Text 22 Sep 57 notes

mouseborg:

Several days ago I received this email from my school counsellor.

image

I wrote a short reply saying that I was delighted to hear there was an LGBT group forming, but couldn’t help but notice that the asexual flag was missing.

This was the reply:

image

I am completely baffled, and rather upset by this response. Here I was thinking it was a simple oversight and instead I get “Oh, sorry, I left your flag out on purpose.”

I am posting this so that swankivy can give me her professional opinion on this matter. What the heck is he trying to say? And how should I respond?

I think it’s anybody’s right to create a group for including whatever marginalized groups they want to, and if for some reason they deliberately want to leave asexual people out of it while including lesbian people, gay people, bisexual people, and trans people, that’s their business. I think it’s misguided, though, to imagine that those four specific groups have things in common that asexual people can’t or don’t, especially since a lot of the reasons they give for not wanting us there would “disqualify” some of their own currently included members.

Here’s the thing. People need safe space, and if they want it to be created for only people who are experiencing marginalization for the exact same reasons they are, they might be saying they count those of us who are not LGB or trans as pretty much the same as cisstraight people, even though we’re not heterosexual. Even if it’s based on a misconception, and even if they believe OUR problems that come from a heteronormative root just aren’t as important/severe/visible as theirs, they can sometimes feel that aromantic and heteroromantic asexual people are the same as heterosexual people in ways that are important to them, even if they are sometimes wrong about that. I get that, though I think it’s misguided to suggest asexual people are individually so much more like heterosexual people—and so much more likely to behave problematically in these spaces—that they should be categorically excluded.

In practice, non-LGBT asexual people generally don’t need to be excluded for others’ protection, any more than cis white gay men (often the “faces” of LGBT movements) are categorically kicked out of these groups even if they do most of the talking and dominate the discussion. Individuals can be taken aside and reeducated if they do behave problematically, and that includes us. They may think asexual people with no LGBT identities receive straight privileges (and sometimes, they’re right), and while we’re not the only non-heterosexual identity that sometimes benefits from straight privilege mistakenly, some of us could not and would not experience homophobia or transphobia. Some people who go to those groups are uncomfortable with those who haven’t been through those experiences. And some insist that we can’t experience a phobia against our orientation even when we do, or say it’s not the same, or don’t seem to care that not all LGBT people experience the same levels of harassment, or seem to think the ONLY legitimate reason to go to these clubs is as a reaction to oppression. The response above citing lack of identical “struggles” suggests the author of the letter believes these clubs are primarily about those struggles, or at least that a queer identity is determined by level and type of suffering. I don’t think most queer folks actually think queerness is ABOUT being hated, so I think it’s likely that people will be able to see celebration, resource creation, and support of marginalized identities as good reasons to have a club.

I think anything as diverse as an “LGBT” club would benefit from acknowledging and welcoming asexual people. Just yesterday I saw a lesbian demanding that asexual people “just stop it!” in the comments of an Equality California Facebook post that acknowledged asexuality, saying she just didn’t understand why every “new” identity had to be absorbed by and supported by the LGBT community even though the “original cause” has not been “won” yet. “GET YOUR OWN BANNER,” she wrote, and then claimed only the “L” is important to her anyway because that is the only one she considers “her community.”

Well, we HAVE “gotten our own.” We have our own blogs and networks; we’ve had our own conferences; we have our own organizations and discussions and A FLAG. But when you talk about an umbrella, you’re acknowledging that these separate groups can do more together than they can apart; that they have enough in common that they are uniquely equipped to understand one another; and that they are natural allies despite their differences. We HAVE our own, and allying with/supporting/being included in LGBT efforts is part of a LARGER community effort. So my thought is that we are strengthened, not weakened or diluted, by accepting and supporting more people whose gender and/or sexuality is poorly understood, shamed, attacked, legislated against, and erased and who move through the world differently because of their sexual and gender identities.

I don’t think it’s “right” by any means for a broad group made for broad gender/sexuality issues to deliberately exclude us, as if asexual people cannot have anything relevant to gain or give just by virtue of our asexual identity, and I think it would be wrong for them to tell us the only way we can belong is as allies. And I think it’s wrong the way we’re so often sorted into the heterosexual box by people who don’t understand that heterosexual people don’t want us either. So in a case like this, where someone has essentially said “I don’t think you have enough in common with the L, G, B, or T identities to belong here by virtue of your A,” I would try attending the meeting and asking the person who’s actually in charge of making that decision (since this person seems to be deflecting), and don’t phrase it as a demand. I’d probably just ask if asexual people are welcome and offer to give them some resources in understanding what similar experiences asexual people have. Demanding inclusion would only make us look like the entitled jerks some of them have made up their minds that we are (without speaking to us), and if we’re really supportive of their efforts, we’ll continue to support even if they are reluctant to accept us. And in my experience in queer and LGBT communities, I’ve been warmly received despite not being LGB or T; in person everyone’s been very kind and quite open-minded about realizing how much we have in common.

I also find it odd that this person wants to single out asexual people for exclusion on basis of “parallel but not identical” struggles. That kind of argument is what has “justified” LGB groups from not supporting trans inclusion (and that still happens), and the perception that we can be read as heterosexual—through lack of explicit disclosure or relationships with different-gender or perceived-to-be-different-gender partners—has also been applied to bisexual people to erase them in these spaces. Who in an LGBT group really has an “identical” struggle? So while I understand that these exclusions are ostensibly for purposes of keeping spaces safe and that we need to respect that if we’re not explicitly L, G, B, or T, it IS mostly misconception that leads to asexual exclusion, and the best we can do is continue to educate generally and offer to educate leaders individually if we are invited.

Should the gatekeepers be hostile or unwilling to accept asexual membership, I’d say it’s time to request an asexual spectrum group, and then lead by example by being willing to include anyone who has a reason to be there as long as it doesn’t make your core members uncomfortable. The direction we’re moving in suggests the overall queer movement is mostly accepting and interested in learning about us, supporting us, and letting us support them, but stuff like this doesn’t happen all at once. Feel them out if you’re willing, but if it’s not our time yet, I’m thinking it won’t be long, and we just have to be respectful of how their spaces are defined while demonstrating the inclusive attitudes we’d like to see everywhere.

Video 22 Sep 19 notes

Here’s the video of when I was on the Australian TV program Weekend Sunrise.

Link here for anyone who can’t use the embed or doesn’t want to watch in Tumblr.

Video 21 Sep 14 notes

Letters to an Asexual #21 is here. Captions can be activated.

This one is about a man who sent me a marriage proposal under the impression that he would “turn” me to being sexually and romantically attracted to him, but believed I’d be the perfect wife because those sexual attractions wouldn’t turn on for anyone else and I’d never cheat on him.

He then went on to inform me that he knew I would be dating soon and that when this comes to pass, I would crawl back to him and beg for him to take me back since he’s been so right all along.

His letters are mind-blowing. Seriously. Enjoy!

Text 21 Sep 10 notes

goofballindustries said: What news program were you on?! I was working this morning and missed it. Also where can I buy your book? Cause I wanna buy it.

inevitablyhunter:

swankivy:

I was on an Australian television program called Weekend Sunrise. I haven’t found a video yet but they have a discussion going on their Facebook page.

Thanks for the interest in the book. Here are all the purchase links, so you can pick the most appropriate one.

Purchase

Was just reading through the facebook comments and… wow, it’s all so more accepting than I’m use to. I mean, of course, there is a lot of misguided ideas, nevertheless, like asexual=celibacy, and the usual ideas going on like, “more and more women are turning asexual because of how awful men are” or something, but, overall, it’s mostly, “Good on her!!” and comments on how much courage it takes to be truthful like this, etc! This is kind of amazing…. I usually don’t read the comment sections to things in relation to Asexuality, but I’m glad I did this time, wow.

Also, if you notice the video, please upload it! I’d love to watch!

Yes, I mentioned that in a previous post, noticing the “good on her!” stuff. The ones that make me the saddest are the whole “OH GOD THESE KIDS AND THEIR LABELS” ones and the “STUPID WOMAN WANTS ATTENTION” comment I kept seeing. It’s kinda baffling to me how many people are upset that we “want attention” about this. Yeah, because things were pretty awful for us when we had no awareness at all and people were being told by their partners AND all of society that their feelings were not valid and they were going to have to accept that they were broken or unworthy.

Know what fixes that? Attention.

Text 21 Sep 10 notes

goofballindustries said: What news program were you on?! I was working this morning and missed it. Also where can I buy your book? Cause I wanna buy it.

I was on an Australian television program called Weekend Sunrise. I haven’t found a video yet but they have a discussion going on their Facebook page.

Thanks for the interest in the book. Here are all the purchase links, so you can pick the most appropriate one.

Purchase

Text 20 Sep 137 notes

captainkirkk:

swankivy:

captainkirkk:

did I mention that asexuality was discussed on australian news this morning, and wasn’t mocked or ridiculed but generally discussed with an actual asexual person

Yep that was me. Sorry everyone, I’m spamming up the TV.

Guess what? Before I went on, the guy asked me if it was okay if he asked about masturbation and I got to give him instructions on how to ask about it respectfully! (As in, present it generally rather than doing the usual DO U HAVE SEX WITH URSELF LOL???)

Ohmygosh. I would just like to say thank you so much for that, I have a friend who’s struggling with her asexuality (mainly because she doesn’t think it exists and she’s somehow ‘wrong’), and I’m so happy you’re helping spread understanding. Thank you.

No prob! I hope my book is gonna help people too—and I have an Australian friend who was trying to get libraries to order it in.

I happened to be on the asexual tag (I almost never am) and just happened to see your post and I was like “oh, someone saw that.” LOL

Text 20 Sep 137 notes

whimsyandmayhem:

swankivy:

captainkirkk:

did I mention that asexuality was discussed on australian news this morning, and wasn’t mocked or ridiculed but generally discussed with an actual asexual person

Yep that was me. Sorry everyone, I’m spamming up the TV.

Guess what? Before I went on, the guy asked me if it was okay if he asked about masturbation and I got to give him instructions on how to ask about it respectfully! (As in, present it generally rather than doing the usual DO U HAVE SEX WITH URSELF LOL???)

O: Is it on youtube so non-Australian ace people can watch it?

Not yet, it happened only like a few hours ago as of this writing.

I’ll share it when it gets posted on their site. It was on Weekend Sunrise but it’s not there yet.

I have now done live TV in two countries and neither were my own. :D

Text 20 Sep 137 notes

captainkirkk:

did I mention that asexuality was discussed on australian news this morning, and wasn’t mocked or ridiculed but generally discussed with an actual asexual person

Yep that was me. Sorry everyone, I’m spamming up the TV.

Guess what? Before I went on, the guy asked me if it was okay if he asked about masturbation and I got to give him instructions on how to ask about it respectfully! (As in, present it generally rather than doing the usual DO U HAVE SEX WITH URSELF LOL???)

Text 17 Sep 70 notes I love the smell of asexual invalidation in the morning

snailchimera:

I think my “favorite” thing about this is the vaguely professional tone of the first email, and the note that she’s writing from Washington.


THE GOVERNMENT WOULD LIKE TO INFORM YOU THAT YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO EXIST. Please report for reconditioning within 10 days.

This is her M.O. She has apparently been doing it for a very long time.

She did it when she tried to invalidate the gay guys:

You’ve Got (Hate) Mail

She’s referred to by these guys as ~

Sharon Kass, a prolific letter writer, ex-gay activist, faux intellectual, and LGBT equality enemy based in Silver Spring, MD and DC.

The gay activist she targeted said something very similar to what you said here: “It’s sweet how she started it with “Dear Prof. Niedwiecki”, then jumped into how we will be eradicated, isn’t it?”

(Source: swankivy)

Text 17 Sep 70 notes I love the smell of asexual invalidation in the morning

Woke up to a personal e-mail today.

Subj: To Julie Sondra Decker from Sharon Kass

Ms. Decker:  Please see a psychodynamic psychotherapist.  You need help. It’s not normal to not have sexual feelings.

—Sharon Kass
Washington, D.C.

So this ass-mouth read my Salon article, deliberately looked up my personal e-mail, and took it upon herself to send me “so … fix yourself, broken person” e-mail. Wow, because it’s not crystal clear in the article she’s responding to that people tell me this bullshit all the time?

I figured if she puts trust in psychotherapists, she’d listen if I went the psychotherapy-related route in showing her that many mental health practitioners acknowledge asexuality as a “legitimate” orientation, as per the DSM. I sent her this:

Wow, sexual invalidation by e-mail. This hasn’t happened to me in a while.

Mind your own business.

And please educate yourself on asexuality’s legitimacy. It’s mentioned twice in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—as an EXCEPTION. (As in—asexuality isn’t a mental illness.) I’ll trust that you can do the bare minimum of research to dig up the sexuality studies that have occurred over the last twenty years and before that have led up to actual sexuality professionals acknowledging the orientation instead of invalidating it.

As of now, you sound EXACTLY like how people talked about homosexuality fifty years ago. Get with the program before dropping ignorant “advice” on people.

My first mistake—besides responding to this jackass—was in assuming she wasn’t a homophobe. Sometimes people actually reconsider when they realize homosexuality was legitimately considered a disorder not that long ago and maybe they need to get their heads out of their asses. But guess what? She IS a homophobe.

I looked her up after that exchange and the very first hit was an article from freaking 2010 describing how a gay man and his husband were in some kind of media thing and received a hateful message from this same woman; she tracked down the author’s husband’s work e-mail and spammed him with hateful gay-conversion propaganda. This woman has been at this for YEARS.

I tweeted about her. Two people from the mental health profession immediately responded:

@beckyalbertelli
OMG. Okay, I AM a psychodynamic psychotherapist, and that email is beyond bullshit. I know you know that, but had to chime in.

@Dannie_Morin
not for nothing but I’m a licensed therapist with 14 years in the field and the emailer is full of crap. Lol

One of them later opined that anyone pushing this kind of stuff would lose their license.

But the persistent jerk was not done, and she e-mailed me again.

Subj: Both APAs are corrupt—loony Leftist values

The truth is emerging.  You’ve been lied to by the “expert” class.

But … but … but … you told me I needed to go to a professional in this industry to fix me. Which is it? I’m “loony” and need a psychotherapist, or all the psychotherapists are “loony” by definition if they say I’m fine?

I replied:

You’re adorable.

I looked you up online and saw immediately that you’ve been harassing people for years about their sexual orientations, so your nonsense means nothing to me. Though it’s comforting that you’re angry with and threatened by a whole spectrum of people, not just targeting one person based on your own prejudices and misconceptions.

I tweeted about how hilarious you are and two therapists (one of whom was specifically a psychodynamic psychotherapist) invalidated you. One said people who profess what you do would lose their license.

Believe what you must, but goodness, what a life.

She came back immediately, of course.

Subj: You’re setting yourself up for such heartache

Such heartache.

… I just don’t even know what to say to people who insist that I’LL BE SAD SOMEDAY AND AM PROBABLY SAD NOW after I’ve published an entire article about how the only thing that consistently brings me down is assholes obsessing over changing me.

Well, apparently I do know what to say to such people.

Again, if that’s what you NEED to believe about people who are different from you so you can sleep at night, be my guest.

You’re the one scouting out people who are quite happy with themselves on the Internet and trying to convince them they’re fundamentally flawed. Your obsession with other people finding happiness your way and your way only sounds way more like “heartache” to me. If only you were able to realize that actually the adults of the world frequently have very diverse ways of finding fulfillment and that you are not the authority on whose happiness is real.

It really is an obsession you have here, and I think you probably need to talk to someone about it. Live your own life and leave other people alone unless they ask you. It’s really unattractive and kind of disgusting that
you condescendingly recommend psychotherapy to people who are happy, fulfilled, and achieving what some others only dream of. I do feel very sad for you that this is how you have chosen to spend your time—and I feel sad for the vulnerable people who have been exploited by your pointless hatred.

I don’t say “get a life” often, but get a life.

Her zinger of a final thought:

Subj: The human capacity for self-deception is huge

The truth will prevail.

Sure. “The truth” certainly will! “Gay” will be conquered and they’ll all become straight, “transgenderism” will be revealed as a dangerous delusion, asexual people will laugh at how silly we’re being, and we will all come to your warped version of Jesus.

I’m definitely convinced that I’m wrong because you said it’s TRUE and will happen.

Who am I to take her smarmy self-satisfaction away from her if the only thing she can think to do is tell people they’re wrong on the Internet?

Never fails. Every single time I get something published, I get harassed by assholes.


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