So I realise I’ve used this blog to be mostly negative for a very long time. It’s because it’s a lot easier to write about something you dislike and want changed than something that you thought was perfect. Here’s a nice post:
I had the honour today of attending the Worldpride Asexuality Conference, which I think is the first non-academic asexual conference ever. And wow.
The conference had a bizarre sort of coherence to it. There almost seemed to be a single, complex narrative running through the day- I came away feeling like I’d read an incredibly well-crafted novel that I wouldn’t quite appreciate the genius of until the third re-read. I don’t know whether this was because of Michael Dore’s nuanced organising or the presence from the two key speakers, Nat and DJ. The relationship between the two was palpable; Nat addressed their talk largely to DJ, as a reminisce, which added to the sense that an incredible story was finally, in this place, being told (there wasn’t much you couldn’t find in Hinderliter’s history, but the use of first-person prounouns gave Nat’s version an edge). The symbolism of the conference was inescapable- from Nat’s prodigal return to the community that they had started and then slipped away from because they didn’t feel like a good enough representation, to DJ’s request that the asexual community not be about just telling the stories of people like him any more, and Michael’s ability to select a very wide range of voices for his talkers and panelists without any hint of tokenism. The message, so slickly and holistically presented that it goes straight to the subconscious, is that the asexual community has grown up.
I really can’t fault the conference (apart from pointlessly trivial things like lateness and the disproportionate fruitcake/edible things ratio). When I tried to think of constructive criticism, I only got two things. Firstly, that it felt a bit like the researchers they got to talk to us are basically saying what we’ve been saying for years, but to a different audience and with bigger words. But then I realised that I may have been unique in that viewpoint, especially since I was already familiar with Foucault and had heard Mark Carrigan very recently, and a lot of the people around me seemed to find that segment really stimulating. Secondly, I feel conflicted as to whether I’d like DJ’s talk earlier- the conference seemed like a closed book of people I didn’t know before DJ worked his magic, and then became a network of awesome people to draw on and feed off- unfortunately, too late for me to really get stuck in. Again, that’s probably more of a personal issue, since there was a whole evening of networking opportunity afterwards that I couldn’t attend.
The talk by DJ was seriously incredible. If anyone finds a link to it online, please share it with me. I’ll probably discuss one of the concepts in a later post, the one which made every allosexual person in the room think ‘Get out of my head!’ After his talk, he got us all into groups of two or three to discuss activism. I thought it’d be pretty unproductive. I ended up in a three with Ily (who I embarassed myself in front of horribly by prattling on about her socks) and a guy who said ‘I’m good at comic book art but I have no story ideas’ at exactly the same time as the woman in the group behind said ‘I’ve got some ideas for ace comics, but I can’t draw.’ From the impression I increasingly get from DJ, I’m willing to bet things like this were probably happening all over the room. The guy is actually magic.
So there’s my nice, happy post. I’m not that happy with it, maybe its ‘cos there’s no conflict, but its about time I wrote one. Because today just showed me how amazingly well the asexual community is doing. And how much better it’s gonna get.
Also, on the topic of niceness and joy: Miller is auditioning for a group blog: http://godlessace.tumblr.com/post/26578358827/proposal-asexuality-201-group-blog
If anyone can do this, it’s him. It’s also by far the best idea for a 201 space- centralised, but outward-looking, space for a big community without the sluggishness and maintenance of a forum, individualistic but collaborative, easy to access but well-moderated (although Miller’s typical troll-handling would be incredible if scaled up to a forum like this). I 100% emphatically endorse this. It’s awesome.