History: Asexuality & the Nonlibidoism society

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
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Siggy
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History: Asexuality & the Nonlibidoism society

Postby Siggy » 19 Nov 2010, 13:32

I'm curious about some history of the asexual community, and in particular, the part of history where there was a split between nonlibidoists and asexuals. I know there used to be the Official Nonlibidoism Society (formerly known as the Official Asexual Society). I've read the historical account on Asexual Explorations, seen the archived website, and heard a bit of folk history too. But a lot of facts are missing. Since a lot of Apositive members have been around a lot longer than me, I wonder if you could fill me in.

Some burning questions:
  1. Was the Nonlibidoism Society the only rival community, or just the most prominent one?
  2. What was the nature of the rivalry?
  3. What's the time line here? When was it formed? When did it switch names? When did it dissolve?
  4. Is it true that Geraldin had to personally confirm that you were a nonlibidoist to grant membership? What did membership get you?
  5. In addition to being nonlibidoist, were they also repulsed? Antisexual? To what degree were these official stances?
  6. Why did it go defunct?
  7. I've heard that Apositive was founded when antisexuals were flooding AVEN. Was this related, and how?
  8. What's up with all the Hindu and unicorn imagery on their website? Seriously, it's kind of offputting.
I'd be happy to get some answers, but if none of us know anything, I suppose we could just chatter about our own ignorance. It's kind of quiet here!

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Dargon
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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby Dargon » 19 Nov 2010, 15:36

This is what I gathered from my time at AVEN (2004-2007).

1) As far as I know, for a good time there was pretty much only AVEN and the Nonlibidoists. If there were any others, I had not heard of them at that time.

2) Apparently in the days of the Haven for the Human Amoeba, there were two different views of asexuality. The AVEN definition, championed by DJ, and the Nonlibidoist definition, championed by Miss Geri. The latter view was very openly anti-sexual. The two were very incompatible, so Miss Geri started her own site. Due to a number of differences (the open nature of AVEN and the closed nature of the Nonlibidoists, the accepting nature of AVEN (including the addition of the "Sexual friends and allies" board vs the once agan closed nature of the Nonlibidoists) lead to a huge rift between the two. It seemed (and perhaps I am biased) that much of the rift was over the name "asexual" and who was right, as well as just good ole politics.

3) I do not know of the tme of the split, it happened before I showed up, so prior to late 2004. I do not recall when it switched names, but when I joined it was still the Official Asexual Society. It dissolved sometime around 2007, perhaps even late 2006.

4) Yes. The forum was completely closed (as in you couldn't even see it without membership), and membership gave you access to the forum. You had to do a test and fill out an application that had to be personally reviewed and accepted by Miss Geri. You didn't get in unless you were anti-sexual. I never applied, though a few other AVENites did, just to see what was there.

5) Both. Always both. You didn't get accepted in unless you were both.

6) I do not know. I didn't spend much time there, aside from going to get the link to send anti-sexuals who were ruining AVEN with their presence over there (win-win, they were happy and more importantly, gone). One day an anti-sexual showed up, I went to get the link, and lo and behold, the forum was closed down.

7) I believe it was. The rise in antisexuals and the acceptance of their viewpoint seemed to coincide nicely with the closure of the Nonlibidoist website. Unlike in the past, where they tended to leave on their own accourd once linked to the Nonlibidoist site, the only way to get rid of them now was to either hope they left themselves, or hope they violated the ToS. So their numbers grew until they became the dominant voice. This lead some members to retreat into only the off-A parts of the board, others (such as myself) left entirely. Sometime later, Apositive was founded.

8) Many of us wondered the same. Best as I can figure, it had to do with the seemingly rampant peter pan syndrome that plagued their board. Hence pretty, fantasy-like imagery. That, coupled with their politics and application process, earned them the moniker of "Unicorn Nazis."

That's about all I know with regards to those questions. Mostly I tried to steer clear of them, they weren't the most pleasant people, but they caused enough trouble that I know that wall of text up there.

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby Roy » 19 Nov 2010, 17:01

Since definitions surrounding asexuality are hazy and subjective on all sides, can you clarify exactly how you are defining 'Non-libidoist" ?

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby Dargon » 19 Nov 2010, 18:03

Roy wrote:Since definitions surrounding asexuality are hazy and subjective on all sides, can you clarify exactly how you are defining 'Non-libidoist" ?


By the definition of the Nonlibidoist society. I do not recall it exactly, but it really lines up almost exactly with what we would call a repulsed antisexual, one who finds sex to be repulsive and negative in all situations (save procreation).

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Siggy
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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby Siggy » 19 Nov 2010, 18:05

Dargon, thanks! :) Was the Sexual Friends and Allies created while you were there?

Roy, "nonlibidoist" typically means lacking a sex drive. More concretely, it means no masturbation. However, the definition relevant to this discussion is the definition used by the Official Nonlibidoism Society, which, according to Dargon, is like a repulsed antisexual.

This raises the question: did the Nonlibidoism Society coin the word, or was it around before the name change?

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby Roy » 19 Nov 2010, 18:28

Huh, that's a bit of an odd definition/s for them to use.

In whatever definition, I do understand why they'd want to congregate like that. They're terrified of sex, which is all around them. They find AVEN, feel great at finding a place free of the sexual disease, but then are quickly disappointed to find they can't vent their frustrations on AVEN due to further unacceptance. It then seems natural for them to want their own place to vent. It's probably quite silly, yes. Maybe unnecessary, and inevitably a disaster. It's understandable, however. It doesn't help that AVEN is actively hostile to anti-sexuals. All they really need to do is vent a bit, it's not harmful.

Looking at the site itself it seems a bit loopy and pointlessly segregationist.

EDIT: It must be noted that they are acting out of fear. They are afraid of sex, and sex is all around them. I don't agree that this means they have to become anti-sexual, but it's a natural course of progression. And really, it's not like being anti-sexual is going to impact anyone else negatively. What are they, like 0.02% of the population :roll:

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Dargon
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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby Dargon » 20 Nov 2010, 05:47

Siggy wrote:Dargon, thanks! :) Was the Sexual Friends and Allies created while you were there?

Roy, "nonlibidoist" typically means lacking a sex drive. More concretely, it means no masturbation. However, the definition relevant to this discussion is the definition used by the Official Nonlibidoism Society, which, according to Dargon, is like a repulsed antisexual.

This raises the question: did the Nonlibidoism Society coin the word, or was it around before the name change?


Yes. I do not recall when exactly, but there was a good deal of discussion before its creation. Many sexuals would show up wanting to learn more about asexuality, but felt their posts lost or unfitting among the other boards. It was decided to create the Sexual Friends and Allies board to make supportive sexuals feel more welcome at the site.

Now, as I have thought about this, I seem to recall their actual, formal definition as simply not having any libido, no sexual desire. Thing is, the test itself tested to see if you were a repulsed asexual. Sex-positive asexual with no libido would likely be rejected.

Roy wrote: And really, it's not like being anti-sexual is going to impact anyone else negatively. What are they, like 0.02% of the population :roll:


This is only partially true I think. When their site was live, they really didn't do any harm, seeing as they were off in their own little bubble. However, when they pretty much took over AVEN, I felt they were doing tremendous damage. If I had just heard of asexuality and visited AVEN for the first time when it was like that, I would have concluded asexuals are a bunch of psychologically messed up assholes, a group to be avoided. I am sure that during that time, many genuine asexuals feeling alone in the world came over in hopes of finding their place, and left feeling further isolated. This is why I spent my last year on AVEN fighting them tooth and nail before concluding that the stress it brought me was not worth the continued losing struggle. I decided to cut my losses and abandon the sinking ship.


Just another note. Another common thing amongst the Nonlibidoists, which they brought with them when they came to AVEN, was their elitism. They were better than sexuals, better than AVEN asexuals, just plain better. They didn't have those desires of the flesh ruling over their bodies. They were more rational, and could feel more purely since their emotions weren't clouded by sex. They were perhaps the biggest group of egotistical douchebags I have ever encountered.

When they polluted AVEN, they frequiently used terms such as "real" or "pure" asexuals, as though thinking sex was okay made you impure. People would show up and mention that they tried sex before and really didn't care for it, only to be berated for even thinking they might be asexual, as a "real asexual" would never even try sex. Long established members would become constant targets of attack, supported by the masses. Discussions on sexuality other than "sex is icky" would be drowned out in those very juvenile lamentations.

In short, thanks to them, for at least a year AVEN was non-hospitable towards anyone but them, so they did do their damage.

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby KAGU143 » 20 Nov 2010, 10:27

(Sorry about the length of this thing --- yipes!)

Dargon has it right.
I think it was the non-libidoists' elitism more than anything else that caused so much trouble at AVEN, since they simply would not tolerate being told that they were no bettter than anybody else.

I remember some history about when Miss Geri first came up with the term, "non-libidoist."
She was very peeved at DJ for using the term "asexual" because she (apparently) thought that she had invented it and should be able to define it as she wished.
The problem was that DJ's definition and his approach to asexuality awareness made it not only welcoming and inclusive to all types of asexuals, but it also made it more comprehensible and less alienating to the general public. The result was a great deal of media interest followed by a dramatic surge in AVEN's membership.

Miss Geri had suddenly gone from being one of the loudest voices talking about asexuality to being little more than comic relief - appearing as a visibly repressed zealot preaching some very unhealthy ideas. She was unable to stop the momentum that AVEN was gaining, and DJ's definition of asexuality was rapidly drowning out and invalidating her own. DJ's decision to ally himself (and AVEN, by etension) with the GLBT movement was a brilliant move from a strategic standpoint, and Miss Geri had no way to counter it.
She gave up, abandoned the term "asexual" since it had become corrupted according to her standards, and decided to make a new term. That was when she changed the name of her website from the "Official Asexual Society" to the "Official Nonlibidoist Society." (I think. I don't remember the precise names.)

Her unwillingness to accept any viewpoint that contradicted her own in even the slightest way was the kiss of death for her website. By changing its name, she lost all of the advantages that she might have been able to gain from the ever-increasing public awareness of asexuality. "Non-libidoist" is, for all practical purposes, a non-term, and it was much too bizarre to be uncovered by a random Google search. The only people who could find her website were those who had already heard about it someplace else, usually at AVEN, and most of them took one look at the place, turned tail, and RAN!
Aven was temporarily innundated in anti-sexuals after her website closed, probably because they had nowhere else to go, and it was not a happy place at all --- more like a war zone, in fact.

Apositive was originally formed to be an alternative for those who were disturbed by the unrefuted, elitist rantings of some very vocal anti-sexuals on AVEN, and to be a refuge for those who were a little bit more mature and tolerant of others' differences.

Today, it is usually thought of as being intended for sex-positive asexuals, and that is true in part, but it is predominantly intended to simply be POSITIVE overall, as in accepting and supportive of all types of people who have any sort of interest in asexuality.
It is also intended to be a place to share positive and constructive ideas that relate to the various issues that can face asexuals, whether they are in "mixed" relationships, or if they are seeking relationships, or if they are simply looking for good ideas about how to survive as a single individual in a couple-based world.
An additional goal is to provide a central location where information relating to asexuality can be collected and stored.

AVEN has continued to evolve since Apositive was formed, but it has become more and more of a "policed" site rather than a moderated one, especially since it is run by a constantly changing, committee-style government that MUST rely on an ever-growing list of rules in order to have the slightest chance at consistency. Any violation of the ToS at AVEN can earn a warning, three warnings earn a permanent ban, and in the well-intended effort to make it "safe" for everybody it has actually become less safe for those members who want to or need to speak their minds - especially the newer ones.

In some ways, I think AVEN has lost sight of the fact that a lot of people who have just discovered asexuality have to go through a period of ranting about all of the abuse (real or imagined) that they have experienced at the hands of the sexual world. It really IS very much like going through sexual de-toxification. (Who invented that term? It wasn't me, but I LOVE it!)

At AVEN, they don't seem to be able to distinguish between a rabid anti-sexual and a person who just needs to vent, decompress, recover, and then find their balance. I fear that the efforts to silence ALL anti-sexual rants at AVEN may end up alienating some people who might have eventually become very good, contributing members if they had only been given a chance. I know that this distinction may seem like splitting hairs, but I really think that people should be given a fair chance.

Soooo ... the very rare anti-sexuals who manage to find their way to this site will find that their views will be contradicted, but they won't automatically find themselves getting warned and banned for being politically incorrect.

I would like to see AVEN swing back to being a moderated forum but I don't know if it is possible for a website to have a consistent set of standards without having an active leader. It will be interesting to see what happens in the years to come - not just at AVEN, but at all of the various sites that are beginning to branch off and go in slightly different directions.
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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby Dargon » 20 Nov 2010, 11:50

Apositive was originally formed to be an alternative for those who were disturbed by the unrefuted, elitist rantings of some very vocal anti-sexuals on AVEN, and to be a refuge for those who were a little bit more mature and tolerant of others' differences.

Today, it is usually thought of as being intended for sex-positive asexuals, and that is true in part, but it is predominantly intended to simply be POSITIVE overall, as in accepting and supportive of all types of people who have any sort of interest in asexuality.


My understanding when I showed up was that it was founded as sex-positive; that is what I was told by the person who mentioned this site to me, and it is largely why I came here. That being said, I still like it as a generally positive place.

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paranoidgynandroid
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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby paranoidgynandroid » 20 Nov 2010, 12:10

Hi,

I've been lurking here on and off for quite some time but never previously felt the need to register to post before. However, I can give a historical perspective on the development of the asexuality movement as a reaction to anti-sexuals calling themselves asexual.

According to that Asexuality: A History of a Definition article you posted http://asexualexplorations.net/home/doc ... nition.pdf (page 4), I'm a pre-AVEN 'early asexual' :)

I founded the Asexuality community on LiveJournal in April 2002, was involved in the early development of AVEN as a forum community and wrote the original version of the AVEN 'bigfaq' aka the General FAQ.

I didn't come through the Haven For The Human Amoeba yahoogroup, I joined that after it had already been essentially replaced by the AVEN forums. My background was from the early genderqueer/third gender community, mainly a mailing list called Sphere. I either heard of the term asexual through that group, or through Doctor Who fandom (as with Sherlock Holmes fandom, it has long been common for fans to refer to the main character as 'asexual'). One of the most prominent early androgynes in public view (having been on a talk show) happened to also be non-sexual, so a lot of new members of that mailing list tended to mix up androgyny/non-gender with asexuality and brought up asexuality as a discussion topic in that community.

Sphere was a genderqueer community whose creator was interested in expanding the scope and definition of gender identity to be as inclusive as possible of all the wildly divergent types of specific gender identities under the umbrella term of 'genderqueer' at the time. The name arose from the idea that gender was a 'hypersphere' rather than a continuum from female to male or feminine to masculine. Our discussions were very much along the lines of deconstructing gender and identities, and models of gender that attempted to create scales and grids and place all identities somewhere on those grids. We tended to come up with extremely inclusive definitions that aimed to include the experiences of everyone in the community, rather than focus on divisions of specific identities, as it was not much of an exaggeration to say that there were almost as many different third gender/genderqueer identities floating around as there were members of the community. At the time the discourse on third gender was very much in terms of people sharing their personal models of gender and how they felt their gender was categorised within those. In reaction to this, we were attempting to explode limited models of gender and unify the disparate community by accepting all of our myriad identities as different but valid ways to experience gender outside of the traditional binary.

As a result of my experiences in that now defunct community, I've tended to create extremely inclusive definitions of umbrella terms, and attempted to promote those in my activism. I'm generally not in favour of elitist cliches or 'us against them' identity politics. I intentionally wrote my definitions and FAQs (for various identity-related subjects) with the aim of helping as many people as possible find something positive in their identity, and to encourage diversity within the inclusive definitions I formulated, while discouraging the sort of 'purity' debates that tended to arise (ie 'a *true* androgyne is exactly half female and half male' etc). For an example of this, my definition of transgender is simply "Anyone who transcends or transgresses society's expectations of gender". This allows crossdressing, political statements and performance art to co-exist with those who experience gender dysphoria, have non-binary gender identities or are transsexual.

In late 2001, early 2002, I was attempting to find a community within which to discuss my asexuality. I identified as queer, experienced romantic attractions to others and had been involved in a small number of romantic relationships, however my sex drive was not particularly directed towards other people but more abstract concepts that weren't particularly compatible with sex. I tended to prefer to occasionally masturbate for my own pleasure when I occasionally felt the need, although when in a relationship I enjoyed intimacy with my partners and would have sex on their suggestion. I didn't find sex uncomfortable or upsetting, but I had no drive to do it and this had caused problems. Although I could enjoy occasional sex, I'd be just as happy or even happier having a conversation, snuggling or doing something fun together. (This all holds true today, but I'm writing this from the perspective of 2002). In my teens I had felt like there was something wrong with me and that I was different from everyone else, so I was also keen on finding other people to share these experiences with and give those who still felt that way the help that I could've done with when I was younger.

I very quickly came across a lot of anti-sexual people calling themselves asexuals. I was mainly moving out of mailing lists and into LiveJournal communities at the time, so the main outlet for discussing asexuality I found was the community 'Asexuals' which had the description: "This is a community for folks who think sex is terribly overrated and pointless unless of course it has meaning. Come to think of it, there are tons of reasons why you might be ASEXUAL. Sex is constantly shoved down our throats by the media. What once was a beautiful and powerful thing, is now cheapened because some brilliant demon thought it would be smart to use it to sell their product. Because of this, nobody takes it seriously. Sex is no longer about expressing anything. Fight back."

As you can imagine, that produced a lot of angry abstinent people ranting about how sex was evil and disgusting and not much discussion of asexuality as a sexual orientation (I was coming at it as a logical extension of terms such as 'heterosexual', 'homosexual', 'bisexual' etc). I created the Asexuality LiveJournal community as a reaction to that. I set up the description of the community and the early posts to be explicitly in favour of sexuality in general and inclusive of asexuals in romantic relationships as well as those who were aromantic. You can read an early version of the community description on the Way Back Machine here: http://web.archive.org/web/200211172100 ... asexuality and my earliest posts start here: http://community.livejournal.com/asexuality/500.html

After setting up this community, DJ (David Jay, AVENguy) got in contact with me by email (late June 2002 when LiveJournal still required invites or payment to comment) and we had a long back and forth email discussion about sex positive inclusive asexuality (although DJ initially described himself as 'sex neutral'). A lot of this discussion was around my Sphere-inspired objections to the original AVEN Asexual Theory page talking about sexuality in terms of a continuum from Heterosexual to Homosexual (the Kinsey scale) with a third axis added for non-sexual (ie, forming the triangle diagram - and later symbol - with the bottom corner representing the asexuals). I took a very queer and genderqueer approach to this and talked about how gender isn't a spectrum so sexuality can't be either. It was a very interesting discussion.

Off the back of that I got involved with the newly created AVEN web forum and eventually joined Haven for the Human Amoeba (although it was pretty dead by then). I was highly involved with AVEN (to the point where by email archive contains dozens of emails *to* webmaster-at-asexuality.org in late 2002, presumably because I was holding the fort or on the mailing list or something) and considered the LiveJournal community to be affiliated with it. After a lot of discussions on the various communities boiled down to people being surprised that some people who identified as asexual masturbated, it seemed like some people were trying to create hierarchies or categories of 'real' and 'pure' asexuals verses those who experienced some form of sexuality, although not mainly directed at other people. It seemed to me like the community was heading down the route of the genderqueer community circa 2000 with a variety of different sub-identities forming and talking about their differences rather than their common experiences.

In reaction to this, I started writing a FAQ on asexuality. I intentionally set out for this to be as much a manifesto of inclusive, sex positive asexuality as I did a source of help and information. I worked with DJ to come up with the widest list of questions and to revise my original draft to include as many people's experiences discussed on the Asexual communities as possible. My highly inclusive definition of asexuality, designed to cover all the experiences of people who'd engaged with the proto-asexual-community at that point was 'asexuals are people with little or no sexual attraction or people who experience sexual attraction but have low or no sex drive and thus are unmotivated to act on that sexual attraction' and I answered all the frequently asked questions we'd accumulated based on that definition. In a way I treated it as kind of a thought experiment, because to my recollection at that time no one in the proto-asexual-community was talking about enjoying having sex, many of us had done so for the sake of our relationships but this was generally discussed as a source of problems. We didn't hate sex or find it disgusting, but we felt pressure to be more sexual than we were.

Having included descriptions of hypothetical asexuals enjoying regular sex with their partners in the AVEN big FAQ, I actually found it mildly shocking to discover this 'sex positive asexual manifesto' had eventually succeeded in encouraging sexually active people with little or no sexual attraction to others to comfortably identify was asexual (even more so when I eventually met one in person who cited my FAQ, not knowing who I was). Not shocking that they existed, but that 'FAQ Activism' has the power to shape communities and even individual self identities. When my email address was still on the FAQ, it was that type of asexual who particularly used to send me thank you messages about how important the site was to them. It seemed like that message resonated with a lot of people who had struggled with having a very low sex drive while not relating to the anti-sexual message of the earlier asexual communities. I think the extremely inclusive message helped people who had previously felt they had to censor their life experiences when engaging with the asexual community in the fear of being accused of not being a 'real asexual'.

I imagine this also in turn pushed the anti-sexuals out of the proto-community and caused them to create reactionary definitions and communities of their own. Thankfully inclusivity seems to have won out, presumably because it inherently attracts and includes more people.

By 2003, 2004 I had mostly left the asexual community having decided to take a step back from identity politics. I'd also consciously made the decision not to be a visible asexual activist as I felt my third gender identity would likely confuse the issue, and there were already others who made much more effective 'poster children' out there spreading the happy face of healthy asexuality. I'm glad to see that the inclusive, sex positive asexual community still exists and that a big chunk of my original FAQ is still on the AVEN site and hopefully still helping people who are worried that they're broken or 'not asexual enough'.

My version of that FAQ is accessible here: http://web.archive.org/web/200302251917 ... bigfaq.htm I've noticed that the community's work to integrate the two previous FAQs and to improve the clarity of the FAQ since then has almost entirely rewritten the earlier more general answers (for the better!) but left my more in depth discussions of identity and behaviour intact. http://www.asexuality.org/home/general.html

There's probably an article in here about the power of FAQs and web community building to shape culture ...although I imagine these days it'd be about the contents of Wikipedia entries...

Anyway, sorry that got so ridiculously long, and I hope somebody found it interesting! Hello to any other 'oldbies' out there! Sorry I didn't stick around after helping getting the community going. For the record, I'm still happily asexual, and still identifying as genderqueer for that matter.

Thanks,


Nat.

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KAGU143
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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby KAGU143 » 20 Nov 2010, 13:12

Wow --- that is an awesome first post, Nat. A hearty wecome to Apositive, too!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much for typing all of that!

I almost feel like I am in the presence of royalty or something. I saw your name the very first time that I ever saw AVEN. I remember that it only had 62 members when I first saw it so I shrugged and left without joining. Later, I came back and joined The Haven for the Human Amoeba as well as AVEN but it was already early 2004 by that time and almost 700 people had joined it in the meantime. I didn't even know what Livejournal was for quite a while, so I completely missed that opportunity.
I had no idea that you had been so involved with AVEN in the early days - I just remembered seeing your username because it was so different. Also, I guess that maybe you were already on the way out by the time I appeared on the scene? Bummer ... :( ( ... but I used to exchange PMs with someone named Nat ... could that have been you?)

I am curious about sooo many things that pertain to the early days. I still kick myself for not signing up the first time I saw AVEN but there was real-life stuff in the way, and yeah ... the same old story ... blah blah blah. I miss so many people from back then, though. Even though I got kind of a late start I still was around to see quite a few changes take place.

I hope I was more or less accurate in my reminiscing about Miss Geri and the past. If I made any errors please feel free to correct me.
The funny thing is, I actually do see gender as a spectrum NOW, but only since I joined AVEN and took part in a lot of discussions about it. I would be interested in hearing your viewpoint. I was so ignorant in the beginning that is is truly embarrrasing to think about it now, but I had isolated myself for so long that I was really clueless. This old bird had to learn a LOT of new tricks in a hurry, but it was worth it ... man, was it ever worth it!
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ily
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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby ily » 20 Nov 2010, 13:16

I originally found out about asexuality through the LJ community, so...thank you! :clap:

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby Dargon » 20 Nov 2010, 13:44

Don't apologize about it being lengthy, paranoidgynandroid, it was quite interesting.

The user name is trying to ring a bell, but seeing as you said you stepped out of the Asexual community about the time I stepped in, so there's a possibility it's just my fallible memory.

That being said, I am curious as to this gender stuff, seeing as gender is something I just plain don't get. Sounds as though you've got some interesting perspectives on it, and I;d love to read them.

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby paranoidgynandroid » 20 Nov 2010, 16:11

KAGU143 wrote:Wow --- that is an awesome first post, Nat. A hearty wecome to Apositive, too!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much for typing all of that!


Thank you for the welcome!

KAGU143 wrote:I almost feel like I am in the presence of royalty or something.


Hehe, it's funny how these things go, I was an odd feeling to find that article on Asexual Explorations talking about things I wrote eight years ago as if it they're historical evidence, trying to piece together the story and motivations - especially as I then went into my email archive and managed to dig out DJ's first email to me (although sadly not my replies) as well as a variety of other 'early asexual' ephemera. I couldn't find our discussions on the writing of the FAQ though (or why I seemed to be getting all the AVEN webmaster email for a while), so I have to assume we did those over IM or PM.

KAGU143 wrote:I saw your name the very first time that I ever saw AVEN. I remember that it only had 62 members when I first saw it so I shrugged and left without joining. Later, I came back and joined The Haven for the Human Amoeba as well as AVEN but it was already early 2004 by that time and almost 700 people had joined it in the meantime. I didn't even know what Livejournal was for quite a while, so I completely missed that opportunity.
I had no idea that you had been so involved with AVEN in the early days - I just remembered seeing your username because it was so different. Also, I guess that maybe you were already on the way out by the time I appeared on the scene? Bummer ... :( ( ... but I used to exchange PMs with someone named Nat ... could that have been you?)


I think I was only lurking by then. Ironically I'd mostly slipped away because I'd got into a sexual relationship and felt like I wasn't asexual enough - should've read my own FAQ! ;)

KAGU143 wrote:I am curious about sooo many things that pertain to the early days. I still kick myself for not signing up the first time I saw AVEN but there was real-life stuff in the way, and yeah ... the same old story ... blah blah blah. I miss so many people from back then, though. Even though I got kind of a late start I still was around to see quite a few changes take place.


I have to admit that many of the details and the people from back then are a bit of a blur, I was involved with so many different communities about so many different aspects of identity back in the day. Other than articles I wrote and conversations with DJ and a couple of LJ people, I tend to mostly remember it as my own process of coming to an understanding of the issue, and attempting to find and then shape/create a community. I gave a couple of talks on the subject, one at the UK Bisexual Community conference BiCon, I remember the positive reactions and the face to face conversations I had about that pretty well. As I said, I generally decided not to become a 'face of asexuality' though because I'm also genderqueer (although I've given talks about that too).

KAGU143 wrote:I hope I was more or less accurate in my reminiscing about Miss Geri and the past. If I made any errors please feel free to correct me.


I didn't see anything I disagreed with. I generally just ignored the 'Official' site having already reacted to anti-sexualism and elitism with my LJ community and FAQ ...also it was illustrated with paintings of unicorns so pretty hard to take seriously!

I was sad to hear that there had been an influx of anti-sexuals overwhelming AVEN to the point where Apositive was created as an intentionally sex positive reaction to the primary asexual community - it's history repeating itsself, just what I was doing when I set up LJ Asexuality and helped DJ set up AVEN's community. I'm glad to see that AVEN was eventually claimed back and now there are a number of different places to talk about asexuality.

KAGU143 wrote:The funny thing is, I actually do see gender as a spectrum NOW, but only since I joined AVEN and took part in a lot of discussions about it. I would be interested in hearing your viewpoint. I was so ignorant in the beginning that is is truly embarrrasing to think about it now, but I had isolated myself for so long that I was really clueless. This old bird had to learn a LOT of new tricks in a hurry, but it was worth it ... man, was it ever worth it!


Gender's a very complicated thing, there's several different variables to it, not just sex and gender identity.

I'm quite aware that my viewpoint on gender isn't really in vogue any more in the transgender and genderqueer communities, things have moved on. It does seem that the fashion has switched away from the specific subgroups and sub-identities towards the view that everyone's gender is personal to them without needing to be pigeon holed and those who are not classically transsexual or cissexual tend to be seen as the umbrella terms of genderqueer or just transgender. That's a good thing in my opinion (although critiquing other people's grand unified theories of gender was fun while it lasted!).

Thanks for again for the warm welcome!


Nat.

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby paranoidgynandroid » 20 Nov 2010, 16:16

ily wrote:I originally found out about asexuality through the LJ community, so...thank you! :clap:


Always happy to hear my activism helped someone :)

There wasn't much of this stuff around when I was struggling with my asexuality back in the 1990s...

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby paranoidgynandroid » 20 Nov 2010, 16:32

Dargon wrote:Don't apologize about it being lengthy, paranoidgynandroid, it was quite interesting.


Glad it was appreciated :)

Dargon wrote:The user name is trying to ring a bell, but seeing as you said you stepped out of the Asexual community about the time I stepped in, so there's a possibility it's just my fallible memory.


Well my username *was* at the top of the AVEN big FAQ for a year or so after I left (I eventually asked to have my email taken down because I was getting a lot of questions that should've been directed to the forums). I also came back briefly in 2007 or so to ask about how many people had Specific Learning Differences and non-verbal communication difficulties having just been diagnosed with dyspraxia and becoming involved in the Neurodiversity movement.

Dargon wrote:That being said, I am curious as to this gender stuff, seeing as gender is something I just plain don't get. Sounds as though you've got some interesting perspectives on it, and I;d love to read them.


Well, people assume that gender is a strict progression of feminine to masculine, but actually, from a non-linear, non-gender viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly... timey-wimey... stuff

...oh no wait, that's me misquoting Doctor Who! :lol:

Having said all that stuff earlier about people identifying as the umbrella terms these days, I'm actually more like this lot (whose site contents date back to 2000): http://www.neutrois.com/ ...although I'm as likely to describe myself as androgyne or non-gendered, and I'm a little more relaxed about the whole passing as neither thing these days, I tend to be more concerned about being myself and being comfortable and happy.

If I have another spare evening, I'll write this stuff up in more detail (although that introductory post did actually take me five hours to write and fact check!). I guess I have a vaguely interesting perspective as someone who's been IDing as genderqueer for more than a decade now (although that's by no means unique).

Thanks,


Nat.

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby Siggy » 20 Nov 2010, 18:40

I'm really happy I started this thread now. I'm kind of in awe of some of the longer-time members and their knowledge of community history. And they seem to be quite in awe of you, paranoidgynandroid.

I know it's not as if you single-handedly did it all by yourself, but I'm very grateful that the asexual community has inherited this culture of inclusiveness. I would not have done well in an anti-sexual community.

It interests me that some of the inspiration came from discussions of non-binary gender. I'm not sure if you keep up with AVEN, but there's currently a thriving community of trans and genderqueer people there.

paranoidgynandroid wrote:I'd also consciously made the decision not to be a visible asexual activist as I felt my third gender identity would likely confuse the issue, and there were already others who made much more effective 'poster children' out there spreading the happy face of healthy asexuality.

That reminds me of something DJ said in the October 2010 issue of AVENues:
David Jay wrote:From a framing standpoint the fact that I’m young, white (it’s less of a thing now but probably helpful because there is social privilege associated with that), male, straight looking and what I’m told by most people is that I’m considered attractive? Mostly, for reasons that are really messed up, lets me speak with a lot of authority.


paranoidgynandroid wrote:I was sad to hear that there had been an influx of anti-sexuals overwhelming AVEN to the point where Apositive was created as an intentionally sex positive reaction to the primary asexual community - it's history repeating itsself, just what I was doing when I set up LJ Asexuality and helped DJ set up AVEN's community. I'm glad to see that AVEN was eventually claimed back and now there are a number of different places to talk about asexuality.

History repeats itself more than once. The other day, I met someone from AVEN Israel (she's here talking to DJ), and we started talking about the Israeli community. She said many of the members of the small Israeli community are somewhat anti-sexual, and she felt like she had to guide them towards more inclusivity. She doesn't go on English AVEN much, because it's cumbersome for her to read, but when she does, she finds it inspirational. She would go back to AVEN Israel and tell them about how English-speaking AVEN openly talks about sex and masturbation without everyone being all grossed out about it.

Looking at the archive of the "Asexuals" LJ community, it doesn't look quite as bad as the official description would suggest. It's kind of mixed. They seem to be pro-masturbation, at least.

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby paranoidgynandroid » 21 Nov 2010, 05:01

Siggy wrote:I'm really happy I started this thread now. I'm kind of in awe of some of the longer-time members and their knowledge of community history. And they seem to be quite in awe of you, paranoidgynandroid.

I know it's not as if you single-handedly did it all by yourself, but I'm very grateful that the asexual community has inherited this culture of inclusiveness. I would not have done well in an anti-sexual community.


No it certainly wasn't all by myself, not at all, DJ was already involved with LGBT groups and using the language of sexuality (the Kinsey Scale etc) rather than anti-sexuality. At that time I ran my university's LGBT society and the sexuality student helpline, so we were already sharing a common language. I recall being excited to find someone else who was on the same page as me and already a step ahead of what I was doing in activism. I think the difference between us was that DJ was talking about things in a non-reactionary matter of fact way (very good for talking to the LGBT community and the media), where as I was reacting to the anti-sexual tone of the existing community. I considered saying that I thought sex was a good thing and that asexual people could enjoy romantic relationships to be a radical act, that's why I put those front and centre. I was tired of the judgemental, puritan attitude I perceived and wanted to bring sex positive queer politics into a group were it wasn't uncommon for people to write at length about how sexual people were stupid and asexuals were superior because they weren't distracted by sex.

And of course we weren't acting in a vacuum, the earlier sites and communities and the hours of discussions we'd had with people in communities like Haven, Sphere, LJ, our university LGBT groups, and of course the early AVEN forums, all influenced our opinions and helped form and develop our ideas and directions. My FAQ was designed to express the feelings and experiences of everyone I'd talked to, and even those who I felt would benefit from being included in asexuality but had never felt comfortable joining the discussions or taking on the identity at that point (or if they did weren't talking freely - as I said, the positive reaction and relief from certain community members and lurkers was strong after my initial LJ posts and then later the FAQ, so they were always there but not open about it).

Siggy wrote:It interests me that some of the inspiration came from discussions of non-binary gender. I'm not sure if you keep up with AVEN, but there's currently a thriving community of trans and genderqueer people there.


I do take a peek into the AVEN forums every so often, but there's so much discussion there that I can't say I keep up. I'm not surprised that non-binary gender is a common topic and there's a thriving trans and genderqueer sub-group. As I said, I'd previously come from the early genderqueer community where it wasn't uncommon for people to talk about non-gender going hand and hand with being non-sexual, or at least to talk about the possibility of being non-sexual as we considered sexuality to be an aspect of the complicated multi-stranded model of sex and gender within which any of those aspects can be absent. I also think that if you've questioned one part of your identity, you're more likely to be open minded to recognising other ways in which you're different from the norm.

For the record, I believe that DJ had already been in contact with trans people before he contacted me, I recall the definition already said 'not attraction to other people' rather than 'to either sex'. But yes, I'd come from a community that was already critiquing the concepts of hetero- and homosexuality from a transgender, third gender, non-binary perspective, so I reacted very positively to DJ's early What Is Asexuality theory page with the diagrams and progressive levels of complexity, but also wanted to take it to new levels (at which point the triangle stopped being a diagram and became more of an abstract symbol).

For those interested, DJ's pre-forum community AVEN page as I'd have seen it is available on the Way Back Machine here: http://web.archive.org/web/200203241806 ... leyan.edu/ You'll also note that the links section is still up and that most of the other contemporary 'early asexual' sites give much more complicated but inclusive definitions that include people who experience sexual attraction but have very low sex drive. Although if you actually read DJ's theory page, he says that asexuals by his model are along the Kinsey Scale of attraction but that as intensity of sexual feeling drops, the actual orientation becomes less and less relevant, so we converge into a point.

I think the sheer easy simplicity of 'not sexually attracted to other people' is a strong point of AVEN's message, especially when taken as a logical extension of heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual etc. It's easy to sell that definition to the rest of the LGBT community, but I think the reality of human sexuality is more complex. Identities tend to be defined simplistically while behaviour is always more complicated, which is why I took the point of view of going into great detail about definitions, identity and behaviour in my FAQ - that's where people with doubts tend to go.

Siggy wrote:
paranoidgynandroid wrote:I'd also consciously made the decision not to be a visible asexual activist as I felt my third gender identity would likely confuse the issue, and there were already others who made much more effective 'poster children' out there spreading the happy face of healthy asexuality.

That reminds me of something DJ said in the October 2010 issue of AVENues:
David Jay wrote:From a framing standpoint the fact that I’m young, white (it’s less of a thing now but probably helpful because there is social privilege associated with that), male, straight looking and what I’m told by most people is that I’m considered attractive? Mostly, for reasons that are really messed up, lets me speak with a lot of authority.


I agree with that. Also society tends to rob women of their sexuality (just look at Stephen Fry's recent comments about women wanting relationships, not sex), the same is true of older people. Being a young college age man saying you're happily asexual is playing against all of society's stereotypes and prejudices. So yes, it's messed up, but in a way it's extremely effective as it derails most common objections.

It's difficult for a trans person to be so effective, especially when trans women are even more assumed to be sexless and 'castrated' by society and even the medical specialists who act as the gate keepers of transsexualism. At the time I was concerned with 'passing' as being naturally androgynous and not wanting to disclose my biological sex, so that would've become the story - and I was very aware that an asexual androgyne on American television had previously confused the message, causing people to conflate androgyny with being sexless and without sexuality.

Siggy wrote:
paranoidgynandroid wrote:I was sad to hear that there had been an influx of anti-sexuals overwhelming AVEN to the point where Apositive was created as an intentionally sex positive reaction to the primary asexual community - it's history repeating itsself, just what I was doing when I set up LJ Asexuality and helped DJ set up AVEN's community. I'm glad to see that AVEN was eventually claimed back and now there are a number of different places to talk about asexuality.

History repeats itself more than once. The other day, I met someone from AVEN Israel (she's here talking to DJ), and we started talking about the Israeli community. She said many of the members of the small Israeli community are somewhat anti-sexual, and she felt like she had to guide them towards more inclusivity. She doesn't go on English AVEN much, because it's cumbersome for her to read, but when she does, she finds it inspirational. She would go back to AVEN Israel and tell them about how English-speaking AVEN openly talks about sex and masturbation without everyone being all grossed out about it.


I do actually believe that part of the experience of growing up asexual in a highly sexualised society tends to cause some natural backlash and if there isn't a concious effort from the community builders and curators to keep things positive, inclusive and non-elitist, this sort of undercurrent will naturally arise. It's a very seductive idea to turn something you've long been ashamed of into something that makes you feel superior to those around you, and I think you absolutely have to put sex positive and anti-elitist messages into your literature and choice of language to counter act that.

It's also highly likely that people who've felt pressured by society into having sex that they didn't enjoy are going to react negatively to any discussion of sex, and join in on posts attacking how horrible and icky sex is if these are allowed to become common.

In a way, it's bizarre that my first posts on the subject of asexuality go into such detail about how brilliant I think sex is, but at the time that was a radical act and tended to get people responding very positively. I was being reactionary, but in doing so I was trying to cancel out an already reactionary community that was fixated on attacking the sexuality of others, rather than talking in constructive ways.

paranoidgynandroid wrote:Looking at the archive of the "Asexuals" LJ community, it doesn't look quite as bad as the official description would suggest. It's kind of mixed. They seem to be pro-masturbation, at least.


The Asexuals community still exists today: http://community.livejournal.com/asexuals/ It even still gets some infrequent posts. The difference is that now days everyone writing there is asexual as I defined it, whereas when the community was founded it was for people who chose not to have sex because they thought it was a wonderful and meaningful thing that had been made dirty by society. Of course, many people who found the community and posted there treated it like it was for people who had low sex drive, but there was always a mismatch between what they were looking for and what the community was supposed to be for. See my original message introducing LJ Asexuality to LJ Asexuals: http://community.livejournal.com/asexuals/52272.html - For contrast here's a post from the day before, which likely came as the straw that broke the camel's back for me: http://community.livejournal.com/asexuals/52135.html

I've always believed that the space in which a community resides and the language it uses are extremely important. When I was involved in my university's LGBT society I was quite preoccupied with the students who were in the closet, questioning themselves and looking into the society from the outside, as well as trying to make the society actually inclusive of all queer sexualities and transgender identities rather than treating them as 'other flavours of gay'. The messages you put in your literature, on your homepage and your FAQs will decide whether people ever make their way into the community. You get things wrong and you can make people feel worse - they found community and belonging and then immediately got told their non-sexuality wasn't the right kind, they're not asexual enough, they're not asexual in the right way. It's not a competition, communities should help people to find commonalities and understanding.

Get the language and the message right, get the culture to be positive and inclusive and that's a strong foundation for a community to form and keep on helping people. Even if, like me, you then move on from the community, you know it's still there for those who need it (and should you ever need it yourself in the future).

Like I said when I unlurked, I've been checking in on the asexuality community now and again for years (after avoiding identity politics for a couple of years around 2004). It's a testiment to the strength of the foundations we built back then that I've never felt the need to butt in and post on my previous return visits. Just this time I saw someone interested in the history of how the whole thing got set up, so I thought, hey why not? :)

So thanks for posting this topic :)


Nat.

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby paranoidgynandroid » 02 Dec 2010, 09:11

As a result of this thread, I was asked to write an entry on AVENwiki about the LiveJournal Asexuality community and its history.

Given the discussion here, I thought you might be interested in this:

http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.ph ... Asexuality

Thanks,


Nat.

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby Siggy » 02 Dec 2010, 12:50

Cool! Someone here should edit the AVENwiki's article on Apositive too!

I had a question about something in the wiki:
The [LiveJournal] community was created independently of AVEN and as such initially used descriptions such as 'little or no sex drive' and 'living without sexuality' as often as the more AVEN-accepted definition of 'no or very little sexual attraction to others'.

What happened there? Did LJ ever officially change its definition, or was it never official in the first place, or what?

Also, rumor has it that you designed the AVEN color scheme, Nat. Everyone wants to know... why purple? :D

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby paranoidgynandroid » 03 Dec 2010, 10:26

Siggy wrote:Cool! Someone here should edit the AVENwiki's article on Apositive too!


Yes, someone should :)

Siggy wrote:I had a question about something in the wiki:
The [LiveJournal] community was created independently of AVEN and as such initially used descriptions such as 'little or no sex drive' and 'living without sexuality' as often as the more AVEN-accepted definition of 'no or very little sexual attraction to others'.

What happened there? Did LJ ever officially change its definition, or was it never official in the first place, or what?


In my recollection, DJ was already using exactly the definition that's on the front page of AVEN now before I'd even set up LJ Asexuality (Here's the evidence on The Wayback Machine) but had previously shortened the definition from one that ended with something like 'towards either sex' after learning about gender identity and other transgender and intersex issues through interactions with the LGBT community (DJ identified as queer and I think belonged to the campus LGBT group at the time he contacted me). I'm not sure if this longer definition was ever on the Wesleyan hosted site or if it's just something DJ was using in conversation, I just recall being told this when I originally raised my genderqueer objections to the original theory page. (I'm sure DJ could answer these questions about his motivations and earlier site content better than me!)

As for if there was an 'official' definition, in effect the person with the best website, the best URL and the FAQ and articles that resonated best with everyone else got to set the 'de facto' definition. DJ's definition made logical sense as an extension of existing accepted sexual orientations and I was happy to adopt it as the 'headline' definition, believing that all orientations are a simplification (no one is 100% attracted to males or 100% attracted to females etc - remember I was a queer identified person in the bisexual community going to conventions where these sorts of details we discussed a lot). Right from the start DJ was keen to make AVEN into something that represented the community and not just his point of view, as was I when I wrote the first draft of the FAQ with the aim of representing all the different asexual experiences and fears that people had expressed on LJ Asexuality, AVEN and Haven. On the other hand, the original FAQ wasn't open to a vote or discussed in all the existing communities using the term 'Asexual', mostly because we were trying to use it to clearly define and delineate what asexuality was at a time when celibate people, happily impotent people and anti-sexuals were just as likely to use it (also see the Androgynes LJ community I created out of frustration that the Androgyny community was full of people talking about aesthetics and not lifestyle).

But, for me at least, I wrote the FAQ as a way of telling everyone that how they were was valid and real and they could be happy. I was writing the FAQ that I wish I could've read myself as a confused teenager. In effect writing a long lasting FAQ can be equivalent to spending years in a support forum answering people's questions, and can reach out to people who never join the forum and just read the website, or non-asexual people who hear about asexuality and research what it is. I know from emails I received, and from talking to friends who found the site that even people who aren't asexual but experiencing a loss of sex drive due to medication or illness, or have past traumas or disabilities that prevent them from forming sexual relationships, have found the FAQ reassuring and empowering.

Oh and for historical context, FAQ's were very important to me, here's a FAQ I found hugely influential when I was a confused teenager: Raphael Carter's 'Androgyny RAQ'. This caused me to identify as androgyne when I was 17, before I'd really heard of concepts like gender identity. It's almost perfect for me in every respect (in fact I get new things out of reading the articles now having presented androgynously for 10 years) except it never said that it was possible to become an androgyne if you were not naturally ambiguous, I think if it had I might have sorted myself out and avoided a lot of pain two or three years earlier than I did.

Siggy wrote:Also, rumor has it that you designed the AVEN color scheme, Nat. Everyone wants to know... why purple? :D


Um... I don't remember whether I designed the AVEN colour scheme ...although purple *is* my favourite colour (I'm wearing purple now!) and my personal website at the time was purple. There's purple around the logo and the navigation menu in the very earliest versions of the site, before I was involved though, so it seems DJ liked purple too (or was just trying to coordinate with the default HTML visited link colour!). I do have evidence that I was suggesting the order in which the top navigation items should appear and was getting all the webmaster@ email for a couple of months (possibly while DJ was on holiday) though.

To begin with we were mostly communicating via email and focusing on the theory page and what became the 'big FAQ'. I don't have my side of the email conversations in my archive, I think we were also using AIM at some point, and I changed from my university email address to an address I hosted myself during the conversation, so there are gaps even in the emails I received and I can't tell you for sure that I didn't suggest a purple colour scheme (although I'd say the original forum background is a bit too pink for my tastes at the time).

What's absolutely certain is that I didn't set up or have any part in suggesting the existence of the forum, DJ had just created it (it came as part of the asexuality.org hosting package), and his first email invited me to join the forum. I'm only user number 15 as I believe he'd announced the forum on Haven For The Human Amoeba before contacting me. I think it's likely he found me when searching for other asexual discussion groups to announce the forum on, but that's just a guess :)

Given this seems to be of historical interest to a few people, I'd be happy to put the eight or so emails I have between DJ and myself (all from DJ but quoting me) online somewhere, assuming DJ agrees. Perhaps there could be a page on the AVENwiki for this? I could also dig out relevant LiveJournal entries talking about AVEN and an email from a genderqueer friend who proofread one of the drafts (which really shows how much of a queer affirmative asexual manifesto the FAQ was). Let me know if there's interest and I'll get in touch with DJ about permission.

And if you're not aware, there's an archive of the AVEN forum from as early as the 7th of August 2002 here:

http://web.archive.org/web/200208072025 ... iscussion/ (linking to lists of discussion topics if not the posts themselves from the 14th of October)

And a member list from as early as 3rd of January 2003:

http://web.archive.org/web/200301031825 ... ction=list

It's interesting how much of what I wrote back then I remember well and how much of it is new to me (but unmistakably written by me).

Any other questions? :)


Nat.

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby pretzelboy » 04 Dec 2010, 05:56

Siggy wrote:Cool! Someone here should edit the AVENwiki's article on Apositive too!

Yeeessss, the wiki wants someone to an article...

On a more serious note, I haven't chimed in on this thread yet, but I've been following it attentively and I've found it absolutely fascinating.

A couple of points:
paranoidgynandroid wrote:In my recollection, DJ was already using exactly the definition that's on the front page of AVEN now before I'd even set up LJ Asexuality (Here's the evidence on The Wayback Machine) but had previously shortened the definition from one that ended with something like 'towards either sex' after learning about gender identity and other transgender and intersex issues through interactions with the LGBT community (DJ identified as queer and I think belonged to the campus LGBT group at the time he contacted me). I'm not sure if this longer definition was ever on the Wesleyan hosted site or if it's just something DJ was using in conversation, I just recall being told this when I originally raised my genderqueer objections to the original theory page. (I'm sure DJ could answer these questions about his motivations and earlier site content better than me!)

In writing the article cited in the OP on this thread, I asked DJ some questions about things. (I had wanted to be able to ask Nat as well, but I didn't think it was possible. Now I know a lot of the things I had wanted to ask!) From what I recall of what he said on the phone, the "to either gender" was on the original version of his site. After making the site, he emailed it to heads of LGBT campus groups around the US asking if they knew anything about the matter (figuring that if anyone did, it should be them). None of them did, but one of them talked to him about trans issues and problems with the "to either gender" part, and so he modified the definition.

I'm quite interested to learn about the color scheme issue, as I'm the one who has been spreading this rumor (based on things that I've heard.) According to things I've read on Haven for the Human Amoeba, in highschool, DJ wrote some angsty teenage poem, in which he used as an image involve some belief somewhere that you could drink endlessly from an amethyst goblet and not get drunk. I've long had a suspicion that this may somewhat have been involved.

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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby paranoidgynandroid » 07 Dec 2010, 13:07

pretzelboy wrote:On a more serious note, I haven't chimed in on this thread yet, but I've been following it attentively and I've found it absolutely fascinating.

A couple of points:
paranoidgynandroid wrote:In my recollection, DJ was already using exactly the definition that's on the front page of AVEN now before I'd even set up LJ Asexuality (Here's the evidence on The Wayback Machine) but had previously shortened the definition from one that ended with something like 'towards either sex' after learning about gender identity and other transgender and intersex issues through interactions with the LGBT community (DJ identified as queer and I think belonged to the campus LGBT group at the time he contacted me). I'm not sure if this longer definition was ever on the Wesleyan hosted site or if it's just something DJ was using in conversation, I just recall being told this when I originally raised my genderqueer objections to the original theory page. (I'm sure DJ could answer these questions about his motivations and earlier site content better than me!)

In writing the article cited in the OP on this thread, I asked DJ some questions about things. (I had wanted to be able to ask Nat as well, but I didn't think it was possible. Now I know a lot of the things I had wanted to ask!) From what I recall of what he said on the phone, the "to either gender" was on the original version of his site. After making the site, he emailed it to heads of LGBT campus groups around the US asking if they knew anything about the matter (figuring that if anyone did, it should be them). None of them did, but one of them talked to him about trans issues and problems with the "to either gender" part, and so he modified the definition.


That would make sense, he was definitely in contact with LGBT groups when we were first talking, and I was *running* my LGBT group and the student LGBT helpline over that period.

pretzelboy wrote:I'm quite interested to learn about the color scheme issue, as I'm the one who has been spreading this rumor (based on things that I've heard.) According to things I've read on Haven for the Human Amoeba, in highschool, DJ wrote some angsty teenage poem, in which he used as an image involve some belief somewhere that you could drink endlessly from an amethyst goblet and not get drunk. I've long had a suspicion that this may somewhat have been involved.


Well I was using purple on my other websites partly because it represents androgyny for me (gynandroid is an archaic synonym of androgyne), a blend of the stereotypical gender colours pink and blue. ...I still think DJ just chose purple for the borders of the navigation menus to match the default browser visited link colour though, and then when the forum software had white content boxes and a different coloured background he'd have chosen a colour that coordinated with that. :)

Here's the full extent of my input into site design from my incomplete set of emails from DJ in which he's edited out a lot of what I've said, as was good netiquette back in ye olden days:

Code: Select all

Mon, 5 Aug 2002 16:39:29
> [...] I'd like to have all the headings and questions listed at the
> start with links to the rest of the document (sort of links to <a
> name="definitions"> and so on) and also it'd be good to have a link to
> #top (the list of questions) at the end of each section.

> Oh and I think Member List should go after Stats in the nav bar at the
> top. Or maybe after the help link... either way it shouldn't be before
> Today's Posts or the AVEN site contents (I'm pretty certain this was
> just a quick fix anyway). Oh and there's an apostrophe in "Today's" [...]


DJ responds to that saying Member List is intentionally promoted to push the community aspect of the site and how many people are (will be) involved.

I'm finding the early emails extremely interesting, and also a little frustrating because DJ keeps referring to things he's edited out of my quoted email!

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Siggy
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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby Siggy » 08 Dec 2010, 08:37

Nat, quick question: What's your preferred gender pronoun?

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paranoidgynandroid
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Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby paranoidgynandroid » 10 Dec 2010, 13:10

Siggy wrote:Nat, quick question: What's your preferred gender pronoun?


I don't tend to state a preference, for me gender comes from other people. But if someone's writing about me online in a way that will influence others, I prefer singular 'they'.

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Siggy
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Joined: 27 Jul 2009, 19:45

Re: History: nonlibidoism society

Postby Siggy » 13 Dec 2010, 17:03

FYI, I wrote a blog post summarizing some of the history I learned in this thread.

opelchan
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Re: History: Asexuality & the Nonlibidoism society

Postby opelchan » 02 Nov 2012, 11:37

I remember the old day of Human Amoeba. I was on it from 1999->

Back then, we were happy to have a group, the rift came later.

I believe Human Amoeba (Yahoo Group) turned into another yahoo group before it went dyfunct (spammed)

After Human Amoeba went dyfunct, we kind of scattered until AVEN came along (2002). I believe AVEN had launched once (200?), then revamped (2002).

Because I rejoined AVEN either too late (2003) or I am not good at following drama, I kind of missed the Schism. I have heard people mentioned about the non-libidoist wesite, but it is not as 'catchy' as asexual, and I could not be asked.

Even in AVEN (in the good old days), there were some 'strict asexuals' or just people being pain in the bum.

I don't really follow the other a-websites.


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