The Asexual Anarchist Newsletter, Vol. 1 Issue 1: Shitcourse
In which the author attempts to address eight months of condensed horse manure in one blog post
Howdy, folks. I’m trying out something new and/or different: a newsletter (with optional mail component)! I have no idea how frequently this is going to be a thing, but I would very much like it to be a thing somewhat regularly.
Anyhoover, this is going to be a newsletter about two things, mostly: asexuality politics, and anarchism. Sometimes separately, other times together; I’m interested in how to apply anarchist notions to asexuality activism and in how the two can fit together. There’s going to be a decent amount of original writing, but I also want to showcase other writers in the asexuality milieu because 1.) a lot of them are my friends and 2.) they’re all really fucking good writers, y’all.
But first, we gotta take out some garbage.
Listen, I’ve actually been avoiding doing this because the situation is just so absurd and it gives me a headache every time I start looking at it. But basically, if you, my lovely reader, were not aware: there are some folks out there in the Tumblr/broader social justice Internet “community” who think that there is a debate worth having over whether asexual and aromantic people — and specifically, heteroromantic asexual and heterosexual aromantic people — “actually belong” in LGBTQIAPetc…+ spaces. And they’ve been giving ace and aro writers shit about it for going on eight months.
Now, before I really get into the shit on this one, I want to make it clear that I know that most IRL queer organizations and spaces legitimately don’t have a problem with asexual and aromantic people of any flavor. This is a minority shitty opinion we’re talking about here, but it’s become one of those minority shitty opinions that you’re like “okay uh y’all need to settle the fuck down now, the joke was funny for like a minute but that was eight months ago.”
I also know that the “Discourse” between people who think asexual and aromantic people should not be part of LGBTQIAP+ communities (either wholly or in part) and… uh… asexual and aromantic people is just another iteration of a game lots of communities of marginalized, radical people play. For a while I thought this was a reason to disregard it and let everything just sort of happen as it’s going to happen, but honestly, lately I think that was a bad tactic to take. So here we are.
I’ve been reading a lot of Queering Anarchism: Addressing and Undressing Power and Desire (AK Press) lately. The idea of X outgroup taking up scarce or valuable resources from Y “legitimate” ingroup is a pretty common one that the various authors of the book’s essays try to tackle. J. Rogue, in their essay “De-essentializing Anarchist Feminism: Lessons from the Transfeminist Movement,” writes about this scarcity in detail:
There is frequently a sense of a “scarcity of liberation” within reformist social movements, the feeling that the possibilities for freedom are so limited that we must fight against other marginalized groups for a piece of the pie. This is in direct opposition to the concept of intersectionality, since it often requires people to betray one aspect of their identity in order to politically prioritize another. How can a person be expected to engage in a fight against gender oppression if it ignores or contributes to their racial oppression? Where does one aspect of their identity and experiences end and another begin? Anarchism offers a possible society in which liberation is anything but scarce.
Bolded emphasis mine.
Another author, Abbey Volcano, gets straight to the point in their essay, “Police at the Borders:”
Sometimes (too often), rather than destabilizing the hierarchically organized and institutionalized borders of heteronormativity, folks will construct new ‘queer’ normative assumptions to replace our current organized, normative structures of sexuality. This is a process of inverting hierarchies instead of doing away with them. Instead of recognizing that hierarchically organized sexuality was our problem in the first place, we often flip the current normative expectations on their heads and create a twisted mirror image of the current institutionalized sexuality by hierarchically ordering a new ‘queer sexuality.’ This might look like privileging non-monogamy, genderqueerness, and BDSM, for example, over other types of sexuality and gender. Instead of creating a world in which sexuality is somewhat liberated, we instead create new borders and new limitations around sexuality — we have simply inverted the hierarchy and excluded those deemed ‘not queer enough.’
Right now, asexual and aromantic folks are finding these borders — and their police. Put simply, ace and aro inclusion is the problem, according to these folks, and the solution is merely denying them entry entirely. Whenever an org like the Trevor Project sets up a division of its hotline to deal with ace and aro folks, or when groups like GLAAD officially recognize asexuality, it’s time and money not spent on… other things. And somehow, this is bad.
Honestly, here’s my shit: I really don’t care if these groups recognize asexuality and aromanticism. I understand why others do, and I wish them godspeed in their endeavors. But the thing is, I don’t need official endorsement to be asexual. I’m asexual regardless. And for the vast majority of folks in our community, this is also the case. But no one looking to get out from under heteronormativity should feel they have to go through an official governing body to do so. There is no queer republic — and there shouldn’t be.
One more quote from Queering Anarchism to send us off:
I want to make it clear that this isn’t an argument for a return to heteronormativity, nor is it an argument for an end to celebrating our queerness and the things that we desire. Rather, it is an argument that the ways we fuck, love and gender ourselves are not inherently revolutionary. But creating a politics that refuses the hierarchical arrangement of people because of their sexual and/or gender practices — and, importantly, one that does not pressure people into certain practices under the auspices of being more authentically ‘queer’ — does, indeed, have radical implications.
-Abbey Volcano, “Police at the Borders”
So Lauren Zuke got harassed off Twitter by Steven Universe fans who not only hated that she “prioritized” Lapis and Peridot as a ‘ship, but were accusing her of “queerbaiting” them.
I hope she’s doing okay, and I one-hundred-percent aggressively ship Lapidot as aro/ace squishfriends.
BONUS HELL II: THE BONUSING
I was gonna start this as a zine, but my computer — The Behemoth — died on me. So I lost all of my art programs, all of my design stuff, everything. Gone forever. Hence the awk format as I get my shit together.
Also, really: go get Queering Anarchism, it is so fucking great.