am telling you is that it does make me a little uneasy to see someone(?) has designated us a separate flag (to represent all gray-aces
when how many had a say in this?), when for me it’s still fresh in my mind the fights people would have about whether gray-asexuals belong in the “asexual community” per se. That mentality isn’t even dead, either. So a part of me still recognizes that the inherent relationship between gray-asexuality and asexuality is something I have to deliberately stake a claim for. I like the asexual community flag and I consider myself a member of that community for a deliberate reason. I never asked for a separate flag when the broader flag already includes me. And while a designated focus on gray-asexuality is fine (me & a couple others have a designated gray-ace IM chat, in fact), if there’s an entire self-contained and separate gray-asexual community forming that’s not completely enmeshed in and intertwined with the asexual community, it’s escaped my radar.
Also, what was the process on this?
For reference (and comparison), the original asexual community flag was developed on a thread on AVEN, with a poll and many participants, and the most recent discussion I’ve seen on that history is here in this post, where one of those original participants writes:
Anyway, of the designs invoked, that black/grey/white gradient was an incredibly common motif, with or without that gradient triangle. But the grey had to be between black and white in order to be properly inclusive of people whose experiences and identities were complicated and hard to define–that was maybe the one consensus I saw, and the only flags I can remember that didn’t adhere to that basic idea were the ones that centered around black rings. Otherwise it would have felt like leaving grey-As out of the community, not acknowledging fluidity, and I suspect would have left many people in the ace community of 2010 feeling as if the exclusionists* had won.
*In context, what “exclusionists” is referring to is clearly the people who didn’t want gray-asexuals in the ace community.
So not only does the gray stripe in the asexual flag already represent gray-asexuality, but, from how I understand it, that element in the design was a deliberate and debated choice and rhetorical move to acknowledge ambiguity in the community. I’m not saying that creating a separate gray-asexual-specific flag is kicking us out of the older flag, but it does feel a little bit like it’s undermining the purpose of that move.
And also it does feel a little bit like kicking us out of the flag.
I think there’s a possibility that I could think differently, under different circumstances. What I’m trying to describe, here, is these circumstances: circumstances where I don’t know who or how or how many took it upon themselves to create this second flag, and where my relationship to the asexual flag and the asexual community is both more important to me and more bitterly contested than my relationship to just gray-asexuals alone cordoned off by ourselves.
As I ponder about how to explain this frustration, it occurs to me that a factor in play here may be a divergence of perspective in what community/identity flags and symbols are for. But I also don’t want to speculate too much about this second flag’s origins and the motives behind it — especially because I don’t even know those origins to begin with.
So, yes, if you have the link, or a screenshot, or you know who took it upon themselves to designate this design, please let me know. Drop that information in the comment section, if you can. I’d appreciate it.
And even if I can get that question answered, that’s not the end of the unease and confusion for me.