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 3: On asexuality, abuse, and gender

Final thoughts for the #BelieveAces series:

I was talking with someone the other day, and we were having a very frank conversation about the abuse we faced in life. Awful things that got us targeted because we were both asexual. And this person kept saying things like, “you’re a girl, you get it”. A bunch of times. And this article holds no ill will or blame because I didn’t correct them for it. For a curious reason I’d like to explain.

Now this is based on my personal interactions with cis women. Trans people have every right to completely halt a conversation until they are properly seen. For me, I’ll sometimes allow it because these situations always show my ever fraying connection to “womanhood”, whatever that means. And makes me realize that whatever it does mean, I don’t feel it in such a literal way.

Interactions where I can nod along and agree to “I was targeted by men because I am asexual.” Are common. Let me say that first. They are so jarringly common that opening our ask box can be triggering. But the point I want to make is times when I am able to nod along, and say this is shared abuse because we were seen as women who were unavailable. That’s really the only connection to womanhood I do feel. But trauma bonding is not gender.

So often bigots want to excuse abuse faced by asexuals as simply the abuse of women, and it’s such a dismissive thing because multiple genders are being ignored. My ability to say “Being asexual made me a target” is honestly the only detail I like sharing. And by hearing cis women say the same thing is validating in a way. I get told often that any aggression I face is misdirected. But by listening to others stories reaffirms my own ability to clearly describe my own experiences and what caused it.

As a society we don’t listen to abuse victims, and when it comes to aces even less so. Same with trans stories. Because identity is treated as an excuse for detractors, not a factor. My assumed in-availability towards sexually entitled men connects me to women, and connects me to lesbians, and connects me to aces of all genders. 

While we all should be more aware not to assume gender of those we are talking too, I don’t really find this empathic reaction as a complete failure. Instead it should be a reminder that we are all people. All living in this society that only views us as binary and straight. 

– Roses from a digital typewriter

🌹 Reviews: Permanent Record by Mary M.K. Choi

The first fifty to hundred pages on this book are fantastic. There was so many good lines about identity, depression, race and how all of those things are intermix in a confusing fashion that make it really hard to explain unless you are living it. At one point our main character Pab says, “I don’t even know what we’re arguing about at this point, but it’s clear that being locked in an idiot’s arms race of saying ignorant things is easier than having a real discussion.” That’s a fucking brilliant line, and contextually an even more brilliant summary on how important discussions often get handled.

The next hundred of pages however? A mess. The author’s acknowledgements make a point to say that second books are really hard and she broke her brain trying to write it and I think this book needed more time to actually bake in her mind since she did not what you wanted to say with this story so says nothing for most of the book, leaving us with this raw contradictory rambling of a book.

Reviews will highlight the gems in this story. Show the strength of Mary H.K. Choi’s writing style, but I don’t really see any reason to going to find those gems myself. An honest summary of the book would be two characters with self made problems who aren’t working together as much as they’d like because they aren’t honest with each other or themselves. Mary H. K. Choi’s first book, does not have this problem. Which makes Permanent Record come off more as an author deeply confused trying to empathize with both these two extremes and unable to bridge her own thoughts.

I want to end on a good note so I’ll say now and always, the hardcover of this book is a work of art. The dust sleeve being part of the cover, but yet not. The work that is hidden underneath the dust cover is amazing. I got my copy for like ten bucks versus the nineteen cover price so I don’t feel like the time or money was a waste. I just wish I had popular highlights in my paperback version that marked the hidden treasures so I could view the collective thing as work of art. More then any other book I’ve read that ability would also better reflect the theme. The online listing doesn’t do the cover justice, go look at it the next time you are in bookstore.

I’m officially calling this #spelunking trip over at 205 pages, when writing the review I tried to flip through the book but felt it fall even more apart. If you make it to the bicycle seen I feel like Lee over the idea of finishing this. If you’re the Pab here, or both at once, maybe this book is what you needed, like I hope it is what the author needed even if I’m left with more concerns then I started out with.

#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

Press Start Cover Reveal!

It’s here! (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧
This beautiful leap day I get to show off our newest book cover!!

It’s so cute! We wanted it to really showcase the story’s inspiration of Pokemon Go and other party games. The map is actually based on a cool area around where John lives. If you need a break from everything because the world sure is wild this year, you’re going to love this soft playful story.

I can also officially announce the release day of May 5th! The paperback and ebook version will have an exclusive chapter. Until then, be sure to add it on Goodreads!

Here’s the blurb if you want to learn more:

A new app has turned the whole world into an augmented playground. By reinventing up retro party games, HoloHeroes makes sure it has something for every player. However, Loren worries she’s been missing out. The death of her father and a move across the country makes it feel as though she has to start life over. As a sweet sixteen gift, Loren’s given Ghost Glasses, allowing her to be her own HoloHero. Local meetups serve as a jumping-off point to make new friends, find herself, and win cash prizes. But what started as casual fun turns into an accidental rivalry with a veteran champion of the game and a race towards the national stage.

 

#BelieveAces – Part One: A universal truth and a bar to clear

We get so many asks in our tumblr ask box. It’s such a high volume that we do our best to answer them all like a one on one conversation with someone. But occasionally, they will be less of a question a far more of a statement. And if I’m really lucky, they will rattle a bigger thought forward. Something so big, and in need of a conversation that I turn those thoughts into an article. Today I’d like to introduce my #BelieveAces mini-series. Its goal is to show the endless amount of ways that people are not believing the words this community says.

We have an FAQ, but the question not on the list that’s just as popular ‘people keep using this script when they talk to me, so when I say something, it gets dismissed.

It’s enough to fill a bingo card. “Oh, you haven’t met the right one.” “Oh, you’ll want kids someday.” “The abuse you face is caused by something else” “Maybe you are just lying about what happened in the first place.”

The fact that abuse victims are not e believed, and that bisexuals and asexuals have the highest rates of abuse of sexualities. That fact that ace communities over-index in having trans people among them. Further goes to prove the culture of disbelief of our community from outsiders.

The demands placed on asexuals and the wider queer community are so often an arbitrary bar we are told to clear. They demand that sexuality become performative. “Be out how we say. With the words we declare are okay.” Aces are told they must simultaneously have had sex and abstain in order to know if it’s for them. Abuse, or mental illness, or anything that doesn’t make us a gold star individual is further used to not only undermine us personally but us as an identity. By treating asexuality, and being out, as a spectacle we will lose and have lost, so much to erasure.

People rarely discuss the reasons asexuals have sex, for good or ill. The occasional article about it usually frames the topic as a compromise for an allo partner. But still don’t really dig down to the why of the behavior. And there’s a ton of whys.

I know here, my mods and I do our best to point out every reason including boredom. But widely? It’s a good day if asexuality isn’t treated exclusively as life long virginity.

The seemingly contradictory facets of asexual lives make it hard for aces to see themselves, but that isn’t because aces aren’t diverse. It’s caused by the disbelief of everyone else on a larger scale. The general social unawareness that asexuality is an option and the undermining when it is suggested.

Aces in history are too easily forgotten. Ones who marry are omitted, historical figures with any known sexual history are excluded. Those who stayed chaste their whole life are still excused away as something else. That is why sharing our stories, and sometimes even the complications in facing compulsory sexuality and abuse are so important.

Every single ace story has something important to add to the conversation. Each with their own intersections that connect us to others.

The spark of this article was an ask that said: “I think asexuals are more present than others.” On the surface that can find sound like the 1960s line: “If we give up men, we will have more time for the revolution!” But in truth, it’s context had a spin on the idea that put a spotlight on the assumed.

A highly specific and particular ace point of view that unifies every ace. A-spec people aren’t really playing at anything in social situations, at least not the same love games as everyone else.

This isn’t a problem, because instead of just needing to be dealt a different hand, an asexual point of view can actually help people be more present in their moments. The harmful lies of heteronormativity, compulsory sexuality, and amatonormality can be further disproved by our existence at the table already.

Not only does this help asexuals be aware of their choices when navigating through their own lives, a feat more distracting than it is a time-saver, but our collective possibility helps to point out that falsely assumed. Asks people to throw away their social scripts of harm systems, and may allow people to become more fully present in their own choices in the hopes that their life is liberated in a way that becomes of their own design.

Maybe A stands for more than our identities. It as easily, and something truthfully stands for Anarchy. For that’s the accidental call of any a-spec person. Live your life without needing any authority besides your own wishes. Find your absolute freedom of self. This is not a truth unique to our community, but the heart of any revolution.

– Roses from a digital typewriter

PS: If youfollow through the ko-fi link a typewriter view is included so you can see my raw thought process of finding words as I wrote it!

The Address of Your Soul

In this short article, I’ll explain how looking at LGBTQ+ labeling as addresses is a really good way to not forget that “micro-labeling’s” focus on intersectionality is not only completely normal but actually a healthy thing. 

I’ve always loved the term intersectionality. I think it’s a brilliant word that gives you a visual right off the bat. It was coined black feminist scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989.

“Stay in your lane” also fits this instantly understandable visual. While to me it sounds like AAVE, the earliest date for the metaphor from 1972 and largely something football players would hear from coaches to remind them to focus on their own task on the field. In recent years, it means to stick to your area of expertise.

Sports metaphors and black feminist theory don’t often overlap. But we can take these visuals metaphor further to explain a large number of problems I see daily in the queer community.

Mircolabels vs Umbrella terms

Often times people feel they have to choose between the two and if they pick an umbrella term it’s either a lie or holding something back. But we‘d all be much better served by looking at these two things as part of the same address.

Some people very much identify with their state. New Yorkers for example. In this case, New York refers to both the city and the state. For many, that’s enough. It’s all people need to know, but others may use a micro-label as a stamped letter that uses a street address or a zipcode to be even more precise.

Which parts of your ‘address’ you tell someone greatly depends on the situation. The info you share on with someone out of the country will differ from the info you share with people in your apartment building. One doesn’t supersede the other.

While you might know where you are, other people are lost in a big city and need the exact words right down to the GPS coordinates in order to find themselves, each other, or call for specific help. This sort of location pinpointing saves lives. As valuable as that information is, plenty of people will never need to get that specific in their daily lives. Those details still exist even if they aren’t known, mentioned, or are grouped as one.

A lie I often hear is that micro-labels prohibit change, hide your “real” identity, or other assimilation type lies. I have people come to me all the time worrying about labeling wrong. They want a label, they knew what feels like them, they even recite the definition of the word, but… what if… 

And my answer is always, “and what if?” If it feels like home then that’s where you should be right now. And if for any reason it stops feeling like home, there shouldn’t be shame in “moving” to a new address. It doesn’t make your first address fake. You lived there for a time, and even if it wasn’t fully “your address” it was enough of a safe place for you to grow. Some people move often. Others don’t. There shouldn’t be any stigma in it.

In order for a soul to be free, it must have the ability to move or stay put as it desires. Be able to build a nest as intricate or as simple as they want. Labeling is no different. Even if it takes years or micro-labels to get everything just right.

When we are limited to “gay or straight” that is not freedom. Mirco-labeling says these are all the intersections I cross. It makes assimilation harder because it’s a reminder that no identity is just one thing. Society just ignores labels that are in power.

Our truths will never be nurtured if we refuse to admit a forest is made out of individual trees. On average there are around 3,700 trees in an acre, each a little different than the one next to it. In that same group, there are nearly 70 different species of trees. Why would humans be any less diverse? 

Do you need to learn every about tree or address in the phone book to be a decent person? Absolutely not. But it‘s dangerous, to others, to run out in the middle of the street bemoaning that certain words exist because you refused to stay in your lane when pulling up to an intersection.

Mission Statement Change

Some big changes are going to how we run as a blog.

I’ve been thinking about publishing as an end destination. But in my experience, it’s the journey that frustrates authors. Makes conditions in which they end up quitting the thing they love. And I’ve been looking to change that. Create a paradigm shift.

Working as a team is my go-to. That’s probably no surprise if you look at my novels, or at the Fuck Yeah Asexual blog, or Creative Aces Publishing. But the tricky thing with partnerships is people aren’t always as committed as you. Often times it’s not even through their fault. We are all complicated people trying to make good for ourselves within systems that are broken.

But I’m still here. And I’ve been looking for an answer for at least a year now. I’d get an idea, and think, this is the one. But then it wasn’t quite right. So I’d start another thing. And the problem with these ideas is that my passion keeps getting fragmented. New trees planted, but the forest becomes lost.

Today, I aim to fix that. Over the next month you’ll see a rebranding of Creative Aces Publishing and what it’s mission statement is. In part, because I realized I don’t want a company, I want commune. An author collective where we help each other create books. Aces, disabled people, any voice that is being ignored under capitalism.

Instead of exclusively taking a book from query to release. I want to help authors however they need. To gain the ability to take on projects I’m passionate about even if they don’t publish with us. There’s a lot to publishing, and I want to be there for as many or as few steps as the author needs. Still at no cost to them.

The inspiration for this publishing shakeup can be traced back to a quote painted on a wall in my old art class. “Art is the triumph over chaos.” Those words have been with me since high school. Each time I narrowed my focus I got further and further away from that quote. At the risk of sounding cheesy, in 2020, I have a new clarity that the answer I’ve been looking for has been with me the whole time.

That is why I’m consolidating all projects dealing with books under the Art Over Chaos banner. The divides between personal author blogging, the Fyeah book features, and the publishing itself will dissolve so more art can be created and celebrated.

What it means for this blog: Instead of simply a personal author blog with some crossposts about books, it’s going to become a hub for publishing, authors, and book blogging. Only the following months the theme will change and it will offer so much more than before. Thank you for coming with me on this journey, and I hope we can work on something together soon!

🌹 Reviews: Asexual Erotics

As you can imagine this book discusses erotics with a focus on asexuality. It’s introduction focused on how the meaning of erotic had changed since Freud and how more modern queer theorists define it to mean more than simply the “sexual”. The great thing but about it hitting such a specific note is this discussion is all but nonexistent when it comes to social ace places. It asks what are we missing when we make ‘erotic’ be a single note. 

The book definitely is not an introduction to asexuality, it has a strong academic voice at times that make the points less clear than they could have been, but if you hang around queer spaces and think your life could use more theory, history, or a look at discussions of human development then this is definitely the sort of book to pick up. 

In my opinion the book also does a good job explaining how white women were rewarded for being “sexually liberated” while in the same decade people of color were and are punished in a number of ways for even the appearance of the same. In doing so, this book showcases that social change is not an absolute for all people, but varies along intersectional lines.

The book also goes over ‘political celibacy’, why it exists, how it often differs across race, and why it’s often grouped under asexuality history. It’s the first time I’ve seen a reason it’s so casually grouped and a spells out those reasons instead I’d just casually glossing over.

I feel like the chapters on childhood and ageism could have been combined for a stronger point instead of a more vague “this is a thing that people debate about”. I also found the epilogue featuring the discussion of violent entitled sexism felt like an afterthought more then an ending note. 

Despite my less than rave review for some chapters, overall the book left with me new things, ideas, often history nearly lost to time to consider when discussing how complete freedom can be gained for all. Here’s a few quotes I haven’t posted in our “ref” tag or on twitter that I enjoyed. 

“It is only through asexuality that a sufficient critique of compulsory sexuality as limiting to people across spectrums and different positionalities can be developed.” 

“Where there is queerness there is also asexuality.” 

If you’re curious to read more you can get your own copy here.

My New Book Deal:

I’m still excited from Suicide By Ghost’s release a few months ago, but I got more news today! It’s honestly the news I hoped people knew were coming every since Creative Aces Publishing signed Jonathan Lopez. Our newest, PRESS START is such a cute story about having fun while healing. I think it’s going to feel like a breath of fresh air for everyone.

Here’s a transcript of the publishing announcement:

PRESS START from Rose Sinclair and Jonathan Lopez, a lighthearted novel pitched as Yuri On Ice meets Pokemon Go, in which Loren, a queer teen with a pension for creative problem solving when it comes to a new augmented reality gamed called Holo Heroes, is set for publication Summer 2020 by us at Creative Aces Publishing.