I’ve had to summarize this situation for other people a few different times now, so I decided I might as well put together a post on the subject for future reference. Basically, this is a post about that whole “oriented” business and everything that’s wrong with it.
[Crossposted to Pillowfort.]
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.]
A compilation of links to the arguments made on gray-asexuality and demisexuality in the Tumblr segment of the ace community, back when they were a big point of contention around the year 2013. This doesn’t aim to include everything, but it is 1) what I was able to recover, and 2) what I consider representative. Disproportionately many of the original aggressors have since changed their URLs or deleted their posts, but I believe I’ve provided enough context here to read between the lines, even if you weren’t there for it all.
A note about the imprecision of the title: Technically, I’m going to include a few links from 2012, as prelude, but the bulk here will be from 2013. Also, you may spot a couple of links to WordPress and AVEN in the mix as well. These are to allow further context and examples of where the conversation had spillover, but this particular post is going to focus mostly on Tumblr.
A note on why I’m writing this: While it might be just as well for this mess to go forgotten, witnessing it unfold was something seriously impactful on me at the time, as someone just starting to read ace blogs and (at the time) newly questioning whether or not to describe myself as gray-asexual. I had no prior contact with the community outside of this, of course. For me, this was one of my very first introductions to the community — a debate over whether or not a given group of people, a group that I kinda sorta maybe was realizing I might be a part of, belonged in the community. You better believe I watched it closely — and slowly formed an impression of who had the best case.
It would have been helpful to have this compilation back when I was trying to explain gray context in 2015, but oh well. More recently, however, there have also been some newer conversations I’ve wanted to reference it in, such as contrasting some gatekeeping in the ace and aro communities, so a post on this may still be useful yet.
[Note: this post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]
[Note: This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]
Back on March 8th, the day before I published my Genealogy of Queerplatonic, Siggy published a response of his own to the whole discussion, titling the post as “Death of the coiner” (an allusion to Barthes’ “Death of the Author”). In Cor’s addition onto that post, co wrote:
my main response is that it’s useful and arguably necessary for us to document and continually notify people of the pattern of semantic drift in words having to do with rejecting models and how they are reinscribed within those models to be less threatening
This post is about the same thing and that same dynamic: the pattern of ambiguous gray areas and umbrella words getting crunched into narrower redefinitions, leaving the need for their original ambiguity unmet, and paving the way for others to come along and try to reinvent the wheel.
Pssssssssssssssst. Psst. Hey. You know that this kind of thinking is the entire reason I wrote this post, right?
Gray-asexuality: the gray area around the pitch black of asexuality.
Gray-asexuality: an identity for those who find asexuality to be a useful idea, even if it doesn’t quite fit.*
Gray-asexuality: a label that’s not as clear-cut as asexuality but still marks it out as “next of kin.”
Gray-asexuality: an umbrella term for identifying with asexuality without identifying as “asexual” itself.
Gray-asexuality: a conscious choice to express the importance-yet-imperfection of asexuality in describing one’s identity.
*Wording borrowed from one of Siggy’s posts.
Wow! Look at all these ways you can define gray-asexuality without saying anything about (in)frequency of sexual attraction! WOW!
who think heteroromantic gray-as are “just heterosexual”
that being gray-asexual and heteroromantic
doesn’t necessarily mean
And that the idea of “for some people, romantic orientation and sexual orientation are separate”
that someone’s patterns of romantic attraction
doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about their patterns of sexual attraction
As people sometimes do, the demigray tumblr recently linked one of my posts here with a mixed positive/negative comment, and I am once again reminded of how annoying it is to try and reply to things across blogging platforms.
Within the most common attacks on gray-asexuality (which, for the purposes of this post, includes demisexuality), I’ve observed that the concept of gray-asexuality, as defined as a gray zone between asexuality and allosexuality, is always assumed to be a mere ruse created for use by people who are actually allosexuals. And, setting other things aside, what strikes me as so strange about this criticism is that the people making it never once consider — if even just as a tentative possibility — that some of the individuals who identify as gray-asexual might actually be absolute asexuals.
That idea is implicitly treated as out of the question.