Being vs Identifying as

This article is being cross-posted to my blog, A Trivial Knot.

In modern philosophy, there is a thing called a performative speech act. That’s when you do things by saying things. For example if I say, “I apologize,” it is not merely a statement of fact, but is itself an act of apology. Likewise, if I say “I identify as queer,” it is not merely a statement of fact, but is itself an act of identification. It makes no difference whether I say “I identify as queer” or “I am queer” because both of them are acts of identification.

Nonetheless, if we put on our descriptivist hats, it sure seems like people are making a distinction between identifying as a thing, and being the thing. Instead of dismissing the distinction out of hand, we should try to understand it. I will propose two basic interpretations.

In the first interpretation, “I am” is an act of identification, right now in the present moment. “I identify as” is a statement about how you identify in a more general set of contexts, not necessarily limited to the present moment. For example, the following is a true statement that I could make:

Sometimes I identify as asexual, but I’m not asexual.

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Posted in Articles, asexual identity, Gray-A, Language | 7 Comments

On being unrequited

Content warnings: mention of suicide in a fictional work, discussion of trauma messing with conceptions of the future and relationships, brief mention of abusive relationships (with no specifics), some crappy statements about the insufficiency of aces in relationships

On a completely unrelated note, today is my fifth anniversary of writing for TAA!

Let me start by saying that this is a topic that I’m still puzzling out how to talk about, but let me start here: It’s hard to overstate the impact reading Cardcaptor Sakura had on me as a teenager.  It wasn’t the first piece of media I’d consumed that depicted women in love with other women (I’d been in a production of The Children’s Hour, a play in which the lesbian character, predictably, commits suicide), but I think it may have been the first story I’d read that had (non-adult) girls crushing on other girls.  For those not familiar with Cardcaptor Sakura, it’s a manga (later made into an anime, retitled Cardcaptors in the US) about a magical girl named Sakura.  Sakura’s best friend, Tomoyo, is in love with Sakura, but she knows that Sakura doesn’t return her feelings, so she spends much of the series supporting Sakura from the sidelines and cheering her on as she pursues other relationships.

Part of the reason this manga had such a huge impact on me was because I was reading it just as I was realizing that I had a crush on one of my very close friends.  I was absolutely certain that said friend didn’t return my feelings, so I decided to be a Tomoyo and cheer her on from the sidelines.  As long as she was happy, I would be happy.

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Posted in Articles, Intersectionality, LGBT, personal experience, Relationships | 5 Comments

Question of the Week: November 14th, 2017.

What does a positive response to coming out as asexual look like to you?

We hear about all the horrible things that people get asked when they come out as ace, but less about the good stories, or suggestions for how people should react when someone comes out to them.

As much as I don’t think Every Heart A Doorway is amazingly revolutionary for it’s ace rep, I really appreciate it for having a ‘yeah cool of course that’s normal’ absolutely no drama coming out scene.  I would like to see that modelled in more places.

Personally, I’d like people to be positive and curious when I come out to them.  I’d like to explain to them what being ace looks like for me, and how it affects the relationships I have in my life.

How would you like people to react when you come out to them?  Are their questions you would like them to ask or things you would like them to say?  Or would you prefer to not talk about it further and have them do their own homework?

Posted in personal experience, Question of the Week | Tagged | 4 Comments

Doing it right. How Bojack Horseman worked with Ace LA

Bojack Horseman is a show that will not appeal to everyone’s tastes.  It’s a show about horrible people in depressing situations. The humour tends towards crass, and is often downright offensive.   It’s also getting a lot of great press at the moment for its positive portrayal of an asexual character.

Todd Chavez is the whacky side character who is usually relegated to the B plot of episodes.  Throughout season three we are shown a number of moments of him not quite fitting into standard relationship models, culminating in the finale  with him saying.  “I’m not gay…. but I don’t think I’m straight either. I don’t know what I am.  I think I might be nothing”.  

This statement resonated with the experiences of many asexual people, and the show has progressed from there to have some other unexpectedly meaningful moments, such as Todd attending an asexual meetup, the inclusion of the asexual pride flag, and characters discussing the idea of a romantic orientation separate from a sexual one.

The show deals with issues such as asexuality with a surprising sensitivity and grace.  Part of the way that it achieves this is by taking the time to adequately research the issues it is engaging with.  In this case, their research included a meeting with Ace LA co-executive director Shari.
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Posted in Articles, Interview, Media | 7 Comments

Linkspam: Friday, November 10th, 2017

Every Friday, we will share links to news, blogs, and anything else we find interesting.  We can’t catch everything, so you are invited to self-promote in the comments!

Ace Blogging

Coyote tries to diagnose the suffocation of discussion of ace community problems.

Sennkestra reviews the latest episode of Nathan for You, which features an “asexual computer repair service.”

Ace Community Activity

AVEN is fundraising to cover their server costs for the upcoming year.

News & Outreach

NPR’s Here & Now interviews David Jay and his co-parenting partners Zeke and Avary about the process of becoming a legal three parent family.

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Question of the Week: November 7th, 2017.

Do you not experience sexual attraction and desire as linked together or independently?

It was tricky for me to come up with a simple way to phrase this question. The absence of a correlation is difficult to discuss, but if things are absent together, that’s a link.

I think for many allosexual and asexual people sexual attraction desire are linked. Either both are experienced or not experienced, making them appear as a single seamless experience. Is that actually how they are, or is that just a dominant narrative (or even stereotype)?

I think of sexual attraction and sexual desire as two separate phenomena because they occur (or don’t) independently in me.

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Posted in personal experience, Question of the Week | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Linkspam: November 3rd, 2017

Every Friday, we will share links to news, blogs, and anything else we find interesting.  We can’t catch everything, so you are invited to self-promote in the comments!

Ace Blogging

Ren listed some little things you can do to help asexual and aromantic people.

Claudie Arseneault wrote about three prongs of asexual imagery in fiction.

aceadmiral writes about having a hysterectomy.

Ace Community Activity

A panel of asexual authors talked about representation and ostracization in fiction.

Ace and Anxious, a short film about asexuality, was released.

News & Outreach

BuzzFeed posted a video for Asexual Awareness Week.

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