A Carnival of Aces: October 2016 Round-up of Submissions: Joining the Asexual Community

As you likely know, I hosted the Carnival of Aces for October 2016, on Joining the Asexual Community. If you’d like to know more, you can read the Call for Submissions. Late pieces will still be accepted for a reasonable amount of time, in case you’d like to submit them.

This month, eleven pieces were submitted, ten of which having been written for the carnival specifically, and I really enjoyed reading all of them. In order of submission, they are:

(Those without unique titles having been given short summaries. Also, please tell me if I missed yours! Contact details are still in the Call.)

Unfortunately, I did not get around to writing my own piece for the Carnival because I ended up with generally less free time this month than I had expected to have, and I never quite had enough steam to finish a piece.

It has been my pleasure to host the last Carnival of Aces, but now I must pass on the torch to fellow blogger Dee, at It’s An Ace Thing. The subject is “Relationship Anarchy“. I’m pretty excited about it, myself. While I’m at it, last month’s was on “Asperger’s and Asexuality” hosted by Robin Enby.

Side note: In case any of the above Tumblrs change URL, they have all been reblogged to my own Tumblr with the tag #CoA1016.


A Carnival of Aces: October 2016 Call for Submissions: Joining the Asexual Community

The Carnival of Aces is a monthly event wherein ace bloggers (and all types of authors and artists besides) are invited to talk about a particular asexual-community-related subject, with all posts thus submitted being collated at the end for ease of perusal.
For more information, please refer to the Masterpost.

Last month’s Carnival was hosted by Robin Enby, on Asperger’s and Asexuality. Go check it out!

I am most excited to announce that the October 2016 Carnival of Aces will be hosted here on Yapbnweca, by none other than myself! This is my first time hosting, so let’s hope I don’t do this wrong. The subject for this month is Joining the Asexual Community, which I was somewhat surprised to learn has never come up before in a Carnival.

By that, I mean the events leading up to and immediately following joining (in any sense of the word) ‘the’ asexual community. The focus is on personal “ace origin stories”, but you are invited to take a more general or abstract approach if you wish. Carnivals of Aces are traditionally of wide breadth, so as to capture the most interesting ideas people have, and this is meant not to be an exception.

(The theme for August was Naming It (Hosted by Valprehension), which unfortunately had some overlap in interpretation with this theme, but I think plenty has been left to say for this carnival.)

Possible subjects include, but are not limited to:

  • How did you first learn the meaning of the word “asexual” (or “aromantic” or any other relevant label)? When and why did you first apply that label to yourself? How long did it take?
  • Did you immediately jump into the community or did you privately identify for some time first? Perhaps you joined as an allo ally and later re-identified?
  • Did you first join a local community or an internet one? How do they compare?
  • How did you identify before joining the asexual community? What identities have you taken on since joining? Would you have been exposed to them without already being in the asexual community?
  • What do you wish was different about your joining of the asexual community? What do you wish will be different for aces joining the community in the future?
  • Was the asexual community a welcoming place from the beginning, or did you have to make a space for yourself to be comfortable?
  • October has Asexual Awareness Week, a week specifically set aside every year for aces to try to reach out to others, with goals including addressing asexual invisibility and introducing as-yet-unidentified aces to our vocabulary. How do you feel about it?
  • You may have noticed that I quoted the “the” in “‘the’ asexual community” above. That is because there isn’t really just one community. However, the asexual community is much more centralized than most other queer/LBGTQ+/GSM communities. How has this centralization affected your engagement with it, particularly when you first found it? Do you appreciate the unity and culture, or do you wish it were less monolithic?

And, of course, many others I haven’t thought of. In short, the prompt may be read as:

  • How did you get here?

Pieces may be submitted through commenting on this post, asking my Tumblr, or by emailing me at [killerbee13.0197+coa@gmail.com]. I can post (anonymous or otherwise) guest submissions on my blog, just send me an email.

Edit 10/05/016: I cannot recommend Tumblr asks for submissions because any ask that is determined to be spam (from what I’ve heard, this can happen based on simply including URLs) is silently deleted. Therefore, I recommend emailing or commenting.

The roundup post will go up sometime on or shortly after November 1st, however, submissions will be accepted late for as long as I may receive them.

Exit 22A

So, I’m starting therapy soon, so that’ll be Exciting. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long to get a therapist that’s competent with the various things I would need them to be competent with (the usual; demisexuality/a-spec, bisexuality, autism, etc). I’ve heard bad things from some people about therapists’ handling of those points before, but I’m trying to remain hopeful. The relevant diagnosis is “Anxiety Disorder”, which amazingly only required me to talk to a nurse for 30 minutes over the phone and say that I think I have anxiety (plus explain some of my reasoning and answer a bunch of questions). It’s almost as if the mental health care system trusts in the validity of self-diagnosis! Wouldn’t that be incredible?</sarcasm>

(Oh, and maybe they can also help me with my blood-injury phobia. I suspect that it’ll be highly unpleasant short-term before it gets worthwhile long-term, though.)

Also, I’ve been dealing with fairly bad insomnia lately, and worsened anxiety for no apparent reason, and a general inability to focus on blogging. So that’s why the 30dGQC petered off. (Additionally, the writing of some of the remaining posts, including most of the ones I had already started drafts for, was causing a worsening of the very state of affairs that they were describing. So those ones are going to be further delayed.) I hope to return to that and finish it Soon™.

So apparently WordPress supports out-of-the-box an automatic share-to-tumblr (also other social media I don’t care about) feature, and nobody told me? So there is now a Tumblr specifically dedicated to this blog, so if you don’t care about my memes and such you can follow it instead of my primary one.

30dGQC E23: Answering Questions

This post is for the 30-day Genderqueer challenge. More information is available in the index.

Do you feel comfortable answering questions about your gender to friends? Acquaintances? Strangers?

For the most part, yes. My gender is something I want the people around me to understand; I don’t really see it as private. There are plenty of things about me that I don’t necessarily care if other people really understand or even know about, but gender is definitely not one of them, because people not knowing my gender identity or not understanding its importance is painful.

It rarely occurs that someone I don’t know will actually ask me anything personal, much less a question about gender that’s phrased in such a way that it doesn’t imply any sort of prejudice, but I mean if it happened and I felt safe I’d happily answer it.

Of course, there were a few caveats in that statement. And unfortunately, they were necessary ones. Gender-based prejudices of various kinds run deep in (american) culture, and a few of them directly impact my life and comfort. Whether they are embodied in the statements of the person I am talking to (“Are you a man or a woman?”), or in the attitudes of the potential audience (such as if I were the new friend in a group of people I don’t really know), they have the effect of making me feel less able to live my life in a way that makes me comfortable and happy.

So I guess the answer is that it depends on the specific dynamic involved. It would be great if I could say that I’m agender just as casually as I can say that I didn’t much care for a popular movie, something I could just talk about as it became relevant, but I can’t because people went and ruined it.

30dGQC E22: Orientation and Gender

This post is for the 30-day Genderqueer challenge. More information is available in the index.

What are your sexual and romantic orientations? Are they affected by your gender?

As you doubtless know by now, I am aromantic and demi-bi-sexual. Let’s ignore aromanticism for now, because it’s not so much a gender preference as a lack of anything to be preferenced.

It has been said by at least one person that demisexuals are the only people who really could have an actual gender-identity-based preference, rather than a preference for something that correlates with but is not gender. (I’m currently remembering what was stated in Mara/Elijah’s GQC day 19) I’m not completely in agreement with this sentiment, but I’ll get back to that thought in a different post.

Having acknowledged that it is a potential influence, I will now say that that potential is not realized. I am attracted to people without regard for their gender. (I actually made a spreadsheet to calculate some statistics, because being demi I can explicitly count the number of people I’ve been attracted to, and it turns out that I’ve been attracted to approximately equal numbers of men and women, and while I haven’t been attracted to any nonbinary people, that’s probably because I only know like two of them total. (I should quite possibly work on that.) Of course, those statistics are completely insignificant to a conversation of whether or not I am bisexual, because bisexuality does not need to be “attracted to people with no regard for gender at all”, but this is not that and I feel it is useful to convey the specific subtype of bisexuality that describes me.)

My gender identity is “not having one”, and in fact I cannot even really empathize with other people’s gender identities. Except as a linguistic categorization, other people’s genders just don’t really stick in my mind as important in most cases. There’s a part of me that simply can’t figure out why it’s a big deal, even as other parts of me are in the midst of social dysphoria.

I can’t say exactly how important it is, (because that’s a Hard philosophical problem) but I feel that this does figure into my bisexual identity. The similarities are undeniable.

Starting from a completely different interpretation of the prompt, bisexuality is definitely related to nonbinaryness. There’s a “debate” between certain bi and pan people (mostly, though others have interjected) about nonbinary people that, unfortunately, will probably last for a long time. Summarized, it goes as follows:

Misguided person: Bisexuality means “attracted to both genders”! Therefore, it’s irreparably based on the gender binary!
Actual bi person: Actually, that’s the etymological fallacy, and it’s not a real argument. Furthermore, people have been using “bisexuality” in a nonbinary-inclusive way for decades.
Misguided person (possibly the same one from earlier): But that’s actually pansexuality! Obviously, you don’t know anything about the English language, and therefore I don’t believe anything you have to say.

It’s an incredibly frustrating argument, and it never ends on Tumblr. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misguided people who do define bisexuality as “attracted to both men and women” and it is unfortunately beyond my powers to get them all to see the light of reason.

It is my disagreement with the very basis of this debate that is the main reason I identify as bi and not pan. “Bisexual” is a reclaimed medical term, and the process of reclaiming a word always changes the way it should be defined. Bi people have known that this word isn’t perfect for its entire history, and they use it anyway for the same reason they use the term “queer”: To take it away as a weapon from their oppressors.

At some point, someone defined pansexuality to be what you could call “strict bisexuality”, that is, attraction “regardless” of gender. Some people believe that it should replace the word “bisexual” and I strongly disagree with them.

So, my contribution to this situation is to be a nonbinary bisexual. I happen to fit the definition of “pansexual”, but I don’t use the term for political reasons, because no word exists in a vacuum. I do not like the atmosphere of the word “pansexual”, although others are entirely free to use it, and I instead use the word “bisexual” because it has a richer history and it simply resonates with me more.

Also, as a nonbinary person, I want to say as an aside that I don’t care much more for the “improved” definition of bisexual either: “Attracted to the same and other genders.”

I don’t think that there even can be other people with the “same” gender as me, because I don’t have a gender at all. The “improved” definition is actually possibly worse for me, because it implicitly labels me as heterosexual for attraction solely to people with “other” genders, and if that doesn’t strike you as an obvious flaw then I don’t think that we can be friends. At least the “men and women” does technically still work for me.

The fundamental problem with both of these is the same. The definition for bisexuality is constructed out of the definitions of two other sexualities. The “old” definition combines gynesexuality and androsexuality, while the “improved” version combines homosexuality and heterosexuality.

It is impossible to be nonbinary-inclusive while simply ANDing two binary things, and anyone who thinks otherwise has missed the fundamental point of “nonbinary” as a word.

(Related: Reduction of bisexuality to “basically gay” and “basically straight” based on situation. e.g. “SGA and/or trans” or “straight passing privilege”.)

You might now be asking, “Well, how do you define bisexuality?” and to that I would answer “I don’t, really.”.

People get way too fixated on definitions, and furthermore, expect every word to only have one definition per sense. To such people, I simply request that they find any dictionary (even free online dictionaries), select a word at random, and read the definition(s) provided. It probably looks something like this:


  • n. A sceptic; an unbeliever or atheist.
  • adj. Of no faith or religion.
  • adj. Not trusting to faith for salvation

(from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License)

Even this relatively obscure and single-purpose term is listed with two definitions for the adjective form. Notice, as well, that they are not simply reworded versions of each other, but actually use different concepts.

Why is it such a stretch, then, for words like “bisexual” or “asexual” to have multiple definitions?

If I really needed to come up with a definition of bisexuality as I use the term, I would go with something like the following:


  • n. A bisexual person.
  • adj. Attracted to people of multiple or all genders.
  • adj. Not solely attracted to individuals of a particular gender.
  • adj. Not solely attracted to men, nor solely to women.

Definitions 2 and 3 being the ones that most strongly relate to myself, of course, but 4 is valid nonetheless. (It even still manages to be nonbinary-inclusive while only directly referencing men and women. Funny thing, that.) (Also, yes, obviously two is “multiple”, English isn’t a singlular/dual/many language, we only have singular and plural. That this confuses anybody confuses me.)

(For the record, Wiktionary lists just one relevant definition, of the “men and women” variety, but that’s beside the point at hand.)

A similar method can be applied to literally any identity label, (like asexual, demisexual, or greyromantic.) which I leave as an exercize for the reader.

30dGQC E11: Joining the GSA

This post is for the 30-day Genderqueer challenge. More information is available in the index.

This prompt is replacing #11 from the original version of the GQC.

The last two posts were rather draining, so I’m taking a break from thinking about gender for a little while, which is why this post has almost nothing to do with the subject. It instead gives me an opportunity to talk about a few things that are relevant to me generally but haven’t often come up on the blog before, so that’s always good.

Why did I join the GSA, instead of Feminist Club?

The original form of prompt 11 didn’t speak to me, so I’ve replaced it with this. It’s not really relevant to gender, but the original #11 wasn’t either.

In order to set up the explanation of my state of mind in 10th grade, I’m going to start a little earlier and give a condensed version of my life situation and general relationship to queer identities before then.

My older (but not oldest) sister has long identified as bisexual, though she has no actual involvement with any bi or queer community that I know of. And, actually, I have never heard her utter the word “queer” in her life. But, in any case, I had a sister that was bi and I was aware of how that played out in the family dynamic. That is to say, nobody cared much, it’s simply a fact. (In fact, at least half of the women in my family seem to have some bisexual leanings, though she’s the only one to actually use the term.) So I could be fairly certain that being non-straight wouldn’t be a major issue, at least on the immediate-family-reactions front.

Which was great and all, but I wasn’t bi, and nor, for that matter, was I gay. By process of elimination, I was straight, and had no particular reason to have strong feelings about the movement, at least not any more than the many other things I theoretically supported but which didn’t often matter to me personally. I would say that the social movement that most occupied my attention during these years was the atheist movement, which would make sense, because I actually identified as an atheist.

When I moved to my current city, a couple months into my 9th grade year, my IEP (a disability thing used in American public schools in at least some states) was reviewed and one of my 7 meaningful class periods (and one of the 2 elective credits) was coöpted and I was placed in “Communication I”, an undescriptively-named “class” in which students with learning disabilities could receive one-on-one assistance from a specially-trained teacher. For me, it was essentially a study hall (not that I ever studied therein), because my brand of autism didn’t benefit much from that kind of thing. Though the teacher didn’t often talk about it, I did learn that he hosted the GSA and had for some years. (This teacher, by the way, is directly implicated in my inclusion of “I am a noncompetitive person” in Why I Am Queer, but that is a story for another time.)

We have thus arrived at the first reason: I heard about the GSA long before I heard about the Feminist Club.

I didn’t join the GSA, or, for that matter, the LAN Games, Programming, or Strategy Games clubs, (which three were hosted by one of my favorite teachers, with whom I had no classes at the time) mostly because as a freshman I was quite apathetic about some aspects of school, a state of mind I had carried over from middle school. As a sophomore, I decided to join the former three clubs, because the lattermost met on the same day as GSA.

Considering how high school clubs work, I would have been aware at that time of the Feminist club (I mean, I was aware of the Young Republican’s Club and I definitely knew absolutely nobody in that one, so I clearly read the entire list), which looking back now seems like a more obvious choice. I didn’t have very many queer friends then (though I was definitely friends with at least one trans person at that time), either, though that kind of thing is hard to determine exactly from memory.

Maybe the clues that I wasn’t straight had added up enough to push me towards the idea of queerness. It was only a few months after clubs started that I started identifying as asexual, so the seeds were likely already in my mind.

It was the friends I made in the GSA that eventually led me to register a Tumblr account, which then became my primary way of interacting with other asexuals online, so it was definitely a decision that has impacted my life. For the better, I think.

30dGQC E15: External Gendering

This post is for the 30-day Genderqueer challenge. More information is available in the index.

How do you deal with gendered things? Clothes shopping, bathrooms, forms, etc.

With avoidance, in most cases. Although, not entirely for the same reasons.

I don’t like clothes shopping because I don’t like shopping, mostly, but clothes shopping is definitely one of the worse varieties of it. I don’t really like clothing in many ways, on many levels, and for many reasons, and basically the more I have to think about it the less happy I am. Fashion is incredibly tiresome to me, and the less that can be said about my clothing, the better. Tan slacks and print tees make up most of my wardrobe, and I wear work boots because they last a long time and are actually pretty comfortable with a decent insole. Continuing the theme from my hair, I prefer my external appearance to be completely unremarkable in basically every way, and my primary goal is for it to be as un-inconvenient as possible.

Shockingly, it’s very difficult to actually find clothes that fit that description in most stores, which makes clothes shopping a huge hassle for me, on top of just not being very rewarding in the first place. (Also, my pants size is almost unheard of.) Also, pretty much universally, I’m not the only one doing the shopping and standing aimlessly while someone else looks for clothing is painfully boring.

(In very limited circumstances, I can enjoy clothing more, for instance, I rather like SCA garb and the showing off thereof, and I like to wear certain simple jewelry like necklaces and an ace ring, which have no other purpose than to be ornaments. However, these exceptions are small and rather situational.)

So basically I hate clothes shopping with a passion for reasons that largely don’t internally seem relevant to my gender identity. This is becoming quite the theme, isn’t it?

Regarding bathrooms, I actually avoid public restrooms as much as possible. Multi-occupant restrooms especially. I don’t care at all about the signage: the fact that the room is designated as the “men’s restroom” doesn’t bother me at all; it’s just that I am extremely uncomfortable with not being the sole occupant of a restroom. I guess that’s considered a neurosis, but whatever. The only real issues I have with single-occupant restrooms regard hygiene, but those are pretty typical so I won’t go into them.

The common theme here is that shopping in the men’s section and using the men’s restroom don’t feel to me like “declarations” of gender, and so don’t bother me. It’s not as if I’d prefer any of the other choices, after all.

Regarding forms, however, the situation is different. Checking the “M” box on a form absolutely is a declaration of gender, and it feels wrong. I prefer to choose “not specified/prefer not to say” when available, but it isn’t always. (And it’s very rare (except in specifically-gender-related surveys) for nonbinary options to be available, so for the purposes of this post it might as well never happen at all.)

Declaring myself to be male feels like a lie, more than it triggers any unique form of dysphoria, because I’m not a man, despite what various institutions have to say. It actually is a lie, but it’s because I have no other choice, and that is the fault of the maker of the form and the rules and regulations that they have to follow. Lying is something that almost everybody does sometimes without it necessarily being a big deal, but that’s a whole different matter from not even being able to tell the truth.

It’s basically the textual equivalent to someone asking you a question, and when you say “well,” cutting you off abruptly, and then continuing on as if you’d answered how they expected you to. Oh, and it happens with almost everybody, not just that one jerk, and barely anyone even realizes that it’s happening or why it matters. Often, especially in person, people don’t even bother with the formality of asking at all, because the answer is “obvious”. After a while, you are forced to conclude that nobody cares about what you have to say anyway, and you close yourself off.

I guess that kind of ended up becoming a description of social gender dysphoria for me in general. Funny how that happens.

30dGQC E13: Familial Reaction

This post is for the 30-day Genderqueer challenge. More information is available in the index.

How has your family taken it or how might they take it?

When I first posted My Gender Identity (Or Lack Thereof), I had my sisters and my mom read it, and they all seemed pretty accepting. (I skipped my dad because he had reacted somewhat poorly to me coming out as asexual) They treated it like it wasn’t a big deal that I was nonbinary/agender and I appreciated that at the time.

The problem was that they barely treated it like a “deal” at all. They seem to’ve completely forgotten it, except probably for my mom, and I just haven’t been able to work up the energy to disagree with them. Since it had so little effect the first time, why even bother now?

I will eventually try to bring them around, since it does hurt that my own family gets such an important detail about me wrong, but I don’t know when. It won’t be for a little while at least.

30dGQC E12: The Word “Transgender”

This post is for the 30-day Genderqueer challenge. More information is available in the index.

Discuss your relationship with the term transgender

This one has actually come up many times before in my blogging, but since the answer is always in flux each time it gives me a chance to write something different.

As of now, the answer is: It depends on context. Do I consider myself transgender? Yes. Would I call myself “transgender” if you asked me about my gender? Probably not.

The thing is that this kind of vague identities (like trans or queer) are strange. They’re more connotation than denotation, so you end up with all sorts of issues where you can technically fit in a group under every commonly-used definition but yet still feel like you’re not actually in that group practically. Or, you can not[1] really fit in under the common definitions but yet still feel very much a part of a group.

Denotations are the stuff of definitions. Connotations are the stuff of “That word sounds ugly” (well, actually, that’s phonotactics, not connotation, not that it really matters) and “I only ever heard that word used derogatorily by my (sex|rac)ist grandparent” and “This term was actually created for use in conversion therapy and still reminds a lot of people of that”.

And, regarding this particular discussion, “trans” has connotations of “people who were identified as one gender but have dysphoria because they are actually the ‘other’ gender and want to transition and have surgery”. Basically, there’s an implicit “binary” before most uses of “trans”. That’s not me. My gender may not match the one assigned to me at (approximately) time of birth, but since I’m not binary, I’m not what most people are talking about when they talk about trans people.

(The connotations of “queer” (in my social context, YMMV), by the way, are rather better. It’s basically referring to people who are not “normal”, which is wonderfully broad but gets exactly at a real distinction. Whatever my sexuality and gender may be specifically, they are definitely not “normal”, i.e. both cisgender and straight. However, I don’t actually use “queer” to identify myself very often either because it’s a bit too broad. I only really use it politically.)

I consider my status as a trans person to be important to me, but I feel that I can more effectively put myself in the correct category in other people’s heads by just jumping straight to the terms “agender” and “nonbinary” and not bothering with trans at all (at least until later). And since that’s half of the point of identity labels, I don’t use “transgender” for that half of the time.

I do wish I could use the term “trans” more often than I do, but I can’t just go and change connotations like that.

(Let’s pretend that this last hiccup was because the end of the month falls on an odd day. That sounds good.)

  1. I once saw a grammar guide that claimed that “can not” should always be contracted to either “cannot” (formally) or “can’t” (informally) and I just want to point out that that is completely wrong and I am made upset by the very existence of that document. “can not” can only be reasonably contracted if the “not” is actually bound to the “can”, but in many cases it’s bound to a following verb instead, such as here, where it’s actually “can {not…fit}”. In cases where it can be contracted, though, it is probably good to suggest that it always be contracted. (The only reason this footnote even exists is because I have a very long memory for things I want to disprove about language. I saw that document months if not years ago, but it’s taken until now for me to actually write something in a semi-formal situation which bound a “not” to a verb that wasn’t “can” but nonetheless juxtaposed them, and for me to actually remember that when I wrote it, so I just had to point it out.)