Gray is a purposeful metaphor. An expression of imprecision, blending, and betweens.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about gray-asexuality again. It’s been a few years since I published “Experiences attraction infrequently” doesn’t cut it, and while I know that post is still useful to people, it’s also been long enough at this point that I’m embarrassed of my own writing. So this is a
short reflection piece on why I still identify as gray-a, going on about six years now.
[This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort; cw: sexual violence mention.]
In the aromantic community, not everyone accompanies their romantic orientation label with a sexual orientation label. The same is true in the reverse in the asexual community, as well. People in these communities who feel alienated by the community norm of the Romantic/Sexual Orientation Dyad have what I’ve been referring to as non-rosol identities — and where the topic comes up in aro blogging, I’ve noticed some distinct and specific patterns, some of which have even surprised me.
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.