Question of the Week: April 9th, 2013

This is the Question of the Week, a way to stimulate conversation.  It occurs every Tuesday.

When aces write and discuss, it doesn’t always have to be about asexuality.  So even as we learn about asexuality, we learn other things too.  Have you ever learned, from ace discussions, about something that had nothing to do with asexuality?

I’d say I learned a lot about trans stuff, but the most important thing I learned is that I know hardly anything about trans stuff.  I also remember learning some fascinating things about sexual selection (ie evolution) from Sciatrix.

About Siggy

Siggy is an ace activist based in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and has a Ph.D. in physics. He has another blog where he also talks about math, philosophy, godlessness, and social criticism. His other hobbies include board games and origami.
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10 Responses to Question of the Week: April 9th, 2013

  1. Sciatrix says:

    I have actually gotten a surprising amount of career advice from people I first met in the asexual community! In fact, a conversation about asexuality research back in 2009 ended up being a factor in switching my research interests from straight behavior and cognition over to evolutionary biology. Just from observing how people think and watching the community over the years, I’ve also learned a lot about how ideas and communities form and change over time, which is surprisingly useful in a variety of situations. I’ve learned how to organize events and build organizations, too.

    I second learning that I didn’t know anything about trans stuff! That was a useful thing to realize and start trying to fix.

    • Siggy says:

      I also feel like I’ve learned a lot about how (online) communities develop. Prior to my being in the asexual community, I had only really been involved in atheist communities. While very complex, that’s still just N=1. Participating in queer and asexual communities increased it to N=3.

  2. Carmilla DeWinter says:

    Heh, seconded (thirded?) on the trans issues. Also, a more in-depth look into feminism, the workings of romantic bonding, consent, fat activism, and race issues. (I’m sure I forgot stuff.) All that also again brought the fact home that humanity always will resist generalization. It’s amazing how many people only accept bell curves when it comes to height.

    Discussions with other aces also made me explore new music.

  3. queenieofaces says:

    Fourthing trans issues (and gender stuff in general). I knew a little bit about genderqueer and trans issues before getting involved in the community, but I have learned so much in the past year or so, it’s kind of astonishing. (Of course, I probably only know a fraction of a percent of what there is to know, but that’s a start!)

    Also, seconding feminism! Once again, something I knew a little bit about beforehand, but there are too many really good feminist ace bloggers to not learn more.

  4. Amy Pond says:

    I feel I’ve also learned about trans and gender stuff, as well as sexualities like demisexuality and pansexuality, and the fact that while sexual attraction, libido and romantic attraction may all intersect in most people, they do not *always* intersect. (Also, while I had a vague idea that some people didn’t ever experience romantic attraction, I didn’t actually get that it was a Thing.)

    I’ve also learnt a lot about consent issues (because no one explores consent like asexual people), and feminism (and found that most of what I consider to be ‘relevant’ feminism, about issues that are actually important to women today and how they live their lives, happens online rather than in other forms of media, and doesn’t get nearly enough attention outside the internet).

    I’ve also learnt a LOT about navigating different forms of relationships, and the kind of relationships that I myself want and why these are often different from the relationships that most people want. I’ve also learnt a lot about how to write close, intimate relationships (romantic and non-romantic) without including sexual elements: which is important to me because I do not write stories with sexual elements (I have no real interest in doing so, and don’t know how, anyway) but I have a strong interest in writing romantic relationships and queerplatonic relationships, and all the discussion I’ve seen in the asexual community has really helped with that.

    • Sciatrix says:

      Oh, yeah, reductionism! (That is, the idea that you can take a really complex thing and understand it by breaking it down into smaller and smaller parts and understanding those.) Asexual communities often have this view of sexuality as a set of loosely-connected modules that might or might not influence each other, which is a really reductionist viewpoint and one I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere. Hanging out with a lot of people who think that way was very useful when it came to how I think about sexuality, but it also got me into the habit of thinking in terms of breaking down other complex phenomena in the same sort of way. Sometime’s that’s helpful, and sometimes it’s not, as when you end up trying to break a phenomenon down along artificial lines. For the most part it’s a useful mindset to have, though.

    • Effi says:

      Seconding the “navigating different forms of relationships, and the kind of relationships that I myself want.” I was incredibly ignorant and unskilled at consent/communication/relationship processing/etc. when I got to the ace community. I’ve learned so much from observing and discussing, both directly within the community and through links to blogs like Captain Awkward and Pervocracy. I’ve still got a long ways to go, but I’m attempting things that would have quickly blown up if attempted a year ago, and the progress I’ve made and will continue to make is a serious help in crafting successful relationships.

      Additionally, ace discussions have led me to fascinating discussions about romantic orientation and WORDS, for which I am forever grateful.

  5. I think the main thing I get from asexuality is this idea that everyone thinks differently, and people aren’t really secretly the same as me. Which is constantly useful, for a whole load times I start out thinking they must be.

    Also, my brand of aromanticism, which is moving towards a more politicised relationship anarchy, and is pretty far removed from the basic definition of aromanticism, but I’d never have had that if it wasn’t for asexuality.

    And evolutionary biology and trans* stuff and community and internet forums and language and science reporting in the media and a whole lot of other things I can’t even remember. It’s probable my first published scholarly article will be about a filmmaker who I stumbled across on AVEN, and wouldn’t have known about without it.

  6. Isaac says:

    Apart of the areas listed by the previous commenters, the asexual community has taught me a lot of English. (My mother tongue is Spanish.)

  7. From interacting with the online asexual community, I discovered non-binary trans people and my own non-binary identity.

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