Tag Archives: academia

Communities

1 Jul

(Last minute post for blogging carnival is last minute.)

Communities have made a huge impact in my life, but, for a long time, were not something I (thought I) needed.

I discovered that other people used the word asexual when I was in my early teens, and I didn’t actively attempt to get back into any asexual community until I graduated from college and entered graduate school, a span of about five or six years.

During this gap, I wasn’t really in any community. I had my friends from school, and a couple of friends I met online. There were one or two attempts to get into the asexual community, but they were mostly half-hearted. I lurked some on AVEN but found the “explanation” pages more useful than the forums, and my experiences with the forums were either hurtful or unhelpful.

My set of friends wasn’t particularly sex-focused, so I didn’t really feel out of place or pressured with most of them most of the time, even though I wasn’t out to most of them and don’t usually come out to people I meet offline. But eventually I … wanted to see how everyone else was getting along. “Everyone” being people in the asexual continuum. Also, I was getting older. Wondering more about dating, about life beyond school. And feeling kind of lonely.

Plus, I was in a new fandom, in a community that encouraged discussion between members, unlike the one previous fandom I had been in. Also unlike my previous fandom, this one features predominately queer pairings, and most of the people I know through that community are also queer. There are even a few other asexual people. It was nice, being in an environment that not only featured a lot of queer narratives but also had people who were queer, concerned about queer issues and occasionally discussed them within the community. (Not to mention everyone being geeks about the same thing.)

It made me want that for myself. Or, it made me want that more narrowly — it made me want what many of my new friends and acquaintances had. People who understood the places they were coming from, the concerns and questions they had, the ways that they felt they didn’t fit into society at large.

What I was looking for in a community was basically what I wanted in friends, or in a good English class, or a mix of both, I guess. A comfort level high enough for me to actually speak out and add my voice to the conversation, and spaces where you could have a mix of personal conversation without it erasing the possibility for a focused discussion on a topic (as I found the AVEN forums to oftentimes do). And a place small enough or organized enough that I could speak to people one-on-one. On blogs, this is easy, on Tumblr, you can kind of do it through reblogging. On forums like AVEN, it’s easier for the more extroverted to overtake and direct the conversation… which is not a place an introvert like me prefers to be.

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LGBTQA YA Books

27 May

Finally got the time to cobble together the list of LGBTQA young adult books I read for my class last semester. I attempted not to be too incredibly spoilery when writing the comments and summaries.

Also: Sometimes I didn’t write the original annotations right away and didn’t have the books anymore, but I tried to include comprehensive trigger warnings. And … sometimes a book has a ton of trigger warnings but is not actually the most crushing thing you’ll ever read (ex. Freak Show).

I tried to keep the summaries non-explicit, but in describing plots and listing trigger warnings with books, there is some potentially triggery material in this post. So I’m including a comprehensive list before the cut.

Trigger warnings for all ten books (both these things and discussions of these things): abandonment, ableism, abuse of medical patients, alcoholism, anti-gay, anti-trans, bullying, child abuse, child molestation, child pornography, cutting, death, discussions of a transgender character’s suicide, disowning, eating disorders, ex-gay rhetoric, forced commitment to a medical facility, gay bashing, a parent’s death, partner pressure to have sex, rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, a trans bashing, unethical drug experiments, and violence.

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“New Orientations” paper

9 Feb

The Asexual Explorations Blog recently updated with notice of a new paper called New Orientations: Asexuality and Its Implications for Theory and Practice, written by Karli June Cerankowski and Megan Milks.

There’s no abstract, either on the journal’s website or in the article itself, so here’s the public description:

In their ambitious commentary, “New Orientations: Asexuality and Its Implications for Theory and Practice,” Karli June Cerankowski and Megan Milks make the case that “asexuality”–the inability or unwillingness to experience sexual desire–needs a place in scholarly inquiry and radical politics. The small but growing international community of people who identify as asexuals has recently gained media attention; it projects varying visions of asexuality as a conscious decision or as an innate condition. Cerankowski and Milks strive to go beyond important efforts in social psychology to de-pathologize asexuality, suggesting that serious engagement with asexuals and asexuality will transform both feminist and queer studies.

Short version: imagining the impact acknowledging asexuality as a legitimate thing in the world will have on feminist and queer studies.

Shorter version (my impression, anyway): sexuals talking to sexuals about asexuality.

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