A brief follow-up to my previous post, let’s consider this part 1.5. inspired by Ace Admiral’s account of the 2011 debacle. He mentioned that shaming of the repulsed was another issue during the debacle, among other issues.
This was during a time when asexual community overall just wasn’t a safe space for the sex-repulsed, aside from some splinter groups. By 2010, AVEN took sex-positivity too far, and the repulsed were being shamed, and accused of being elitists if they said something the wrong way. The splinter groups weren’t that active, so where else to go?
Sciatrix’s post that he linked to, her account of the 2011 debacle, reminded me of how difficult it was for me to go through the asexual tags on tumblr too. I can relate to so much of what she said. It was often nerve-wracking, but I read through the tags because they were the only part of the asexual community I was a part of at the time.
I felt like I needed to do it, after 2 years of self-doubt and feeling like my right to identify as asexual was taken away from me, I needed to get it back. I wanted to get involved, but was always on edge.
I felt like I was in a tightrope; one wrong move, and I’ll lose everything. In my eyes, I was just regaining my confidence and right to identify as asexual, after they had been taken away from me, and I was afraid of losing it again. Coming out to the wrong person, or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time could’ve cost me the progress I made.
I was almost afraid to contact my campus’ local LGBT groups, because of what I read about asexual inclusion in LGBT groups. I knew that some groups were inclusive, others not, and I had to cross my fingers and hope the local group was inclusive, or would at least tolerate me. I was lucky that they were inclusive. Many of the members didn’t know of asexuality until they met me, but were willing to learn, and were respectful. I was really lucky, because if that had gone badly, that likely would’ve scared me off from ever trying again, and lose what confidence I built up. Their acceptance helped me a lot, but I was still nervous coming out to others.
I thought the tumblr community would be safer than AVEN. In 2011, this wouldn’t have been the case. In 2012, there was the potential for change. The tumblr community was clashing with AVEN, and I knew that a lot of people were leaving AVEN because they didn’t feel welcome. One of the issues had to do with the treatment of the sex-repulsed on AVEN. The tumblr community seemed like the safer option, despite how difficult it still was for me to browse the asexual tags, and it was still difficult to talk about being sex-repulsed on tumblr.
This was in 2012, when things were cooling off somewhat. I can only imagine how much more nervewracking it would’ve been to go through those tags back in 2011! It’s probably a mixed blessing that I didn’t try to get involved until 2012. Those who endured the 2011 debacle are among the trailblazers of the asexual tumblr and blogging communities. They endured a lot of challenges for the rest of us, so it’d be a shame if this era of asexual community history were forgotten. We’ve come a long way in just a few years. I like Ace Admiral’s take on the debacle; we were getting heard outside of AVEN. We were pushing forward, and overcame a lot of resistance.