visibility for vanilla asexuals

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michaels
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visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby michaels » Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:44 am

There are lots of visibility efforts being made on behalf of aces who are also gay, bi, trans or some other alternative identity. In fact, AVEN exists predominantly for aces who have alternative identities (and, it often seems, for those who have alternative identities regardless of whether or not they're aces). But despite the huge number of newcomers who say they're just plain aces with no frills, there's very little being done for them.

I was thinking that maybe Apositive could become a gathering place for aces who are fairly vanilla. This might include the following:

(1) Aces who have no particular romantic identity, meaning they don't feel any kind of attraction to any type of person, creature or thing.
(2) Aces who don't have identity issues other than the ones that naturally come from being ace (i.e. those who might feel pressure to be sexual but aren't wondering whether they're really male or female).
(3) Aces who are content to live their lives quietly and peacefully and don't seek to agitate in the political arena or acquire special social privileges or advantages over other people.

This is NOT to exclude people such as bis and transfolk from Apositive, just to create an environment where the concerns associated with being bi and trans aren't primary (as they are on AVEN) but rather secondary to concerns associated with asexuality. Since this is, after all, supposed to be an asexuality forum.

Anyone else interested in promoting Apositive in this way?

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby Dargon » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:24 am

I don't think that promoting asexuals who are queer beyond just asexuality is AVEN's focus; I think the appearance is just a result of the lack of other issues a "vanilla" asexual faces. Aromantics tend to not share in the toil and heartache of looking for love. Cisgendered folks tend to not have any issues with gender identity since they already fall into what society encourages.

That being said, I do understand it can feel rather isolating when it seems the majority of the discussion revolves around issues you cannot relate to or have no interest in. The large amounts of discussion regarding gender identity, romance, and asperger's often left unable to really participate.

In the end, I am not sure how one would create an environment where these other issues are secondary, as the discussion of those issues seems to just happen. That being said, I don't like having an environment that makes some folks feel excluded. I'm not sure how to deal with this issue, but it does not seem to be a problem here at the moment, and seeing as Apositive originated as a sex-positive asexual site, I see the crowd that is attracted by that as being more unlikely to be exclusionary in that manner.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby michaels » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:39 am

You have to admit that 99% of the active regular posters on AVEN rarely talk about asexuality. Rather, they talk, about the tools of activism and problems with being gay/bi/trans regardless of whether those relate to asexuality or not. New members who sign up there are sometimes going to be put off by what the vast majority of the discussion relates to. Many will be new to the concept of asexuality and will need help understanding what it means to be ace, not a rush to co-opt them into the service of activism in a cause they might not share. I think that might be a major reason why the vast majority of new AVEN signups make one post and then disappear. I've been seeing a similar dynamic here with new members making one post and then disappearing, but have my own thoughts as to why that is the case.

I don't talk a lot about asexuality because, for me, there is rarely much to talk about. Being ace is something I accept as being a normal part of my everyday life. I don't face pressure to be sexual, and my family have given up expecting me to marry and reproduce, so most of the time I don't think about asexuality. But there are lots of people out there who have no gender identity or queerness or nonsexual romance need issues because they are plainly and simply asexual; yet they do face issues with pressure from friends to be sexually active, pressure from family to reproduce, pressure from all sides of society to have sexual responses to advertising and entertainment media, etc. I'm thinking that this could be a good place for them to talk about their specifically ace issues, now that all of the recruiters have cleared out.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby Dargon » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:22 pm

I agree that the much, if not most of the talk on AVEN does not pertain to asexuality, save the welcome threads, and I can see how that would be offputting. But like I said, I do not think that the aims of this site will attract too much of that.

As for newbies making one post and then disappearing, I have been a member of a number of forums, not just asexuality related ones, and it's a common trait all over. I think it has more to do with people wanting to jump into something, then moving on fairly quickly, whether it be because it wasn't what they were expecting, because they we're just really excited and have no moved on, or just plain got bored of it quickly.

With asexuality in general, a lot of people are quite content with the validation they receive after their first post, and then move on with their lives. They know they aren't alone anymore, and that is enough.

I would fathom that an additional major issue both here and AVEN pertain to the size. AVEN is hard to keep track of because it has grown so much. Keeping up with interesting topics is a multi hour daily thing. many people are unwilling or unable to dedicate that kind of time, and even if you are, your voice often gets drowned out. Here we have the opposite issue. We're just a nudge too small to keep a fairly constant stream of posts (it's not uncommon to go a week or two with no new posts here), which means people quickly write off the community as dead and stop checking back. I think if we can reach a critical mass of posters, even if it's just five or ten daily-ish users, that problem will largely disappear.

I think for many who are asexual and not super-romantic, there is rarely much to talk about. Perhaps my more recent experiences may be a little different, seeing as I do not identify as asexual, but I can still relate on some degree seeing as I once did identify as such and I am still anything but heteronormative. That being said, most people seem to either be intrigued or uninterested, so there isn't too much to talk about. Very little in terms of pressures and the like (aside from my mother, but she is easy to write off).

I think this is a fine place to talk about those "just asexual" issues. I wouldn't discourage talking about the other issues, but again, I think there won't be much of that here. My reasoning is that most asexuals end up at AVEN first, seeing as that is the main hub, the one that gets the media coverage and the like. From there, if they hit other communities, it's typically because they are looking for a smaller or more specific community. I do not know which are still active or not, but I know of communities for asexual lesbians, asexual trans and gender queer, and asexual aspies. Odds are those types are more likely to head over to one of those rather than a community founded as being a sex-positive asexual site. The kind that hit here are more likely to be the ones who want to explore issues pertaining directly to asexuality and how other aspects of sexuality relate to it.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby FalconEagle » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:08 am

Vanilla asexuals..........?????

I........have no idea what one of those is, personally.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby Dargon » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:31 pm

FalconEagle, I believe michael is using the term "vanilla asexual" to refer to asexuals who, aside from their asexuality, still fit fairly within social norms; ie hetero or aromantic and cisgendered; generally rather "normal" by society's standards.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby michaels » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:38 am

Dargon,

You are mostly right, although in my community the gay, les, bi and trans element is considered COMPLETELY normal. I recognize that that is not the case in all communities, including yours.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby PiF » Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:24 am

I do understand micheals's point on this

in many ways it seems whilst the few try the hard sell taking us into into the gay/queer communities... those who are are a normal every day joe who are straight... it can be isolating

whilst i do feel the few i.e. ..activists with a lgbt agenda and the like ...forget sometimes that yes many asexuals are just normal joes who are straight and have absolutely no gender confusion at all..i doubt if that visibility will ever be raised as it often gets challenged by the lgbt activists as promoting straightness equally... is seen as homophobic and you are seen as homophobic too to dare challenge or raise it

a comparison if you will

the mobo's..the music of black origins awards..is seen as cool trendy and definately a must have in the music industry

however..if we had mowo's .. one it would sound silly.. but by promoting music of white origins you would be called racist

and so lies the difficulty of being a straight man or woman within the asexual community as it currently stands

I would love to see the equal recognition and promotion of visibility for straight people also within the asexual community and pushed as equally positive..but at the momment it just isn't there

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby flergalwit » Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:06 am

It's funny. I am straight, cisgendered and 100% male, and I have never felt at all isolated in the asexual community because of this.

My complaint is actually almost exactly the opposite one. There seems to be a huge bias towards representing asexuals as "normal" and "vanilla" in every other respect than not experiencing sexual attraction - when this picture really doesn't reflect the asexual community as I know it (either online or offline).

The film (A)sexual was no exception. True they did have a segment covering the SF Pride march. But there was absolutely nothing about the gender variance in the asexual community. Being critical, I'd say this is an utter misrepresentation of the situation. Being generous, I'd say it was an over-simplification.

It's incidentally probably one reason DJ was the perfect poster boy for asexuality. He comes across as happy, well adjusted, conventionally good looking; he has mostly opposite sex relationships; he is binary male. In other words, he ticks nearly every "normal and healthy" box, apart from the sexual attraction bit. Hence he was a great person to get asexuality into the mainstream. The downside being that many people have a somewhat distorted picture of the community.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby PiF » Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:20 am

flergalwit wrote:It's funny. I am straight, cisgendered and 100% male, and I have never felt at all isolated in the asexual community because of this..


To be fair Michael...whilst saying you aRE 100% stright ..you do have a very pro lgbt bias that might explain why you have not experienced the isolationism that happens from time to time as a straight guy with no interest within the lgbt

flergalwit wrote:My complaint is actually almost exactly the opposite one. There seems to be a huge bias towards representing asexuals as "normal" and "vanilla" in every other respect than not experiencing sexual attraction - when this picture really doesn't reflect the asexual community as I know it (either online or offline)...


I have to say I havn't seen that..we are normal and I see no distinction wether your flavour is gay, straight etc..normallity is there

the vanilla aspect again I don't think it is there..you will often see more people saying hey..not all of us are non straight..i appreciate your view is your view but i truly belive what you see is more ..why aren't asexuals ALL 100% lgbt positive and turning that around and saying ..damm you you vanilla people

flergalwit wrote:The film (A)sexual was no exception. True they did have a segment covering the SF Pride march. But there was absolutely nothing about the gender variance in the asexual community. Being critical, I'd say this is an utter misrepresentation of the situation. Being generous, I'd say it was an over-simplification...


I agree on some points of this..I havn't seen it yet but those who have and I've talked to about it .. I wouldn't go to the cinema or even rent the dvd but more if ever came up on tv and nothing else was on i might watch it

as to a misrepresentation..possibly..but thats the old lgbt in your face attitude again :lol: ...I thought the film was about explaining asexuality it'self and then inviting people to look in further into asexuality..which does seem to be the asexual way

flergalwit wrote:It's incidentally probably one reason DJ was the perfect poster boy for asexuality. He comes across as happy, well adjusted, conventionally good looking; he has mostly opposite sex relationships; he is binary male....


Forgive me for asking this Michael..."mostly"? It was my understanding that dj had said he had male/male relationships if that is the case it's hardly a poster child for straight/vanilla surely?

flergalwit wrote: The downside being that many people have a somewhat distorted picture of the community.


I think the community distorts itself pretty well on it's own..look at greys/semis/demis..by definition they totally contradict what an asexual is and this is why more than ever we need to be sure to welcome all but not because we are welcoming to all but we are mainly welcoming our own first then everyone else and not the other way around

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby flergalwit » Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:27 am

PiF wrote:I agree on some points of this..I havn't seen it yet but those who have and I've talked to about it .. I wouldn't go to the cinema or even rent the dvd but more if ever came up on tv and nothing else was on i might watch it

The DVD is not available for rent yet. To my knowledge there is only one copy of the DVD in the whole of the UK. (I used to have two, but I posted one to Israel, for the Tel Aviv screening, which is hopefully coming up soon.) So far we've screened it at Kent and Warwick, but more should hopefully be coming up.

PiF wrote:I think the community distorts itself pretty well on it's own..look at greys/semis/demis..by definition they totally contradict what an asexual is and this is why more than ever we need to be sure to welcome all but not because we are welcoming to all but we are mainly welcoming our own first then everyone else and not the other way around

On the contrary. Greys and demis underline the fact that sexuality is a continuum. The distortion has been in erasing their identity and giving the impression of "you are either asexual or you're not - no in between", as has happened in nearly all visibility work so far - including (A)sexual. (This was my other major reservation about the film, and also DJ's main disappointment with it.)

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby PiF » Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:44 am

i think we will have to agree to disagree on so many things michael :lol:

if our message is asexuals are those who do not have a sexual attraction..then follow that up with ..except those over there who do feel sexually attracted to others..then you can understand why so many people laugh and get confused at what an asexual is and doubt us

don't get me wrong..i accept that within asexuality we have some that would welcome tuttenkhamuns cat and call it a dog ..but it would still be a cat..truly

if our one definition is constantly under attack from within..why should anyone take us seriuosly?

as a vanila myself it does get wearing to have a say on the direction that asexuality is taking and those who are trying to take it elswhere..to have the shut up you homophobe stop talking card thrown ..knowing even more so I am and have never been one..i suppose it is going to happen..it's just boring and i feel explains why some vanillas are so quiet

not because of the sexual community..but the extremes within our own community

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby flergalwit » Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:49 am

PiF wrote:i think we will have to agree to disagree on so many things michael :lol:

That sounds like a good plan. :D

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby fridayoak » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:36 am

flergalwit wrote:
My complaint is actually almost exactly the opposite one. There seems to be a huge bias towards representing asexuals as "normal" and "vanilla" in every other respect than not experiencing sexual attraction - when this picture really doesn't reflect the asexual community as I know it (either online or offline).
.


Meh, probably about 80% or 90% of the asexuals I have met in real life have been cis and straight types, so in reality it's more an AVEN/Tumblr thing with many of those active on there wanting to align with the LGTB. Even on AVEN if you read new people's post's on the relationships section nearly all are by straight cis people who get a bit of advice/feel not so broken and then wander off back to real life. The internet with it's anonymity and ability to reach out to others in extreme minority circumstances acts as a nice home for trans LGTB types so that's why it seems like there's so many asexuals of that nature but it's not the reality.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby flergalwit » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:47 am

I'm not really talking about LGBT alignment so much (pro-LGBT people are very well represented in visibility work as it happens), just about gender variance and other areas of diversity that are often badly reflected in our outreach, in favour of the vanilla "perfectly normal apart from asexuality" image we seem to be projecting. Some of the most prominent genderqueer people on AVEN do not want an alignment between LGBT and asexuality, and some straight cisgendered people do.

In fact my understanding is that some of the early leaders (most notably paranoidandroidgyn, who is genderqueer) stepped away from the spotlight, leaving it to DJ - on the basis that DJ can project a much more palatable image to the mainstream. Even though this strategy has been extremely successful in some regards, ultimately there's no point in projecting a palatable image if it's a false one (or at least hugely oversimplified).

I do not know why meetups would necessarily be a fairer way of determining the proportion of genderqueer (etc.) people among asexuals than AVEN or Tumblr. And my experience of meetups is not the same as yours.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby fridayoak » Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:17 pm

Would you not agree though Michael that on AVEN the vast majority of new members who post looking for (a)sexuality/relationship advice and then leave once they have their questions answered are of the cis/straight types of asexual?

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby flergalwit » Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:23 pm

fridayoak wrote:Would you not agree though Michael that on AVEN the vast majority of new members who post looking for (a)sexuality/relationship advice and then leave once they have their questions answered are of the cis/straight types of asexual?

I am honestly not sure about that. I don't think I've ever thought about it. Most of the time people passing through do not say if they are cisgendered v. trans/genderqueer. You can often get some idea about straight v. gay/bi/etc by the type of relationship question asked, but I'm not aware of noticing that questioning newcomers are overwhelmingly straight. Maybe I just haven't noticed, but I think an actual record would have to be kept to make the point convincingly.

It's also not clear to me why people who are questioning and/or passing through would be considered a better representative sample of the asexual community? I thought it was these vaunted "long term asexuals" we were supposed to be looking at.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby fridayoak » Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:42 pm

flergalwit wrote:
fridayoak wrote:
It's also not clear to me why people who are questioning and/or passing through would be considered a better representative sample of the asexual community? I thought it was these vaunted "long term asexuals" we were supposed to be looking at.


Where did I say that?

I mentioned people I'd met in RL, but most of them aren't big posters at all - many have barely a few posts to their name. You can still be a "long-term asexual" with a low AVEN post count you know.

The reason they'd be a better representative sample is purely a numbers one. Thousands of people join, post about their situation and then stop posting. From my memory the majority of these are vanillas so that should be taken into account when trying to project to others the state of affairs. Sadly it's often ignored in favour of the louder LGTB genderqueer crowd painting an untrue picture.
Last edited by fridayoak on Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby flergalwit » Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:47 pm

Fair play; it was others who have mentioned "long term asexuals". Sorry.

I do agree with their essential point though. People who are questioning and/or passing through are less likely to actually settle on an identity of being asexual. Of course they could be asexual even if their stay at aven is a very short one, but there's also a very good chance that the reason they don't stick around is that the asexual label does not fit them. So I wouldn't take short-term posters as a good representative sample of asexuals.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby PiF » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:01 am

For me anyway

I feel vanillas within the asexual community are very similar to the sexual community in that they normally are very much the silent majority

can't discuss homosexuality without being called homophobic, can't discuss race with out being called racists, can't describe feminism without being called a sexist pig etc etc

even within minority groups vanillas are very much the quiet majority unless your in the "in gang" so for me it's no suprise why some long term members post very little

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby Olivier » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:39 am

Funnily enough, I'm straight, white, and male, and I can discuss homosexuality without being called homophobic, can discuss race with out being called racist, can describe feminism without being called a sexist pig. I know I'm not alone in that, either.

Don't be so sure it's who you are; it might - just might - be what you say, PiF ;)

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby flergalwit » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:43 am

Incidentally I actually agree that "vanilla" asexuals (in, let's say, the gender sense) are the majority. Even on AVEN and Tumblr this is true, I believe. Still the proportion of non-binary and/or trans people does appear to be a lot higher than it is in the outside world, and this diversity is often not really reflected in the way we project the community. The same is true, I think, of other areas of diversity too.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby michaels » Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:54 am

Holy moley, we have two Michaels here, and I didn't even know the other one was a Michael.

The things said here are generally consonant with my own beliefs. Vanilla asexuals _are_ the overwhelming majority, and we are under-represented in public discussion about asexuality. But it should be noted that male vanilla asexuals are a _minority_, in that by far most asexuals appear to be female, so we're kind of a minority within the majority. Our concerns are by far not addressed at all.

As for "it might be what you say," outsiders who do hatchet work on behalf of the movementism powers-that-be are tolerated by those powers-that-be in the same way as four-legged chickens are tolerated. The powers-that-be pity them for constantly acting against their own interests but will continue to use them as long as they remain useful.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby PiF » Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:03 am

michaels wrote: The powers-that-be pity them for constantly acting against their own interests but will continue to use them as long as they remain useful.


I didn't understand that bit Michael? if your still on about the aven parachute squad your entirely wrong to assume ..there is one at all and two I am one of them

I can assure you I am not... and have audio of one of avens admins giving a very clear assurance that myself and two others should we ever run for a mod post..will be blocked somehow and dropped... so again I am aven non grattas and certianly not..on avens hit squad..might be on thier target list though :lol:

wheres the up yours aven administrators smiley gone???? :lol: :lol:

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby flergalwit » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:18 am

michaels wrote:Holy moley, we have two Michaels here, and I didn't even know the other one was a Michael.

:) It might be easiest if people refer to me exclusively as flergalwit (or flerg) on apositive, to save confusion.

michaels wrote:The things said here are generally consonant with my own beliefs. Vanilla asexuals _are_ the overwhelming majority, and we are under-represented in public discussion about asexuality.

The existing media articles, interviews and documentaries appear to cover almost exclusively people whom I can only describe as "vanilla asexuals", at least if the latter means anything at all. DJ is the main public face of asexuality and is, as far as I can tell, as "vanilla" as they come. (Unless merely by associating with LGBT groups he is classed as non-vanilla???)

There is little or no media coverage of the fact that so many people in the ace community are trans or genderqueer. There is little or no coverage of the fact that many asexuals have autism. Another misleading impression the media coverage often gives is that asexuals are extroverts, when the vast majority, at least online and at meetups I've been to, appear to be introverted.

And I think I understand why too. It's easier to get accepted if we can persuade the public that asexuality is a stand alone orientation, with no positive correlations between asexuality and things like gender dysphoria, autism and introversion. On the other hand, I highly doubt that this is actually true, so ultimately we're putting out a misleading image, even if it is an expedient one.

michaels wrote:As for "it might be what you say," outsiders who do hatchet work on behalf of the movementism powers-that-be are tolerated by those powers-that-be in the same way as four-legged chickens are tolerated. The powers-that-be pity them for constantly acting against their own interests but will continue to use them as long as they remain useful.

??? Pardon?

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby PiF » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:25 am

Yes michael s...flergawit is michael d from the aven project team..so to avoid confusion I will call you in apositive flerg now if thats okay

as to the autism spectrum..ffs flerg what ya trying to do..add to the asexuality is caused by......list?

it's easier to accept it's a stand alone ...because it is alone asexuals are unique and in a sexual world we would have trouble being any other party

I don't agree the way your phrasing it flerg... it looks like autistic asexuals instead of some asexuals who have autism, diabetes, are left handed, sit down to piss males etc

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby flergalwit » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:31 am

I tend to suspect there are multiple different causes for asexuality. Some of these may also cause things like autism, and some don't. (Of course there must be other causes for things like autism too, as by no means all autistic people are asexual.)

The question of causality is an extremely difficult one, and we don't know much about it yet. So I'll stick to correlation for now.
PiF wrote:as to the autism spectrum..ffs flerg what ya trying to do..add to the asexuality is caused by......list?

Like I say, "asexuality is standalone and is not correlated with all these things" is an expedient message to put out. But an expedient message is not necessarily a correct one.

PiF wrote:it's not easier to accept it's a stand alone ...because it is alone

How do we know that?

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby PiF » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:32 am

flergalwit wrote:Like I say, "asexuality is standalone and is not correlated with all these things" is an expedient message to put out. But an expedient message is not necessarily a correct one.



says the person who doesn't want to stand alone and wants asexuality to join a sexual body for a expedient visibility hike

absolutely agree flerg an expedient message is not necessarily a correct one..you got there in the end :clap: :lol:

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby flergalwit » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:47 am

PiF wrote:says the person who doesn't want to stand alone and wants asexuality to join a sexual body for a expedient visibility hike

Wrong.
(1) I have never advocated asexuality joining a 'sexual body'.
(2) If you're talking about LGBT, my reason for advocating involvement is that at least some of us belong there. The visibility thing is a nice boost, but if I really believed it was a wrongheaded association, I would not support it just for the Vis.

But this matter is already being discussed on at least one other thread. Let's not let every single thread get diverted into this argument.

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Re: visibility for vanilla asexuals

Postby Ragdollphysics » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:18 am

i suppose i fall into this catagory
vanilla & asexual

i am familiar with the fetish world, they use the term vanilla to describe ppl who are not fet

sorry to "necro post"
i may be doing more og that...there's a lot of interesting topics here...meanwhile...lurking, reading, thinking...
i'm very interested in equality...