Tag Archives: identity-policing

Oriented Gray

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.]

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Kiowa and Prescriptivism: A Recap

June 2014: In a discussion about ace advice blogs and identity policing, Kiowa (nolivingunderstarlight) responded to the fact that some of her own advice was cited as part of the problem.  She renounced her specific post but defended her general practices with the belief that it’s okay to say whether someone is “probably” asexual.  Sennkestra/Cleander wrote back with an in-depth counterargument.  I know of no response to that.

October 2015: In response to an ask about apothisexual, Kiowa wrote, “We do not advocate any sexuality terms that do not deal exclusively in feelings of sexual attraction.”  When Hezekiah confronted her about this by making an analogy to LGB identities, Kiowa replied by identity-policing aces and LGB people.  This got responses from Hezekiah, Sennkestra, Siggy, and me.  I know of no response to those.

That same week, Kiowa also identity-policed another ace advice blogger.

November 2015: In reaction to my post Examples of Bad Ace Advice, Kiowa and two other AA mods wrote an official response, in which she apologized for her pre-2015 identity-policing and apologized for what she said to Arf, but also criticized my post on multiple points and argued that her current approach is not prescriptivist.

The next day, she commented on my reply to ask how I would ask her to do things differently and told me that what I wrote was unkind, ignoring my rebuttals to her previous (more concrete) criticisms of my post.  Since her question had already been answered in multiple places, I asked her if she’d read one of the main links I’d already provided in the original post.  Siggy and Hezekiah stepped in as well.

Addressing 0% of the points we’d made and the questions we’d asked of her, Kiowa replied, “I’m honestly ready to let this one lie.”

That was November 17th.  I haven’t heard from her since.

She’s still had time to answer asks on Asexual Advice, though.  In a post published on November 24th, she upheld an ahistorical understanding of “the” definition of asexuality, possibly in relation to this discussion.

As far as I’m concerned, we’re still not on the same page.

As a mod of a popular and prominent ace advice blog, Kiowa occupies a position of authority.  That authority comes with power and responsibility.  I would like for her to be accountable to the rest of the community in how she handles that responsibility and to follow Arf’s ideals for ace advice blogs as gateways to the community.

To create a gateway to the community, one necessarily has to be engaged with that community.

Kiowa’s record of engagement, in general, from the things I’ve seen, is to respond once to criticisms delivered to her doorstep and to rarely continue the conversation much further than that, even when that means ignoring rebuttals.

Obviously, the Tumblr format is ill-suited to this matter, since, as has been noted before, Asexual Advice gets flooded with too many notifications to sort through.  If AA had an email address that I was aware of, I would use that.  If AA had a comment section that didn’t require a Tumblr account, I would use that.  To continue the conversation that is important to me, I don’t have many options at my disposal.  So here I am, writing this post, pointing out the timeline of what has happened.

Not that I expect her to to respond to every little thing, but these concerns have been raised about her repeatedly, as an ongoing issue.

I want to know why she isn’t doing more to resolve it.

Update: if you’re following this issue, here’s the latest.

Re: Asexual Advice’s Official Response — Filbert

This is a reply to AA’s post here, which was itself a response to my list of bad advice examples.

In my previous post, I answered Kiowa.  In this post, I’m responding to Filbert’s section.  There’s also one for Di published after this one.

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Re: Asexual Advice’s Official Response — Kiowa

This is a reply to AA’s post here, which was itself a response to my list of bad advice examples.

A note on formatting: for the most part, I’m going to try and address segments in the order in which they were written, but I might rearrange some things and put similar topics together so that I can respond to them collectively.  Also, I’m just going to quote the specific parts I’m replying to as I reply to them (the whole thing is too long to quote in full, so click the link for above to read their entire statement).

I was going to put my responses to each mod all in one post, but it got rather long, so this post will just be my responses to Kiowa’s section.  I’ve also written replies for Filbert and Di.

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Examples of Bad Ace Advice

A brief collection of examples of advice you shouldn’t give and advice you shouldn’t listen to.  Perhaps illustrative of why I have my concerns about ace advice blogs.

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advice and advice-advice

Siggy recently posted a link to an article that ended with this:

most cis people don’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about whether or not they’re trans.

And I think that’s somewhat fair to apply to asexuality, too.  If you’re spending a lot of time thinking about whether you’re asexual, then it’s okay to take that as an indication unto itself.

This would be a decent thing to put in responses to the “am I asexual?” question that ace advice blogs so often get.

When a questioning person comes to you and asks “am I asexual?” it’s okay to — and maybe even better to — look beyond the question.  Instead of trying to provide them with criteria to assess themselves by, or worse, giving an outright yes/no answer, you can ask yourself:

Why are they asking me this?  Is this someone who has been thinking about identifying as asexual and is on the fence about it?  Have they given their reasons for being on the fence about it?  Do they think I’m the Psychic Expert On Who is What?  Do they know I’m not and will never be a psychic expert?  Could they be someone who already identifies as asexual and is testing the waters to see if they’ll be welcome in the community?

I think pondering these questions can help lead you to a more helpful and more responsible answer.

I’m also led to wonder if it might actually be more validating (and time-efficient!) to just have a declare-yourself-ace blog where someone can anonymously send in a no-commitment declaration of “I’m asexual,” and the mods will respond to each and every one with “Yes.  You are.”

But I suppose we wouldn’t want to have an ace-themed blog where all the ask/answer interactions are simplistic and repetitive, now would we.

We-statements, soft language, and identity policing

…You ready for more conflict with advice blogs?

The story starts here, with this ask/answer on Asexual Advice about “apothisexual” & “sex-repulsed.”  You may remember this as the post with the phrasing I balked at earlier in the month.

Hezekiah has since made two submissions (that I’m aware of) to Asexual Advice, one of them directly related to the aforementioned post.

I am… concerned about this.  But “this” is a vague name for it, so I am going to try and pin down some specifics here.

[cw: homophobia]

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The platonic and the Platonic

A post about not telling people what identity labels to use, and also classic philosophy.

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# and dont listen to Sorting Hat advice blogs that act like every word is a rigid definition they can sort people into

# the words exist for you not the other way around

Sorting Hat advice blogs.

Sorting Hat advice blogs.

Thank you, beranyth.  I want to start using that.

hey. psst.

psst. hey.


Quit doing the thing.