Writing From Factor X

March 13, 2012

It’s Been a While

Filed under: Visibility — Sciatrix @ 5:43 pm
Tags: ,

A lot has happened since I stopped posting every week last year. I’ve applied to and been accepted to graduate school, sorted out a problem in the way I was reacting to some of my relationships, and done a lot of thinking.

I’ve started doing panels through my campus LGBTQA group, which has been a cool experience. One of the ways in which panels have shifted my thinking about asexuality is to make me a little more thoughtful about the contexts in which I use jargon, because I try very hard to keep my explanations of my experiences as simple as possible in panels. That is, I’ve gotten a lot more conscious of trying to avoid jargon unless I’m talking to another ace person who’s already familiar with the terminology I’m using. Since at the moment I’m doing most of my speaking about asexuality to audiences who may or may not even be familiar with the basic definition of asexuality, I’ve become very conscious about both the specific terms I use and also how I present and define those terms to the people I talk to.

In particular, being asked about my relationships and whether I desire close emotional intimacy with other people is always a tricky question. I’m in queerplatonic relationships with two other people right now, and it’s important for me to be able to answer that question as honestly as possible without completely derailing the discussion. I’m usually part of a 3-4 person group with each person representing at least one different identity, and we almost never have enough time to finish asking everyone’s questions by the end, so brevity (never my strong suit!) is an important quality. Usually I handle that question by mentioning romantic aces but emphasizing that my own relationships are a little more complicated, but that I’m very happy with where they are right now.

Also difficult to answer are questions specifically about romantic aces, because I have no earthly clue about how romance works and spending a couple of years questioning what defines a romantic relationship or romantic feelings have left me even more confused and more convinced that the traditionally defined romantic framework for relationships doesn’t work very well for me. I usually leave it at “some asexual people get crushes and fall in love and say they want to date people, but I find the whole thing pretty confusing,” which is a little oversimplified–but when you’re doing a panel or really any kind of teaching, oversimplification to get the concepts across quickly is part of the job.

I’ve got a big aces-only panel coming up in April, which will hopefully have me and three other aces speaking on it. I’m pretty excited about it!


  1. Yeah, answering the question, “So, romantic relationships…?” briefly is… challenging. The ones I really loathe are “Are you single?” and “Are you monogamous?” because there’s no polite and straightforward way of saying “It’s not that I’m NOT those things, its that those concepts don’t even make sense within my frame of reference.”

    Congrats on the ace-only panel, btw. This week, me and a demisexual guy got elected into our university LGBT committee, and the first thing on the agenda is to make it ‘LGBT+’ and much more inclusive, so I’m really hoping we get a fledgeling ace community before I leave.

    Comment by slightlymetaphysical — March 14, 2012 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

    • Oh god, “are you single” is torture. Sometimes I get tempted to answer something completely nonsensical and leave it at that, because that’s kind of what it feels like in my head. Maybe? Possibly? I DON’T KNOW IT IS SO HARD TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU MEAN BY SINGLE. OR DATING. Is there a third option, maybe?

      Hey, congrats on the election! The other ace at mine got elected to the leadership this year, too, which makes me happy since I’ll be packing up and leaving this summer, and I hope they get a chance to do some similar building.

      Comment by Sciatrix — March 14, 2012 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

      • “Yes, unfortunately, I am single. That cloning procedure just didn’t work out.”

        Comment by Aydan — March 15, 2012 @ 9:38 am | Reply

      • “Are you single?”
        “I do not think that word means…

        *walk away*

        Comment by slightlymetaphysical — March 16, 2012 @ 7:32 am | Reply

  2. Are the panels for LGBTQA audiences, or general audiences? With queer audiences, I feel like I just have to point out the binary between romantic and non-romantic, and tell them the binary doesn’t work for some people. And then they say, “Oh, well of course. Yet another broken binary.” I don’t have as much experience with general audiences though.

    Comment by tlmiller — April 13, 2012 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

    • They’re usually general audiences, although I’m chairing a major asexuality-only one that’s going to be to a largely queer audience on Tuesday. So that’s going to be interesting!

      I have found that explaining my romantic orientation to people from my campus group is roughly as easy as that, though. It’s also easier in those situations because it’s understood that I’m just talking about me and they’ve gotten the concept of romantic orientation nice and laid out by that point. For general audiences, part of what I usually have to do is go “so there’s the other concept called romantic orientations” at the same time they’re trying to soak in a bunch of other LGBTQA+ related concepts and I often have to skip over things so as not to take up an entire half hour on one concept. Time is usually very limited and I’m not paneling on just asexuality, so I can’t go in anywhere near as much depth as I can with a more LGBTQ-savvy audience. And of course that makes it harder!

      Comment by Sciatrix — April 13, 2012 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

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