For the asexually curious and the curiously asexual

Archive for August, 2012

On AVEN

Protesting AVEN? Wishing something would change? Wishing there was SOMETHING you could do?

A lot of my posts tend to be addressed to the tumblr ace community nowadays, and tend to end up there as well. So I’m going to speak directly to the tumblrite somewhere down the line, maybe one who follows ‘I Can’t AVEN.’ Maybe one who submits posts to ‘I Can’t AVEN,’ or who reblogs ‘I Can’t AVEN,’ or who spends increasing proportions of their day worried about how AVEN shouldn’t be the community that represents all asexuals.

Fucking follow through.

Do you know who’s not going to stop AVEN from being the primary asexual community? AVEN. Obvs. As long as there’s a single forum with an irreparable history of dodgy moderation as the centrepiece of our community, there will always be problems. Hello, welcome to the internet. As long as there’s a single forum which attempts to do 101 for aces, 101 for allos, media visibility and 201 all in one space, there will always be problems. Petitioning to AVEN will do no good, grumbling about AVEN accomplishes nothing.

The good thing is, there’s really fucking easy ways to take what you’re feeling and turn it into something positive for the asexual community. Something which the tumblrites and the AVENites and even, you know, asexuals who don’t particularly have asexual online identities, can benefit from. Something which weakens the hold of AVEN as a single source of asexuality AT THE SAME TIME as strengthening the community resources we have. A good plan isn’t one where somebody wins. It’s one where nobody loses.

So if you’ve looked at the whole situation and felt despair, and felt like there’s nothing you can do to change it, you’re the underdog fighting some great system that won’t even acknowledge that you’re there? Here’s what you can do:

Help out with asexual awareness week. Or, if you have no time, donate. Asexual awareness week is simply the best alternative hub we have. And that’s what we’ve really NEEDED AVEN for, for the Project Team and the Media Team, who do an amazing and under-appreciated job. But if you want to do that job somewhere else, or support someone who’s doing that job somewhere else, go to AAW and ask what you can do. Remove the officialness from AVEN and it becomes just another forum.

Frequent the Asexual Agenda. As a group, it leans heavily towards the same perspectives as the tumblr community, often drawing the tumblr discussions into a more permanent space. I reckon it’ll do a very good job of being a safe space to talk about intersectional stuff. And it creates a community of asexual thought that is thorough and safe (unlike AVEN) and accessible to anyone and permanent (unlike tumblr). We NEED this resource. And, if you’re blogging about AVEN on tumblr, the chances are that being a commentor on AA won’t even feel like work. If you want to help out a little more, they’ve indicated they’d be happy to accept guest posts, and they have regular blog carnivals. This month’s is on age and ageism. Deadline Friday.

Do offline stuff. Try to find out what LGBTQ stuff goes on in your area (especially, especially, if you’re a student), and turn up even if they don’t explicitly say anything about asexuality. They’ll more than likely welcome you, especially if you’re non-confrontational at first and they get to know you as a person first and an asexual second. This is a really important thing because LGBTQ groups are in a fantastic position for offline activism. Read more advice.

Also, because LGBTQ spaces are a fantastic place for aces to meet. Those people I know who’ve met aces IRL without planning did it almost exclusively by going to LGBTQ hangouts. And then you can organise asexual meetups. And when you’ve secured an LGBTQ meetup as ace-friendly, or you’ve created a new tiny ace meetup, tell us about it.

In fact, that map needs a hell of a lot of promotion. Because the other big thing AVEN does is allow aces to do offline stuff, and that’s a market that’s going to have a massive growth in the next few years. We’re just starting to get the numbers now that a meetup every month in every second city is looking feasible, and the resource that gives people best access to that? That’s the resource that wins. If that’s AVEN, that means people who don’t like AVEN, whether because of its policies or just because they’re not really forum people, don’t get access to this resource. So get working on making that map as awesome as possible.

One last thing- we need more 101 stuff. An idea occurs to me, which I’ll mess about with when I have time.  But if you have any good ideas about creating a good place to land into the asexual identity, please. Take them further. If not, you could always go and ask the awesome Asexuality Archives if they need any help.

And I know that some people really don’t have time. Remember you can donate to AAW. And I know that some people really don’t have time or money. But, hell, the ‘grumbler about AVEN’ I know with absolutely the least time is also dedicating a whole load of it to one of the projects above. I- I seriously suspect time-turners. Do what you can.

It’s up to you.

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A short clarification: My feelings on AVEN. I don’t think it’s awful. I’ve seen too many truly horrific asexual communities to be that phased by it. I actually wouldn’t mind if it was just another forum. My problem is that it’s the Official Place, and asexuality would need, at this stage, to be more than one website even if that site was utterly perfect.

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