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I wrote to PittsburghpPride.org and asked them whether Asexuals have a place in their parade. Their response:

"Hi Chanel
We welcome anyone and everyone to participate in the Pride March. Pittsburg Pride is a time to celebrate who you are. I truly hope that you will join us!
Chris"

i think people mentioned in the other thread that some groups are going to be open to asexuals with straight and cis privilege, and some aren't. i'm not even really against them marching in pride with permission from the organizers (although that doesn't mean everyone will be, lgbtqi people aren't a monolith) but i understand why some disagree.

but what bothered me was the entitlement that people with straight and cis privilege, even those with a different minority sexuality, expressed towards lgbtqi spaces. some spaces are open to allies, some spaces are open to asexuals with straight and cis privilege, and some are going to be lgbqti only because we need those safe spaces as a break from straight and cis people. i've experienced this offline personally with straight asexual people assuming they're always welcome in safe spaces, and that's caused problems because they bring straight privilege in with them. things got a little heated, but i think some of it is a reaction to that.

anyway, you've gotten an answer from the pride committee, so how to proceed is up to you guys.

I totally agree with you in nearly every respect Melonary. The question about whether Asexuals are queer is obviously a much more controversial one then I'd ever imagined. I do believe that every one is entitled to have their own safe places. I suppose I feel like this forum is a part of my own safe space, which is why I was more vocal than usual.

Anyway, despite being involved in this debate, I feel a bit hypocritical because I won't be attending the Parade in any case, due to distance.

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That's the danger--that people who are privileged will talk over and erase and basically make UN-safe the spaces that are for these minority sexualities and gender identities. These kinds of things really need to be dealt with individually, though, because sometimes a heteroromantic asexual and/or a cis asexual will be a jackass who doesn't see/exploits their privilege, and sometimes they will not. Same as white queer people tend to talk over the queer people of color (but because of lack of numbers and other intersectionality-related reasons, there are rarely "queer people of color" safe spaces that white people aren't allowed in).

I think a better solution than excluding all cis/heteromantic asexuals as a monolith/as a rule would be dealing with ANY problematic person individually. That said, you can't tell people how to feel, and if there are LGBT people present in that group who feel threatened or not free to speak because of the presence of someone THEY feel is straight and/or cis (regardless of how that asexual person might identify), no one can tell them "you are the one who should have to tolerate it."

It does walk a scary line, though, because that's the exact same argument that has some gay folks wanting to exclude bi people who might be in a relationship with/married to a cross-sex partner and are therefore perceived as never getting attacked for their relationships, or has some gay folks wanting to exclude trans* people who are in straight relationships if they live a life in which they are rarely or never interpreted to be trans*, or has some gay folks wanting to exclude non-binary-gender people and genderqueer/gender fluid people because they don't think the misgendering and dysphoria these people go through is queer enough. We do have to be respectful of ANY community we'd like access to--asexuals and non-asexuals alike, I mean--but I think the people saying we don't belong if THEY would call us straight or cis might need to consider that they aren't in charge of others' identity and the aren't the gatekeepers on who is objectively defined as straight or cis. "Straight/cis people make me uncomfortable" is a legitimate reason to exclude them from a safe space. "And I get to say who is straight/cis" is not a natural extension of that.

Hey, thank you for being a great mod! (Seriously, you're so fast! I know comms where this might have gone on for days.)

I'm sincerely sorry for having been (involuntarily, I can assure you!) been the cause of some of the nastier comments in the last post. :(

Thanks. I'm not weighing in on those other threads, but it is kind of peculiar to me that "how dare you invade OUR spaces" is the main takeaway message of some of the comments--combined with "go get your own spaces!"--and yet . . . this is happening in one of our spaces. Even if we do get our own spaces, people still come into them to engage with us (and not always in a nice way), so I have a hard time feeling that the call for respect is sincerely meant if people claiming "you make our space unsafe!" don't mean to respect ours.

Sometimes there's overlap. The initial commenter who took issue with the first post, iirc, said they themselves were exploring an asexual identity and was actively discussing the issue before it was reposted anywhere, while I myself (tho I'm straight) have been a member here for several years. Sure, other posters from elsewhere chimed in afterward, but it is not as if ~outsiders started the debate, nor were they the only ones being incredibly disrespectful.

Oh, of course there's overlap. But what I'm saying is that if there's a "you don't belong in the pride parade or in our spaces" dialogue going on in order to justify "get out of our space and get your own," it seems odd that that would go down in one of the few places we DO have our own "for asexuals" space (which non-asexual people who were not entering the space to ally with us came uninvited). In short, if "you're only welcome if you're coming as allies and playing by our rules" is some of these folks' point, it's a little ironic that they've said so in a place they are not coming as allies and not playing by our rules. (I didn't say anything about who started the debate and did not suggest only one group/person was being disrespectful.)

I wanted to say this, but I didn't want to spark more debate. I guess that worked, didn't it...

"go get your own spaces!"

The entire point of my open letter was that we do not have any of our own spaces yet. We have two main forums, and if we venture outside we are very quickly and hostilely herded back in.

I just don't understand why we can't put all of this aside and say "we're here, we are human, let's have some cake!" and join in a big happy family of humans being respectful to other humans (which includes respecting their choices).

Seriously.

Also, batshua, thank you for posting this. It seems that even when I try to apologise people want to stir up trouble.

"humans being respectful to other humans"

To me, that's what it's all about. Being respectful, and demanding (reasonably, I believe) respect in return.

I think it's totally practical for us to have our own spaces to discuss, as well as to be included in other spaces (even if they have nothing to do with sexuality), but it absolutely is true that EVERY gender and sexuality/romantic minority has certain things in common when it comes to the attitudes and pushback we get from the cishet/cisrom world, and I do think there's room for us under a broad umbrella. I don't think we're asking for a share of limited resources if we say "hey, let's see how our communities can ally," and I don't think we're unreasonable for pointing out that some of us are in both communities, and I don't think anyone should be playing the gatekeeper of how much oppression you've either personally experienced or COULD possibly experience in order to be allowed to belong somewhere. I don't think queerness is defined by oppression, though of course oppression usually accompanies it. The most important question for some people seems to be surrounding whether people they personally do not perceive as queer are threatening their feelings of safety in their own spaces, and it's okay if they feel like people who haven't had their experiences are likely to talk over them or subject them to hurtful attitudes. It does happen and I understand why they feel like they should get to define whether asexuality is queer enough to be included. I'm just kind of tired of the whole "you disgusting creature, how DARE you think you deserve support, how DARE you act like your problems exist when my problems are worse" attitude. Most queer people are fighting shame with pride. Asexual people are fighting invisibility with visibility. It IS different, but shame and invisibility do happen to both groups in different ways, and a lot of the times we do point out how heterocentrist attitudes damage non-LGBT aces, people say "nope, that isn't happening" (invisibility) or "nope, that's not because you're asexual, it's because you're [some other group] because no one reacts poorly to asexuality" (derailing) or "nope, that's not actually hurting you (at last not badly enough that I care)" (minimizing others' experiences). I'm not really one to go for the whole "hey let's all get along!" mentality because I know it's not that easy, but I really think we CAN in most ways, and lots of groups that refer to themselves under the queer umbrella are inclusive of asexual people. Every one of my LGBT friends is supportive of asexuality and doesn't think our existence shames or threatens or appropriates theirs, but then, my straight friends are supportive too. :)

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Thank you for addressing this. :)

Thank you for being a good mod, batshua.

Excellent musical selection, too.

I HEART BATSHUA LIKE WHOA.

Thank you! And I apologize if my minute-ago post in the previous thread overstepped any bounds! I did try to keep it polite but I missed that you'd called a moratorium. I hope I haven't caused any problems.

About the best move I ever made was appoint batshua as mod all those years ago.

I feel your pain, Batshua.

*looks back at some of the silliness that happens in his own forum*

Thank you for this. <3

Damn, I tried reading the offending post(s) and I think my brain wanted to implode upon itself 3 comments in. (-_-)?

Thank you for bringing the hammer down batshua! ♥

I'm a bad vulture. I tried to engage in some reasonable debate. That went sooooo Tumblr... I apologize for mod headaches that may have resulted from that.

i posted this in the other thread as well, but:

i don't really want to get involved further in this because it's upsetting, but i just wanted to say that your comments are full of straight privilege and have been hurting me and i'd like to request that you take a minute to step back and think about what people are saying to you? this should be a space for lgbtq asexuals as well and it should be a space without homophobia and transphobia.

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