Notes of an Asexual Muslim

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Slipping Gears

aceadmiral:

ace-muslim:

aceadmiral:

Three years ago now, I wrote a fanfiction that is probably the longest piece I will ever write almost certainly the most important one to me personally. It was essentially an asexual bildungsroman, tracing the character’s journey from ignorance through discovery and adjustment to self-confidence, and it’s no coincidence that I purposefully gave the character a lot of my traits when sketching out his asexuality, including an aversion that was just as absolute as mine, if not as expansive. Towards the end of the story, he tries to force himself to have sex, and while his (allo) partner shuts him down, I still felt like it was a scene that could be distressing, but I couldn’t put my finger exactly on how. He not only consents, he’s the initiator, and when his partner says no, they stop. The bare-bones facts seem like a pass, but there’s an unease in the pit of my stomach that tells me it’s a fail.

I feel like “consent” as a concept is lacking when it comes to me. I’ve been chewing on this on-and-off for at least the last three years, but I only had questions: Am I capable of “consent”? Are no aces capable of it? Are all aces?

Read More

Speaking personally, I don’t see my “always no" as a lack of agency. To the contrary, I have exercised my agency to determine that sex is never right for me and to therefore refuse to engage in it. I feel like a lot of discussions about sexual consent seem to assume that the necessary outcome of a consent process is a "yes" and that if a person doesn’t have a way to get to "yes", that indicates a lack of agency on their part. I reject that. I assert my agency through my "no".

This discussion feels a bit similar to me to the one about celibacy. Many aces seem to feel that the term celibate is not appropriate for them because it implies a conscious choice and they simply aren’t intrinsically interested in sex. Neither am I, but I could choose to have sex for a wide range of other reasons. I choose not to and therefore feel the term “celibate” is accurate. My choice to never have sex is conscious and deliberate based on what I feel is best for me and my circumstances.

In both of these cases, there seems to be an assumption that if asexuality creates a default or passive “no” that person can’t also make a conscious choice of “no”. I don’t see why that has to be the case at all.

I explicitly rejected the idea of an “always no” as a lack of agency not once but twice, so I’m having a little trouble responding to this, but I particularly want to because of the apparent similarity of our aversions (and just because you’re awesome). You or I could say “yes,” but the fact that we won’t, combined with the pressure being put on us, seems somehow to make not the “yes” suspect to me, but the… I don’t know, that’s really what I’m trying to identify.

In the original scenario I presented, it’s not like anyone is doing anything rash or coerced. It’s really an unimpeachable “yes,” and while I am not enthused by the character’s reasons, he’s making a decision based on his priorities and what’s important to him, not on what’s important to Society. I really do think it’s something apart from the consent, something about his (my) aversion, that is making me feel uneasy. Perhaps something in how, even though his reasoning is divorced from Society, it can’t ever actually leave the conversation fully.

It’s interesting you bring celibacy into this, because I feel it lacks as a concept for me, just like consent, although perhaps in a different way. Not because I am “default celibate” (I am in fact not, I would say), but because of what comes along with celibacy. Perhaps is has to do with my particular history of trying on “celibate” and consciously rejecting it within a specific (religious) context, but, I mean, I read a lot about different approaches to celibacy, I have talked to several people who actively identify themselves as celibate, both religious and non, and I feel outside that experience. It seems to me that not only is it a choice, but it is a path. Maybe it’s just a preemptive defense against muggles (not that I would know anything about that!), but they way they talk about their reasons and, more saliently, what they hope to achieve… I mean, I tried celibacy as an “allosexual” person, and what it achieved for me was… bupkis. Maybe I was doing it wrong; or maybe (more likely in my estimation), it’s not an activity that is going to yield me personally a bumper crop.

I think we’re picking at different elements of the question rather than actually disagreeing. In particular, I was not so much disagreeing with your post as commenting on why I feel the concept of consent that you referenced is lacking when it comes to me. Sorry for the confusion.

Without knowing anything about your story except what you’ve mentioned here I can’t comment on it or how the issue of consent was dealt with in it. I do think that for myself the only situations where I might say “yes” would have to involve either some type of coercion or me not being myself/in my right mind. Part of my aversion is that I’m not particularly interested in trying to develop such scenarios at this point in my life. Instead, I’m interested in making the best out of the path that I’ve chosen, which is where celibacy comes in.

I’m really interested in the various reasons aces give for not feeling the term “celibacy” fits them, especially since I feel that it fits me well. In some cases, people seem to have a different (usually more narrow) definition of it than I do.

Islam discourages celibacy, in general (though from an assumption that people are allosexual) and there are few if any models of what an Islamic celibacy would be like. I’m trying to work within that context, however, and not a Christian one and I think that in general many aces who respond to the term are reading it in a specifically Christian way.

I’m not celibate “for religious reasons” which usually means abstaining from sex until marriage. I’m celibate because I don’t want to have sex, ever. It happens to conform to what my religion expects from me as an unmarried person (keeping in mind that my religion also places a very, very strong emphasis on marriage) but even if my religion was totally cool with sex outside of marriage, I would still be celibate. I think that most discussions of celibacy by celibate people do tend to assume the “for religious reasons” framework and that isn’t particularly helpful to me either. Part of why I liked the A Queer Calling blog so much (separate discussion thread here) is precisely that they’re trying to build a different conception of celibacy, just as I am, as a positive choice that one might feel called to regardless of religious rules.

Slipping Gears

myuglyone:

ace-muslim:

aceadmiral:

Three years ago now, I wrote a fanfiction that is probably the longest piece I will ever write almost certainly the most important one to me personally. It was essentially an asexual bildungsroman, tracing the character’s journey from ignorance through discovery and adjustment to self-confidence, and it’s no coincidence that I purposefully gave the character a lot of my traits when sketching out his asexuality, including an aversion that was just as absolute as mine, if not as expansive. Towards the end of the story, he tries to force himself to have sex, and while his (allo) partner shuts him down, I still felt like it was a scene that could be distressing, but I couldn’t put my finger exactly on how. He not only consents, he’s the initiator, and when his partner says no, they stop. The bare-bones facts seem like a pass, but there’s an unease in the pit of my stomach that tells me it’s a fail.

I feel like “consent” as a concept is lacking when it comes to me. I’ve been chewing on this on-and-off for at least the last three years, but I only had questions: Am I capable of “consent”? Are no aces capable of it? Are all aces?

Read More

Speaking personally, I don’t see my “always no" as a lack of agency. To the contrary, I have exercised my agency to determine that sex is never right for me and to therefore refuse to engage in it. I feel like a lot of discussions about sexual consent seem to assume that the necessary outcome of a consent process is a "yes" and that if a person doesn’t have a way to get to "yes", that indicates a lack of agency on their part. I reject that. I assert my agency through my "no".

This discussion feels a bit similar to me to the one about celibacy. Many aces seem to feel that the term celibate is not appropriate for them because it implies a conscious choice and they simply aren’t intrinsically interested in sex. Neither am I, but I could choose to have sex for a wide range of other reasons. I choose not to and therefore feel the term “celibate” is accurate. My choice to never have sex is conscious and deliberate based on what I feel is best for me and my circumstances.

In both of these cases, there seems to be an assumption that if asexuality creates a default or passive “no” that person can’t also make a conscious choice of “no”. I don’t see why that has to be the case at all.

Such an interesting insight! I never thought about it like that. Since the entire discourse around “consent” is about “getting to yes,” there is no way to talk about saying no to sex in a positive way. It’s nonsensical to talk about consenting not to have sex. In the normal discourse, if one chooses not to have sex (i.e. to not give consent), it’s because the check-list of things that are supposed to be in place for a morally acceptable sexual experience hasn’t been realized; it’s automatically a negative, a lack. Using one’s agency is about how to get to yes, how to cross off all those checks so that the ideal/positive/normal experience = consent = sex can happen. Unless you’re (not) doing so for religious reasons, I guess? Perhaps that’s where identifying as “celibate” can be an empowering identity for all of us who don’t have sex, for whatever reasons.

That’s exactly the problem I see with many sex-positive presentations of consent.

When people use the phrase “consent is sexy”, I assume it’s supposed to mean “making sure to seek consent from your partner is an attractive and appealing characteristic”. But the phrase could just as easily be taken to mean “giving consent is sexy” which needless to say is much more problematic. There’s also the question of what it means to present something as “sexy” in a culture where “sexy” is seen as something that everybody should want to be. Or, as radtransfem notes: Consent Is Sexy + Compulsory Sexuality = Compulsory Consent.

I Am Not Asexual, and Why I Care What Others Call Me

aceadmiral:

It’s funny, because I’m basically the opposite of this story, and it makes me appreciate the disclaimer about how this is her experience and not meant to invalidate asexuality. Me trying a celibate vocation and realizing it didn’t fit doesn’t mean all people who feel called to celibate vocations are going to “fail” someday, and her exploring asexuality and rejecting it for a celibate vocation and a lesbian label doesn’t make aces all liars.

I think this post is a great reminder that even when people have have the same configuration of attractions and desires, their own life experiences and worldview may lead them to identify in very different ways.

Interestingly enough, after reading through some other posts on the A Queer Calling blog, I identified strongly with many aspects of Sarah and Lindsey’s story and how they strive to understand and live out celibacy as a vocation (which is a much richer concept than just “being a nun” or “being a priest”). This resonates with me a lot as a religious ace who strives to understand celibacy as both a choice and as (I believe) God’s decree of the best path for me. The challenges that Sarah and Lindsey face, particularly in terms of how others do or don’t understand the idea of a celibate partnership, I think are also very relevant to aces in queerplatonic and other non-sexual relationships.

As a side note, my mom is a lapsed Catholic and I was brought up Catholic but had long since lapsed myself before converting to Islam. I honestly think that my mom finds it easiest to understand both my celibacy and the way I dress (i.e., hijab) by thinking of it that I became a nun in a different religion!

A brief comment on asexuality, celibacy, and being religious

chaosphaere:

hotpotatohobbies:

tumbles-around:

ace-muslim:

As part of a discussion about the demographics of the asexual community, I linked to Are asexuals nonreligious?

Re-reading this post, I noticed the following statement that I wanted to comment on briefly:

First, I suspect that, though they will likely feel strange on account of their asexuality, if they grow up in a context where they are expected not to have sex rather than in a context where they are expected to have sex, religious asexuals will, on average, feel less strange on account of their asexuality than their sexual counterparts.

This statement seems to be based on a misapprehension that many or most religions hold lifelong celibacy as the ideal. This is not the case. What religions often stress is chastity, which is to abstain from sex before marriage and to have sex only with one’s spouse while married. That is, the expectation in these religions is to not have sex until marriage.

To be 39 years old, unmarried and never planning to marry, as I am, is not ideal in a lot of religions or religious communities. Especially in more conservative communities, it is especially not ideal for women, as we may be told that our “womanly duty” is to be a wife and mother.

The idea that I would somehow “fit in more” in a conservative religious society than an atheist asexual does in secular society as a lifelong celibate and unmarried, seems strange to me. It has not been my experience. I’m definitely interested in hearing about the experiences of other asexuals who are religious, or those who live in religious communities, especially people above 30. How much do other people feel they would or do fit in?

Thank you for saying this!  This is my experience as well.  I’m Catholic and when I came out as Asexual to my family there was first a lot of attacks about how I shouldn’t talk about “that gay stuff” with the whole family. {with me *facepalming*}

Once we got past that awfulness, there was all the talk about: “But being single isn’t a vocation.  You should join a religious order if you’re not getting married.” {again me *facepalming*}

So, I wouldn’t say I fit in better at all.  This idea is a huge misconception. 

In my experience, it’s actually a huge load off your shoulders when you’re a teen, but gets worse with age. I do not look forward to middle age whatsoever in this regard.

Religious and more traditional types of communities are a special kind of torment in this regard. In the general population, Out in the greater world, I run into LESS bs for being single than I ever did, and less social pressure - though the suburbs, where I live, are pretty alienating. But in religious communities - totally and completely othered. 

Slipping Gears

aceadmiral:

Three years ago now, I wrote a fanfiction that is probably the longest piece I will ever write almost certainly the most important one to me personally. It was essentially an asexual bildungsroman, tracing the character’s journey from ignorance through discovery and adjustment to self-confidence, and it’s no coincidence that I purposefully gave the character a lot of my traits when sketching out his asexuality, including an aversion that was just as absolute as mine, if not as expansive. Towards the end of the story, he tries to force himself to have sex, and while his (allo) partner shuts him down, I still felt like it was a scene that could be distressing, but I couldn’t put my finger exactly on how. He not only consents, he’s the initiator, and when his partner says no, they stop. The bare-bones facts seem like a pass, but there’s an unease in the pit of my stomach that tells me it’s a fail.

I feel like “consent” as a concept is lacking when it comes to me. I’ve been chewing on this on-and-off for at least the last three years, but I only had questions: Am I capable of “consent”? Are no aces capable of it? Are all aces?

Read More

Speaking personally, I don’t see my “always no" as a lack of agency. To the contrary, I have exercised my agency to determine that sex is never right for me and to therefore refuse to engage in it. I feel like a lot of discussions about sexual consent seem to assume that the necessary outcome of a consent process is a "yes" and that if a person doesn’t have a way to get to "yes", that indicates a lack of agency on their part. I reject that. I assert my agency through my "no".

This discussion feels a bit similar to me to the one about celibacy. Many aces seem to feel that the term celibate is not appropriate for them because it implies a conscious choice and they simply aren’t intrinsically interested in sex. Neither am I, but I could choose to have sex for a wide range of other reasons. I choose not to and therefore feel the term “celibate” is accurate. My choice to never have sex is conscious and deliberate based on what I feel is best for me and my circumstances.

In both of these cases, there seems to be an assumption that if asexuality creates a default or passive “no” that person can’t also make a conscious choice of “no”. I don’t see why that has to be the case at all.

A brief comment on asexuality, celibacy, and being religious

tumbles-around:

ace-muslim:

As part of a discussion about the demographics of the asexual community, I linked to Are asexuals nonreligious?

Re-reading this post, I noticed the following statement that I wanted to comment on briefly:

First, I suspect that, though they will likely feel strange on account of their asexuality, if they grow up in a context where they are expected not to have sex rather than in a context where they are expected to have sex, religious asexuals will, on average, feel less strange on account of their asexuality than their sexual counterparts.

This statement seems to be based on a misapprehension that many or most religions hold lifelong celibacy as the ideal. This is not the case. What religions often stress is chastity, which is to abstain from sex before marriage and to have sex only with one’s spouse while married. That is, the expectation in these religions is to not have sex until marriage.

To be 39 years old, unmarried and never planning to marry, as I am, is not ideal in a lot of religions or religious communities. Especially in more conservative communities, it is especially not ideal for women, as we may be told that our “womanly duty” is to be a wife and mother.

The idea that I would somehow “fit in more” in a conservative religious society than an atheist asexual does in secular society as a lifelong celibate and unmarried, seems strange to me. It has not been my experience. I’m definitely interested in hearing about the experiences of other asexuals who are religious, or those who live in religious communities, especially people above 30. How much do other people feel they would or do fit in?

Thank you for saying this!  This is my experience as well.  I’m Catholic and when I came out as Asexual to my family there was first a lot of attacks about how I shouldn’t talk about “that gay stuff” with the whole family. {with me *facepalming*}

Once we got past that awfulness, there was all the talk about: “But being single isn’t a vocation.  You should join a religious order if you’re not getting married.” {again me *facepalming*}

So, I wouldn’t say I fit in better at all.  This idea is a huge misconception. 

tristifere:

I just watched a documentary* on the latest attempt on the development of “female viagra” and I just want to cry. They’re specifically targeting women diagnosed with FSD (female sexuality dysfunction) -  and I’m not convinced asexuals won’t be diagnosed with it if they personally don’t know about asexuality. Because the only clause excluding asexuals from getting diagnosed with such a disorder is “if asexuality explains it” but how are you going to determine that with the levels of invisibility, ignorance and general misinformation on our sexuality also present amongst the medical professionals?

One of the test persons interviewed just had such a similar story to so many asexual women - not wanting sex, pushing yourself to have sex, relationship tensions - and it was her boyfriend who suggested she participate in the research to find a cure.

I’m just going to cry. There might be asexual women being tested on to get “fixed” only a few kilometers from where I live…

*It’s a Dutch documentary (Zembla, “seks op recept”, episode of today, 11 sept 2014)

Sep 8

"Unassailable Asexual" Carnival of Aces—my 3 cents

rotten-zucchinis:

The August 2014 Carnival of Aces just happened and was very popular (http://queenieofaces.tumblr.com/post/96381155003/august-2014-carnival-of-aces-round-up).

Something wasn’t sitting right with me about this whole meta-level conversation, so I wrote way too many words to work it out. Some of them might be interesting to people other than me. Some less so.

________________________

What the “Unassailable Asexual” Carnival of Aces illustrated so clearly (for me at least) was that just about everyone nowadays questions their asexuality and whether they belong in the asexual /ace community—whether they are asexual enough or asexual in the right ways. So many powerful posts about the confused alienation and how this ideal hurts our community. Some people spelling out its harmful consequences, some people calling for it to end. But it’s not enough. We didn’t get here by accident.

How did we Get Here?

Way back in 2009, more than a year before Sciatrix coined the term “unassailable” asexual, a community conversation was starting about people questioning whether they were really asexual or asexual enough. The “Unassailable Asexual” carnival of aces inspired me to re-read something I posted on Apositive1 back then: http://www.apositive.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=315&start=0#p2999). What I find both striking and depressing is how relevant my 5-year-old words still are today.

I wrote about how aces were basically being given a stake in our own collective marginalisation, setting up a version of a “real” asexual (at the expense of anyone who didn’t fit it), and how this was leading to people questioning their own asexuality, to them not feeling “asexual enough” for the asexual community. The whole point was the importance of *not leaving anyone behind* in our quest for mainstream acceptance. And that matters even more today than it did back then.

But today’s context is very different from what it was in 2009: I would have hoped that that sentiment would have been redundant by now. It’s not. (I never wanted us to get here.)

That 2009 conversation about ( the danger of the idea of the ) “real asexual” came out of the discussion of prescriptive/descriptive identity and identity labels—whether we were hurting or limiting ourselves by identifying as asexual ( too soon? )… and whether using these labels would box-us-in and prevent us from growing as people. This discussion came on the heels of messages from various media sources telling us that our community was hurting people by being too accepting2 ( I believed— and still do— that this was no coincidence, that this was our response to their outward hostility. Others disagreed ).

Back then, the idea of aces feeling like they’re not “asexual enough” or that they weren’t “really asexual” because they didn’t fit the “ideal asexual” archetype ( or that asexuality wasn’t for them because they had X experience, etc. ) was a new conversation that gave people in ace spaces pause to think ( e.g., http://theonepercentclub.blogspot.ca/2009/09/ideal-asexuals.html ). ( That doesn’t mean that it was an experience people had never had before, but that alienation from the ace community wasn’t a dominant-if-often-unpsoken theme in ace spaces the way it is now. )

Several people questioned whether this ideal was enforced from within the community, or from outside pressure ( or enforced at all ), and Siggy pointed out that there might be two different standards of ideals— one for our community and another for outsiders ( http://www.apositive.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=315&start=20#p3042 ). And eventually, out of that discussion, the term “unassailable asexual” emerged.

With more public visibility and with popularisation of things like ace tumblr ( that people could stumble into by chance ), the asexual / ace community became less insular, less “separate” from everything else. And for various reasons, our community became communities. That was useful for spreading the word about asexuality to new and vast audiences, but it left us vulnerable. And it meant that the “within-community ideal” and the “public-acceptance ideal” didn’t stay separate. They merged in a single shape-shifting trickster to form this double-bind—between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place—condemned-if-you-do-comdemned-if-you-don’t situation. It’s an impossible situation. And we can’t win ( unless we refuse to play: http://cakeatthefortress.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/the-unassailable-asexual-the-only-winning-move-is-not-to-play/ ).

Where Are We Now?

It’s been almost exactly 5 years since this thing started, and here we are: just about all of us alienated, hurt and lost in a sea of assailability.

We now *have* a stake in our collective marginalisation. We all understand that if we speak up as assailable aces ( and all of us are assailable in some way ), then we risk spoiling things for the group. But that’s a system that benefits almost nobody and harms us all. And over the past few years, many aces have used this in their activism to try to gain more grounds for asexuality generally, believing it’s our foot in the door. It’s not. It’s a trap. And now we’re seeing the consequences.

What’s truly insidious about this recognition-for-the-right-asexuals thing is how effective it has been in fracturing our community and undermining our solidarity among ourselves, our solidarity with each other. And we keep replicating that dynamic, even as we try to move past it by paying more attention to experiences that used to be—and often still are—hidden away… to the point where there’s even a right way to be an ace survivor of ( sexual ) violence ( e.g., http://lemonyandbeatrice.tumblr.com/post/96194158811 ).

Now people are fighting about who is more “unassailably” asexual in the asexual community— one example being the ideas of aces who would never want to have sex under any circumstances and aces who might sometimes want to have sex under some circumstances ( e.g., the 60+ responses that had little to do with the original post: http://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/asexual-communities-identity-and-the-question-of-unassailability/#comments ).

Nobody feels like they belong, and everyone thinks they’re the only individual or only subgroup who feels that way. And a lot of people are blaming other aces for the alienation they experience from ace community, believing those others have a bigger piece of the ace community cake.

Instead of fighting back against this system of maginalisation we’re fighiting each other. That’s the point. That’s the outcome of respectability politics ( e.g., http://thedragonandthefox.tumblr.com/post/96565521753/the-problem-with-respectability-politics-right ).

This carrot-on-a-string promise of acceptance has fractured our community and incited so much hostility among ourselves that we’re not in a solid position to resist it. We’re too busy trying to protect ourselves from each other as we work through our individual alienation… alone. Even the one post in this Carnival of Aces that was about the structures of marginalisation in this messed-up system was authored by someone who chose to remain anonymous ( http://queenieofaces.tumblr.com/post/96086559118/guest-post-on-assailable-ace ).

Moving Forward…

We are promised individual acceptance in exchange for falling into respectable, well-behaved line ( within limits of course, because people who aren’t white or non-disabled or fortunate enough to have not been abused, etc. will never be respectable enough… although everyone is still supposed to try ). But that promise is a trap. It’s a lie, and even when it’s not, it’s not enough. We’ve traded our community and all possibilities for a radical restructuring of our societies’ social worlds for the illusion of ( the possibility of ) individual validation. It wasn’t a conscious trade— we got backed into a corner before we realised what was happening and we’re still there. But we won’t get out without a fight, and we can’t win ( or survive intact ) unless we work together.

This should never be an individual struggle.

That’s why and how respectability politics protect the dominant power structures: divide and conquer; break solidarity; fracture communities and turn them against each other in the quest for their collective goal. We’re easier to manage and mitigate if we’re a bunch of alienated individuals, especially if we’re fighting amongst ourselves. ( Yes, I’m paranoid, and yes they’re really after us. )

Our connections with each other are our only protection, and those are what’s been eroded. We need to re-build these connections and come together in community solidarity. And to start, we need to give up this stake we now have in our collective marginalisation.

We need to give up this liberal idea that acceptance for the most privileged ( or unassailable ) will eventually trickle down to acceptance for us all: it doesn’t work like that.

We need to see who is being harmed by what, when and how—because as the anonymous author described, this doesn’t play out in a neutral way… it plays out within and for other systems of power.

We need to stop fighting each other. And we can start by recognising that our shared alienation from our community can unite us ( if we let it ). We are not all the same, we do not share the same experiences, and we don’t need to downplay our differences. We just need to find some common ground to start standing together ( again? ) for our common goals. We are different, but if we give up the stake we have in our collective marginalisation, we will see that some goals will benefit us all.

We need to go back to square one and move forward, together, without leaving anyone behind. Even if it’s slow—and it will be slow. Challenging sexual-centrism, amatonormativity, compulsory sexuality and rape culture is going to take time. This is a large, revolutionary project. But it will be worth it.

Besides, does anyone really want to keep struggling alone in individual alienation? ( It doesn’t need to be that way. )

Footnotes:

1 APositive has changed drastically in the years since this conversation happened, and now it’s a space in which I have no desire to participate.

2 I’m not even kidding: we used to be publicly criticised for being too accepting ( as strange as that might seem now ). The idea was that we were so accepting that we’d convince unsuspecting confused non-asexual people to identify as asexual and then they’d miss out on the sexuality that they could and should have had. ( Perhaps in response to how effectively the asexual community was making the asexuality of newbies unassailable: http://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/your-asexuality-has-been-made-unassailable-for-you/ ) The most public of these accusations was from the infamous 20/20 segment in 2006 with Dr. Joy Davidson, who, years later, eventually revised her position: https://asexualcuriosities.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/q-a-with-joy-davidson-part-1/

Sep 5

My Hijab is Rainbow

A Muslim lesbian of South Asian heritage writes about her experiences of Islamophobia and racism from LGBTQ communities.

Sep 4

September 2014 Carnival of Aces: Call for Submissions

graceofdiamonds:

Hey All! Sorry for the late post. My name is Geoffrey (neutral they/them or masculine he/him pronouns are best), and I am agender. I also identify as an androromantic graysexual. I have been falling all over myself these past few days trying to do this very simple task. This is my life, these are my choices.

I am hosting the September edition of the Carnival of Aces. If you aren’t familiar with it, please check it out here. There have been many awesome blogging carnivals the Asexual Agenda has done over the past couple of years. Following suit will be no easy task, especially since I’ve started so late.

A blogging carnival, for those of you who don’t know, is an event where people blog about a single topic. Specifically, the Carnival of Aces is a monthly event where a host (that’s me!) posts a call for submissions (this post), and announces the prompt or theme. At the end, I gather up all of the submissions in one post. This is an awesome thing to do for asexuals around the world to contribute to fun and/or serious (although important) conversations that are important to all of us. As a Women and Gender Studies minor at George Mason University who is studying asexuality, this can be a really great hub of information for us to address specific issues.

The theme that I have chosen for this month is quite controversial, yet a very important one (perhaps overdue): Asexuals, Advocacy, and Allies. Bear with me for a moment!

Allies can be very important for helping people in their journey for self-discovery, but for many asexuals (or really any person belonging to any given community, LGBTQ-related or not), allies can be terribly frustrating, and can sometimes be seen as amplifiers of oppression and derailment. As someone who used to struggle coming to terms with the fact that not everyone has the same positive experience with allies that I did, I make a point of having a small portion to discuss allyship.

Here’s a sneak preview of a post I may (or may not) be doing later this month: the manner in which I think of out-of-community allies is idealistic. I recognize that. I prefer to think that these kinds of allies, especially self-identified ones, are thinking with the best intentions. In reality, I know that this does not always happen, and that out-of-community allies can (and often do) more harm than good. How I can also relate to other LGBTQ folk is that people tend to craft an actual identity out of Ally (and end up tring to double-dip in or steal the A from asexuals and aromantics), which leads to entitlement and conflating the LGBTQ movement and the LGBTQ community.

How I tend to approach allyship is that we can all be allies to each other. You don’t need to be allosexual to be an ally to asexuals. You don’t need to be straight to be an ally to LGBTQ people. And so on and so forth. You can be an ally to others in your specific community. You can be an ally to other LGBTQ identities that are not your own. You can be an ally to really any marginalized identity out there. But it is not a systemic or otherwise concrete identity in and of itself.

We all see allies in different, perhaps more conditional or fluid lights. So here’s a few ideas to get your fingers typing (if they aren’t already):
• How do you define ally? More specifically, what makes a good ally
• Conversely, what makes a bad ally?
• In the LGBTQA/LGBTQIA (and all variations thereof) acronym, what does the A stand for?
• If you prefer MOGAI, GSRM, or other alternatives to the LGBTQ acronym (did you think that I had forgotten about you?), does your view of allies further strengthen your preference?
• If you are comfortable sharing, do you have any positive, negative, or neutral experiences when it comes to allies? Consider redacting names or using pseudonyms when sharing stories.
• How have LGBTQ allies typically responded to or taken up issues regarding the asexual and aromantic spectrums?
• Have you tried to do any form of advocacy (whether that was in a small group of friends, talking at a GSA meeting, giving a presentation in front of a lot of people, etc)? If so, how did others react?
• Is allyship impacted when we look at asexuals or aromantics intersectionally?

The above bullet points are merely suggestions. Feel free to respond however you would like to the prompt. You may submit in whatever medium you would like. I will gladly post it here or reblog from your Tumblr. I will also gladly post anonymous submissions.

The deadline for submissions is September 30th. If you have a Tumblr, feel free to post it on your blog, and send me the link in my ask box. Don’t forget to tag #carnival of aces and #allies, along with any other relevant tags. All other submissions (including anonymous ones), please email me at lapraslvr@gmail.com!

Any comments, questions, concerns, suggestions, or grievances? You don’t need a Tumblr account to send me a message through my ask box. Anonymous asks are always welcomed and gladly answered (if appropriate). My email inbox is also checked on the daily, so feel free to send me something through there, too. 

I understand that this is a really touchy subject for many people, and that allies can make people very angry. I do not wish to dismiss or derail your experiences; all I ask is that you share them and contribute your voice. I cannot wait to see what you all send me!

— Geoffrey, the (Gr)Ace of Diamonds
Lead Facilitator, GMU Arrows and Aces