I’v been getting a bunch of e-mail recently about a quote that was attributed to me on Tumblr. As most of you have surmised, the quote is fake (I won’t bother linking to it), someone’s idea of a way to attack the AVEN admods. Since this is an issue that’s on people’s minds, I want to make it clear what I DO think.
I think the admods are awesome. I also think that, like all elected governing bodies, the admods are far from perfect. They’re a bunch of people who have volunteered to take time out of their busy lives to do hard, generally thankless work because they believe that there should be a safe place out there for asexuals, grey-a’s, demisexuals and our allies to understand ourselves and our relationships. That’s why I’m doing this work, as far as I can tell it’s a vision (along with our visibility work) that everyone in the community shares. Because they’ve put hard work into this vision they have earned my gratitude and respect.
I know that most of you out there share this sense of respect, and a few of your out there don’t. That’s cool. I’ve been frustrated at authority plenty of times in my life, and I know that me arguing with you won’t change that. As an experience activist, let me offer you a few words of advice:
Systems accept disruption, but only in the service of optimization. The most powerful thing that you can do to change a system is to hold up a way to make it better. That won’t look like insults, attacks, or reactions, it’ll look like a better way to create a safe space for asexuals, grey-a’s, demisexuals and our allies to understand ourselves and our relationships. If you’ve got that, you can prove that it works, and you can prove your integrity by avoiding petty fights, then you’re in a great position to change things. Before long the admods will probably join you, and I will too.
-from David Jay
Calling all Central European Aces!
The Slovak TV Station JOJ is looking for ace individuals in Central Europe who would be willing to speak in front of a camera. If anyone would be willing, it would be a great help!
For more information, if you are interested, or if you know of someone else who might be, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please reblog and pass this along!
Greetings,my name is Daniel Levicky Archleb, I work as an editor for the Slovak TV station TV JOJ (www.joj.sk).Currently I am working on a report about asexuality and as of yet I was unable to track down any Slovak asexual willing to speak. I contacted a Czech web forum for asexuals, but I got no reply.Would you happen to have contacts to Central European asexual organizations or individuals who would be willing to speak out infront of a camera?Thank you,Daniel
aversive asexual erasure: maybe it’s just me?
I’ve been extremely indecisive over writing this post because I feel like maybe I’m just paranoid or imagining all this. It seems like, whenever I see a definition or a discussion of asexuality, there is a lot of effort to point out that “many asexuals enjoy sex!” or “many asexuals compromise and agree to have sex to please their partners!” or even “many asexuals identify as sex-positive!” And of course, all these things are true and need to be said. But there doesn’t seem to be an equal amount of effort in pointing out that “many asexuals are deeply uncomfortable with sex and want nothing to do with it” or “many asexuals are not willing to have sex, even if they’re in a romantic partnership”. Am I imagining this, or does it seem like people don’t talk about aversive asexuals?
Does it seem to anyone else like the asexual movement doesn’t want aversive asexuals to be part of its public face? Like, there seems to be a focus on showing how asexuals really aren’t that different from *sexual people after all? Like there’s a subconscious attempt to “normalize” asexuality by showing off aces who seem “more human” and “less weird” to the *sexual majority?
Or if there are prominent aversive asexuals in the ace community, they don’t talk openly about aversiveness as much as sexually active aces talk about being sexually active and sex-positive aces talk about being sex-positive?
This is actually one of the main reasons I left AVEN. While I never experienced any direct bullying or shaming for being aversive, I also felt like there was a pervasive attitude that indifferent asexuals are the “real” asexuals and aversives are somehow pathological, or are actually sex-phobic rather than asexual as an orientation.
I don’t know. This could all be in my head. I just thought I’d put it out there and see if anyone else has gotten a similar impression.
Overall, I agree with GreenChestnuts that the reason why I have to say more often “some asexuals have sex” is because the assumption is always that we don’t. I’ve written before about being the stereotype but being sure to mention that the ace community is diverse, and I agree with you that sometimes the effect can be that the people who are the stereotype can feel erased. You’re not being paranoid, the conversation is unbalanced.
That said, I personally don’t feel like aversive (I like that :D) aces are being thrown under the bus the way the aromantics often are, or completely forgotten like the demis and graces often are. I only live on tumblr, so my view may be biased, but when someone turns up from the anti-ace brigade to say we’re afraid/repressed/broken/ill/slut-shamers/in a conspiracy to destroy the human race, people stand up for us. They don’t say, “hey, some of us have sex, don’t lump us all together,” they say, “that’s not true of our community.” I don’t think that’s because the attack is always directed at the whole community, but rather that they don’t want to leave us behind.
On the occasion when I’ve spoken about being aversive, or been attacked for being aversive, or objected to something as not including aversive people, I’ve had support from indifferent, and even poikkisexual people. Occasionally I feel tumblr folk actually go out of their way to make sure aversive aces aren’t forgotten.
Now, AVEN or other forums might be different. I don’t know, I never really participated on AVEN seriously, and the sex-negative/asexual elitist rhetoric made me deeply uncomfortable. But if you’re feeling down about being aversive and looking for peeps to be on your side, I highly recommend the peeps on my dash :D
Throwing my two cents in for once. As someone who manages to mostly lurk in the online communities but is surprisingly (to myself at least) active in raising awareness offline, I agree with aceadmiral and GreenChestnuts in their observations about why aversive asexuals are kind of talked about very quietly in relation to the rest.
Personally, as an aversive asexual who ends up doing (rather poorly planned) presentations on asexuality, I find myself doing exactly this, going ‘but some compromise to have sex’ and ‘but some do enjoy sex’ every other sentence, as I really ought to so that I cover every one of my bases. I have no argument there. Because I may personally be averse to sex, but I don’t want the people in my audience getting caught up in the stereotypes that I happen to very much embody. But in my experience, the members of the audience who aren’t interested in possibly identifying as ace themselves are still most interested in how an asexual’s sexuality will impact them, which often comes down to in a relationship, and in sex. Which means that I end up leaving aversive asexuals sort of at the side of the conversational road there, and I’m not sure if that’s because everyone in the room just accepted our existence so easily, or if it’s been entirely dismissed as irrelevant.
I am not 100% pleased with how I handle that either. I feel like I’m so scared to say ‘some asexuals flat out will never have sex, I’m sorry, I know that I almost definitely couldn’t make that compromise myself but oh wait you already know I’m kinda WTF/aromantic but ignore that part okay so if I was romantically involved with someone even then’ because. I’m so used to people considering asexuality a complete deal-breaker, a complete… I don’t know. I don’t know a good way to answer the question of ‘how does that relationship work’ because the only answer I have is ‘it entirely depends on the two people involved and the things that affect their compromises, and also I can’t give you a really good example because I’ve never been in a romantic relationship.’ Because that’s so inadequate, and it makes it seem like I, as an averse asexual, am just kinda being an asshole as opposed to a more flexible asexual, or like I’m bullshitting my way through the question because I’m a horrible I don’t even know what. Unprepared presenter.
And I do think that some of that is things that I accidentally picked up from the ace community at large over the years. Because there seems to be such this need to be accepted and treated as normal, and as that little stereotype over in the corner I feel like I’m dirty, wet, matted wool trying to sell the most beautifully spun, hand-dyed alpaca yarn in the world. And I don’t think that that is in any way the purposeful message being put forth by the ace community at large or even necessarily any particular individuals. I just think that it’s a very unfortunate byproduct of trying to package our community in as palatable a package as possible for the mass consumer. And I have no idea how to address it, either within the community, which I’ve never felt excluded from because of my undyed, matted wooliness, or my own presentations and conversations with *sexuals.
And here at the end goes my standard disclaimer of not knowing if I made any sense at all to anyone else, apologies if necessary, especially for piling on the metaphors.
Reblogging again for more excellent commentary. And so I can find all this again easily before the next A Life podcast recording session… or maybe the one after that…. Anyway, I think this topic is important.
[Image description: a black and white cutout of David Jay overlaid on a purple monochrome background collage of other images of David Jay in various poses and the asexuality shaded triangle. The black and white cutout of David Jay shows him standing and holding a cake. White text of various quotes and paraphrases from Fight Club is superimposed on the image. Text: “we were finding something out; we were finding out more and more that we were NOT ALONE”, “it was right in everyone’s face: David Jay just made it visible”, “it was on the tip of everyone’s tongue; David Jay just gave it a name”, “welcome to AVEN”.]
“Welcome to AVEN” to all the aces out there this one is for you.
Fight Club is one of my favorite movies and I thought the quotes went well with David Jay, so I had to put them together.