A Plea for Help

CW: sick pet

Good morning, dear readers.

I may have mentioned my ESA, B’Elanna, in past blog entries.

She needs surgery. Without it, she can’t breathe properly and may die.

Please share my GoFundMe for her if you can’t donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/get-belanna-the-feline-esa-necessary-vet-care

Thank you,
Amaranthe

Things You Didn’t Know Were Acemisic

CW: acemisia (of course), suicide, rape, pedophilia mention, Pulse shooting mention

Hello, dear readers! Welcome to my entry on things you didn’t know were acemisic. This is going to be a long one, so bear with me.

First off, a definition: acemisia is discrimination against, oppression of, and/or hatred of asexual people. You may have heard “aphobia” floating around, but that’s a term used for discrimination against, oppression of, and/or hatred of both asexual and aromantic people. And as you probably know, I use -misia suffixes because I don’t like how the “-phobia” suffix medicalizes discrimination.

I’m going to be covering a lot of ground here, so I’m going to divide this entry into sections. And like I said, this is going to be chonker of an entry, so let’s get going.

Invalidation: Doubting the validity/realness of aspec identities and/or invalidating the experiences of aspec people

  • Invalidating asexuality, including demisexuality. Statements like “that’s not a thing/that’s not real/asexuals aren’t valid” are some common, basic, shitty types of invalidation. I’ve also seen people claim that they believe asexuality is real but they doubt the validity of gray-asexual identities like demisexuality. This is also acemisic.
  • Saying asexuals don’t have any real problems. Invalidation, ironically, is a real problem. So are social ostracization (including from friends and family), a higher suicide rate than zedcishets (and, interestingly, higher than monosexual gay people but not higher than multisexual people), and corrective rape. Singlism is also a serious problem for those of us who aren’t in committed partnerships due to discrimination or other asexuality-related reasons.
  • Saying sex-favorable/sexually active asexuals are not really asexual. BreadTuber Natalie Wynn, a.k.a., Contrapoints, is a prominent content creator and has a huge following in the queer community. She recently tweeted that “Gen Z people are hard to figure out. They’re like ‘I’m an asexual slut that loves sex!’” Hi, Natalie, I’m a gray-asexual woman with a history of borderline personality disorder-related hypersexuality—so yeah, slutty, if I choose to reclaim that term—who absolutely enjoys sex with my wife. And that doesn’t fucking change that I’m gray-asexual. (I’m also a Millennial, not Gen Z. But I still wanted to point out that people who experience little to no sexual attraction, i.e., are aspec, can be sexually active people and/or enjoy sex. And that saying we can’t is acemisic.)
  • Saying sex-repulsed asexuals are not really asexual. My parents were fond of this one. My ex-mother described repulsion as being “like a little kid,” i.e., someone who was just immature. I don’t know why some zedsexual people think that being sex-repulsed means you can’t be asexual because…you don’t understand sex, I guess? I really don’t get this one. But I’ve heard it, and it’s acemisic.
  • Erasing asexual history, especially prior to the establishment of AVEN. Asexuality has been discussed in Western concepts of sexuality since the 1970s at least. Here’s a link to some sources on asexual history: https://head-above-the-rain-and-roses.tumblr.com/post/184202424401/bi-asexual-aphostraphe-pls-give-me-1one. Asexuality isn’t “trendy” or “a Tumblr invention,” and calling it such is acemisic. (Not that there’s anything wrong with using a label coined on Tumblr, but asexuality was not coined on Tumblr.)
  • Insisting to asexual women that all women are aspec and we’re just normal/attention-seeking, so there’s no point in using a label like “asexual.” This is misogynist in addition to being acemisic because it desexualizes women.
  • “You haven’t met the right person/You’re a late bloomer,” or any statements that suggest that the asexual label is invalid because it might change. One, asexuality is no more likely to change than any other sexual orientation. Two, if it does change, so the fuck what? Sexuality is fluid. No label is invalid because someone might change their mind about it later.
  • “You’re just gay and have internalized homophobia.” So, uh…plenty of asexuals are gay, myself included (polyromantic). It’s also incredibly unlikely that a zedsexual queer person would settle on the asexual label due to internalized whatever-misia; this one is related to “asexuals don’t have any real problems” because it stems from a belief that people identify as asexual to avoid queermisia. I think it should be apparent right now that that doesn’t make any fucking sense because asexuals experience queermisia.

Zedsexism: The belief that being zedsexual is the best and/or only way to be

  • Saying “sex is what makes us human.” I seriously don’t fucking understand why this one is so common. Many, MANY non-human animals fuck. Sexual reproduction evolved two billion years ago. As funny as it is to snark back at this with “I know it—I’M A GOD” or “oh, well, that makes sense, seeing as I’m a level five elven ranger” or what have you, it’s still dehumanizing and acemisic.
  • Blanket statements about how everyone likes sex/has sex/experiences sexual attraction. I think this one would be fairly self-explanatory in terms of why it’s acemisic. While it isn’t true that all asexuals dislike sex and are celibate, many of us are sex-repulsed and/or celibate due to our asexuality, and statements like “everyone loves sex!” erase those people. Also, “everyone experiences sexual attraction” is simply not true.
  • Telling asexuals that we don’t know what we’re missing. In the words of Captain Malcolm Reynolds, “Can’t miss somewhere you’ve never been.” Seriously, though, no matter how much you like any particular thing—chocolate, alcohol, sex, whatever—it’s pushy and rude to try to force other people who have no interest in in to like it too. And in the case of asexual people, telling us we don’t know what we’re missing is acemisic, not to mention some asexual people have and even enjoy sex.
  • Insisting that you can change/”fix” us. This one isn’t just acemisic, it’s sexual harassment, full stop. Not only do we not need to be “fixed”—we’re not broken; even caedsexual people aren’t broken—being exposed to sex isn’t going to change who we are. I don’t care how proud you are of your genitals or your “skills as a lover” (yes, I’ve heard this one) or what the fuck have you, you can’t make us zedsexual and you shouldn’t want to.
  • “You should see a doctor/You should get your hormone levels checked/etc.” Okay, yes, asexuality can result from trauma or illness; that’s called being caedsexual. But whether a person’s asexuality is a result of a health condition or not is none of your fucking business, and if the person you’re talking to is happy being asexual, the reason why they’re asexual is immaterial. All asexuality is valid.

Denying the Queerness of Asexual People

  • Claiming that asexuality isn’t LGBTQIAP+. The full acronym is not “LGBT.” If you want to include a “+” instead of using the full acronym, fine, but use the damn plus. Saying the “full acronym [is] LGBT,” as some acemisic people do, erases intersex, aromantic, agender, pansexual, and questioning people, as well as people whose only label is “queer.” With that out of the way, the “A” stands for “asexual, aromantic, [or] agender.” (No, it doesn’t stand for “ally.” And if you want to whine about how “ally” should be part of the community because that way people who aren’t out yet can be part of the community, please consider that being closeted doesn’t change who a person really is and they don’t need that “A” for “ally” in order to be part of the community, and then consider shutting up.)
  • Claiming that asexuality isn’t queer. Asexuality is also inherently queer in addition to being part of the LGBTQIAP+ acronym. It’s not a “modifier” or a lack of sexuality. It’s its own sexuality. Cisgender heteroromantic asexual people can ID as queer if they want to because they are not heterosexual, they are asexual; they are not zedcishet. Anyone who isn’t zedcishet can be queer.
  • Saying queerness is inherently sexual. I saw someone unironically say this on Twitter THIS WEEK. I think it’s pretty obvious that this statement erases the queerness of asexual people, but apparently, not everyone understands that. Or they’re okay with erasing the queerness of asexual people, in which case they can get bent.
  • Calling asexual people “straight invaders” or saying we’re stealing resources from REAL queer people. First of all, fuck the term “straight invaders;” straight people can be queer. Heteroromantic asexual people, aromantic heterosexual people, straight intersex people, and straight trans people are all queer. Also, the “stealing resources” thing is bullshit because 1) we need those resources because we’re uh FUCKING QUEER and 2) support for queer people isn’t a g-ddamn pie with a limited number of slices. I once lost several friends from college because they believed that it was a problem that asexual people (who, I must reiterate, die by suicide at a higher rate than monosexual gay people) could receive support from The Trevor Project. Yes, these “friends” of mine really thought this.
  • Claiming that asexuality and/or the idea of being varioriented is “harmful to young queers.” As I mentioned in my last entry, this is another line that several ex-friends of mine believed. For whatever fucking reason, these acemisics believe the aforementioned “asexuals are just gay and can’t admit it” line and that asexual people should shut up and go away lest we lead those precious baby zedsexual queers astray. As if the idea of someone changing their label makes their original label “harmful.” The fuck. And I’ve also already written about why the fact that some people are varioriented is not a harmful concept: https://thatweirdacewoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/21/the-split-attraction-model-and-why-its-not-harmful/

Other

  • Using the term “discourse” to refer to verbal or online acemisia. It’s not “discourse.” It’s fucking bigotry. Calling it “discourse” minimizes the reality and harm of it.
  • Claiming that asexual representation in media is ceding ground to purity culture. This is another one I saw on Twitter recently. Asexuality has fuckall to do with purity culture. Most asexual people have no problem with sex, sexuality, kink, etc. as long as it doesn’t involve us. Yes, some people refer to asexual representation in media as “wholesome,” which is also a problem because it implies that relationships with sexual attraction in media can’t be wholesome and that asexuality is more “pure.” This is acemisic because, like I just said, asexuality in reality has fuckall to do with purity culture. I mean, some of us write the filthiest, kinkiest fanfiction you can find. (I’m still not telling you my AO3 handle.)
  • Asking invasive questions about our sex lives/genitalia/masturbation habits. I feel like this one should be self-explanatory, but we get it anyway, especially questions about whether or not asexual people masturbate. Question for people who ask this: WHY DO YOU NEED TO KNOW? How is it any of your fucking business? If you wouldn’t ask a random zedcishet person about their sex lives, genitalia, or masturbation habits, don’t ask an asexual person those questions either.
  • Telling asexual people that we’re just Autistic. Yeah, I’m Autistic and asexual, but this is still acemisic and autmisic because it pathologizes asexuality and desexualizes Autistic people. Autistic people do tend to be, on the whole, queerer than the allistic population, but not all asexual people are Autistic and not all Autistic people are asexual.
  • Calling all asexuals “homophobic” because AVEN has a bad reputation. I won’t try to refute the fact that there’s a lot of homomisia on AVEN because I haven’t even visited the site in over a decade, but seriously, one site or organization run by people of a particular queer identity is not representative of everyone with that identity. For example, I went to Smith College, which is legendary for being supportive of students with queer sexualities. However, the posts a friend and I made on the college’s student forum, The Daily Jolt, about forming an asexuals and allies club invariably got us acemisic comments like “Do you even go to Smith!?” and “Yeah, let’s form an asexuals club! And a metrosexuals club for all the straight guys who wander onto campus!” Those comments hurt like fuck, and it was realy tempting to say that Smith as a whole was acemisic. But I would have been just as wrong to say that all Smithies are acemisic as I would to say all asexual people are homomisic. (Not to mention some Smithies are ace—hi—and some asexual people are gay—also hi.)
  • Claiming that wanting alcohol-free or minor-accessible queer spaces is “homophobic” because asexual people like the idea of queer cafes/bookstores. This is a weird one, so bear with me. It mostly happens online, but before you slag off online bigotry as “just online, not real,” keep in mind that there are real people engaging in this shit and real people being hurt by it. Anyway, what I saw happen was that pre-2015, it was pretty universally accepted in the queer community that the fact that most queer spaces were alcohol-centric, not accessible to minors, and often not disability-accessible sucked. Queer cafes, bookstores, or other spaces were considered great ideas. And then around 2015, asexual people started being more vocal about how queer spaces that were less alcohol-centric, accessible to minors, disability-accessible, and less focused on finding one-night stands would be awesome…and BAM suddenly it was “homophobic” to even imply that gay bars aren’t accessible to all queer people. This shit lasted for about five years and still comes up occasionally. “Queer cafe discourse” isn’t inherently acemisic, of course, but there’s a lot of acemisia in its history.
  • Using “asexual” as a synonym for “ugly” or “unflattering.” I read a lot and have frequently seen clothing or other items described as “asexual” when the author meant “unpleasant to look at” or “modest.” Asexual people aren’t ugly and we don’t all dress like nuns. We can even be sexy. In any case, it’s weird to use a sexual orientation label to describe something other than a person with that orientation.
  • Referring to queerbaiting by calling the canon relationship between the characters you shipped as “asexual,” e.g., “their canon relationship is an asexual bromance.” Asexuality has fuckall to do with queerbaiting, and this kind of rhetoric reduces asexual gay people to “gay lite”/”not REAL gays,” and that’s acemisic.
  • Insisting that all asexuals are aromantic because you don’t believe people can be varioriented. Similarly, insisting that all asexuals are panromantic because you think that someone who is asexual must be romantically attracted to all genders because physicality isn’t an issue. Both of these are…well, flat wrong. Asexual people can be aro or panro, sure, but we can also be a swath of other romantic orientations, and insisting that that isn’t true is invalidating the experiences of asexual people.
  • Pretending to be asexual on social media and spewing horrible takes to make asexual people look bad. I recently saw a post on Twitter accusing people who wrote or roleplayed short adult characters as “minor coding” their characters, which is a slippery slope to pedophilia. The post was made by a zedsexual jackass who put “asexual” in their bio to get people to think that asexual people really do think bullshit like “female characters under 5’7” are minor-coded.” After the Pulse shooting, I even saw several zedsexual people engaged in an acemisic psyop by claiming to be asexual and that the people who were killed in the shooting deserved it for “dancing and being allosexual.” This is so beyond reprefuckinghensible I don’t even have words for it. Don’t do this.

Like I said, a chonker of an entry. If you’re still here, I hope you learned something. Go forth and be not acemisic, and please call out these types of acemisia when you see them.

Thanks to my Patreon supporters: Ace, Emily, Hannah, Mackenzie, Sam, and Sydney! Reminder that it’s only $1 to be as cool as them, and that also gets you early access to all my blog entries AND free copies of every song from my album Escape. Oh, right, my album; I have two songs from it on Bandcamp so far: https://amaranthezinzani.bandcamp.com/album/escape Please check it out 🙂

The Split Attraction Model (And Why It’s Not Harmful)

Content/trigger warning: discussion of acemisia, aromisia, and other types of queermisia

I don’t use the sunset lesbian flag anymore. The creator of that flag has stated that the split attraction model (SAM) is “harmful.” Actually, I keep hearing that the split attraction model is “harmful,” especially to “young queers.” I lost several college friends for believing that the SAM is harmful and that the “current model of asexuality” was also, by the associative property of bullshit, harmful.

Oyest of veys.

So if the split attraction model is supposedly so harmful, what even is it? The split attraction model posits that it is possible to be sexually and romantically attracted to different groups of people. For example, I can be romantically attracted to anyone whose gender is something other than “exclusively male” and I am sexually attracted to nobody (with the exception of my wife). Sometimes platonic attraction and aesthetic attraction are included in the SAM. 

Experiencing different types of attraction to different groups of people (e.g., being panromantic asexual, or aromantic heterosexual, or endless other possibilities) is called being “varioriented.” People who are not varioriented (e.g., being asexual and aromantic, heterosexual and heteroromantic, or bisexual and biromantic, etc.) are called “perioriented.” Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t only aromantic and asexual people who can be varioriented. I had a friend in college who was openly bisexual, and she told me that she suspected that she was homoromantic. Famous composer Leonard Bernstein was reported by a close female friend to be sexually attracted to men and romantically attracted to women (“he required men sexually and women emotionally”).

So basically, the split attraction model posits that some people experience split attraction (are varioriented) and some don’t (are perioriented). It covers everyone. People to whom it doesn’t apply don’t have to use it if they don’t want to.

So why could it possibly be harmful?

Well, one, because people are acemisic. A popular acemisic line I hear is that “queer sex is stigmatized, so young queers will think they’re homoromantic/biromantic/panromantic/etc. asexual instead of homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, etc.” I’m not sure how feeling like a broken mistake of nature for being asexual—a feeling many asexual people experience, especially if we haven’t learned that asexuality is a valid orientation—is preferable to being into queer sex. Not to mention that a lot a lot a LOT of labels get shit for being “stepping stone” labels, as in, people will think that they’re one thing before figuring out that they’re another thing. Bisexuality gets that a lot; shitty monosexual gay people will often say “gay people will think they’re bisexual so they can still experience ‘hetero’ attraction and be accepted.” You may notice that this is nonsensical, bimisic bullshit. Also, who the fuck cares if someone changes labels because they were wrong at first? The fact that a lesbian may have identified as bisexual at first doesn’t make “bisexual” a bad label. The fact that a lesbian may have identified as asexual at first doesn’t make “asexual” a bad label.

Another reason people call the SAM harmful is because they’re against multispec lesbians. Some people (hi) call themselves multi, bi, or pan lesbians because we’re lesbian in one way (I am sexually into one woman) and multispec in another way (I am romantically into multiple genders). The idea of mspec lesbians makes some people’s heads asplode because they don’t understand that human beings are complicated, and they probably have ahistorical ideas of what constitutes queerness. (The creator of the sunset lesbian flag has said that mspec lesbians aren’t valid. So yeah, fuck her.)

Yet another reason people call the split attraction harmful is a combination of acemisia and aromisia. They think that aromantic heterosexual people and heteroromantic asexual are “appropriating” queerness or “invading queer spaces.” Let me make one thing clear: asexuality and aromanticism are inherently queer, and believing they aren’t is acemisic and aromisic. As far as queer attraction goes, if you aren’t perioriented hetero, you can call yourself queer. Compulsory sexuality fucks over heteroromantic asexual people. Amatonormativity fucks over aromantic heterosexual people. Heteronormativity demands heterosexuality and heteroromanticism of everyone. So no, the SAM doesn’t let “straight invaders” into the queer community or what the fuck ever. Not to mention that heteroromantic asexual or aromantic heterosexual people could also be trans and/or intersex.

To summarize, the split attraction model covers multiple ways people can experience attraction (or not experience attraction, as the case may be), it’s meant to be inclusive, and all of the arguments claiming it’s harmful are total horseshit.

I think that’s all I have for now. Thank you to my Patreon supporters: Ace, Emily, Hannah, Mackenzie, Sam, and Sydney! Reminder that it’s only $1 a month to be as cool as them, and that also gets you a thank-you in every entry and early access to my blog entries. Oh, and you’ll also get a free copy of every song I release.

Note: I have not been able to confirm or deny the claim that the term “split attraction model” came out of a spate of acemisia on Tumblr in 2015, but the term “varioriented” predates that by at least a year; the term “varioriented” was included in AVEN’s 2014 census. The earliest results I can find of AVEN users discussing separate romantic orientation and sexual orientation are from 2005, and I didn’t look all that hard, so whatever we call this model, it’s been around for a bit. I feel like the fact that the model has been around for a long time is more important than what we call it, yeah?

How I Knew I Was Asexual

Content/trigger warning: gaslighting, consent issues, acemisia, internalized acemisia, suicidal ideation

Hello, dear readers! This entry topic was unanimously agreed upon by my Patreon supporters: how I knew I was asexual. Pretty straightforward, so let’s get right into the story.

The first sign that I was asexual came when I was nine or ten. My parents decided that I was old enough for The Talk™. You know, the talk about the “birds and the bees” (a euphemism I’ve never understood)? Yeah, I remember having no idea why they were choosing to tell me about such things. I found the subject of The Talk™ so remote and unrelated to my future that I just did not care. Now, normally I was all about learning; I was a nerdy little kid. I would soak up any new information and remember it perfectly. I used to have total recall, actually. But I could not get my head around sex. I forgot what sex was even called no less than three times before I finally remembered its name.

Around the same time, my fifth grade class started learning about early humans. My teacher recommended the book Clan of the Cave Bear to us, as it was about early humans, but he warned us that we’d have to get parental permission to read it, as it had sexual content. My young self decided to raise her budding aspec and ask how early humans knew to have sex, because how else would they know how to reproduce? My poor teacher thought for a moment and then said “instinct,” which I also didn’t understand, because I knew that I absolutely lacked said instinct. Also, Mr. Brown, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I asked the most awkward question ever.

It was probably only in middle school that I started regularly remembering what sex was called, if only because so many of my classmates seemed to be talking about it incessantly. During middle school, I described my sexual and romantic identity as “I don’t like boys yet” when asked. I only added the “yet” out of heteronormativity; deep in my soul, I hoped and prayed that I would never know the horror of being attracted to a boy. I didn’t want to like boys. Interestingly, my ex-mother didn’t believe me about this. She claimed that my disgust at the idea of having a crush on a boy meant that I did have a crush on a boy and I was hiding it from her, and when I insisted that that wasn’t true—I really did find boys repulsive—she said “methinks she doth protest too much,” a phrase that to this day makes me so angry I could put my fist through a wall.

I kept up with the “I don’t like boys yet” lie until my first or second year of high school. I would have been 14 or 15. Around that time, despite hearing constantly that sexual attraction was not just normal for humans but what made us human, I was wholly convinced that sexual attraction was a lie that parents made up, like Santa Claus. I thought it was a way for humans to trick their offspring into propagating the species.

Yes, really.

I thought sexual attraction was a lie.

Around the time I was 16 or 17, I started understanding that sexual attraction was indeed very common, and that all my peers were experiencing it. However, I was very into the idea of waiting to have sex until marriage (for me, anyway). This is because I thought I could get out of being pressured into sex if I just avoided marriage. Oh, bitty Amaranthe, you sweet summer child.

Also when I was about 16, I started using the term “asexual” to describe myself, but I had no fucking clue that there were other asexual people out there. I thought I had simply borrowed the term from my biology classes. In a fit of caving to the pressures of amatonormativity, I briefly tried to force myself to experience romantic and sexual attraction—which I did not yet know could be separate—to a boy when he asked me out right after his mother died, and I would have felt guilty saying no. I won’t go into details, but it was traumatic. Seanan McGuire once said about the pressures of amatonormativity, “Peer pressure makes people make a lot of bad choices. My consent was not violated by the people I chose to go to bed with; it was eroded over decades by the society in which I lived.” Fortunately for me, all I forced myself to do with my “boyfriend” was kiss, but yeah; my consent was not violated by him, but it was eroded by the society in which I live. I still don’t consider any part of that “relationship” consensual.

When I was about 18, I started wondering if maybe I was a lesbian. I certainly felt no aesthetic attraction to men, but women at least were pretty. I found the idea of sex with a woman less frightening than the idea of sex with a man—mostly because I didn’t and still don’t trust men with my boundaries—but back then, I was extremely repulsed. When I was 19, I was enrolled in Smith College, which is famously queer. Every Friday, my house—Smith doesn’t have dorms, we have houses—would have tea time. Sometimes the teas had themes, and for one tea, my house had a sex educator who was a faculty member do a Q&A. During her vivid description of orgasm, I came close to vomiting in disgust and ran out of the room crying.

I knew that Smith had a Resource Center for Sexuality and Gender, commonly called the RCSG. I walked there, still with tears dripping down my face, to see if they had any resources on asexuality. I felt like there was something so deeply twisted in me that I didn’t deserve to exist, and I wanted to believe that that wasn’t true. I wanted to believe I wasn’t alone. But the RCSG didn’t have any resources on asexuality.

So I went back to my room, opened my laptop, and Google’d “asexuality in humans” for the first time. I found a site called the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. An entire site with hundreds—hundreds!—of people on its forums, all of whom were asexual. My tears of self-hatred turned to tears of…I want to say relief that I wasn’t a biological snafu or freak of nature. I was just asexual.

AVEN has a bad reputation these days. David Jay, the guy who founded the site, is apparently kind of a jackass, and the forums definitely went through cycles of being a cesspool of lateral bigotry. But I credit AVEN with saving my life because before I found it, I thought there was something so wrong with me that I didn’t deserve to live. I thought I was too defective to be a human being. I also credit AVEN for teaching me that it was possible for people to be varioriented, which made it a lot less confusing when I developed a romantic—but not sexual—crush on one of my housemates a few months later.

Interestingly, over a decade later, I am now sexually attracted to one (1) person—my wife—and we had to be together for a while before that attraction developed. So now I prefer the label gray-asexual. (I still don’t like men, though. Eat shit, ex-mother.)

And that was the story of how I knew I was asexual. Sorry it was so fucking depressing! Thanks to my Patreon supporters: Ace, Hannah, Mackenzie, Sam, and Sydney! Reminder that it’s only $1 a month to be as cool as them, which includes seeing blog entries 2 days early and getting to vote in polls about blog entry topics. 

Aspec People Belong at Pride

Content/trigger warning: discussion of violent acemisia (including rape and murder), kink mention

I hate that I even have to write this.

Aspec people belong at Pride. Pride is for queer people, so I’m writing about how aspec orientations are queer. I fucking hate having to defend aspec identities as queer because for me, it’s like trying to defend that the sun is hot or that kittens are cute. It should be fucking obvious.

This is the part where I could go into all the hell I’ve gotten for being aspec and/or all the oppression that aspec people face, but I won’t. Why? Because queerness isn’t a carnival attraction with a sign next to it saying “you must be this oppressed to ride.” It’s tempting to argue that asexuality is queer by talking about acemisia, but I hate it when people do that because it feeds into the idea that queerness can be measured by oppression.

Queerness is measured by deviation from being heterosexual, heteroromantic, and cisgender. If a person is not all three of those things, they can identify as queer. It’s really that simple. Some douchecanoes may say “No! If you aren’t same-gender attracted or trans, you aren’t queer!” Uh-huh. So are you saying that a bi person who is, say, attracted to multiple genders but not people of the same gender isn’t queer? Last time I checked, bi people are queer! Yeah, the “same-gender attracted and trans” definition is too narrow.

I feel like I should also bring up the fact that acemisic people say that asexuality isn’t ~really queer because it came from the Internet, is too new, etc. One, that’s not true. Queer and even mainstream printed publications have been using the term “asexual” since the 1970s. Two, even if someone’s label was coined on the Internet, that doesn’t mean that it’s any less queer than a non-zedcishet identity whose label has been around for decades.

Now, earlier I said “Aspec people belong at Pride. Pride is for queer people,” and while that’s true, it’s not the whole truth. Pride is for queer people, yes…BUT the whole conceit of Pride is to celebrate a non-zedcishet identity that’s marginalized by the mainstream. It’s about literally taking pride in something for which society wants you dead, nonexistent, or changed into an unrecognizable version of yourself that fits into the oppressive, mainstream mold.

Now here is where I go into all the hell aspec people get. Just off the top of my head, here’s a list:

  • Acemisic fuckheads trolling online with various horrible takes and then spamming about asexuality to make aspec people look bad
  • Rejection by both zedcishets and other queer people, especially cis gays
  • Outright bigotry against us is mislabeled as “discourse”
  • Invalidation/rejection from family and friends
  • Accusations of being de facto abusive to non-aspec partners
  • Accusations of “stealing” or “invading” queer resources/spaces
  • Invasive questions about sexual organs and function
  • Conversion therapy
  • Higher risk of suicide than zedcishets
  • Bring favorite targets of incels (may Bianca Devins’ memory be a blessing)
  • Corrective rape

Yeah. I feel like if you and yours are at risk of that list because of your sexuaity, you should get to be part of Pride. You should absolutely fucking get to say “You hate me for being Thing? Then I will FUCKING INCREASE BEING THE FUCKING THING,” and isn’t that what Pride is all about?

I also want to bring up the 4chan psyop I mentioned in my last entry, the one involving jackasses claiming that kink doesn’t belong at Pride because there might be aspec people there. I think I’ll just link to that entry, actually: https://thatweirdacewoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/05/aspec-people-can-enjoy-kink/. Of course aspec people belong at Pride, but we’re not a cudgel to use against kink at Pride. Now, other people have written, and more eloquently than I could, about why kink belongs at Pride, so I’m not going to do that. But I do want to emphasize that kink AND aspec people belong at Pride.

I’m not sure what else I can even say here, so I’ll finish off this entry with this awesome picture of an ace woman at Pride in Delhi in 2017.

A dark-haired woman in a dark blue dress hides her face with a massive yellow poster that reads “asexuals don’t give a fuck” in large block letters

Thanks to my Patreon supporters: Ace, Emily, Hannah, Mackenzie, Sam, and Sydney! If you want to be as cool as them, it’s only $1 a month to see my blog entries early and vote on entry topics.

Aspec People Can Enjoy Kink

Content/trigger warning: kink discussion

So there’s this 4chan psyop that happens every year and has happened every year for a while now. Zedcishet asshats spread the idea that kink doesn’t belong at Pride despite the fact that the histories of kink and queerness have always been entwined and kink has always been a part of Pride celebrations (and riots). One reason that gets trotted out by the trolls (and people who fall for the psyop) is that kink shouldn’t be at Pride because repulsed asexual people might be at Pride. As a semi-repulsed gray-A, I’m fucking sick and tired of being used as part of an ahistorical psyop. Not only is kink not inherently sexual, some asexual people can have kinks.

For instance, I used to be a bondage model.

Oh yeah! It was fun!

Granted, for me, bondage is more of a sensory-seeking Autistic thing than a sexual thing, but that just goes to show that asexual people might want to engage in kink for multiple reasons aside from sexual attraction. For instance, for asexual people who never experience sexual attraction, kink may contribute to arousal or enjoyment of sexual activity, but it doesn’t have anything to do with attraction. (Yes, arousal and enjoyment of sexual activity can be separate from sexual attraction. Die mad about it.)

Asexual people may enjoy kink alone, without the involvement of anyone else, possibly as a masturbation aid. Some asexual people do enjoy sex despite the lack of sexual attraction, and they might enjoy kink in the context of sexual interactions with a partner. Asexual people who enjoy sex might also engage in kink with their partner even if they don’t get much out of it because they like pleasing their partner. Also, like I said earlier, there’s also the possibility that an asexual person might enjoy kink in the context of modeling.

So far, I’ve talked about kink and asexual people who never experience sexual attraction. But some asexual spectrum people who do experience weak or rare sexual attraction may also enjoy kink in sexual scenarios. Autochorissexual/aegosexual people who like sexual fantasies that don’t have anything to do with what they enjoy in real life might also enjoy kink in porn or erotica, or watching other people engage in kink. It really depends on the person.

I know this is kind of a short entry, but it’s really not that complicated of a topic. Aspec people can enjoy various kinky activities for a variety of reasons. And that’s the story.

Thanks for reading! Thanks to my Patreon supporters: Ace, Emily, Hannah, Mackenzie, Sam, and Sydney! If you want to be as cool as them, it’s only $1 a month to see my blog entries early and vote on entry topics.

My Disabled Ace Day Interview

I got interviewed for Disabled Ace Day as part of Ace Week in 2021! Disabled Ace Day was founded by Courtney Lane, a Disabled asexual woman who you may know as half of The Ace Couple (https://theacecouple.com/).  According to Courtney, “Within the Asexuality community, Disabled Aspecs have been overlooked and erased at best and outright discriminated against at worst for far too long. Disability and Asexuality can be a very complicated intersection to exist in and we need to talk about it.” I totally agree, which is why I agreed to be interviewed.

My interview is as follows:

Content/trigger warning: abuse

Name: Amaranthe (pronounced “A-muh-ranth”) Rae Zinzani

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Twitter Handle: @IMissCarrie

Where you are from: Chicago, IL, USA

1. Please introduce yourself! How do you identify in terms of asexuality, disability, passions, professions, or anything else you’d like to share with us?

Hi! My name is Amaranthe. I am polyromantic gray-asexual; the only person I have ever been sexually attracted to is my wife, with whom I have been with for a little over three years. I am polyromantic in that I am romantically attracted to multiple genders; I am not interested in people whose gender identity is entirely “man,” but there’s no label for that.

In terms of disability, I am Autistic. I also have depression, anxiety, CPTSD, OSDD-1, BPD, and OSFED. Additionally, I have anemia for which I’m being treated and a hiatal hernia for which I’m having surgery in early 2022 (hopefully).

As far as other identities, I’m a cis woman who also is autigender (I feel like my gender functions as an Autistic special interest in being a woman). I’m also white, a Jewish conversion student, highly educated, and perpetually broke.

I’m extremely passionate about music and am working on a concept album about my escape from an abusive home. I’m also passionate about queer and disability justice. I am also a writer; I maintain three blogs and hope to publish a novel one day.

Professionally, I am a medical editor. (Note: this is out of date; I’m a medical writer now, having found my dream job writing clinical trial protocols for cancer treatments!)

2. How do your asexual and disabled identities interact with one another and what unique challenges have you faced while living at this intersection?

I’ve had multiple people tell me that I am only asexual because I am Autistic. This, I think, is due to the desexualization of Disabled people. I feel like desexualization happens because ableist people think of Disabled sexuality as “gross,” or they infantilize us to the point that they don’t think we ever developed sexual agency.

People telling me I’m only asexual because I’m Autistic is also acemisic/acephobic because it pathologizes asexuality. There’s nothing wrong with disability influencing queerness–caedsexual, caedromantic, autigender, acevague, arovague, etc. people all exist and are totally valid; in fact, I am autigender–but saying that someone’s sexuality is a symptom of their disability is fucked up.

3. Have you personally experienced any ableism from within the asexual or other LGBTQ2IA+ communities?

Unfortunately, LGBTQ2IAP+ people are no better about ableism than zedcishets, I’ve found. But ableism hurts worst when it comes from other queer people, especially zedsexual queer people saying that asexuality is a disorder (both acemisic AND ableist). What also really hurts is when abled asexual people crow about how their hormone levels are totally normal, they aren’t depressed, they aren’t on psych meds, they’re not Autistic, etc. etc., so none of those things could be causing their asexuality. That’s both ableist and laterally acemisic.

4. Have you personally experienced any acephobia from the disability community?

Yes. Just as LGBTQ2IAP+ people are no better about ableism than zedcishets, D/disabled people are no better about acemisia than abled people. I’ve even seen D/disabled people who are offended by the idea that they might be asexual or who make blanket statements about how “D/disabled people fuck” or what have you. This is done in response to the desexualization of D/disabled people, which is ableist, and I get that, but D/disabled aces often are erased by those efforts to combat desexualization.

5. What advice do you have for folks who wish to become better allies to disabled aces?

Acknowledge that we exist, mostly. Don’t erase us. And don’t suggest/insist that we’re asexual because we’re D/disabled (although if someone is caedsexual, they are asexual due to trauma, and 1) that’s fine and 2) it’s not okay to assume all asexual people are caedsexual) or that asexuality is a disorder. Oh, and don’t assume we’re asexual because you think nobody would ever date/fuck a D/disabled person; that’s not how that works.

6. Shameless self-promotion time! Do you have a business, project, artwork, or other content we should know about? Give us those links!

I have three blogs: my music blog (rockrollnstim.wordpress.com), my disability justice blog (thisisforyoucarrie.wordpress.com), and my asexuality blog (thatweirdacewoman.wordpress.com). I also have a Patreon where $1 contributors can see blog entries early and also participate in polls to choose my blog topics! My Patreon can be found at patreon.com/chaielemental. Oh, and my BandCamp is at https://amaranthezinzani.bandcamp.com/.

7. Please attach photos of yourself and/or your artwork if you’d like us to include them.

Here is my ugly mug!

Image description: a fat white woman with wavy dark hair in a half-ponytail wearing a dark blue-green shirt, light makeup, and caffeine molecule necklace and earrings

And that’s the interview! Thanks for reading! And thank you to my Patreon supporters: Ace, Hannah, Emily, Mackenzie, Sam, and Sydney! It’s only $1 a month to be as cool as them, and that also gets you early access to my blog entries and access to polls about what I should write about next!

Queerplatonic Relationships

Hello, dear readers! Today I will be blogging about queerplatonic relationships.

I have to get a few things out of the way before I start with that, though. Firstly, aromanticism =/= asexuality. Also, you do not have to be aro to be ace, and you do not have to be ace to aro. A lot of people mistakenly put aromanticism under the asexuality umbrella, and that’s…well, it’s flat wrong, even though AVEN was heavily involved in the codification of several aromanticism-related terms; “aromantic” was even possibly first used on AVEN, all the way back in 2005. The term “zucchini,” an early half-joking term that means “queerplatonic partner,” was coined on Dreamwidth. AVEN user Sciatrix then brought it to AVEN shortly after its coining.

So if it’s true that aromanticism is separate from asexuality, why am I writing about queerplatonic relationships, often considered an aro thing, on this blog? 

Well, one, you don’t have to be aro to be in a QPR, and two, because it’s my blog and I do what I want. Okay, fine, and I’ll never waste an opportunity to spit in the face of amatonormativity, which affects ace and aro people. And any zedsexual and zedromantic who aren’t hetero, as well! I guess this means I had better define amatonormativity, then, so…Elizabeth Blake codified amatonormativity in her book Minimising Marriage in 2012. Her definition is “the assumptions that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in that it should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types.” Amatonormativity also can’t be decoupled from heteronormativity, because that “central, exclusive, amorous relationship” should be a hetero one, according to society. Sadly, amatonormativity also exists within the gay community, placing a monogamous marriage to a same-gender partner above, say, a polyamorous polycule, or an aro person living with a queerplatonic partner.

So. Queerplatonic relationships. Queerplatonic relationships were initially explained to me with a comparison to Boston marriages and/or Victorian-era romantic friendships. In case you don’t know, a romantic friendship in Victorian-era England was essentially a practice marriage for young women, who weren’t allowed to socialize with men. Yes, a lot of them were actually fucking. A lot of them were actually in love, too. But a ton of them were probably what we would currently consider QPRs. A more modern definition of a QPR can be found here, on the aromantic wiki: https://aromantic.wikia.org/wiki/Queerplatonic_Relationship. If I had to define a QPR in fewer words than that wiki entry, I would say a QPR has a lot of the hallmarks of a romantic relationship absent romantic feelings, and primarily defined by a level of emotional closeness rarely if ever seen with friends. “Queerplatonic” is a label born from defiance of amatonormativity: not like a friendship and not like a romantic relationship, and yet like both, and defying the divide between both.

So you’re probably wondering what the difference is between a QPR and a friendship. A lot of dickheads insist that there’s no difference (those people are wrong). Well, QPRs display a level of emotional intimacy not usually seen with friends. Friendships are great, of course, and can involve a lot of emotional intimacy, but QPRs are definitely different emotionally than friendships. Also, QPRs are usually characterized by more physical intimacy than friendships (hand-holding, cheek kisses, etc.), but less physical intimacy than a romantic relationship.

It might be tempting to say that QPRs fall on some kind of hierarchy between friendships and romantic relationships. That’s amatonormative. Don’t do that. Friendships, QPRs, and romantic relationships are all important.

One more note: you don’t have to be queer to be in a queerplatonic relationship. The word “queer” in “queerplatonic” means that it’s queering the idea of platonic relationships, not the sexuality or romantic orientation of the people involved. But zedcishets who want to be in QPRs can use the term “quasiplatonic” if they don’t want to use the term “queerplatonic.”

And…I think that’s all I have for now! Thanks to my Patreon supporters: Ace, Hannah, Emily, Mackenzie, Sam, and Sydney! It’s only $1 a month to be as cool as them, and that also gets you early access to my blog entries and access to polls about what I should write about next!

Amaranthe’s Coming-Out Stories

Content/trigger warning: acemisia

Whew boy was it a bad idea to give my Patreon supporters the option of me writing about this topic. When I did that, I was remembering that I had some funny coming out stories. After my Patreon supporters (love you all, btw) chose this topic, I tried to remember said funny coming out stories and…yeah, I got nothing. Well, maybe I have one funny coming-out story. The rest are mostly depressing. So what I’m going to do is share one funny coming-out story, one depressing coming-out story, and one heartwarming coming-out story.

Let’s start with the funny one. As I’ve mentioned, I started identifying as asexual when I was a freshman in high school, although I had no idea that asexuality was a real sexual orientation and thought that I was probably a proverbial “late bloomer.” Throughout high school, I played lacrosse, and much to my Autistic chagrin, “team bonding” and other social events were encouraged. I remember sitting at a table with some of the other lacrosse players at one of these social events, being quiet and awkward and not contributing to the conversation.

One of my teammates, a sophomore, got the bright idea to try to get me to talk by asking me “So, [traumaname[, who do you like?”

At this point in my life, “Who do you like?” was my least favorite question ever, but I had an answer prepared: “Nobody. I don’t like boys yet.” I chose to give this answer.

My teammate’s reaction was comical. Her mouth dropped open, cartoon-style. I was surprised her chin didn’t hit the table. She cried out, “You don’t like boys yet!? THAT’S SO SAD!” As I struggled mightily not to crack up laughing, she continued, “So much of high school is dating!”

I don’t quite remember what I said next–I think it was “I thought it was about preparing for college”–but my teammate’s “THAT’S SO SAD!” has stuck with me to this day. I know it’s actually heteronormative, amatonormative, and terrible, but for whatever reason it still makes me chuckle.

My most depressing coming-out story is–you guessed it–about coming out to my parents. (Although all the psych professionals who have pathologized my asexuality were also pretty depressing, now that I think about it. Kind of ironic considering I was seeing them for depression.) My coming out to my parents wasn’t particularly voluntary. I actually started two clubs while I was at Smith College: a club sport (Tae Kwon Do) and an asexuals and allies (“A.C.E.,” or “Asexual Communication and Education”) club.

And it so happened that the school paper made a note of the new Tae Kwon Do club sport in the same issue in which they interviewed me and other the A.C.E. Club’s co-founder about A.C.E. Club. I made the mistake of telling my shitty abusive queermisic parents about the Tae Kwon Do club, which they then fucking Googled along with my name (my mom used to Google my name all the time to ensure I wasn’t posting anything on social media that she disapproved of) and found the interview about the A.C.E. Club.

They confronted me about it and told me that I was putting a suspicious amount of energy into asexual advocacy. Specifically, my mother told me that I was “trying to legitimize something [I] knew wasn’t real” and that sex is what makes us human. My parents never stopped being shitheads about my asexuality, which is one of the reasons I cut them off.

I think one of my most positive coming out experiences was when I came out to my wife as gray-asexual, telling her that she was the first and only person I had been sexually attracted to. I wasn’t worried that she wouldn’t accept me or give me a hard time about how I had probably never been asexual or any other shit that my parents probably would have done. And I was right to not be worried. Her response was that she was worried that she would stop being able to fit through doors because her head would get so big. (I mean, hearing that you’re so hot that you changed someone’s sexuality is kind of an ego boost, I would imagine.)

For the rest of this entry, I could go into the stock shitty responses I get when I come out as asexual, but I think I’d rather make a TikTok about that and link it.

Yeah, I’m going to do that.

Update: I did that. https://www.tiktok.com/@chai_elemental/video/7011171555132624133?is_from_webapp=v1

I think that’s all I have for now. Thanks to my Patreon supporters: Ace, Hannah, Emily, Mackenzie, Sam, and Sydney! It’s only $1 a month to be as cool as them, and that also gets you early access to my blog entries and access to polls about what I should write about next!

Why I Came Out, Went Back Into the Closet, and Am Just Now Peeking Out Again

Content/trigger warning: discussion of acemisia

When I first figured out that I was asexual, I never shut up about asexuality. I co-founded a club for asexual people and allies at my college. I wore a black ring on the center finger of my right hand everywhere. I gave presentations about asexuality at queer conferences. I started a YouTube series about asexuality. When I was in grad school, I knitted an infinity scarf in asexual flag colors and bought ace flag-colored earrings.

Around the time I graduated from grad school, I stopped openly using the word “asexual” to self-describe. I stopped visiting asexual websites and blogs. I abandoned my YouTube series.

Why?

I would say “exclusionists,” but instead I’ll call them what they really are: acemisic douchetanks. Saying asexuality isn’t queer is acemisic, full stop. Being queer is extremely important to my identity. I went through a phase of trying to perform heterosexuality to appease my parents when I was very small, but when I found out what sex was, that snapped me right out of that phase. Once I understood what heterosexuality entailed, I knew that I wanted nothing to do with it. Okay, fine, part of me hoped that eventually I’d snap out of whatever was wrong with me–I called myself a “biological snafu” and “freak of nature,” partly to try and joke about it, but mostly I just hated myself–but my the time I was 18, I had realized that not only was I not heterosexual, I was asexual. I sometimes used the word “asexual” to describe myself, but I thought that I had invented the word and that it was really a synonym for “broken.” As I’ve mentioned before, when I first found the AVEN forum and realized that I was part of a larger community and that there was nothing wrong with my sexual orientation, I cried over my keyboard.

That sounds like a pretty fucking queer experience, doesn’t it? Not that queerness is defined by suffering, no; I mean the “I’m not broken; there’s a word for my sexuality” experience.

But then along came the fucking acemisic “exclusionist” douchetanks in droves, telling me over and over on Tumblr and Discord and Facebook and Twitter that I wasn’t really queer, that asexuality was a “modifier” identity, and that asexuality was “harmful” to young queers. And it wasn’t just Internet randos saying this, either; I lost friends from Smith, one of the queerest places in the fucking universe, who were saying this shit.

At first, I fought back. I got openly angry at a queer studies professor who erased asexuality. I reblogged acemisic posts from classmates to refute them. I made more pissed-off YouTube videos.

But soon I realized that not fighting was easier. And not only was not fighting easier, not being openly asexual meant I heard less acemisic bullshit. Not seeing acemisic bullshit meant I didn’t spend so much time feeling angry and bereft and broken. I’d had enough of feeling broken.

So for a long time, I just identified as “queer” or “gay,” and refused to go into further detail. Sometimes I would stick to “I like women.” But I never used the word “asexual,” especially online where it felt like outing myself as asexual put a target on my forehead. Even within the past year, I mentioned on a Discord server that I was asexual and someone immediately replied by telling me that all asexuals are racist. (AVEN has a racism problem, I’ll give them that, but…what?) Hell, I still avoid talking about asexuality online if I’m around young zedsexual queer people, who I’ve noticed tend to be very susceptible to ptotoTERF acemisia. (I’ll probably write another entry about how exclusionists are protoTERFs.)

So to what do I credit my resurgence in identifying as gray-A and restarting my YouTube series as this blog?

My wife, I think.

We met on OKCupid, and I had included in my profile that I was asexual (and also that I am okay with and can enjoy being sexually intimate with people with whom I’m significantly emotionally comfortable). I didn’t really want to–I thought I was shooting my chances of meeting someone in the foot–but part of me knew I deserved to be accepted for who I am, not have to pretend to be zedsexual in order to have a relationship. My wife has always accepted my aspec identity, and she’ll listen to me vent about acemisia. I think that support was what was missing before, when I was really struggling with the surge of acemisia in the queer community. I still see a lot of acemisia in the queer community, not gonna lie, but it seems at least marginally better now.

I think that’s all I have for now. If you’re a zedsexual queer person reading this, please speak up when you hear your fellow zedsexual queer people talk shit about asexuality. And if you’re a zedsexual queer person reading this who is acemisic, then you are cordially invited to either get over it or fuck yourself into the sun.

Thanks to my Patreon supporters: Ace, Hannah, Emily, Mackenzie, Sam, and Sydney! It’s only $1 a month to be as cool as them, and that also gets you early access to my blog entries and access to polls about what I should write about next!

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