These are notes from the Seattle and Surrounding Aces Discussion Group meeting of October 10th, 2015. These are notes about what we talked about, relevant links, and other information about discussion topics. This is not meant to be a transcript and is not necessarily even meant to be a coherent recounting of the discussion.
Privacy of group members and keeping that room a safe and open place is important to me. I will try my best to not post personal information or individual stories without permission. If I write something that you’d rather not have on here, please let me know immediately and I will remove it.
Several books were brought up at the meeting.
“How to be a Normal Person” by TJ Klune will be released soon. It is said to be a gay/ace romance novel, where the gay man wants to become “normal” for the ace character.
“The Invisible Orientation” by Julie Sondra Decker (SwankIVY of YouTube) is now available in paperback. This book is an in-depth exploration of asexuality,
“Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain is a book about introverts, and how they are viewed and treated by society.
North American Asexuality Conference and Other Conferences:
NAAC2015 was discussed at the meeting. This was a two day asexuality conference held in Toronto in June of this year, organized by Asexual Outreach. Notes from a handful of sessions can be found here.
There was some discussion about the logistics of organizing a local conference (or unconference). The annual SF Ace Unconference was mentioned.
The possibility was also raised about organizing sessions or panels for other conferences in the area, instead of (or in addition to) running a specifically ace event. GeekGirlCon was mentioned as the type of event to look at. The NWSA Conference and the Creating Change Conference are two large scale (but non-PNW) events which typically have ace representation, both in attendance and in conference sessions.
The newly FDA approved “Female Viagra” was brought up, and its side effects and other problems were discussed.
- Rejected by the FDA twice before being approved. Approved on the third attempt largely on “gender fairness” and not on safety and effectiveness.
- Pill is barely more effective than placebo.
- Is not actually like Viagra, in that it does not act physically to allow people to have sex. Instead, it alters brain chemistry to make people more willing to have sex.
- Side effect include spontaneous blackouts, risk of “accidental injury”, and increased risk of appendicitis.
- Cannot be used with alcohol or birth control pills.
- Makers claim that it won’t be prescribed to asexual women, but a lack of awareness limits this. A woman who has never heard of asexuality can’t say “I’m ace, I don’t need that”. Instead, she may think “I’ve never wanted sex, I’m broken, I need this pill”.
- “The marketing for this drug spreads the disorder it is intended to treat.”
For more information:
Pamphlets from WhatIsAsexuality.com were handed out at the meeting.
It was mentioned that Resources For Ace Survivors has an information sheet directed at doctors and other health care providers.
It was suggested that we look at marching in the Seattle Pride Parade next year. While ace contingents have marched in past years, they’ve always piggybacked with some other group. Maybe it’s time to march in our own right.
I asked for marching tips, and here were a few that I received:
- Start planning early.
- Get things to hand out. Pamphlets are good for information, and stickers and cheap and popular.
- Get a banner with the group name and website. (Note: We need a group name and website.)
- A parade is a long walk and it can be in the sun and heat, so be prepared. Bring water, sunscreen, and snacks.
- Walk, don’t drive. (At least at first.) Walking groups are easier and cheaper than vehicles.
- A parade can also involve a lot of waiting.
- Have a way to get out at the end. It’s a long, one-way walk to PrideFest, and if you don’t want to deal with that, have an escape plan.
- You WILL be on camera. If you are not comfortable with being outed, do not march (or march in costume).
- Consider a smaller Pride event in the area, which might be cheaper, calmer, and less intimidating.
- Have your speech practiced: “What is asexuality?” “Why are you here?”, etc.
(Thanks, @sennkestra! These and more posted here: https://nextstepcake.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/tips-for-prospective-ace-pride-marchers/)
Some groups who have marched (and might be worth reaching out to for tips):
- Asexuality SF (SF Bay Area)
- Aces NYC (New York)
- New England Asexuals (Boston)
- Ace Toronto (Toronto)
- Aces of Arizona (Phoenix)
Asexual Awareness Week:
AAW 2015 is October 19th-25th. Some suggestions were to wear ace-related clothing (including ace scarves, for the knitters), or put up ace-related information at work (either at your workspace or on a shared bulletin board).
GSRM and the Alphabet Soup:
The acronym GSRM was brought up as an alternative to LGBTQIA(etc.), QUILTBAG, and so on. GSRM is “Gender, Sexuality, and Romantic Minorities”. It has the upside of being inclusive by default (There can’t be squabbling about who gets a letter or what the letters stand for) and not becoming unwieldly long. It has the downside of using the word “minorities” in an inappropriate context.
Another alternative is “MOGAI”: Marginalized Orientations, Genders, and Intersex.
Some people tend to lean toward using “Queer” as the blanket term, but that word’s history can be a problem.
The One Percent:
Bogaert’s 1% statistic was brought up, and there was discussion about why that number might be low. A question was raised about the prevalence of other orientations, and it was noted that the percentages vary wildly from study to study, survey to survey.
I am planning on writing a piece about the 1% statistic at some point in the future.
Merchandace is a site that links to ace themed shirts, jewelry, flags, keychains, etc.
(Spoiler alert!) A screengrab of the final scene from Pacific Rim can be seen here.