Writing From Factor X

June 26, 2011

On Community

This post was originally written for the Carnival of Aces. This month’s prompt is “community.” 

When I first saw that Siggy had chosen the topic of community for this month’s carnival, I was excited. I could do this one! I’d been meaning to write a post about community anyway!  I could share my feelings about how important community is to me!

And then I promptly got distracted and forgot to actually write the post for several weeks. Whoops. (In fairness, I am less late than I have been with the two other carnivals I’ve written things for, when I ended up writing posts on the evening before. I’m not great with deadlines.)

The thing is, I think community is really, really important. Especially if, as with asexuality, you’re banding together around an identity that’s generally rendered invisible in every aspect of our lives. When you’re dealing with people telling you all the time that you can’t exist, it can be lifesaving to have people who not only say “yes, you are real,” but “and I’m the same way.”

I’ve gained a lot from interacting with asexual communities over the years. Just the knowledge that I’m not alone is very important to me. I can’t stress that enough; knowing you’re not the only one out there

But it’s stronger than that. It’s things like–when I was beginning to figure out what I wanted in terms of relationships, when I was confused and upset and trying to understand what I wanted, I had people who would tell me that it was okay, they wanted that too. And I had people explaining what they wanted when I asked, and trying to explain what they felt when I asked to know that, and telling me that however I ended up it was okay. Even when I didn’t ask, reading the explanations other people wrote of the kinds of relationships they wanted and didn’t want helped me to understand what I wanted, too.

When I’ve said I’m scared for my future, people have crowded around to tell me they understand, they’re scared too. Or that they’re optimistic that things will get better. Or even just that they hear my pain, they acknowledge it, and they wish the world was a better place.

When some asshole on the Internet says something nasty about asexuals, I know that I’m not the only person who will stand up for us. When I complain about being depicted as sociopaths in media, I know that other people will band around me to share in my anger, and when I’ve needed to vent about experiences that have left my hands shaking and barely holding back tears, I have had people who will bandy around me and tell me that what happened was wrong, but not my fault.

Community is important. Standing up for each other is important. Alone, I am easily ignored; with community standing behind me, we can begin to change the world a tiny bit.

When the Ace Admiral wrote this post about responsibility for one another some months ago, I nearly applauded before I remembered I was sitting at a laptop. Because I fundamentally agree with the central argument of the post: we have a duty to one another. Not a duty that asks for more than we can give, no. But I think that we owe it to each other to pay support forward at least a little. And I think we have an obligation to help each other as best we can.

One of my primary goals in creating this space is to try to engender a sense of community in the asexual/aromantic blogosphere. It’s why I run linkspams: I want everyone’s voices to be heard, not just a few voices. It’s why I started the Carnival of Aces to begin with–I wanted to come up with a way to encourage people to start sharing their thoughts. It’s why I’m experimenting with open threads right now. I want people to discuss their problems and feel comfortable bouncing ideas off each other and find support with each other. I want people to feel comfortable writing their own blogs or sharing their experiences or speaking their minds in any format they like.

And I want them to have different spaces to have those discussions in. I am a big believer in decentralized communities and having multiple spaces devoted to particular topics. I’ve seen many new community types spring up in the past year, from vlogs like HPOA to a slew of new blogs in the blogosphere to the active Tumblr scene to at least three or four new forums. Having a lot of different spaces to interact with serves a variety of purposes. Some people are more comfortable interacting with people in some formats than others; I, for example, really dislike dealing with video, so spaces that are more text-oriented work much better for me. And the different cultures that form in different spaces even within the same medium can create niches for different people.

I’d like to see more kinds of spaces for asexuals yet. I’d like to see more offline spaces, just for starters. Most of all, though, what I want to see is asexual communities decentralizing. I’ve seen communities take huge, bounding steps in this direction in the past year, and that fills me with joy. Because here’s the thing: Lots of smaller communities are more likely to be able to serve everyone, or almost everyone, than one big community.

May 1, 2011

A Carnival of Aces Round-Up: Coming Out

Filed under: Carnival of Aces — Sciatrix @ 12:26 pm
Tags: , , ,

Welcome to the round-up for the first edition of the Carnival of Aces!

First, thank you to everyone who participated or commented on participating posts. This carnival couldn’t happen without you guys, and I was really thrilled to see the level of response that came out of this project. You guys are awesome.

Certain themes ran through many of this month’s responses. Many people talked about being afraid to come out, while several people who had come out described it as anticlimactic. Several people thought that coming out wasn’t worth the hassle. A lot of people discussed coming out as something that is a lot easier online than offline. The theme of dealing with negative reactions in particular ran strongly through almost every response. Regardless of topic, though, I was thrilled to see every entry, and I can’t wait to see what else the carnival goes on to produce.

Enjoy!

Siggy talks about being an experienced outcomer–and about how coming out never really stops.

Teafeather wonders how coming out might be made easier for asexuals.

Astrid discusses the difficulties of coming out for one personality in a multiple system.

Elizabeth talks about pressuring people to come out and why that’s a bad idea.

Pipisafoat doesn’t like the term “coming out” at all–after all, zie’s not exactly hiding!

Anonymous thinks it’s better to show, not tell.

Wiring’s not sure coming out is worth it.

The Ace student has good reasons for not outing herself to everyone.

The Ace Eccentric is choosy about who gets to know–and most of them are on the Internet.

Avail is very slowly sliding out of the closet.

Pippin is coming out of the closet in stages, too.

Lasciel doesn’t want to be closeted ever again.

Eowyn thinks that coming out reminds people that we exist.

Divalady shares her feelings on a very uneventful coming out experience.

Gretchen’s coming out was similarly anticlimactic.

Elizabeth Barrette contributes a poem about an asexual character coming out.

And I told the story of the process I went through before I decided to come out at all.

And with that, the carnival draws to a close for the month! The next round of the carnival will be held by Ily at Asexy Beast and will be concluded on June 1.

Thank you all!

February 1, 2011

Spectral Amoebas: Round-Up Post

So the Spectral Amoebas blog carnival draws to a close! First, I want to thank everyone who submitted posts. The quality was uniformly quite high, and I’ve been so excited at reading the posts that people have linked and discussed over the past month an a half. There have been some awesome things written about very diverse topics, and I was really excited to see all of them.

And now to the posts!

Stephanie Silberstein at Meowing at the Moon wrote about attempting to construct a common language to communicate with her neurotypical, non-asexual best friend in Do Asexuals Speak the Same Language?

Procrastination Embodied talks about constantly being disbelieved in Asexual on the Spectrum.

Norah_Liath discusses the way that people will constantly judge her as a bad person simply for being in a relationship with a neurotypical sexual in I’m a Horrible Person…

Teafeather wonders how to define the concept of “liking” someone in Do You Like?

Quirks the Magpie attempts to come to a conclusion about his sexual orientation in Monochrome logic, greyscale sexuality, and finding my identity.

Anonymous contributed a guest post about trying to gather enough data to a conclusion about their sexuality.

Bethany Lauren writes about having the right words and about communication in Not Alone: Music, Brainweasels, and RENT.

M asks not to be touched in noli me tangere.

Ily considers outing herself about asexuality and NLD in Coming Out (When “the World is a Chaos”).

Kaz addresses the problems inherent with being assumed to be asexual even before coming out in The Lucky One.

And to wrap it all up, I wrote about my problems with being stereotyped as emotionless for being autistic, aromantic, and asexual in On Being Incapable of Love.

Thank you all so much for participating, guys, and I hope you enjoy the collective posts!

December 11, 2010

Call For Participation: Spectral Amoebas – A Blog Carnival about Asexuality and the Autism Spectrum

So there has been some discussion lately about asexuality and the autism spectrum in the blogosphere. And I think this is a fantastic development, and clearly I am not alone in this.

To that end, Kaz, Ily and I are organizing a blog carnival about asexuality and the autism spectrum.

A blog carnival is an event where various people write posts around a single topic and link them together at the end. The topic of this carnival is the intersection of asexuality and the autism spectrum.  The scope of this project is general. Any topic that deals with the intersection of asexuality and autism fits within the aegis of the carnival. If you’re not sure, submit it anyway and we’ll figure it out.

We are asexual bloggers on the autistic spectrum who want to explore the intersection between autistic and asexual identities.  The basis of this project is to have a conversation about our unique experiences being autistic and asexual without looking for a “cause”.  We want to create a safe, non-judgmental space to talk about the issues that affect us.  If you identify as asexual (or demisexual, or gray-a) and as on the autistic spectrum (diagnosed or not, AS, autism, PDD-NOS, NLD), you are invited to write a blog post for this project. If you are not asexual and autistic you are welcome to contribute provided you focus on the issues experienced by this particular intersection. The scope of the project is general, and open to any experiences of being autistic and asexual.

However, please keep in mind that asexuality here is to be discussed as a sexual orientation in its own right, not as discussion of the desexualization imposed on autistic people by mainstream culture.

If you want to write a post but don’t have a blog, please contact Ily at sanfranciscoemily@gmail.com or me at sciatrix@gmail.com about doing a guest post.  Please have your post written by 31st January and comment on this post or send an e-mail to me or Ily about your post by then. Note that the hosts reserve the right to reject posts by anyone if they feel they do not follow the guidelines of or are not in the spirit of the carnival. The posts will be compiled on Writing From Factor X for posterity. A post with the compilation will go up here in the beginning of February.  Be a part of this exciting project!
–Sciatrix, Kaz, and Ily

An edit: Possible topics include but are not restricted to coming out experiences (both asexual and autistic), relationships, gender expression, young adult experiences, treatment by medical professionals, integrating identities, or dealing with stereotypes. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list, only general ideas.

Blog at WordPress.com.