Given that everybody makes mistakes, what do we do once we’ve made one? Ideally, we apologize, make things right if we can, and commit to doing better in the future. In other words, everything that didn’t happen after Faith Cheltenham erroneously claimed that BiNet USA owned legal copyright of the bi pride flag, kicking off a chain of baffling missteps that may have permanently damaged the reputation of the entire organization. It’s one thing to spout out nonsense on the internet, but it’s chilling when the person doing so is operating at the helm of an advocacy group and stubbornly doubling down against all legitimate criticism.
This incident was still fresh on my mind when I learned about another, completely separate fiasco unfolding in the ace community: one part ignorance of the past, one part refusal to heed other’s concerns, equal parts unnecessary stress and headaches for everyone.
[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Kishjar.]
This post is my entry for this month’s Carnival of Aces, on the theme of “telling our stories.” In it, I’m trying to make three main points: One, aces cannot live on glossaries alone — we need stories, not just to demonstrate what ace experiences are like, but also to address internal intracommunity dynamics among ourselves. Two, because stories are so important, it is doubly a problem when our fellow aces foster an environment that makes sensitive and painful stories that much harder to tell. In other words, I’m saying our own community is contributing, in part, to why it feels like certain stories can’t be told. Three, there are things we can do and things we can use to foster a different environment — that is, to do right by each other and to make our stories easier to tell.
[Content Notes: this post does contain some discussion of violence, including sexual violence, conversion therapy, and murder. There’s an especially severe section on disrespectful treatment of these matters with a separate, additional warning — you’ll find it between the second header and the third, enclosed with the tags <severe section begins here> and <end severe section>.]
So, uh, remember this conversation? And this part? From when I said “White aces need to talk to each other about this”? Yeah. So. I came across this post and that’s immediately what I thought about, ’cause…
I wish every white person at one of these protests would commit to doing one-on-one relational work with other whites to deal with their racism
This frustrates me because I’m in a very “liberal” academic space and my white classmates are always having lil breakout groups to discuss allyship, meetings to talk about how they can support black and brown efforts and organizing
But they seem to have zero idea how to actually talk about racism to other white people who don’t already agree with them
And from there another person reblog-commented with a story about trying to talk to another White person about a racial issue & it going better than expected, followed by some general tips for the same kind of general situation. They seem like mostly decent ideas, and the one I want to highlight is this one:
1) Have people re-examine their own thinking. Don’t tell them how to think or how you think. Ask them questions that have them explore their thought process.
…And, um. It depends on what kind of mess you’re dealing with, but I think that’s a set of tactics worth keeping in mind, and it’s this kind of thing that has helped me… manage some vile conversations, without getting as deep in worst case scenario as it could’ve, I suppose.
And if White aces want to do something about White aces making the ace community alienating and unsafe, I think working on productive confrontation techniques is a necessary step.
the engineer friend: Because it’s really hard to find a LGBT-affirming church that isn’t…
me: Unitarian Universalist?
the engineer friend: Basically, yes.
Here are some of my thoughts so far:
- We have consistently seen some of the same problems repeated in “introduction to asexuality” material. In contexts where unsafe, exclusive, and damaging material keeps getting spread around, it’s not enough to say “go make your own”.
- As Sciatrix pointed out, most of the people making these significantly flawed materials appear to people who never engage much/at all with community discussions above the 101 level.
- One way to remedy this might be to spread 301 discussion in a more accessible way.
- It’s hard to follow a full discussion on tumblr unless you’re following the participants, and since much of the asexual community is adhering to tumblr as its center, I think Agenda-style linkspams of recent kerfluffles and debates posted to tumblr’s asexuality tag could be an idea worth considering. This would come with its own challenges, however.
- It could also be worthwhile to put together some resources on How to Not to Hose Up Your 101 Powerpoint 101, which is what I’m thinking of doing. Continue reading
So apparently the vis/ed dilemma with regard to aces having/liking sex is being rehashed again,* and I was a bit surprised to see that gray-asexuality had been brought into the conversation. The first post to do so seems to be this one, although I’m not so good at tracking things down so correct me if I’m wrong there.
In the post, which was part of a larger discussion about the implications of the word “some” in the context of a poorly-worded asexuality presentation, “further othering/removing grey/demi folks from the community” was proposed as a con to pointing out that the vast majority of aces are sex-repulsed or celibate. I’m just going to focus on that bullet point for now.
I don’t see what gray-asexuality has to do with this. “The vast majority of aces are sex-repulsed and/or celibate” is a true statement. So, what with the connection here not being readily apparent to me, I’m going to run through some possibilities.