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:
This post is my submission to the January 2018 Carnival of Aces under the theme of “Identity.” Specifically, this post deals with topics of sexuality, identity, alienation, labeling, doubt, touch, trauma, and abuse.
This impetus for this post is a tumblr post about “being stone vs. being asexual” that Rowan shared with me, after it came up as a recommended post on their dash. There’s maybe a few different things I would question in that post (emphasis on question, since some of it is beyond my depth), but maybe chief among them is how stone sexuality & asexuality are being presented as either/or, i.e. mutually exclusive.
Companion piece to this post on lgb homogenization, I suppose.
A while back, when I criticized the terms acephobia/arophobia/aphobia for the phobia suffix, I got a comment disagreeing with my replacement suggestions on the basis that we supposedly need “aphobia” or some equivalent in order to bundle anti-ace and anti-aro concepts together in one term. A short argument resulted.
In light of that, this post and its tags feel like support for what I was trying to say there:
#the replacement with ace- and aro-spectrum with a-spec; and allosexism and amatonormativity/ace- and aro-phobia with aphobia?#really really obnoxious and lazy and imprecise and it drives me up a wall ok#there are REALLY DAMN GOOD REASONS both in terms of denoting ideologies and being able to point out intracommunity issues with having those#*having those terms and ideas be SEPARATE THINGS
And granted, Sangam did say:
I never argued for doing away with the terms you proposed entirely — I simply don’t think they are sufficient to act as a REPLACEMENT for what “aphobia” already covers, which is the subject of this discussion.
…but while anti-aro acts and anti-ace acts do have overlap, sure, I still don’t think a combo-term (1) deserves to be used to the exclusion of specifics (as I’ve seen some people doing — using “aphobia” in all cases instead of using more specific terms like compulsory sexuality, amatonormativity, etc. as the case may warrant) or (2) does what Sangram says it does, re: “solidarity.” A non-aro-spec ace using “aphobia” doesn’t communicate anything to me as a quoiro and doesn’t do me any good on that front, so I don’t know what model of solidarity we’re using there. And anyway — being able to label amatonormative junk that goes on in the ace community is more important to me than having a term that homogenizes aces and aros in a way that doesn’t distinguish where populations and experiences diverge. I mean, maybe that should be important to me, but right now it’s not really.
…So it’s actually quite fascinating to me to see “a-spec” proposed as something that could mean “a spectrum of nonattraction, unspecified” (or as James puts it, “a specific phrase meant to emphasize inability or lack of desire to distinguish one’s own aro and ace identities as separate pieces rather than a composite whole”) as opposed to its current meaning of “aro spectrum and ace spectrum combined as one umbrella for all.”
Related addition 1/19/18: Vesper tweeted about the relationship between the ace community and the aro community
In contested questions regarding the asexual umbrella, I’ve seen a lot of this “you either are or you aren’t” approach to classing identities. “You either are or you aren’t” binary talk is pretty familiar to me as a gray-a, as you can imagine, if you know anything about 2012-era ace-intracommunity conflicts.
So that’s what I think about, naturally, when I see framing like “are you trans y/n” and “are you attracted to ppl of your own gender y/n” deployed in flowcharts aimed at telling aces what things are and aren’t for us. I saw one such flowchart today, didn’t save the url, and when I decided to reference it in this post, went, “eh that’s okay, I have the url of a different reblog of the same thing saved somewhere” — and then, upon checking, I realized that the url I had saved was actually of a different flowchart featuring the same questions, distinguishable only by the style of arrows.
This post isn’t about the controversial q-word or how many letters should be in lgbt or any of that. This post is is just some wondering aloud about the metrics I’ve seen used to discuss those issues.
It may seem strange, amid oodles of food analogies, but it occurred to me recently that I could craft a better analogy for my own experiences by comparing them to how I experience pain.
Just hear me out.
This has probably been posted elsewhere, but it’s going here too.
- demisexuality was coined by sonofzeal and popularized by OwlSaint on AVEN; gray-a was coined by KSpaz there as well; Hezekiah (pianycist/metapianycist) has a nice summary of that history here
- Hezekiah is also the one who coined allosexual during some musings on whether going on testosterone would affect their (a)sexuality
- its romantic counterpart, alloromantic, was coined-slash-popularized by Queenie (queenieofaces)
- lithromantic was coined by Ian (stopanthropomorphizingme), who itself identifies as Stone, to describe its partner
- wtfromantic was coined as a snide joke by Sciatrix (writingfromfactorx), which you can read about here and here
- quoiromantic was coined as a synonym/alternative to wtfromantic by Cor (epochryphal), and you can read more about it in cos #quoi and #quoi bloggin tags (I recommend this post, this post, and this post for summaries)
- sex-favorable was coined by Talia, and you can read their reflections on it here
- allosexism was coined by lunasspecto [note: don’t consider this an endorsement of the term (see here and, more recently, here). I’m just including it for documentation purposes]
- autochorissexualism was coined by sexologist Anthony Bogaert
- aegosexual was suggested by eridanamporadefensesquad as an alternative
- queerplatonic and zucchini were both coined by , the latter being somewhat tongue-in-cheek
- arcsexual originated with Kisten Sadi’s arcsexuality blog
- squish was coined by Raisin on AVEN
- recipromantic was coined by Brooke (cameoes)
- amatonormativity was coined by Elizabeth Brake
- the #actuallyasexual tag was suggested by Hezekiah, an autistic ace (see notes here)
Feel free to add on! I’ll update this post with whatever y’all give me.
Earlier this month, elainexe wrote this post on defining allosexuality, and in response, ephochryphal criticized it here. I’m only weighing in because elainexe says she’s confused about the response it’s gotten (mostly from gray-as, as far as I can tell) and I thought maybe I could help.
At the end of the original post, she wrote:
I don’t know if I really have answers here, but I haven’t really seen this discussed. (Possibly because I haven’t specifically looked at gray-asexual discourse as much though ^^; )
And that actually would explain a lot.
So! Here’s a quick, informal primer for asexual people who don’t know much about gray-aces and the discursive context surrounding gray-asexuality.
- The term “ace spectrum” is a convenient shorthand for “asexuals and associated asexual-ish people,” and I use it all the time, but it’s best not to take it too literally. The “asexual spectrum” is not actually that linear. Gray-aces have argued this for a long time — see Siggy’s classic old post here and a more recent post from me here. Gray-asexuality does not require any numerical precision and never has.
- This is why a statement such as “We have a spectrum of sexual attraction. On one end we have placed asexual people, and on the other allosexual. Gray-asexual people inhabit the wide area in the middle,” can kind of chafe at some of us — it represents a model of our identity that we’ve rejected.
- Trying to assess what’s “too high” and “too low” to count as gray-asexuality is a huge part of anti-gray gatekeeping. All it has ever done is make newly-identified & questioning gray-aces anxious about adopting the label. Having been through my share of this myself, I’d estimate that a lot of other gray-aces wouldn’t respond well to that line of inquiry, and that’s why.
- In the same vein, trying to place an upper boundary on (gray-)asexuality tends to go hand in hand with accusing gray-as/demis of oversexualizing allos — that is, snide remarks about how we must think everyone is hypersexual and constantly having sex all the time. Supposedly, the only reason we ID as gray-a is because we overestimate how sexual most people are; if we just Understood The Truth, we’d recognize ourselves as average allos and ditch the gray-a label. People can get really vicious about insisting we’re just
heterosexuals* in denial.
- Given that context, it should be understandable why asking “What is gray-asexuality?” and “What if we’re contributing to compulsory sexuality by estimating average sexual attraction rates to be higher than they really are?” in the same post would hit a nerve, or at least, make people uneasy.
Aaaaand that doesn’t cover everything, but let me know if it helps.
*To me it’s funny how the “gray-asexuals are just straights” thing has persisted when, from my POV, the big-name gray-a bloggers feature hets in the minority.