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Help Wanted: Aces, what has your experience been with LGBT or Queer groups?


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#1 Sennkestra

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:20 PM

I’m going to be helping give a workshop on making asexual safe spaces this weekend at a youth conference for the GSA network, and one of the things we’re hoping to do is share the voices of more aces than just the presenters.

 

In particular, we’re looking for your own words about any experiences you may or may not have had with groups like Gay-Straight Alliancesm or Pride or Spectrum groups, or other LGBT or Queer groups:

 

  • Did things go well?
  • Did things go not so well?
  • Do you prefer to seek out such spaces? why or why not?
  • Do you have access to such spaces?
  • Do you feel welcome in such spaces? As a queer person? as an ally?

 

Any quotes would be anonymous, and really anything helps - even just a few sentences. If you’ve posted anything on the subject that you wouldn’t mind letting us share, that would also be awesome. 

If you have anything to add, please feel free to leave it here! It would be a huge help to us, and I think it does good to have voices from a wide variety of experiences and perspectives.

-Many Thanks



#2 Chromanova

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:54 PM

I've always been comfortable explaining myself when the question arises and meetups are fun.. but I don't think it's a reason to ostracize myself ;)


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#3 ithaca

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 01:27 AM

I don't know if my (little) experience from Italy can be of any relevance to you, Clea..


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Check my youtube asexual channel here!


#4 Avery_N_Co

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:58 AM

I have only been a part of one LGBT group that was at my art school, and although they didn't press me on the subject of my asexuality, they didn't really consider it a valid orientation and so I didnt feel like I belonged.



#5 Seuss

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 02:50 PM

We have a Rainbow Alliance at my high school, and it's really awesome. We have workshops on everything from safe sex, to gender, to different sexual and romantic orientations. I think we'll be doing one on Asexuality after the break. Every week people get more educated, and sometimes we doing fun things like read children's books focusing on gender (really, really cute. All children should have an opportunity to read something like that).


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#6 Zanzibel

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 01:18 PM

Hi Cleander!

 

I was recently elected ace rep at the university where i'm doing postgrad studies.  I'd written to the LGBT+ (they introduced the + recently to include individuals that don't fit into the LGBT categories such as asexual, intersex and genderqueer folk) to see if there was the possibility of creating the role of ace rep.  To my surprise and happiness they invited me along to the forum meeting and voted to create it!  

 

The committee has been very welcoming and open-minded which is a breath of fresh air for me.  At my previous university, about 5 years back now, I didn't feel that, as an asexual, I had a place in the LGBT community.  I did not feel able to talk about it much, and when I did, I was faced with a lot of disbelief.  In fact, an asexual member of that LGBT group was even sent home from the NUS LGBT conference because they stated that asexuals had no place there.  I went abroad for 3 years, and on coming back and going back to the student world, I've noticed that there has been a huge shift.  The NUS now recognise asexuals in their agenda (even if the name 'LGBT' does not reflect this) perhaps partly due to this change in the NUS agenda, and also, undoubtedly, because people these are more open to discussion and there has been a lot more publicity on asexuality in recent years.

 

I am organising monthly social events for asexual spectrum individuals, and plan to hold an awareness week next year and discussions.  I emailed the other London university LGBT groups and got positive responses, with many stating that they would be interesting in joining in with awareness campaigns.  All in all, it's looking pretty positive around here for student aces! 

 

If you have any questions feel free to message me!

 

~ Zan



#7 Robin_

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 03:07 PM

Well I wasn't welcome in the LBTGQ group because asexuality was a mental illness and not a sexuality, according to them! 
Besides that they seemed like nice people, so if I was gay or something it would had been fun!



#8 Bauer

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:31 PM

Hi Cleander,

I've had a few different kinds of experiences.

 

When I was in undergrad I went to the rather large LGBT center at NYU and while they didn't have anything for asexual people they suggested a group called fluidity, which was for people who don't feel like they fit into LGBT or who fluidly move around on the gender/orientation spectrum. The students were nice, but it sort of seemed like people didn't know what to do with me.

 

Then as a social work student I brought asexuality up in my Human Sexuality class and the teacher only said, "well what if it's not actually an orientation?" or something like "I'm just playing devil's advocate, but what if that does't actually exists or that's not what's going on?" I found that to be the worst possible way to spark a discussion, because it took quite some effort to bring it up in the first place, without even coming out. The next semester I brought up asexuality in my LGBT social work class and the teacher said "well I've never heard of a well adjusted asexual person." That didn't spark discussion either. Later, I came out in the class and mentioned that was her inital response and she was apologetic and she said she even had some asexual friends who were totally fine. So I'm not really sure where that initial animosity and curt response came from.

 

My last and rather recent experience was when I went to the Columbia U. LGBT center for a lunch hangout thing. While that ended up not happening, the person I spoke with happened to be the Grad student rep and was very friendly, open, and even suggested asexuality as a lunch topic for next semester. So that was much better.

 

Caution, HUGE generalization:

I tend to find that younger, newer, and less mainstream LGBT organizers tend to be more open to asexuality. The times that I get the most pushback (as you might guess from my previous experiences) are when the person feels like they know what's going on, they've been around a long time, they're established, and you do not fit into their LGBT box.



#9 Akabara86

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 06:41 PM

Honestly? Mixed reception. My friends who are LGBT are quite accepting of me, but there are a few who.... don't believe me. 

They think that I'm lying, or I just haven't met the right person, the usual stigma we deal with for not wanting sex like people want their morning coffee.


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#10 RainbowEuphoria

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 09:23 PM

I had a pretty good response. My friend whom was a leader in our college LGBTQ group and I attended a workshop about asexuality at a GSA collective. He and I came out as asexuals both earlier this year (well, we didn't come out exactly since we didn't know about asexuality until a little before then, it was more like "oh, so that's what we are"). There are three asexuals that I know of in the group, including both of us. I am sort of a main member of our small GSA (our school is rather small ). I held the position of secretary last semester and he was and still is our president. So I don't think they would have suddenly turned against us or anything. But our GSA tries to be as inclusive as possible. In fact, our offical acronymn is the LGBTQQPAIA collective on campus- it stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans* Questioning Queer Pansexual Asexual Intersex and Ally Community. That's actually where I got the acronymn from that's in my signature. :)


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#11 yellowpanda64

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 05:47 AM

Yes, I have felt welcome in queer communities.


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#12 Jarrett

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 06:27 AM

I didn't have a GSA at my high school (trust me, my asexuality didn't even fly there, it would have been a disaster if we tried to start one) but my college does, and they're very understanding of aces there. They've had asexual members in the past and currently we have three members on the asexuality spectrum (one asexual aromantic (ME!!!), one genderqueer grey-a panromantic, one demisexual) and I feel very comfortable there. They have pointed out that the battle we fight is very different, since ours is mostly trying to be seen with a trace of wiping out discrimination while the rest of the LGBT community focuses soley on discrimination, but it is seen as valid and when asking each other about our orientations (we do that sometimes) I have been asked about my asexuality. Usually if people ask me why I'm there if the battle we fight is different, I usually tell them that I consider myself as a member of a minority orientation but I'm cool being seen as both part of the family and an ally, or anywhere in between.



#13 Tsuyogari

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:10 AM

its definitely a bit mixed for me - when I didn't speak up or say anything, it seemed as though they were welcoming but assumed that I was there as an ally, since they automatically thought that as an ace my concerns were a bit different than theirs. 

 

Though to be honest, getting over the initial "oh but you can't be asexual!" is definitely the hardest part.


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#14 robintamblyn

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 07:34 PM

I'm the asexual rep for the LGB&T network where I work...I went to a PCS union LGB&T conference at the beginning of last month and felt pretty welcome/comfortable there, even though (as far as I know) I was "the only asexual in the room"...


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#15 Oxalis

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:15 PM

Although it's on a larger scale, I did start bugging the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) about asexuality inclusion. I haven't bugged them in a while and I don't think they're really all that focused on the issue now. =P

 

Don't know if it helps, but here's my thread on that: http://www.asexualit...s-campaign-hrc/


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#16 Kitty Rose

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:56 PM

I Have Had No Problems With LGBT Groups. I Work With An LGBT Charity (Who Now Dub Themselves An LGBTA Charity) And Have Had Nothing But Positive Reactions =]


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#17 Flapdoodle21

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 01:19 PM

I was told by the GSA at my highschool that asexuals were either closeted homosexuals or mentally unstable, and that either way, they were trying to make a safe place for those with "legitimate orientations" to talk with people who could offer them support.

My college also had a GSA, who simply said that the GSA was intended to ally people who had differing sexual orientations, and that they believed there was also a club for those who were developmentally disabled and delayed. I left it at that and walked away.

I have been harshly rejected and often ridiculed by every lbgt group I have seen or talked to, although certainly not by every individual.

I have actually found more acceptance in anti-gay Christian communities and among those who believe that my lifestyle is a sin than in lbgt communities. At least from my viewpoint, sexual elitism is rampant in their community, and anyone who is different from them is wrong, moreso than the people they called closed minded biggots.

Also, to echo what someone else said, the Human Rights Campaign completely ignored an email I sent them about asexuality.

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#18 Opel the Old

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:08 PM

I am a gay activist all along.  When I was in the States, some 10 years ago, 'asexual' wasn't quite established.

 

more recently, I am volunteering in our local gay community service provider, and I said to a community officer that "i am sheldon", he was a bit shocked and said "what?! you are asexual?", i said "a bit" in reply.

 

I am not the outest asexual, i am sad to say, but it is exactly because of reaction above.

 

 

Well I wasn't welcome in the LBTGQ group because asexuality was a mental illness and not a sexuality, according to them! 
Besides that they seemed like nice people, so if I was gay or something it would had been fun!

 

Funny you should say that, a few of my friends were in NUS LGBT conference last year (2012), and when someone moved to discuss about asexuality, there was some reps quote and quote saying, "homosexual pride ourselves in sex, asexual are only inhibiting our cause, we should SHUT THE DOOR IN THE ASEXUAL'S FACE"

 

because of hate speech like this, the motion to 'allow' asexuals in LGBT groups, carried, because simply "we cannot shut our doors in anyone's face"


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#19 CrazyBlues

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:18 PM

Honestly, I haven't even tried to say anything to groups at my college.

 

The Diversity Center at my college does an event for National Coming Out Day, where all they do is talk about being gay and give out free condoms. I played a little fishing game there, and my prize was a condom. It felt really embarrassing. I asked "what am I supposed to do with this?" They looked at me like I was crazy and said "I don't know, safe sex?" I left it at that and walked away with my free (useless) condom. I'd have rather had some of the candy that they were giving out to children who played.

 

I could never build up the courage to talk with the LGBTQ club at the college, for fear that I'd get met with negative responses (though I guess there's still time for me to try). I did, however talk to a friend of mine that happens to be a lesbian about my asexuality. She simply said: "Wow, that actually makes so much sense!" She's the only person outside of my immediate family that I've told, not counting on the internet.



#20 Opel the Old

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:27 PM

Condom makes very serious water bomb/balloon!

 

When you have a vehicle, it comes in handy to cover small parts, water proofing ;)

Honestly, I haven't even tried to say anything to groups at my college.

 

The Diversity Center at my college does an event for National Coming Out Day, where all they do is talk about being gay and give out free condoms. I played a little fishing game there, and my prize was a condom. It felt really embarrassing. I asked "what am I supposed to do with this?" They looked at me like I was crazy and said "I don't know, safe sex?" I left it at that and walked away with my free (useless) condom. I'd have rather had some of the candy that they were giving out to children who played.

 

I could never build up the courage to talk with the LGBTQ club at the college, for fear that I'd get met with negative responses (though I guess there's still time for me to try). I did, however talk to a friend of mine that happens to be a lesbian about my asexuality. She simply said: "Wow, that actually makes so much sense!" She's the only person outside of my immediate family that I've told, not counting on the internet.


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#21 Thecatlady

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:52 AM

Queer space is not necessarily a safe space for asexuals.

The members of my LGBTQA Coalition asked me if I ever have thought of seeking help for the disease I evidently have. So that's that I guess. Our adviser wants me to do a training because "people are just ignorant." I guess it's my job to become the poster child for asexuality.


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#22 Rev

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:09 PM

I'm suppose I'm very lucky in that I've never had anyone disbelieve me. At university, I joined the LGBT group, mostly because a lot of my friends were LGBT and I enjoyed spending time with them and my asexuality was accepted by the group. Though there was discussion of changing the name to LGBTQ and I suggested extending that to LGBTQA but that fell a bit flat.


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#23 SuperMagicMuffin

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:13 PM

Some of my experiences with LGBT groups haven't been that great. One being a lesbian group where they hated if you even remotely talked about men. Even if it was something nice. They hated on you. Other times I thinks LGBT are not very open to people who are not sexually attracted to anyone. They are just like straight people where they judge what they don't understand. I've had more understanding from a couple of gay people then I have gay people. But then again, all of this is not always the case. It's just a few experiences. 


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