What sort of ethical protocol do you think people researching or reporting on aces outside of our community should follow?
When I started doing academic research on asexuality I found myself regularly criticizing academics and building my arguments about what asexual discourse should look like by citing ace bloggers. I was, and am, really excited about the critical theory that we are making in our own community.
By the time it came to publish my research I had shifted to writing and reading about animals and they pose many important questions of representation. How should we represent beings very similar to us, but also extraordinarily different, and appropriately discuss their interests on their behalf? There is a huge difference between what animal welfare and what animal rights people say animals want. I began to wonder, what would conversations about how to represent ace people look like? I’ve seen conversations about ace 101, but what about how academics can ethically write about ace people? What about reporters?
I came across many questions about representing aces in my academic research. Does the motive of the author matter? How explicit should it be stated? Where does my own asexuality come in? Should I avoid citing certain people or make sure I cite others? Can I appropriately cite whole sections of their work or only paraphrase? Do I need their permission? Should anyone I cite read my whole paper before I try and publish it? How much editing control should they have? How can I recreate the ace context that makes ace ideas meaningful in the first place? What arguments in the ace community must I bring up and what arguments should I avoid? What do I need to keep in mind to best represent self-identified asexual people instead of pushing my own agenda of becoming a legitimate academic?
I continue to think about these questions but haven’t come up with any satisfactory answers. What about you?