Category Archives: Asexuality Talk

3 Lessons From Pride For The Ace Community

Conventionally, “pride” is sometimes understood as an emotion, even within the context of orientational identity. In the June Carnival of Aces call for submissions, one of the prompts attached to the theme asks, “Do you feel proud?” This matches some of the language I heard at one of the TAAAP Pride Chats, where I listened to some of the participants talk about “having” pride or “feeling” pride. That approach doesn’t work for me, as it happens, because my emotions don’t work like that. For me, the meaning I draw from Pride events has to come from somewhere else, which is why I’m turning instead to the role it’s played in LGBTQ advocacy and some lessons I can draw from that — on organizing, on visibility, and on the threat of co-optation.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Sergo Grey.]

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An Actual History Of The Term “Split Attraction Model”

Once more, from the top: The term “split attraction model” came from anti-ace and anti-bi reactionaries on Tumblr. In this post, I rehash why this is relevant to explain and then link specific sources that demonstrate the nature of its origins. If you’ve been using the term unironically/without scare quotes, then I’d kindly ask for you to stop.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Cement.]

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Aces Have More Than a Day: Failures of Community Memory & Advocate Integrity

Given that everybody makes mistakes, what do we do once we’ve made one? Ideally, we apologize, make things right if we can, and commit to doing better in the future. In other words, everything that didn’t happen after Faith Cheltenham erroneously claimed that BiNet USA owned legal copyright of the bi pride flag, kicking off a chain of baffling missteps that may have permanently damaged the reputation of the entire organization. It’s one thing to spout out nonsense on the internet, but it’s chilling when the person doing so is operating at the helm of an advocacy group and stubbornly doubling down against all legitimate criticism.

This incident was still fresh on my mind when I learned about another, completely separate fiasco unfolding in the ace community: one part ignorance of the past, one part refusal to heed other’s concerns, equal parts unnecessary stress and headaches for everyone.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Kishjar.]

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In Sickness

When I picked “leaving” as the theme for the March Carnival of Aces just a few months back, little did I know that March would become a time of not leaving. This month, Siggy has picked the theme of “quarantine,” and I’m taking that as an opportunity to reflect here on the implications of contagious disease for a geographically-scattered community, as well as some potential directions for ace advocacy in the area of health & medical issues.

[Note: This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

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How do you talk about sexual norms in an ace-competent way?

There can be a lot of complexity involved in articulating the nuances of societal norms around sexuality, and even in the briefest of offhand references, sometimes people can miss the mark. One of the most common mistakes I see (and the one that I’m the most sensitized to, for the same reasons that I identify as ace) are the mistakes that zero in on the types of sex you’re told not to have without accounting for the types of sex you’re told to have, to the point of being not just incomplete but outright inaccurate. Neglecting the latter leads into overgeneralizations as ludicrously inaccurate as “everybody tells you not to have sex,” instead of attending to the specifics of which particular subjectivities and choices are condemned. This, in turn, is functionally how you end up with people arriving at the notion of asexual privilege.

So how can that be avoided? I don’t claim to have the answer completely sorted out, which is why I’m inviting input here in the comments. As an opening to the discussion, though, here are some things that I think are important to understand: 1) there is no one singular monolithic “society” that speaks with one voice, 2) other sexual norms can intersect with sexnormativity/compulsory sexuality, and 3) when talking about other types of sexual norms, you should try to take that intersection into account.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview photo by Marco Verch.]

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Asexual Privilege: Revival of an Anti-Ace Idea

A post about “asexual privilege,” the online debate surrounding the concept in 2011, and its later contemporary manifestations in an aro community context.

[This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

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Carnival of Aces – March 2020 Link Roundup: Leaving

A big thank you to everyone who responded to the call for submissions this month. The next Carnival, for April, is being hosted by Jam (vacanthands) on Pillowfort.

What Does It Mean to Leave an Ace Community? by Sara K.

Having one consolidated ace community can be a source of unity and strength, but it can also increase fragility. Overall, I think having multiple ace communities which are capable of collaborating with each other but are mostly distinct is ultimately more resilient.

Frequent Relocation & The One-Body Problem by Coyote

If the two-body problem describes the logistical hurdles of relocating together and pursuing academia as a couple, then the one-body problem is relocating solo and pursuing academia alone. You might assume that being single would negate the whole issue, but to the contrary, I figure the demands of academia can only make sense within the breadwinner-homemaker model. The two-body problem arises when a couple tries to operate with two breadwinners instead of one; on the flipside, if you try to operate as your sole breadwinner and homemaker both all on your own, you’re going to find yourself straining to fulfill both roles at once.

Planning For a Future That Will Involve A Lot Of Leaving by Kate

This is where my friends are; I have the kind of relationships that make me feel happy and fulfilled here.  And it’s harder to explain to others the heartache of leaving them than it would be to explain leaving a romantic partner.  Everyone understands and sympathizes when someone’s unhappy that they have to be apart from their romantic partner; but though it may be sad it’s expected that you’ll grow up, pursue your future, and move away from your friends, and that’s just life.

Literal “Social Distancing” From the Ace Community by Vesper

seemingly forever ago i wrote about why i’ve found myself increasingly drifting away from not only blogging about [my] asexuality, but also from general interaction with ace communities as a means of self-care. i hesitate to even bring up that particular post in relation to this month’s Carnival about “leaving” because it was never my intention to actually leave in the definitive sense of the word. rather, it was my intention (both consciously at times as well as unconsciously) to socially distance myself from ace spaces & discourse for so long as need be for me to stop feelings somekindofnegativeway.

Frequent Relocation & The One-Body Problem

A post about leaving, and then leaving, and leaving again — and how frequent relocation can exacerbate the issue of social isolation. Written for the March Carnival of Aces.

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Carnival of Aces – Call for Submissions: Leaving

For the month of March this year, I’m hosting the Carnival of Aces.

Edit: The link roundup has now been posted.

What’s the Carnival of Aces?

The Carnival of Aces is a monthly blogging event that’s been running since 2011. The host picks a theme for participants to write about, and then at the end of the month, the host publishes a roundup post linking back to all the submissions. If you’re interested in an aro version of the same idea, there’s also a Carnival of Aros, as well.

What’s the theme?

The theme for this month’s carnival is “Leaving.” This theme is intended to be broad & open to interpretation. For many people, choosing to leave (or being forced to leave) can be a difficult experience, so this topic can be taken in some heavy directions, but it’s up to you what to do with it.

With that said, here are some prompts to help get you thinking:

  • Have you ever had to leave a situation, a place, a community, a relationship? How did your ace identity play a role?
  • How has asexuality impacted endings and exits, for you?
  • What are some transient/impermanent elements of your relationship to the ace community or the asexual umbrella? Are there any habits, experiences, connections, etc. that you’ve left behind?
  • Sometimes endings can also be intertwined with new beginnings. What are some new things in your life that have replaced what came before them? And how does that connect with (a)sexuality, for you?
  • Is there anything that you’ve noticed the ace community has been giving up or leaving behind?
  • What are some reasons that you’ve traveled or embarked on any temporary “leaving”? How did your ace identity play a role?
  • Is there anything ace-related that you’ve been meaning to finish or stay involved with, but just haven’t managed to stick around for?
  • Related to asexuality, what are some things that you’d like to leave behind, but haven’t quite worked up to quitting just yet? Or the reverse: what are some things that you’ve refused to give up?

How do I participate?

First, write and publish a post on the theme. All blogging platforms are welcome: WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Pillowfort, Dreamwidth, or anything else you choose to use, as long as the post you create is public. Technically, what you submit doesn’t even need to be a blog post — it just needs to be something available online with a url that can be linked. For examples of what previous submissions have looked like, you can browse any of the roundups linked at the Carnival of Aces Masterpost. Last month, the Carnival was hosted by Emrys at Live to Learn, on the theme of “Identity.”

Once you’ve posted your entry, then just share the link with me. You can do that by using the comment section below this post (anyone can comment) or by using one of my contacts to send it to me. Either way, I will confirm that your submission has been received — so if you don’t hear back with confirmation within a few days, you’ll know that you should try again.

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday the 31st of March. I am willing to take late submissions, and I’ll wait a day or two before posting the final roundup just in case, but this is what you should shoot for.

Note that anyone and everyone is invited to participate, as long as your entry deals both with the theme & with the asexual umbrella. This extends to bloggers who currently identify under the umbrella, those who are questioning an ace identity, and those who have identified with the umbrella in the past, as well as those with any other relationship to the ace umbrella that may be more tenuous or complicated than that.

If you have any questions, or if there’s anything else I can help with, just let me know.

4 Ways the Inclusion/Exclusion Axis is Failing Us

This is a post about “inclusion” as an ideological value and discursive formation in an asexual community context, as well as in neighbor communities with discursive spillover. The inclusion/exclusion axis has become extremely prevalent in certain pockets of the ace community in recent years, and as approach to ace issues, it’s become detrimental: it’s all but entirely overtaken how some people about anti-ace sentiment, it homogenizes “LGBT” as a fixed trait, it benefits the traitors among us, and it makes any other types of issues that much harder to recognize.

[This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

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