I see some of my old posts abt this getting likes still so I did feel the need for whatever reason to post an update or rather restatement to my views on the topic
I know this is a horribly tired topic that was discoursed to hell and then left behind and for good reason so as a warning: ace discourse below
First and foremost I’m not in the business of telling ppl wholesale they don’t belong in the community. The vast majority of ace ppl are also other various lgbt identies and trying to “remove” people from the community is not a thing I’d ever advocate for nor have I really ever as far as I can remember. If I have in bad faith I would like to extend an apology bc I have bad memories problems and think those actions are wrong and harmful. If the consensus is ace ppl are lgbt then I’m not here to say everyone else is wrong and I’m the authority on lgbt identities. We are a coalition group, a mashing of communities w sometimes shared histories and experiences. Even if I think ace and aro ppl don’t have as many of those in common I don’t get to decide if they are or not. They are now and I’m more focused on making that work
Still though since it’s inception the ace community has not been a very healthy one. As at best a newer addition to the lgbt community being brought to light and given a label and community, the community has been toxic. Much of the foundational moments for identity were from the AVEN forums and a lot of harmful misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic, and ableist things were said on their and supported. This kind of behavior has continued well into the community even today.
This is not a moral judgment on asexuals or aromamtics. I’m aromantic. I was also subjected to these things. I always felt alienated from the community. Even when trying to engage behavior was half the time welcoming and understanding and half the time felt very hostile. I point this out because again: many asexuals and aromantics are other lgbt identies and this rhetoric is very harmful. It’s alienating. It makes you feel guiltier at times. Furthermore at times the community pressured ppl who did not have absolutely any desire for sex in any capacity to be okay with it, as though they were on the same level as people who liked and enjoyed sexual acts removed from sexual attraction to people. Sometimes it encouraged harassing people for saying having sex was a vital part of relationships for them and they felt incompatable with someone who was repulsed by sex and didn’t feel abstaining for a hypothetical ace partner would be healthy for either of them. Even more alarming was qpp’s, really originating from the aro community, spreading and simply being a tool for a while in many circles to coerce people into relationships who otherwise wouldn’t be okay with polyamory or were underaged. I’ve seen so much harm and been subjecting to it that I did have to (and still want to but avoid it for stress reasons) point this out. Even more alarming was during the discourse era seeing big name ace bloggers with large underaged followings bring on self admitted pedophiles to their blogs, and refusing to apologize when said pedophile admitted to sexually harassing minors. Lies were spread to demonize lesbians especially, and to a degree gay men as well, including that we steal funding we don’t need
As well (currently) the lgbt community hasn’t had the best resources to provide a good environment for ace and aro issues, and the ace community has not made it a priority in many spheres to curate those spaces either. As an aro sexual abuse victim there were many times I didn’t want to see public displays of affection or hear abt sexuality of any kind at times (despite not being ace) and I knew asking for those to cease in lgbt spaces would be harmful and come across as bigoted. Lgbt spaces are places to express your comfort in your identity and your relationships in the way cishet ppl can whenever they want to in society. Seeking out spaces without that just meant retreating and being alone. A curated space for aro and ace ppl would have removed tension I know many people have had and still do experience by providing refuge for sex and romance repulsed ace and aro ppl
I felt more boundaries would be beneficial, as while trans people are no doubt a part of the lgbt community (regardless of how many trabsphobes say we don’t belong), trans specific areas and communities still exist. Trans spaces where trans experiences are centered are a priority. The ace community regardless needs better spaces for ace people besides social media and Internet forums. It needs structure and accountability. It needs to unlearn harmful practices and bigotry that have run rampant for their own members’ sake, not for the sake of outside people to see validity in it.
And for a while, people who were otherwise cisgendered, heteroromantic and asexual would speak out in lgbt spaces about trans and gay issues because this is the “same community”. Cis gay men have no authority on lesbian, bi, or trans issues. Cis lesbians have no authority on gay men’s, bi, or trans issues. Cis heterosexual trans ppl shouldn’t talk abt lgbp issues w authority. Cishet ace and aro ppl shouldn’t talk those either. A lot of the hostility and early discourse was abt that, about those bloggers who very quickly left the discussions and website entirely in some cases, speaking about issues that shouldn’t concern them. About homophobia and how it should be treated or tolerated, using slurs they had no right using, and more. Even more alienating was ppl saying a character was ace rather than gay, and when pointed out they could be both it resulted in backlash as trying to take away ace representation, and then real human survivors of sexual abuse who were dead were framed as ace icons and ace representation while framing their discussions of their reactions to sexual abuse as “the ace experience”. Lies spread that ace conversion therapy was a thing and that doctors were going to hold you down and feed you medicine to make you want to have sex, terrifying many young bloggers on this website who genuinely believed and lived in fear of this happening until they were told it was misinformation and lies.
(Yes you can be sexually assaulted for being ace, yes victims of sexual abuse can as a result ID as ace or aro, that’s not what I’m arguing against in case somehow someone finds a way )
But from the other side I’ve seen and spoken out against people who just said bigoted things. Claiming there were too many gender and sexuality identities. I think the split attraction model is limited to ace and aro ppl to explain our identities more coherently and misapplying it to others only servers in the end to stigmatize various sexualities, but this went beyond that. For many people “grey” and “demi” modifiers are useful. I’m grey aro. My romantic feelings are complicated and inconsistent enough I think it’s not average. Sure to a degree “anyone” could be demi or aro and many ppl in the ace community have misattributed those modified identities to ppl who didn’t even fully explore how they felt, but they are not worthless. I can count to you how many times I’ve felt genuine romantic attraction, and I do not fully understand the intricacies of romantic attraction, nor the differences at time between platonic feelings in practice. I was mocked for my identity several times and saw people with identities like mine mocked. This was not a discussion of it these identities were harmful like claiming disassociating during sex was a normal sexual identity. At worst they are unnecessary.
I’ve been always more invested abt having a better community for ace and aro ppl bc that’s what I ultimately wanted. No, they didn’t have the messy intertwined history of other lgbt identities but also they didn’t have to be. Lgbt or not there wasn’t a space for ace and aro ppl I thought was really healthy. It was either they existed there in a group with other people with their issues being talked about or not at all. Ace pride colors were based on the at times toxic forum website AVEN. The aro community was often overlooked by ace ppl or at times actively thrown under the bus.
And lies and misinformation was still spread. Pieces of history incoherently being co-opted and misappropriated to seem legitimate. And to top it all off ace and aro specific oppression was incoherently discussed to. How different forms of oppression work together and often feed into each other or take new shapes was ignored. Studies were extremely limited in scope, loaded, and mostly inconclusive. Facets of misogyny and even homophobia were framed as ace exclusive and unique experiences, and people lied about real life discrimination for being ace (usually these were young people like the 15 y/o who claimed to have two gay dads who kicked her out for being ace, so I won’t dwell on those as much. Tumblr has been a weird website). Discussions of race especially were riddled w terrible behavior from white ace bloggers who resorted to lying, shaming, and guilt tripping. All this only serves to fan the flames and drive a wedge between communities even tho inclusionists claimed it was all evil exclusionists doing while refusing to call out the misinformation and bigotry they often spread. There was no purpose in harassing bloggers of color, no purpose in terrifying children so they lived in fear of medical professionals and most ppl, and no excuse.
Hopefully moving on from this it will truly die away, but I hope people learn from it. This wasn’t just as some ppl frame it cis gay and lesbian bloggers starting a harassment campaign to try and kick aces out on a large scale. This was a messy discussion that was years brewing until it exploded in even more vitriol, misinformation, and rage. It became an opportunity to critique an (albeit in comparison young) community for harmful behavior that was going unchecked and lead to even further bigotry, misinformation, and alienation. And the bigotry and misinformation didn’t serve a purpose and little understanding of what ace and aro people needed besides information and education to the public, which was already taking place before this, was had. And ultimately I expected more from the community at large.
To ace and aro followers and readers: I’ve seen some ugly parts of the community but I don’t necessarily demand you answer for that behavior, unless you’re personally guilt of it. I don’t say this because I have a mission to prove you’re bad. I think the community is toxic, but it will ultimately not get better unless ppl who are dedicated to it are willing to help find what resources ppl need, provide it, and refuse to encourage or call out shitty behavior. And ultimately that will come from a place of love and desire to create an environment future generations will feel welcomed in. I just don’t want other ace and aro kids being lied to about what they’ll experience, subjected to homophobia and transphobia of many colors, and at times groomed by adults. And I don’t want it based around just social media where anyone can lie abt credentials and act like an expert to further any of those horrible goals, even unintentionally