20 Minutes Into The Future trope has us looking at technology and what it can hold for our futures.
It’s not super often I get to you write you to in first person about myself. But when it comes to our debut novel I feel as if it’s a most. Hello World was originally released just under four years ago. The original idea for this post was going to be about how futuristic technology that Scott used to run around menacing corporate tech giants in the book was now being sold mass market.
And in some ways that is true. Most notably is Amazon’s Echo Loop. Their design is exactly how I pictured Scott’s ace smart ring. And what is his own AI, Hallie, if not a private non-commercial version of Alexa that helps you do crime?
But the nature of the 20 minutes into the future trope isn’t about catching up. As Mystery Science Theater’s Tom Servo says, “Fifty years from now it’ll be three years from now”. Unlike other types of science fiction that predicted flying cards in the year 2000. Stories set 20 minutes into the future don’t predict. They tell you something that is already happening, or easily could be behind the scenes.
Turns out Hello World is as relevant as ever. A story about the interplay between technology and identity.
Now days, ‘being yourself’ is even more commercialized. You are your brand. If possible a corporations would kill off the idea of anonymous. And more often than not, it’s not some evil company directly enforcing that change. It’s us. It’s our digital interactions, self policing. Behavior adjustments we make in order to get more likes, just so we can be connected with others.
People like to think of that all being run by an algorithm. But it’s all from people in one way, shape, or form. The human element is the very thing that companies are unable to fully remove.
Hello World is a story about the actions of individuals. And together what changes the world.
A recent example of ‘internet culture’ banding together to change global markets is Wall Street Bets reddit’s interest in Game Stop stock. Their power was in the camaraderie within those memes that allowed them to group together. Without the digital connection among individuals outnumbering the normal rules of the game they’d be less hedge funds going bankrupt today.
If anything Hello World is even more important today than it had been yeas ago, because every day our digital shadow grows. Our lexicon of internet culture grows and just becomes culture. Especially during covid times where we are using technology to safety stay part, and safely connect, and hopefully continue to subvert those withholding freedom.
Welcome ace book club peeps! I’m Amy. It’s certainly already been A Year and the month isn’t even over yet; I started 2021 off by testing positive for COVID despite precautions, and while my case was mild, it still took a lot out of me. I’m eternally appreciative of Rose for their support, love, and patience while I tried to get my brain and body to cooperate with me again, specifically to have the energy to do more than make it through my work-from-home schedule.
Now that my life is getting back to normal, I get to experience the excitement of working with the Great Ace Book Club I can’t wait to read and discuss all sorts of different books by and about ace folks, or featuring diverse groups of characters! Keep your eyes out each month for discussion questions, prompts, and other fun stuff for everything we read!
Join our newsletter at GreatAce.Club by Jan 26th and you’ll get a free ebook to start the year off!
Then I’ll be back with a new book to kick the discussions with a new great ace read for February!
When I’m not working on the book club or reading too many books at the same time, I’m probably doing something related to cosplay or chilling with my husband and three cats. By day, I’m a full time paralegal.
There’s a long standing joke that Asexuality’s superpower was invisibility. It started as a way to reclaim being made to feel invisible all the time. It was such of a thing that when Assassin’s Creed’s Evie has the master perk of tuning invisible I joked that was her ace canon confirmation. This jokes appear all over and even have Stonewall Nominated nonfiction books named after them in “The Invisible Orientation” which is dedicated to discussing asexuality.
But ‘invisibility’ is not a trait exclusively asexuality’s superpower. I’ve talked before about bi erasure and how that too renders someone’s identity invisible.
As of writing this, Supernatural ended after 15 seasons last night and there is lot of behind the scenes story to talk about where most people just laugh it off as queerbaiting to be mean. But it is truly a case of queer process as well.
Because if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that the process we make as a community in huge part is done by otherwise unknown queer people showing up and and fucking running full speed at something. If and when caught or where tip toeing is needed say a “Legacy” show owned by The WB. It becomes an Elementary school style red light green light game.
Queer writers and actors under contacts are often reduced to near morse code proxy of liking tweets. For example Misha going back and liking his own tweet from 2013 after Castiel being queer was made canon in 2020 to confirm that he did indeed attempt to reassure a nervous queer fandom now and then.
At the start of this year I had a celebrity encounter that also played out in this fashion. The more known a queer person is as queer the less freedom to create radical change they have. To those who stick it up dedicated to added representation gain it in inches.
Even this blog is under more scrutiny because it is now considered by some as a “big name player” despite just being a tumblr blog. Our perceived tone becomes an issue, if one of us is hurt and says ow, we get dehumanized. How dare we as activists show a pain. We basically get told “You can’t say ow in public you’ll scare the kids. You can’t make waves, it will scare off new allies.”
And I tell you all of that because that’s in spaces where money is not exchanging hands. There’s no “Man” paying our salary no “Corporate is here today” visits. No network demos, no cons planned around the fandom. Once you add that all in, you have something well… supernatural.
For the seven years I’ve been an asexual activist the general main focus of everyone within the community was awareness. But we must never forget that invisibility is asexuality’s superpower.
I wish it was something that wasn’t needed. That we could freely be, and do, and write the tv scrips we believed in without subtext. If you haven’t been spotted. Pick a lane and drive like hell. But sometimes to make progress you have to be spy-like and plant seeds of change in the things you do when no one is looking.
Content / Spoiler Warning: There is no suicide in the book, but there is frank discussion of trans / homophobia and by the end the novella left me with feelings of optimism, and hope. (Full Review)
About The Book: 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…
It is a mystery! No, really. This month is a detective story, from not one, but two featured authors. Please welcome Katey Hawthorne and Jenna Rose. They are authors of Kanaan and Tilney Investigations. The third book in the series will be released Aug 28th, and to celebrate we are working together to give you the first ebook in the series!
John Tilney—praeternatural pyrokinetic and mystery author—has noticed the bottom dropping out of the market for his usual gothic fare, so he goes to Lowell Kanaan, PI, for a crash course in noir. Lowell, a cranky wolf-shifter detective, isn’t sure why he agrees to let John shadow him, though it might have something to do with John’s weirdly endearing honesty…and pretty lips. John thinks he’s found the perfect detective novel hero in Lowell, but it isn’t long before he realizes he doesn’t want Lowell for his book, but for himself.
As they become entangled in a supernatural whodunnit involving the Zombie Mafia, black market body parts, and shady insurance deals, their partnership grows closer—and hotter. But when it comes down to the wire, Lowell’s wolfish protective side threatens to drive John around the bend, or at least out of the office. Good thing John’s as much sunshine as he is fire; hopefully it’s enough to help them catch a murderer before they end up in literal pieces, too.
John Tilney is a biromantic ace, just like one of the authors! 😀
Be sure to sign up at for our email listing at GreatAce.Club before release day to get it!
I have truly witnessed acephobia in fandoms like no other. Truly one of the funniest moments in a fandom for me was in 2016. Ubisoft posted under a long tumblr post debating Jacob Frye’s (bi)sexuality this simple message:
But there’s more to this story. To aces in the dragon age community, we knew her URL. SolasTheWolf was what ace fans called an “Allo!Solas Fan.” The term allo means other, and allosexual meaning someone sexuality attracted to others. Basically a word based on existing naming conventions to mean non-ace.
A New Open World For Acephobia in Fandoms
Dragon Age: Inquisition released late 2014 and a huge active fandom until around 2016. Before this allo was used only by aces. Key question here: Why did a bunch of aces call a group of predominantly straight women allo rather than straight?
It’s because for every ace fan in a fandom space there are camps of acephobes. They’d actively go around harass asexuals for seeing themselves in the characters. The Allo Solas fandom in particular did this like no other. By setting themselves up in direct opposition to aces, their behavior became defined by their allosexuality, not their heteronormativity. This is the pivot when acephobia in fandoms became actively willful. It wasn’t about them being straight, it was about them being anti-ace.
Some of the allo dragon age fandom was also really racist. They vowed to “give us” a black character in the game as a “trade”. Why? It’s because they didn’t feel sexually entitled to a black women being a largely straight white group of women. They wanted Solas. A “bad wolf”. All the ace coding in the world did not stop from their violently aggressive patriarchal projections onto his character. These fans also would tweet the Dragon Age writers asking to confirm that Solas had sex with the player character. The writers never did. A year later the DLC confirmed it in canon dialogue. (The second funniest fandom moments I’ve been a part of.) But they stopped short of giving Solas a label.
Calling people “allo” here was never about aces being separate fellow LGBTQ people. It was pointing out the sexual entitlement of characters who weren’t sexual. Aces showed up, publically in fandom spaces.
Using Solas to help explain the nuances of asexuality to groups who never heard it before helped spread asexual visibility.
And it’s also why I have such a strong negative reaction to those who try to sort of Allo!CharacterName pattern. Because the history of that is one of white sexual entitlement. The assumption that those who weren’t overtly sexual were secretly dirty, nasty, and kinky underneath. Words used by straight women about their own desires.
It became a near meme to stick “Allo” before character name, or brand your url with it. Some would say “I’m a proud Allo!!” instead of embracing their own queer identity. They picked up the sex negativity left by those straight fans and turned it on themselves. Falsely claiming aces were the ones called themselves dirty. Relating to the sex negative lie of sex being dirty. While the straight women were gleeful with it their kinkiness and acephobia. LGB people doing this in the community doing were choking on homophobia. They hadn’t unlearn and started in on their own acephobia as if that was the cure for it.
“Allosexual” is not an sexuality on its own, it’s sole purpose was to help explain asexuality and acephobia. It’s far more like “cis” than any other community term.
For good or bad, asexuality and allosexuality became far more common words after this. The biphobia around Jacob Fyre and the acephobia surrounding Solas are linked by the same thing. Women who wanted bad boys who only wanted women. Nothing else would do for them.
I’ve been thinking a lot about social media and the activism that takes place on it. Largely on twitter, but similar could be said about Facebook and Instagram, and the general “Headlines Only” absorption of news and the increasing polarity of people.
But let’s focus on twitter. In college, I gave a speech about how activists during the Arab Spring used twitter to effectively organize and fight back. And as a disabled person, digital activism allows me to participate in ways inaccessible before. Since there’s so much advertising on Twitter it’s also useful when trying to reach a company to ask for change. Which makes it’s impossible for me to just shrug and say “twitter is pure evil what can I say.”
As I was discussing this with the ace community, someone anonymous messaged me to say, ‘twitter is also more full of minors than tumblr. And minors are more prone to spreading misinformation about events because they weren’t there for it.
And I thought on that for a second. It absolutely is common issue that queer history not being taught. And I don’t think this behavior is for a lack of critical thinking either on “the youths” part, or compete lack of care for it. I think it’s an issue of speed.
Twitter moves at such a fast pace, and with so many people trying to get attention on so many valid concerns that in order to even attempt to address all the ills in the world you have to juggle it all. Sometimes literally only taking a second to decide on an issue. “Does that sound like some other thing? Close enough, toss in the same pile. Whatever, we got 12 other things to focus on.”
Since twitter comes at you so fast, and often in an such unfiltered way, it’s overwhelming. So instead of technology adding in productivity that leads to a next level of consciousness type of singularity, it creates more of a mental DDOS attack.
And it’s not all that different from capitalism demanding you be productive at all costs, and that by the end of the day you are so tired you can’t sort out things. That’s a feature of it, not a bug. You want to strike for better working conditions? Have fun risking starvation during the process.
And I think the “turn yourself into a commodity via your tweets” is most evident by the fact that any popular tweet’s second reply is often “I don’t have a sound cloud to promote but here’s my—“
It’s actually kind of funny because a big sticking point of people leaving tumblr a few years ago was that it was too slow. Without realizing that twitter is a multi-lane highway that every user often has to cross on foot. And that result ends up with a bunch of banged up people who feel so beaten down that any criticism is meet with “please don’t cancel me!!” Which is not anyone’s goal when correcting false information or asking for accountability.
I’ve gone on multiple twitter hiatuses after abuse I’ve faced on the platform and each time to do I’m struck with this sense of how quiet it is despite twitter’s feed making no noise. It feels like you just left a room full of people screaming, that to some level had been such a constant you didn’t realize just how loud it was until it wasn’t there anymore.
A few days ago, on June 30th the asexual flag hit it’s 10 year anniversary. Born from a community poll, and then faced many rounds of rounds of discussion on AVEN. Not by, on the website in a really collaborative way. You can see a more complete history collected by Asexuality Archive which comes into more detail about why the flag is the way it is.
Each stripe of the asexual flag was given a meaning.
Grey: Grey-Asexuality and Demisexuality
*White: Non-asexual partners and allies
*Over the past at least two years people wondered about the white stripe. Said ‘hey we are no longer mostly on AVEN. The collective direction isn’t ally focused anymore. Maybe we should change the white’s meaning.’ Common suggestions include romantic variation. White means the sum of all colors so the white stripe could reference some other diversity within. Which would help tie it to the aro flag more, and the trans’ white stripe. All work without taking anything away.
With that preface, I want to talk about where the purple came from. Which is actually a really cool story I have never heard before in my 7-8 years of being in the community.
Before 2010, ace symbols included shades of grey gradient. AVEN’s logo is a prism for that reason. The demisexual’s flag is also reference a prism. Do you know why purple was added? Never even thought of it before this.
The story goes purple was a 2001 addition. Specially choosing the amethyst crystal shade for it’s relationship to the Greek (or French Poet 1528 – 1578) story that mentions a nymph named Amethyst (or Amethystas). In it, Dionysus flirts with her. She wasn’t into it, and Artemis protects the nymph by turning her into white quartz. Dionysus then showed he made a mistake and poured wine over the amethyst stone, staining it purple.
Here’s some art from a different version of the story, where Dio was less hitting on her, and more accidentally on purpose angry with her. Risking the mortals life via threat of tiger. It ends with Dio crying wine in remorse turning the stone purple.
As you can see above a white to purple gradient appears. Whatever the original version of the story. The heart of it is the same. Artemis saved someone from harm and the person who caused the harm realized their grave mistake.
Later stories tell of wine goblets carved out of Amethyst. Reminding royals would think of Dio’s mistake so they didn’t make their own. Which not only makes my pagan heart happy. To forever now know the ace shade of purple has Artemis meaning. But also how that shade of purple meant don’t harm people who aren’t interested in your advances.
Which in a strange way makes me like that the pesky white stripe could be an ode to allies (ace or not) protecting aces. Because no matter where the story came from isn’t it such a timeless, thought out, over arching connection. One that goes back far more than just the 10 years of the asexual flag itself.
Asexuality history goes back so much further than just that flag. The earliest I know of is from a translated Sappho poem.
There’s so much even recent ace history that has been saved for us thanks to aces, thanks to projects like The Wayback Machine, thanks to how threads work, how google works. I know it’s technology, but it can be pretty magical if you have a curiosity to learn. It’s a gift we mustn’t ever lose to a click bait nature of social media today.
As Sappho also said, “Someone, I tell you, in another time will remember us.”
Hi! My name is Rose and in 2013 I founded the Fuck Yeah Asexual blog. Two years later, The Asexuality Blog and I created Ace Day! It’s a cheerful, digital event that focuses on celebration of self and the whole asexual spectrum. I celebrate it on May the 8th! We need to back up earlier into 2015 however.
In April 2015 TAB asked to help with Ace Day. There was some raised concern about its proximity to 2015’s Blackout Day and Trans Day of Visibility. Both of which may have an influence The Asexuality’s Blog’s (TAB) desire to make an event for aces. That isn’t uncommon behavior now, or back then.
I was asked “Thing?” And repled “Wooo thing!” You see, everyone on tumblr was trying to make new things to celebrate. Twitter still does this, but tumblr doesn’t anymore really. Ace Day wasn’t themed off Blackout Day. But I can’t deny the repeated word usage between “Ace Visibility Day” and TDoV. A solution to which I pretty such said, ‘Ace Day works better anyways. Let’s go with that instead’. The event was also never meant to be a selfie event. They were encouraged. Even popular way to celebrate the day in 2015. (Tumblr doesn’t do selfies a lot anymore, even though LGBTQ selfies are now a weekly Twitter thing, but I digress.)
If TAB and I had to make a choice, I’d make my point but deferred to her. She was the original lead. The date was an issue from the start. Any dates were. And continues to be an issue to some. In 2015, largely aphobes said “Hey, this is so close to other stuff it’s distracting. ” We both agreed that time.
The democratic solution of voting
I ran a poll with the most common suggestions of new days. It was a strawpoll so people on tumblr, twitter, and elsewhere could take part. 5200+ people voted, 2100~ people picked ‘May the 8th. (May The Ace)’. It’s the only time Ace Day was put up to a clear, correct, and multi-community wide vote.
In 2015, I wrote a lot about why the asexual community deserved a pride focused day in the first place. Said there shouldn’t be restrictions to when, where, and how pride is shown. That an event should be reserved for aces. Instead of actively working on allo awareness that day. I gave my reasons on why I liked May the best. For the word play of “May the ace be proud”. To be in the first half of the year away from Asexual Awareness Week. I also pointed out that people did not want aces to celebrate at all. That no matter what we did, or what day we picked , there would be a pushback. (This isn’t an ace specific problem either. Happens for every trending LGBTQ event.)
In the following months, TAB and I decided to put an Art Book together. So many people drew things specifically for the 2015’s Ace Day. The first time anything ace trended on Tumblr. TAB did the legwork of buying our Creative Aces domain. I contacted all the artists, formatted, published what turned into the first ever asexual art book, What You See. It released in October 2015 during Asexual Awareness Week as a throwback to everyone’s celebrations on May 8th.
Around this time, TAB gained increasing criticism largely about the date, tells me she wants to move it to November. I told her that was silly given since we had a general consensus. Extra silly seeing as the art book was already done. And even more art mentioned the celebration earlier that year. But in the end, she wanted to move it to November.
I don’t have the message anymore, but she was run down. Burnt out by people still trying to pick a new day. She thought people would allow the ace community “International Cake Day”. That caused it’s own problems being too close to American Thanksgiving. Other’s hated the day for further associations with cake memes. (Which is totally unfair.)
All I could tell her something like ‘okay, do what you want. November is really bad for me. I won’t be able to participate much at all.’ Ace Day went pretty dormant after that. Both personally, and as a trend. Allo awareness wasn’t the importance or goal of the day anyways so whoever celebrated still found joy I hope. Any fond memories with other dates are wonderful, just not a history I have to share. To me it started to feel like how someone celebrates International Something-You-Like Day. You remember it only days before, or even the day of, and you cheer for a bit then move on.
5 years later, its now early May 2020. An active aro ace on twitter tweets me saying “May 8th Ace Day?” and AVEN cheers them on. So I basically reply “Awesome! My favorite day for it! Here’s all the fun things I did in 2015 with the “May the ace” slogans. The call for “No pride restrictions” and mentioned the card suit selfies. And that joy sparks wide participation. There’s whole threads I wrote about what that original date meant to me.
This is old tumblr history I was personally there for.
If you never saw The Asexuality Blog running, it’s heartbreaking to say TAB is gone. Has been for a bit now. It broke my heart when she vanished. When people came to me on their own, like “Hey the 8th?” I thought if anyone is in charge of this thing TAB and I did, it’s me. The only one left. With our baby now abandoned and I decided to take care of it the way I knew how. By returning to the heart and origin of the Ace Day. It was heartfelt, and a historical touch point of aces of 5 years ago to aces now.
Things went pretty off the rails shortly after again. Because there’s a history of undermining the community works of tumblr aces. Things willfully misrepresented. Out right ignored, or deliberately undermined. Worse for me is when aces do it to each other. This time the 6 months that followed.
For an aged example, in 2015 the ace community was not one group. (If I ever was.) Nothing shows this more than when AVEN broke a 4 month radio silence to say ‘Ignore those aces. We give you permission to have the A.” A statement that did nothing besides hurt people further. GLADD released an apology to the asexual, aromantic, and agender community. And followed through with remembering a-spec inclusion that reshaped media representation for years. Point being? Similar is happening again.
I felt Tumblr aces were being sold out. Just for hypothetical future allosexual acceptance. Despite the fact that when Ace Day was always meant to be by aces and for aces. That’s why it trended on Tumblr in 2015, and trended on Twitter in 2020. It never needed outside media attention. Was never about allosexuals doing something that day. It was about self love, and love of the whole asexual spectrum.
This history never hidden. Some chose not to look at tumblr aces. Which is why I will never apologize for tumblr links. The bloggers piecing together lost ace history. The ones who made GLADD show up big time, had Big 5 books published staring the very same “tumblr aces.”
Making fun and shunning people from tumblr has always been about attacking the most vulnerable. It’s a fight about respectability politics. It’s targets are largely the trans community and really anyone who breaks a binary.
Thinking a lot these days about a line from a TAB Ace Day Post in 2015.
“We can all be infinitely visible.” – Ace Day 2015
I choked up seeing it again. Nearly just another lost line. Another post that nearly forgotten if not for tumblr’s reblog style. The days after 2020’s Ace Day were a floodlight. History easily rewritten. Eagerly removed from context. Replaced it with whatever someone else wants.
I often think about all of the other activists that said it was too hard. Unsafe, financially unviable to show up, or just emotionally unfeasible to continue. So they become quiet. There are wonderfully clever and effective activists that refuse to touch the community because of subtweeting nature of things. I want the community to be safer, I want it to love itself.
It’s endless. Maybe I know why TAB left. Three mods of fyeah are disabled. The amount of “Oh, do you need help to get more attention?” ever since we’ve spoken more about being disabled blew my mind. I’ve always leaned towards online activism as a writer. Not because I was incapable of doing “bigger things”.
Ace Day wasn’t ever about seeking allo attention. That was neer going to bring our One True and Only source of liberation. It’s goal was to help teach yourself, and be an example for aces around you, how to grow your own self love. And celebrate the differences in even the seemingly the same so aces may have a stronger future. Together.
I don’t know what the new year holds, I just hope it’s brighter for everyone.
Please note because of lack of publisher support, the book has an old name on it until our rights return to us in February. The future sequel will have the correct names of Rose Sinclair and Alexandra Tauber.
And to quote the book remember: Binaries can be smashed, and systems can be subverted.