Question of the Week: July 8th, 2014

How does the location where you live affect your experience as an ace? (Note that you do not need to disclose where this location is.)

I think it’s already well-known that I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, which has a long history of being at the forefront of LGBT rights.  This means that I take for granted a certain base level of LGBT acceptance, and my entire ace-visibility tool-box tends to be geared towards that sort of audience.

Also, since I’m near a large city, that means I can count on there being other aces around.  That means I’m lucky enough to have physical ace meetups!  I’m still jealous of the New England Aces though, with their fancier public transit system.

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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8 Responses to Question of the Week: July 8th, 2014

  1. luvtheheaven says:

    I live in the USA state of Maryland, near Washington D.C. and I basically have the same experiences as you. The people I’ve come out to have already been very accepting of… well… gay people. Not sure if bisexuals or transgendered people have ever crossed their radar. And I just went to my first ever physical Ace-meet-up this past weekend. It was a bit of a drive away – 45 minutes or so – but it was doable, and I got to meet 7 other asexual people and have a good time for about 6 hours at someone’s house. If I lived more in the middle of nowhere, this wouldn’t have been possible.

  2. luvtheheaven says:

    Of course, I did grow up in a much smaller town in northern Maryland. I have some experience as an ace-who-didn’t-know-it-yet being in that different environment as well.

    We didn’t have openly gay people at our school. Bisexuality isn’t even considered. We didn’t have too much blatant homophobia, although I think there was a little. Bullying wasn’t a major issue as far as I was aware, but maybe I just missed where it was a bigger problem. School dances had male/female dates only and no one (as far as I ever knew) questioned it. Our school was a relatively small school (less than 400 people in my graduating class) with strictly enforced “No PDA” and dress code policies. We had very heteronormative “abstinence plus” type sex ed in school. No one considered the fact that you might not be straight. 9th grade sex-ed was probably the one place where I was actually told “Hey, there simply IS a strong temptation to have (heterosexual) sex” and deep down a part of me knew that “basic fact of life” didn’t ring true for me, at all.

    I still keep in touch with 5 of my high school friends (we’re all female) from that small town (we’re around 23 or 24 years old now). These 5 friends have always been kind of… quiet when it comes to talking about experiences of sexual attraction or desire. I never realized how different I was, to not be feeling it at all, because no one made it clear that they were actually feeling these things. One girl out of all 6 of us was obsessed with Orlando Bloom and wanted posters of him on her wall but even then I was able to think she just liked his acting or something because of the way she didn’t ever outright explain WHY she “liked” him so much. She’s also always been the most vocal about the fact that she wants to date. I think the small town environment may have led to my friend group always avoiding the issue of actually discussing sexual attraction or sexual desire. And they *still* act this way, today. It’s possible that everyone except the one girl is on the asexual spectrum to some degree that that would explain why my friend group acts the way we do, but I think it’s more likely that they’re allosexuals who are conditioned by the small town’s culture to avoid talking about this kind of “taboo” subject matter.

  3. ooooh I like this question!
    I’ve yet to go to a meet-up in my area, partly because there aren’t a lot organized, partly because when they are organized, it never works out for me (too busy, too far away, that kind of thing).
    The meet-ups are usually for people from two different countries. So it’s usually quite a long journey for a lot of people to come, which means not a lot of people show up. You need a lot of commitment to make, say, a 2 hour + journey. So yeah, not much offline ace interaction.

    I find coming out and talking to people about asexuality a bit daunting. Not because people are unaccepting – I haven’t yet come across someone who rejected it (I’m not out to many people, though) – but because I’d have to do it a different language. I’m so used to talking about asexuality in English, that I have all the right words and right explanations in that language, but that doesn’t always work when I switch to another language, especially because it’s a subject that I would need to explain well so people will be more accepting and understanding. I’m slowly getting better at the language thing, though.

    Also, I share your jealousy of the NE aces, Siggy. I’d love to have such a large and active offline ace community where I live.

  4. Seth says:

    That closely parallels my experience in the Portland, OR area, though I look to London for my public transit jealousy.

  5. queenieofaces says:

    Yes, be jealous of us. *maniacal laughing*

    Honestly, I’m not entirely sure where I’d be if it weren’t for the NE aces. The combination of living in a generally LGBT-friendly environment (although girlfriend and I have been harassed in Boston, which…I always find vaguely surprising) and having such a critical mass of (really awesome) aces around me has been a huge boon. I love it and have no plans of leaving any time soon.

    Interestingly, I used to live in the SF Bay Area, but I was massively closeted at the time, so I never got involved in the SF Bay Area ace stuff. (Although hopefully I’ll be going to their meet-up next week?)

    • Siggy says:

      Even in San Francisco, I’ve gotten harassing comments. Then one year it stopped, or maybe I stopped listening? My homophobia diary is puzzled.

      I am very excited to meet you!

  6. Victrix says:

    My location determines where we meet. Victorian public transport all runs into a central point so where pretty much limited to that. However the does mean we get a good catchment (average travel time is probably around an hour or more within the group) which includes some regional areas.

  7. Janet says:

    Right now I live in a small city in Central PA, with no local ace meetups. I’ve never yet met someone in person who is openly ace. It can feel very lonely. At the same time, there is a very strong, local LGBT community. I’ve known I’m asexual for less than a year, and have just started coming out. (Read: to two people.) Both were incredibly supportive. I’m really excited to hear that there is such an active ace community in the SF Bay Area, since I will be moving there this fall. I hope that I’ll be able to meet some of you in person in a few months!

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