#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.

🌹 Reviews: Waking Up The Sun

Waking Up The Sun front loads a protagonist who has anxiety and has already learned ways to cope with it. It mentions magic almost right away too, but my favorite part of that is that a potion is considered magic instead of just having a spell go “cure” him. It’s a great bit of world building I wish more things had. Having a lead character who has to consider their racing thoughts and find medicine because that’s part of their basic needs is so a plot point, instead of a casual one off line. That’s amazing to see.

Around the 20% mark you see the consideration of being lost in the woods and having to wash your clothes. These are such small things that most writers just ignore because they think it will ruin— whatever. But these are the exact things that makes Waking Up The Sun real and something that feels new.

The only criticism I have of this was I thought the writing could be tighter. Sometimes I thought why is this being mentioned now, or at all. It may not be the best read for the sex repulsed for similar reasons but maybe this review can serve as your content warning.

With that said, this book is why I like to read from LGBTQ authors, generally found from small publishers. They have a number of important things that aren’t found elsewhere. Both men in the pairing are sweet. Awkward only in an realistic way instead of being an often sexist adorkable trope. I think my favorite thing is how much they check in with each other, ask if the other is okay.

[Learn more or buy your own copy here.]

🌹 Reviews: Our Bloody Pearl

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Our Bloody Pearl cycles in ace places because Dejean is an ace of color and everything is respectfully done when it could have easily been a trash fire if written by someone who didn’t care about the community. But ace rep isn’t the only plus this book has going for it. The story ✨ shines ✨ as it talks about disability and healing from abuse. That’s where the heart of this novel is to me and almost every line about accepting your disabilities is a popular highlight for good reason. If you even passively like mermaids and pirates I’d absolutely recommend this book. Also, I love Dejean v much, kthxbuy!

🌹 Reviews: The Tyrant’s Tomb

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Haikus as chapter titles are just fun.

As a pagan, particularly one with an affinity towards Apollo and Artemis. Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo have a special place for me. The first book in the series used to be my favorite, I wasn’t really into book three. But book four? Book four is really something wonderful. The way it talks about pain, abuse, and life. The fact that these are intended for middle-grade kids and have such an honest talk about such things gives me hope. While this isn’t really anything new for the PJO series, it’s nice to still see these things in a series that has so many books and so much attention. And if you missed out on the very first PJO book, maybe you can embrace anarchy like I did and start with this spinoff series.

I saw several people, including myself, miss that book four was even out in the first place so be sure to pick it up while it’s easy to find sales!

PS: Chapter 41 went hard with Aro Ace Rights 😭

 

It’s Release Day for Suicide by Ghost!

Spiritually divorced from the church. former exorcist Ryan Macy is finding his own path as a ghost hunter. Traveling with only what can fit in his trusty truck, he road trips around America trying to prove the paranormal. When he’s called to a church to investigate a demon possession, what he finds is unexpected and, perhaps, just as divinely in need: A seventeen-year-old kid named Andrew. Ryan is certain something evil lives within the house: home-grown hate. Kicked out for being gay, Andrew hitches a ride and joins the ghost hunting team. But something is following them…

Suicide By Ghost is Creative Aces Publishing’s second charity project. Fifty percent of the proceeds will go to True Colors United, an organization working to prevent youth homelessness in the LGBTQ community.

Pick up your copy in ebook or paperback today!

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On Death Stranding, Queerphobia, and Rape Culture

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

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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.