This survey was not intended to investigate the effects of anti-ace/aro blogging and did not ask any direct questions about it. Nonetheless, multiple respondents brought it up in the free-write boxes. I have copied over some excerpts of these responses here, with asterisks to indicate a break between different respondents.
Scroll to the end for my summary notes.
I also became aware of asexuality and demisexuality as concepts right as tumblr was having its ace community harassed off the site in 2012-2014, so I never really had the chance to get involved before that and I’ve never felt so strongly about it that I felt the desire to go seek out other ace/aro communities. *
I kinda became a walking encyclopedia of a-spec identities back in 2014 before exclusionists wrecked our communities *
I lived through the Great Tumblr Exclusionism Push of hmmm 2018? or so? And now I shy away from identifying as Ace. I had finally found people like me (and a word for me!!!) and then it was crushed and derided so hard that I still get a little upset seeing Ace stuff. Makes me feel like a joke, a loser, like I don’t belong in the queer community either. It’s already lonely being aro/ace, and that was like getting the rug pulled out from under me while everyone laughed and threw things. […] Like I said earlier, I discovered ace/aro stuff on tumblr some years ago, and was so relieved to find them. Until then (I was 26 years old), I legitimately thought there was something wrong with me, that I was repulsed by sex and the thought of romantic relationships. I found the community, and then it was dashed by Exclusionists and gatekeepers who made aro/ace stuff cringeworthy, a joke, an embarrassing thing to be a part of. So the ace/aro community disappeared off of tumblr, and as a lurker, I didn’t get any invites to ace/aro-safe places. I’m still on tumblr, and when I see aro/ace positive stuff cross my dash, I’m delighted, but overall, I still feel a terrible shame for being aro/ace. *
I don’t necessarily follow aro/ace content for its own sake, but it’s great to see. It should be noted that I saw much less of this content when it suddenly became a trend for people in online spaces to be aro/acephobic. *
I think the wave of aphobia that hit the internet a few years ago fractured a lot of the online ace/aro communities that I previously interacted with. I stopped interacting with these communities because being constantly bombarded with hate was emotionally distressing and exhausting. *
I’ve spent a lot of time in ace/aro communities, even organized my own and had a decent following on social media on a-spec accounts. it became increasingly uncomfortable during peak discourse and bad for my mental health, so i distanced to avoid bullying from aphobes *
I no longer particularly identify with the ace community, partly through the way the community was descimated by ace discourse. *
I was more tuned in to the ace community on tumblr several years back when “ace discourse” was at its peak, which made the community feel very hostile and made me feel guilty for identifying that way. I get the feeling things have shifted away from that since then but it put me off to the extent that I have not really wanted to re-engage. *
i’ve since discovered much more and that im not just ace but also aro, agender and pan. so i guess then i would be considered lgbt bc if thats not then what is!? but im still hesitent to consider myself a part of the community without guilt bc people who don’t want aces and aros around are very mean and vocal and scary. and they often don’t like nonbinary people either. *
Otoh what I got from the ace community largely dropped dead after the “discourse” peak a few years ago. Now it’s mostly people getting frustrated that said discourse is still a thing. *
Aro community is marked as negative due to feeling like I have to disavow being ace to participate, to constantly apologize for it. Brings up bad feelings from ace discourse/flame wars/whatever *
Also, Tumblr Ace Discourse etc. was really offputting and I didn’t want to get involved in that kind of wankery. *
I’m not actively avoiding aroace communities, but haven’t actively tried to be in one for a while. I think a lot of ace people seem to be very vigilant of exclusionists and aphobes since the time it rab really rampant online, so I’ve been in groups where if I didn’t interact enough they’d ejdct you assuming you were ‘spying’ to get ‘receipts’ (and i really can’t blame them for worrying about that! That’s genuinely been an issue) *
The ace community online was largely destroyed in the early to mid twenty teens, and calling what exists now a community is a bit of a stretch at points. I hope we keep growing again *
Some of my observations from these remarks:
- Multiple respondents testified to destructive/detrimental effects on Tumblr ace communities as well as on themselves as individuals.
- Different respondents highlighted different years or different timeframes. This aligns with what I’ve observed about porous community memory on the subject — see A Timeline of Anti-Ace Blogging.
- Multiple respondents highlighted the Tumblr platform specifically. I continue to believe it is important to build online ace communities in places that aren’t Tumblr.