Question of the Week: June 17th, 2014

Do you seek inclusion in specifically LGBTQ spaces? Are you comfortable in them?

For me it depends heavily on the space. I’m more likely to be comfortable in spaces that are explicitly asexual-friendly or, failing that, which are explicitly bi- and trans-friendly and do a good job focusing on those issues. I am generally not comfortable in “gay-centric” spaces.

I don’t currently seek out inclusion in either kind of space, although I have hung out in campus LGBTQA groups in the past. I tend to be highly anxious about scoping out new spaces and it’s generally not worth the anxiety right now. It’s possible that things will change in the future, though.

About Sciatrix

Sciatrix is an American graduate student studying ecology, evolution and behavior. She identifies as asexual and has mostly given up trying to sort out the whole romance thing for now. She has previously blogged about asexuality at Writing From Factor X. In her free time, she trains in canine agility and knits oddly cabled hats.
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13 Responses to Question of the Week: June 17th, 2014

  1. acetheist says:

    I wish I had more experience to answer this question with! The only LGBT+ group I’d (presumably) have access to is the one at my small university, and I’d already heard some bad things about it from my bi friend who used to be part of it (saying that it had gotten kind of cliquish, that sort of thing), plus it’d already conveyed itself to be heavily gay-centric, so… I haven’t tried to spend any time in that group at all.

    I suppose I could go looking for others in the area, but… I’ve got some hangups about that.

  2. Siggy says:

    I don’t explicitly seek out LGBTQ spaces anymore, but I end up going to a lot of stuff anyway. There are pride parades, a few conferences (GaymerX2 is up next), social events put on by local groups (eg there’s this occasional happy hour for grad students). Also a significant fraction of my friends are gay so when we meet it’s a de facto gay space. And yeah, many of these spaces are pretty gay-centric, and frankly aren’t always bi-friendly, trans-friendly, ace-friendly, or, uhh, lesbian-friendly… They’re sources of friends, not refuges from problematic stuff.

    I feel pretty comfortable because I’m shielded by sheer self-confidence/narcissism.

    • Sciatrix says:

      Yeah, these days when I do go it’s because gay or bi friends of mine are hauling me along–I’d probably turn up in similar spaces more frequently if not for irrational anxiety, actually.

      Also, hear you on them not being refuges from problematic stuff or particularly safe. To be honest, I don’t really think I’m missing out; I’m mostly curious because I was sitting back and thinking about the way some people on the internet seem to think aces are just pressing desperately on LGBTQ groups and dying to get in and drown out the conversation with ace issues. That’s not so consistent with my experience, but it occurred to me to wonder what the experiences of other people were.

  3. Mxtrmeike13 says:

    I always initially seek out explicitly LGBTQ (emphasis on the T and Q) spaces, but usually find something along this general narrative:

    Me: “…oh, and I’m also asexual!”
    Them: *weird staring*, *jaws dropping*, “[insert highly invasive/inappropriate comment here].”

    So I usually don’t stay in these spaces very long. Instead I seem to just gather an amalgamation of friends along the LGBTQIA spectrum and make it my asexual-friendly space.

  4. Aydan says:

    No to both questions, partially because most of the “LGBTQ” spaces I’ve encountered are really G(L) spaces. They also tend to be pretty racially homogeneous… and a little more alcohol focused than is my personal preference.

  5. Ella says:

    Personally I really *want* to be welcome and included in LGBTQ spaces, I want to be a member of the queer community and not have to worry about whether the people in those spaces consider me a member. For a long time I wanted to be active in my Universities GLBT Resource Centre, but it wasn’t until they changed their name to Sexuality and Gender Resource Centre (in order to be more inclusive) that I actually felt like it was somewhere I would be welcome. Still at events and while doing volunteer work I shy away from saying I’m ace, because I don’t want to face being rejected or judged. Also, even though they changed their name, the centre is still very focused on the LG and not so much on the BTQA. Hopefully there will be more ace-friendly queer spaces. I don’t want to be afraid of reactions in spaces that are meant to be accepting.

  6. Victrix says:

    I only seek out LGBTQ spaces when doing visibility work as I don’t tend to feel comfortable. The main one around me was my uni one and despite having a friend in there who got a lot out of it at the time I thought I was straight and should respect the boundary and safe space, then when I did realise I was ace they had a note on the door for who was welcome which had “queer asexuals” at this time I still thought I was heteroromantic (though could have gotten the non-hetronormative part of that could have gotten around it). That note is now gone and I’ve been involved in a workshop at that uni and another one since. I suspect if I had another year at the uni I would get over this discomfort however I finish, hopefully, this week. I am however comfortable enough now to go to the queer conference being held at the uni in July, so there has certainly been a change in my level of comfort with these group in the last 6-12 months

  7. notunprepared says:

    I was in a youth LGBT space for a couple of years. It was great actually, because it was specifically run as a safe space. But eventually most of my friends stopped going and all of a sudden all the visitors were five years younger than me and still in high school. So I stopped attending.
    I also joined a lesbian and gay choir, but again I stopped going. Most of the members had active lives and families and jobs, wheras I’m in limbo while trying to enter my career. And most of them are retired.

    I’ve given up now. There’s not really any places for queer people in their mid-twenties. You get too old for youth spaces, but you’re too young really for the adult spaces – because everyone’s in their 40s or older.

  8. I don’t actually have easy access to any offline LGBTQ spaces – I’m guessing most folks responding on this thread are in college and are thinking about taking part in campus groups, but it’s a different story when you’re long since out of college.

    I would be nervous about approaching such a group unless I was sure they were ace-inclusive, which has actually increased due to the Tumblr fights about “who is queer”. I would also only be interested in a group that met to talk or had other social events that weren’t focused around alcohol or hooking up. Finally, I have to consider how people would respond to a hijabi Muslim joining their group.

    Given that I’m also an introvert, it’s easy to justify not making any extra efforts to find groups to get involved with.

  9. queenieofaces says:

    I sought out LGBT spaces at the beginning of grad school, but quickly realized that they’re really not my thing, mostly because grad-specific LGBT spaces are A. centered around bars and drinking (I don’t drink) and B. very much husband/wife-shopping (not one of my interests). Also, they were predominantly inhabited white cis gay men.

    Right now, I mostly hang out in ace spaces and with LGBT friends. (I have a surprising number of bi friends?) I’ve been thinking about checking out the Bi WoC group in Boston, especially since I found out that it’s ace-friendly (and has had other ace participants), but that’s partially motivated by my desire for a space that isn’t predominantly white.

  10. Sara K. says:

    The last time I was in an LGBTQ space was an event sponsored by the Hsinchu LGBT Club (I think that was their name?) which was open to the general public i.e. you did not have to be LGBTQ to be welcome. I did not talk to anybody their about my own identity, so I don`t know how they would have reacted. I can say that it was not just gay men, since many people in the organization are women, and as far as I know I was the only white person present (Hsinchu is a city in Taiwan).

    • Sara K. says:

      Ha, I did not answer the question.

      I do not seek inclusion in LGBTQ spaces, but I would have no problem visiting such a space if a) invited and interested or b) there is an interesting event open to the general public.

  11. I sometimes feel “too queer” for gay-centric spaces. I don’t really feel identified with homosexuals of any gender, neither do I with many binary trans folk. I usually try to frequent ace-friendly or non-binary places, however those are hard to find. As Sara K. says, if the activity or event interests me I have no problem going. The other day I watched “Boys Don’t Cry” as I cried alongside a group of trans women.

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