Question of the Week: June 24th, 2014

Lately people have been reminiscing on asexual history from 2011.  That’s when the Tumblr community was just starting, and there was the infamous “asexual privilege” debacle, and all the associated arguments about whether aces can be queer.  What were you doing in 2011?

Or, if you weren’t around ace communities in 2011, I’m also interested to know whether you’ve heard anything about it.  Is that period of history now forgotten?

In 2011, I was involved in the off-Tumblr blogging community.  I heard a lot about the Great Ace-Hate of 2011, but didn’t see much of it directly.  My impression was that those trolls were just soooo stupid, and obviously had no experience with how asexuals and queer groups actually interact.  If their arguments were any good, they would still be around instead of being associated with a particular year.

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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21 Responses to Question of the Week: June 24th, 2014

  1. I wasn’t around in the ace community back then. I have, however, heard of the “are aces queer” and the “asexuality isn’t a real thing” debates in many places not long ago. They are clearly fading away though.
    Actually, that’s about the time I realised I was trans and was lurking around the LGBT Yahoo! Answers section. I think that is as equally bad and with the same number of trolls as the ace-hate on tumblr in 2011?

  2. I wasn’t on Tumblr yet and wasn’t really following a lot of ace blogs but I was beginning to look around for ace blogs and so I came across some of these debates, particularly the “are aces queer?” one. In retrospect, I think it was finding good responses to this question by ace bloggers that inspired me to look more actively for ace blogs. However, I didn’t join Tumblr until June 2012.

  3. luvtheheaven says:

    I was on tumblr but only for fandom hehe. Yeah no I had no idea I was asexual yet. While in 2010 I did first hear about asexuality, I ignored that it might apply to me and didn’t even really start browsing AVEN till 2012 when I finally first started dating and realized kissing was not enjoyable for me in the slightest, realized I couldn’t decide if I found my date “hot”/”my type”, etc…

    I heard a lot about the earlier Asexual community/ies, but mainly from watching (A)sexuality on Netflix, I think. They discussed that in-depth. Lol.

  4. I was on tumblr, then. It was a combination of trolls trying to get a rise out of us, and radfems arguing that there is no such thing as anti-asexual prejudice and that asexuals benefit from heterosexual privilege. The radfems in question still believe these things and sometimes post about them, but they don’t tag the posts where asexuals are likely to see them anymore, and now their anti-ace activities center around arguing that demisexuality is a label that only exists because of sexual repression/oppression of women and lgbt people (and that identifying as demisexual furthers those oppressions).

  5. queenieofaces says:

    I didn’t join tumblr until May of 2012, but I was lurking on AVEN then. (I lurked on AVEN for…2 years? Haha, wow, those were the days.) Never actually saw any of the 2011 blow-up, though. Also, I got caught up in the second wave of the “are aces queer” debate in fall of 2012 (I think?), and by “got caught up” I mean “watched it rage past me and tried to stay out of the way.”

  6. Seth says:

    Late 2011 is when I discovered the ace community, and I mostly avoid Tumblr since I dislike the format. I’m familiar with the ace privilege arguments and the never-ending debate over whether aces are queer, but this is the first I’ve heard of them being associated with a particular year.

    • Siggy says:

      I may have exaggerated the extent to which those arguments were localized in time. For instance, Queenie mentioned above a second wave in 2012. I myself did not perceive multiple waves, but then I wasn’t paying close attention to it, and may have forgotten some of the details.

      The reason I think of 2011 is because that’s when the ace tumblr community exploded. The trolls were a result of lots of tumblr people learning about asexuality for the first time.

      • Cleander says:

        Personally, maybe I just look at things differently but I’ve always had the impression that it’s fairly constant overall, but with flare ups around various topics that crop up every couple weeks or so. (Quite commonly on a rotation of “but are asexuals queer?” to “but there’s no scientific evidence” to “but asexuality is oppressive of women/queers/PoC/whatever” etc).

        What was different about 2011 I think was that the community was smaller and people saw more, and it was easier for one bad post to make the circuit of the entire community. I also think people have grown thicker skins and gotten better at ignoring things now. (Also, I get the impression that people now follow tags less and follow a handful of specific blogs more, which may have had some effect?)

        Of course, I have no actual data and with tumblrs format I don’y know if that’s something that can ever be tracked….

  7. Miriam Joy says:

    I didn’t join Tumblr until late 2012 and I didn’t figure out I was ace until late last year. I’ve heard little enough about it, but I haven’t been very active in ace communities — only in the past month have I actually started following any blogs centred on asexuality etc. So no, not really.

  8. Talia says:

    In 2011 I was actively avoiding the ace community and didn’t want anything to do with it until 2013, so I imagine I missed a lot. I haven’t heard of this associated to any particular year, nor I have I seen the term ‘asexual privilege’ before, but I’ve seen remnants and little waves of debates regarding if aces are queer or not. Sometimes they reference that this is an ongoing question and sometimes they don’t.

    Your question, ‘is that period of history now forgotten?’, brings to mind my ongoing uncertainty about the ace community and ace history. My main source of ace history is A.C. Hinderliter’s articles on “Asexual Explorations” and the AVEN wiki. I feel like I know very little about ace history. Are there any particular bloggers or spaces that have more info that anyone else has found particularly helpful?

    • Siggy says:

      I would consider Hinderliter’s work to be the best around. But his work only looks at AVEN and pre-AVEN. Nobody’s an expert in history since 2011, that’s just too recent.

      Actually, in the International Asexual Conference this weekend, there will be a panel on asexual history. They should publish a video afterwards.

    • Cleander says:

      This talk by Nat Titman at WorldPride 2 years ago is a really good resource:

      Also, Hinderliter has a main site at and a blog at that have many historical posts.

      And, like Siggy mentioned there should (I think?) be video of the asexual history panel from WP today popping up eventually – I can also probably get the powerpoints from myself and the other presenters if you’d be interested.

      Otherwise, there aren’t really any asexual history collections or archives that have really been gathered together yet, but I’m hopefully going to be starting (in the next week or so) a sort of online “asexual history interest group” with some of the people from the SF conference, and you would be welcome to join us!

      Do you have any prarticular period or topic you are interested in? I have a bunch of links and things stored on my computer that I could send to you if you might be interested.

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  11. Aqua says:

    In 2011, I already knew of asexuality, but was still staying away from the asexual community, and didn’t look into it, because of self-doubt.

    I didn’t find the asexual community until about the fall of 2012, but I saw a lot of references to what happened in 2011 when I was lurking on tumblr. I just wrote a post about this, and I saw that many of the issues from 2011 were still being carried over. Perhaps not to the same levels as in 2011, but I observed that 2012 was still a rocky year for the tumblr asexual community.

    I didn’t see the first wave of the “Are aces queer” debate of 2011 myself, but I saw the second wave of it as it was happening. It was still very heated on both sides, so I just stayed out of the way and observed from a distance.

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