Growing Up Ace: First Lessons In Transaction Sexuality

I’d be willing to wager that phrasing makes you think of sex work, and while that is one type of transaction, it’s definitely not the first I learned. The first example of this for me was in the animated Aladdin. I can still picture Jasmine in the red outfit, flipping a switching and beaconing the bad guy with a come hither tone of voice.

That is my first memory knowing that sexuality, particularly women’s asexuality, was something that was not so much felt, but offered. The next time I saw this type of behavior was a Stargate SG-1 episode where the men were chemically seduced by Hathor. The women were locked up since they are unable to be controlled in this fashion, hick up their shirts and get their flirt on with the male guards.

Science fiction is a common offender of this trope, which says fair reaching things about the assumed submission of women to men, and how men are slaves to their urges.

But today, I’d like to highlight how these examples teach aces that sexual behavior is something offered in exchange for something. This is a wildly dangerous situation when aces date simply because a friend is needed, or when aces have sex because protection is wanted. These events are at times consensual, but are transactional in a less obvious way than sex work.

For aces in particular, depictions of Jasmine’s red outfit inspired sexuality, or Stargate’s flirt ploy, can dangerously misinform aces about how to navigate the topic. Women’s sexuality is displayed as a weapon towards men, and one that far to easily can turned against us. A weapon not of our own consumption, and not for our own empowerment.

And without feeling earnest sexual attraction we have less of a chance to make course corrections into situations that make us feel respected.

While this article does not paint a complete picture of all the reasons aces might have sex, but it does ask for a growing awareness that the behavior of aces, and many other groups, are the result of simply trying to survive in a world where compulsory sexuality and amatonormaity are demanded.

And acknowledgment that aces face this, that women face this, that anyone may face this, might be able to keep our sexualities from feeling as if they were for sale to the hetro-patriarchy.

Paycheck Protection Act & Sole Proprietors (Artists and Authors Edition)

You may or may not know that the Fyeah Asexual blog is largely run by disabled mods. I write books, and another mod has an etsy store. While that’s not a complete picture, it does make me wonder about this the congressionally approved relief loans.

Many authors are sole proprietorships, and plenty of people who do business alone can apply for these loans starting today (April 10th). But authors and various other freelancers get their pay in funny ways so here’s a post of my understanding of what it means for possibly you, or maybe a struggling friend right now.

Key Points

  • While focusing on businesses with staff under 500 people, self-employees people count starting today (April 10th). It gives people up tp $10,000 dollars in forgivable loans to pay wages.
  • Loans over $10,000 have a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1%. (Probably not relevant for you, but good to know for context of the bill itself.)
  • Borrowers must submit proof money i being used to cover pay. You’ll need payroll processor records, payroll tax filings, Form 1099-Misc, income and expenses from the sole proprietorship or bank records. (Most artists and authors have the last 3 in some form.)
  • The loan you can get forgiven seems to be 2.5 times your average monthly payroll. If you are dirt poor and not making much you can have your pennies multiplied by 2.5. (Hey! More money is more money.) You sadly cannot use the whole $10,000 to pay yourself minimum wage until it’s out and have it forgiven.
  • If a business laid off staff, they have until June 30th to rehire them.
  • 75+% of the business loan most be used for payroll. 25%- can be for any other expense.
  • It’s been suggested you apply at a bank you already are at, but not an absolute necessarity. It’s also a first come first serve process so if you think this is something that can help you apply today. [Here’s a list of banks you can apply with.]
  • You can apply if you were a business founded as early as February 2020.
  • I am not a loan professional, this is simply my understanding based on a business background and an author life. My sources are Investopedia’s article here, and CNBC article here.

Personally, I don’t think this is a fit for my situation but I wanted to make the details clear for anyone who thinks its a fit for their situation. The kofi is here if you want to support the blog directly.

The Law of Attraction

How looking at the spilt attraction model can better help people understand SAM and Non-SAM people.

There is a long standing tug of where between groups over where aros fit, and has it’s own set of purity politics that follow. This article is not gossip explaining interpersonal community friction, at its core more queer theory specially on how a-spec communities organize.

I think all this tension, and often infighting, is the product of being upset with intersectionality. I personally find asexuality and aromantism’s twin like behavior and shared history a boon. It’s a ven diagram, that as far as I can tell, skews ace. And no other community probably overindexes aces as much as the aromantic one. Which creates a tension of ‘why can’t we have our own things’ as it does equally ‘why aren’t aro aces doing more for aros specifically.’ Mind you, I think the second is unfair. But the point I’m trying to make goes as follows.

I was listening to this philosopher and he said that humans often dissect to understand concepts. Spitting things apart, and apart, until you reach the atom. And then say aha an atom, the smallest thing, from the word which means cannot be spilit! And then, oh dear… we split the atom. Now there’s protons, neutrons, electrons, and then maybe there’s more things in there too, and hey what’s this quark I keep hearing about? And these dissections makes the world more complicated. You see this all the time as a complaint about the a-spec community. Why new words, why spilit attraction model, and so on.

Going back to our example, well maybe you were looking to heal what ails you and now people are talking about things on a cellular level. And don’t get me wrong, that sort of understanding is a net gain for doctors to help you. But the lgbtq communities whose sole goal is “people should be allowed to be who they are without limitation” makes such exact concepts on how to do that more complex. Now that’s as true for a-specs as anyone else.

But I feel like for a-spec people, some want to just pull an proton out without realizing the electromagnetic force that keeps the neutron nearby. And I find it deeply ironic that communities based on the acceptance over the lack of strong attraction, have trouble viewing two separate things, that often times share in lived history, share experiences, and by the changing of language which spilit a previous understanding of asexuality further to help make sure aromanticsm was not forgotten, do have an electromagnetic-like attraction to each other.

And honestly? That spilt and pull towards each other is not unique to asexuality. This division to better see the communities parts, to further explain them in English this has been going on for a century now. While it is important to learn through the dissection of human sexuality, we mustn’t forget its compilated because humans make it so. This means it’s natural state isn’t compilated at all. It just is, like the grass just grows.

My Community, ‘Tis of Thee

I wish I could quickly explain that “community spaces” are not geological territories based on land. The idea that queer people will abuse each other over this concept of a club that has no physical barriers is mine numbingly incorrect.

This dream of fully protecting a community from outsiders that would do it harm is a false one. “I want the lgbtq community safe from people who have a privilege” is nobel, but flawed.

We don’t kick cis people out because there’s trans people in the community. We don’t kick white people out because there’s people of color in the community. We don’t kick abled people out because they’re disabled people in the community.

And this idea that we can even kick people out, at all, is a false one. Our communities are multiple communities, ranging in physical location, online platforms, and the idea of human categorization itself.

You can keep your interactions with the people you deal with as safe as you believe. Measured by whatever metric you believe in. But it is impossible to wholesale protect the community from all harm because you are not all knowing, all present, or responsible for anyone besides yourself.

Exclusion does not only fail because asexual‘s are inherently targeted by hetronormality. Exclusion fails because we are not one community, but the many. Liberation is not won on a single front. We are, and it is, endless.

You can no more protect the community and the people with in it from harm than a parent can protect their child from harm. All you can do is be a loving environment in yourself and teach what you know so your child may protect themselves with or without your presence.

We never should never fool ourselves into thinking this is a country. There’s no authority, we are all equal, and while that makes organization harder at times it’s a constant reminder of all own worth.

#BelieveAces Part 2: On the refusal to accept labels

I’ve been thinking a lot about the removal of labels.

Largely posthumously, like in the cases of Stephen Donaldson and Martha Shelley, activists of the 1960’s. In life they commented on how they took flak from leaders for being bi. How their relationship was treated as a scandal because they weren’t visually performing their sexuality in a way that was useful to others. This is such a clear cut case of bisexuality only being valued if it reads as homosexuality. It happened when they were alive, and it still happens when people discuss them, and their specific concern.

Another recent after death label change was done by Rolling Stone magazine. One of their staff writers, with a habit of making fun of asexuals, decided to target Yasmin Benoit for her connection to Bianca Devins. Yasmin is the creator of #ThisIsWhatAsexualLooksLike, and her path briefly, and digitally, crossed with Bianca when Bianca submitted herself to the AsexualLooks instagram. This disbelieve of not only Bianca’s words, but Yasmin’s is endemic of society at large.

People don’t believe asexuals when they speak.

Even more recently, a Wikipedia editor refused to accept that labeling of a celebrity as ace as proof. Locking the page, and claiming that the actress was being too ambiguous. This real time erasure makes coming out an arbitrary bar people need to clear in order for outsiders to consider them as the words they use for themselves. And the point here isn’t even about trying make sure a label sticks to someone. Or the historical record either. It’s to point out that at all points, asexuals say something and are not fully believed at any time of that journey.

A visit to our FuckYeahAsexual inbox shows countless cases of this happening in countless ways. A quick scroll shows three messages raising the concern of people denying their label for wanting to have children. Two express concern that asexuality is being confused with virginity and having their labels denied eitherway that coin falls. Other asks are a point blank statement. “I’ve tried to explain asexuality to people and they don’t get it.”

Asexuality is a sexuality of it’s own, it intersects with queer theory, but like the field of study the reductionist review of outsiders deciding what is of isn’t asexuality is serving no one, and nothing besides ignorance.

Allosexuals need to interact with aces in a way that allows for our infinite diversity. Not only in race, gender, and ability, but behavior. There isn’t a single facet of asexuality that is a fixed point. Any idea to the contrary holds us all back. It’s high time we start believing aces and the words they say. Other people’s sexuality don’t need to meet any’s preconceived ideas of it.

It is my hope that when we start believing people, we will start truly seeing them as the people they are, or were… Whether they be, bisexual, asexual, other any other queer identity.

– Roses from a digital typewriter

On Death Stranding, Queerphobia, and Rape Culture

This tweet was brought to my attention and I’d like to go over it. 

image

In the following text, I will break down line by line this the above is just biblically old homophobia, recycled queerphobia in general, as well as sexism and rape culture.



The title says an “Asexual World” not a “Celibate World” not “A Population In Decline.” An asexual world. Many times casual acephobia would use those two words to mean the same, but what Death Stranding does is even worse. 

Line one and two reads: “Widespread aversion towards physical contact and intimacy”. Since we are talking about queerphobia and rape culture it should be noted that aversion towards physical contact and intimacy are not issues exclusive to asexuals. Not all aces have an aversion. Furthermore, sex repulsion and touch aversion are often found in rape survivors and other victims of abuse. It is a safety feature, not the back story to a horror genre. You also see an aversion to touch in same-sex couples that do not feel safe to even hold hands. If the societal issue is a “widespread aversion towards physical contact and intimacy” the issue is not “An Asexual World”. It’s a world were people have no ability be interact safely.

Line four, five, six read:  ‘”sexless lifestyle” among young people.” and “younger cohort were self-identifying as asexual, claiming to be incapable of feeling desire or attraction.” Once again asexuals may have sexless “lifestyles” but so may anyone. It is again not an inherent feature of asexuality.

You can also note in this section the double usage of young and younger. This is classic queerphobia of “the youth and their new labels.” It’s been said about every letter of the queer community. Death Standing further goes on to say people are “claiming” further removing the agency from those who gained enough agency to feel like they could safely label themselves in the first place. And year after year studies shows that the number of LGBTQ people goes up as awareness and safety for these groups go up. LGBTQ people vanish without labels, they hide.

Line nine, ten, elven reads: “demisexuals, who are incapable of sexual attraction without an emotional connection, and panromantics, who profess an attraction unrestricted by sex or gender–albeit one not necessarily sexual in nature.” I mentioned most acephobia is misguided definitions. These here have a flavor text of the game but are otherwise correct. This flavor text is not a misguided stray comment from Death Stranding. It’s someone who knows what the a-spec community is and still decided to take a shot at multiple queer communities. Attacking panromantics is an attack of any multi-spec person.

Line thirteen reads: “One theory posits that the Stranding accelerated the proliferation of these sexualities.” If you haven’t heard the recycled homophobia before this line, I hope you do here. This the classic homophobic line of: those social deviants are ending our society.

Lines seventeen, eighteen, nineteen reads: “Incidences of sexual harassment and assault have also seen a sharp decrease, which seems to suggest that sex could be further from our minds, for better or for worse.” First off, if anything that reduces sexual harassment and sexual assault. It is for the better. Rape culture is not the price we have to pay for having a culture, and it isn’t directly about sex being on the minds of rapists either. Even in a Me Too era Death Standing still does not understand that harassment and assault are abuses of power.

And while it is not directly mentioned in the screencap a few more things need to be mentioned. Two cis gay men did not produce offspring. They are not and should not be shamed for it. I point this out because  “Oh no, those queers are going to ruin the population” is a biblically historic form of homophobia. And the only reason Death Stranding isn’t direct homophobic is because those exact same believes are indirectly hiding behind willful acephobia. By taking a shot at asexuals for “not breeding” you are taking a shot at anyone who does not “be fruitful and multiply.”

Now that I’ve done a Scooby-Doo unmasking of homophobia, I’d also like to mention further implied rape culture and sexism. You’ll often find men like Hideo Kojima and his writers who concern troll over if those who can have children are fucking and having babies. You see this played out in the fight for rights for people to control their own bodies.

Horror as a genre can point out the unknown lurking out of our sight. Unmast it, or hold it just out of clear view. Death Stranding’s back story does not do this. Instead of subverting a society that already has rape culture, compulsory sexuality, heteronormatity, and sexism, Hideo Kojima theorizes that maybe the backstory to his great horror story is asexuals, the very same people who are not the monsters but the targets of those four things.

Why I’ve Given Up Hope For Cyberpunk 2077

A short essay on marketing, flavor text, and Poe’s Law

Cyberpunk 2077 is no stranger to controversy when it comes to its behavior towards trans people.  Faith was all but lost when their official twitter replied with a transphobic meme.

They said sorry, and there’s a rumor that whoever tweeted this was fired, who knows though.  The point I want to make is highlighted by this nearly year-old tweet. In order for this joke to be funny, you have to believe that misgendering is funny when it’s been shown that doing so leads to higher suicide rates. This types of jokes come at the expense of trans concerns and always from an outsider pov.

Many found new love for the name when Keanu Reeves appeared by surprise announcing he’s in the game. Known for the Matrix, a movie that has strong trans themes and was made by two trans siblings. And as much credibility Keanu can bring, Cyberpunk 2077 has a huge problem: Poe’s Law

It’s an internet adage that says without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the parodied view.

This week at E3 when they showed off more of the game, a lot of people saw a new problem. Namely, this fictional soda ad:

On it you have a femme model with a penis showing, which caused many to ask why. And the art director was quick to defend saying, “their beautiful body is used — for corporate reasons.” as reported by Polygon. Not only am I concerned that irony has died in the year 2077, but here’s where Poe’s law kicks in.

The art director went on to say:  “In [the year] 2077, especially with how much body modifications are available, I think people just mix and match however they want, however they feel. […] This is not to say that the player should see this kind of advertising as good. Redesiuk said that it was designed to feel jarring and overly aggressive, like all the other ads in the game, but not because of the femme-presenting trans model.

While that’s all well as good, it has the same problem that “did you assume my gender” jokes have if not something worse and worthless.  2077’s critique of “soda companies sell to trans people” is not criticizing rainbow capitalism. It’s hardly even critiquing capitalism. It’s largely saying “isn’t it edgy to be trans, mix it up, buy two of our sodas and combine them.”

Let’s look at Watch Dogs Legion, another do crime ‘n hack shit game coming out around the same time. In the top image, their flavor text images show something that is clearly pro-nationalism, and if you ‘misread’ or even agree with these ads the whole plot is there to correct you. It’s a game about subverting the police state, something they make known from the first seconds of the trailer.

Cyberpunk 2077 (shown again as the second image above) instead uses this background space to have two meaningless ads and then this one. And here’s the point I don’t think I can emphasize enough. If you “misread” 2077’s ‘critique of capitalism’ you end up with ‘soda companies are selling transgenderism, aren’t they out of control?!” That’s a problem, one the developer CD Projekt Red could have easily avoided instead of trying to play a double negative about hypersexuality.

But instead, their defense is: There are many examples of hypersexualized women, hypersexualized men, and hypersexualized people in between. […] You fight against corporations. That [advertisement] is what you’re fighting against.”

In 2077, the “we’re not sexist, we objectify everyone” defense is still around?
That’s cispicious.

Social Justice—what now?

Satire is an interesting beast.

When The Colbert Report was on most people understood that it was all satire. Airing on Comedy Central proved it was a joke.

But these days, it seems like a lot of people get news from these sort of shows, and there’s more than ever.  I remember when The Colbert Report had a running “gag” that he couldn’t see color. I’m not going to get into why color blindness is bad if you don’t know I’d check out MTV’s video on the matter.  The point is, if you aren’t in on the joke, satire can support what you are making fun of.

As movements and societal trends grow the misuse of those successful tactics also grows. Thus more satire is often created. Which cycles back to the problem of satire supporting what you don’t want.

This phenomenon has a name: Poe’s law. Which follows, “without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, parodies of extreme views will be mistaken by some readers as sincere expressions of the parodied views.”

The story it was named when Nathan Poe wrote an article and then added a winky face at the end and a commenter replied, “Good thing you included the winky. Otherwise people might think you are serious.” When watching comedy favored news you at least have tone as an indicator of intent. But when you read this article or tweet the writer can’t control what tone your inner voice uses. This becomes a real problem when speaking to an online audience.

It’s not that social justice has run amok and therefore should be tossed out. It isn’t that people have become too politically correct, or too easily offended. It’s that we all learn at different rates and times. My experience of working daily with certain activist groups means I’ll see things that it could take months for you to see, or years for someone who doesn’t spend their life on the internet. And you could learn just as many new and different things in some other circle. This isn’t to fault anyone. Merely point out that we aren’t more divided than ever, we are more interconnected than ever.

“A wise man knows that he knows nothing.” I heard that as a kid, and as I think about the internet and interconnectivity, the age of the quote stands out to me. Socrates first said it in B.C. times. Just consider for a moment how nearing timeless that philosophy was.

If we want progress we have to build on the past. But, each person has to learn from a starting point of zero. So jokes and methodology will get misused or misunderstood. We mustn’t think that a minority group is just now speaking out, when in reality they have been fighting the whole time. Far too often nothing gets done because we are missing the frame of reference. But maybe we don’t have to know everything if we can simply admit we don’t.

Unburied Fables Releases Next Week!

Over the last week, two people commented on the title of Unburied Fables. Said that these stories are often left buried, or on the importance of having representation unearthed. I’m glad that some people have picked up on the meaning below the surface. Because this project has turned into something really personal. Or as personal a project with fifteen different collaborators can be.

I remember first talking about it, I was sitting on the floor upstairs in my underused office. It was after Pulse, which broke my heart in a way that I hadn’t expected. It was after this hard year where every activist I know is just bone tired.

And I thought that we could all use a little good in our life.
And I thought about stories with happy endings.

And I thought about how I wanted to help create them.

I feel like it’s safe to assume that 2016 isn’t going like anyone expected. But my hope was, if I could dig something of the dirt that it wouldn’t all be a waste. It wouldn’t all be pain and waiting for things to get better.

So I made the decision, had some people help me put the very first things together and asked. Just asked, would anyone else be willing to help me for the sake of community and charity. Would anyone else be willing to help me subvert the bury your gays trope and give our effort, if we had nothing else to give, to The Trevor Project.

And people did.

The collection has some of my friends. Like Rachel Sharp who stepped up and saved this project. But it had so many people I didn’t know at the start. Which was its own kind of magic.

I’ve said a couple of times that our communities often fight with each other and how it tears me apart to see it. But the Unburied Fables collection shows that despite all of that, we can create something good for ourselves, and for each other.

Despite the words already written, I’m near speechless that this book now exists. It seems almost unreal that the ebook is available for pre-order right now. It seems almost unreal after a month of the airwaves jammed with pain, hell after ten of them, that on October 25th the paperback will be out. That it will be a tangible thing that you can hold. That in some way or form these stories will last forever now, like yours.

Understanding ableism is a piece of cake!

Do you like my sweet clickbait-like title? Surprise, I meant it literally! I’ve noticed that people understand topics better if explained with food, so today let’s talk about how simply saying “just stop worrying” and similar things without any consideration is a form of ableism.

Most recipes go from scratch to complete, but since I’m trying to deconstruct an issue I’d like to work backwards. Consider all platitudes about positive attitude, mind over matter, and yoga as the sprinkles on a cake. Some cake doesn’t even have sprinkles, but to some those sprinkles are life changing. But no matter how many rainbow flecks of candy you pour onto something, if the cake underneath has problems, they aren’t going to help all that much, if at all.

The next level is the frosting. For a lot of cakes, the frosting covers almost every inch. So much of a cake (and person) to others is this outward appearance. This is how you get sayings like “Oh, you don’t look disabled” or “I’d never know you suffer with depression.” You can’t see the cake. Relatedly, you don’t know what type of cake it is by looking at it. One can only assume, sometimes to a harmful degree, what’s inside.

Frosting can also be really helpful to make up for other concerns within the cake. A cane or a wheelchair could be considered the frosting. Sometimes religion or a “positive attitude” can be considered frosting, in that they’re both outwardly perceived and many times fully incorporated throughout the cake. Now I don’t want anyone to assume that you can pray and smile your way to not needing a mobility aid, so consider personal perception the flavor of the frosting more than the frosting itself. For example, if you decorated your cane with flowers, that would be a cheerful flavor. But that cheer will never replace the frosting itself, just like how orange extract alone doesn’t make frosting. In that case, it’s a bit of the outermost level of decoration being incorporated into the whole. Some people need that frosting, some people have it to make their life easier, but with all the different types, it’s up to the person how they want to go about it.

This next part isn’t an ingredient, but I think an important factor is how the cake is baked. What tools were around to help you? Some people are born into a full kitchen, others work with what they have. So if you tell someone to use a tool that they don’t have, to them, it’s useless advice. You have to consider that maybe not everyone has a raspberry-colored kitchen aid stand mixer.

Also, the experience of the actual baking plays a part. Some situations are traumatic and might burn the people who had to deal with them. Maybe the environment that person was in made them “grow up too fast” and once the cake is made you can’t go back and change those lived experiences. There is no “just get over it” when it comes to things like PTSD, and suggesting they should is ignoring the importance of their lived experiences. It’s asking them to re-bake a cake.

And at the most basic level, the type of cake you have will come down to ingredients and their amounts relative to each other. Think of these as factors beyond your control, and never could have been situationally in your control. Basically, the ingredients are your genetics. Now, if you compare several cake recipes, you will see that many have similar elements, but they combine in ways that make vastly different things.

In one of the first recipes I looked up it reminded you that measurements matter. Which is the best example I can explain for neurodivergent issues. Some people are born with no eggs, less flour, or simply not the right ratio to each other. If you try to tell someone ‘hey, just don’t worry’ when their issue is they need eggs, it’s useless advice. That is not the solution they need. While some people can find solace in that, many simply can’t. And even if it was your fix for the same issue, it might not be theirs.

I used to have really bad anxiety, to the point where I was anxious 24/7 and barely could remember a moment where I didn’t feel like the other shoe was going to drop. Sometimes people would tell me to just stop being anxious, just do the thing even if it makes you more anxious, and they completely didn’t understand how much worse they were accidently making it, or that is was fundamentally impossible. There was a disconnect of people telling me to just add more sprinkles when I really needed a cup of flour.

So before you give advice that has worked for you, ask what they need. If they don’t know, that’s when you can share the recipe your mother swears by.