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michaeld

Ace space in London

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michaeld

Hi all,
We are excited to announce the presence of an Ace Space coinciding with Pride in London this year. This announcement will give some information about what we plan, and hopefully answer some of the questions raised on social media.

 

This year, as part of Budweiser's Fly the Flag campaign for their sponsorship of Pride in London, they are representing 9 different LGBTQ+ groups aiming to raise awareness and education on all the groups in the Pride umbrella. This gives a summary of the campaign:  
Fly The Flag is centred around giving each community within the Pride family their chance to shine by raising awareness for each group. Pride being a huge event with a large number of commercial sponsors, the meaning of the event is sometimes lost. We are wanting to change this and shine a light on each community and celebrate them on the day of the parade with all those who attend.

 

Specifically, they are arranging the Ace of Clubs event that will run for a June weekend in London - specifics are TBD, but it is planned as a space specifically for the ace community. We are working with the organisers to tailor this event specifically for the asexual community.

 

On the ace community's end, the project is largely being driven by Yasmin Benoit, an ace activist many of you will know of ( @yazybee here!) in collaboration with AVEN.

 

We have previously sought input - both on AVEN (link) and through social media via Yasmin (link) - about what an ideal ace friendly space might look like. (We were not able to release any specific details about the event at that point for confidentiality reasons.) We will feed the suggestions we have back to the organisers.

 

We are conscious of the possible pitfalls in organising this type of event, even with the best of intentions. Thus we are very keen to get suggestions of both what would make the space ace friendly and what to avoid.

 

The event is sponsored by Budweiser. That being said, the event organisers are very sensitive to the fact some of the ace community does not drink alcohol. Thus they are also pushing the inclusion of non-alcoholic beverages too.

 

The event name being used for the ace space is the Ace of Clubs. We are conscious of the fact this phrase is used by some members of the ace community, so we will be reaching out to some groups for how we can include their work (or link their material) in this project too without stepping on any toes in using this phrase. We would also appreciate direct contact on this point from anyone we inadvertently miss; please email aven.pt@gmail.com.

 

Note that from our point of view, this project is entirely about the ace space on offer in London as part of Pride month. However, there is also the question of sponsorship. For the most part, AVEN does not use a corporate sponsorship model, relying on community donations and personal donations from the leadership for running costs.

 

In this case, due to the inclusion of an ace space, we are lending our name to the Fly the Flag campaign, which is from Budweiser. All charities represented, including AVEN, are eligible to receive a charitable donation. We currently plan to invest this money directly back in the Ace of Clubs event, to hopefully make it even better as an ace friendly space.

 

If it turns out we are still due a contribution, we will hold a consultation with AVEN members and the wider ace community later this summer on what to do with this money: whether to re-invest in other ace community projects or to give it to another charity. (It would be somewhat new territory for us, as corporate donations is not our usual model thus far, and again we are taking part in this for the ace space.)

 

If you would like to bring input towards the planning of this event, please email aven.pt@gmail.com or post here, and we will bring as many suggestions forward as possible to the organisers.

 

Best,

michaeld
(on behalf of the AVEN Project Team)

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Inkling_UK

It certainly seems to have caused quite a stir on social media that Budweiser UK have gone about supporting Pride in this way! I’m all for it, even if their beer wouldn’t be my usual choice of tipple anything that might increase ace awareness and visibility is great as far as I’m concerned.

 

So that those of us who don’t live in London might have a chance to participate, it would be great to have more information about the event schedule sooner rather than later...

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michaeld
4 minutes ago, Inkling_UK said:

It certainly seems to have caused quite a stir on social media that Budweiser UK have gone about supporting Pride in this way! I’m all for it, even if their beer wouldn’t be my usual choice of tipple anything that might increase ace awareness and visibility is great as far as I’m concerned.

 

So that those of us who don’t live in London might have a chance to participate, it would be great to have more information about the event schedule sooner rather than later...

Thanks! The date currently pencilled in is 28-30 June. I hope to have confirmation before too long.

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Redbeard

So, I might be misreading this, but the tl;dr seems to be the following:  Budweiser is running a cause marketing campaign, and as part of that, they want to have an ace themed bar, where they will presumably be selling AB InBev products.  As part of the marketing campaign, they're making a donation of unspecified size (Is it fixed?  Tied to sales? £100?  £1000?  £10000?), and you're planning on taking that money and basically using it to decorate Budweiser's bar for them?  How does that make any sense?

 

You are being used.

 

Take the money and run!  Don't waste it helping to make more money for a company that made $6 billion in profit last year.  How many people will that donation be able to send to the ace conferences in Edinburgh or NYC who otherwise couldn't go?  How many ace marching groups in pride parades could it cover the cost of?  How many pamphlets can it buy for queer centers and therapists offices?

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michaeld
5 hours ago, Redbeard said:

So, I might be misreading this, but the tl;dr seems to be the following:  Budweiser is running a cause marketing campaign, and as part of that, they want to have an ace themed bar, where they will presumably be selling AB InBev products.  As part of the marketing campaign, they're making a donation of unspecified size (Is it fixed?  Tied to sales? £100?  £1000?  £10000?), and you're planning on taking that money and basically using it to decorate Budweiser's bar for them?  How does that make any sense?

Well it wouldn't be to decorate; it would be to improve the ace space, e.g. by adding activities or features that wouldn't be possible otherwise. However if we cannot effectively use the money in this manner, we will invest in other ace community projects or give it to a selected charity along the lines of your last paragraph. Like I say, we'd hold a consultation about what to do with the money, if it comes to this. At the moment we are just excited about the ace space itself.

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Kimmie.

Well this is only me but i am not comfortable with getting money from a company that are producing alcohol.

From WHO

Spoiler

Worldwide, 3 million deaths every year result from harmful use ofalcohol, this represent 5.3 % of all deaths. ... Overall 5.1 % of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol, as measured in disability-adjusted lifeyears (DALYs)

But if you can think it works then i have no right to stop , i am not British anyway.

 

I don´t want to be seen as hostile here i do understand that the majority of people can handle it.

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Blaiddmelyn

I don't drink alcohol for various reasons and I don't feel strongly. Most things in excess are bad for you - you drink too much water in one go for example and you can die. Hell, working too much can cause health problems. That's not to say alcoholism isn't a real problem for a lot of people but i wouldn't regard it on the same level as, for example, class A drugs 

 

I actually think it's a positive step more broadly. One of the things I've seen is that despite people hating corporates using LGBT for publicity, the more they say it's acceptable, the more society accepts it is. If you want that for asexuality, a big step is having a major corporate openly say it's a thing and normal. If they were into really dodgy unethical products i'd think twice but alcohol isn't as bad, and also i think helpful here because lots of Brits drink beer so are more likely to see this.

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Kimmie.
6 hours ago, Blaiddmelyn said:

I don't drink alcohol for various reasons and I don't feel strongly. Most things in excess are bad for you - you drink too much water in one go for example and you can die. Hell, working too much can cause health problems. That's not to say alcoholism isn't a real problem for a lot of people but i wouldn't regard it on the same level as, for example, class A drugs 

 

I actually think it's a positive step more broadly. One of the things I've seen is that despite people hating corporates using LGBT for publicity, the more they say it's acceptable, the more society accepts it is. If you want that for asexuality, a big step is having a major corporate openly say it's a thing and normal. If they were into really dodgy unethical products i'd think twice but alcohol isn't as bad, and also i think helpful here because lots of Brits drink beer so are more likely to see this.

You are ofcource right. 

I would personally not accept the money. It just feels wrong to me. 

 

And i am completly understanding that you are doing this i guess the pros outweigh the cons. 

Sorry for bringing the thread down, i have a habit to do that it seems😐

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Redbeard
6 hours ago, michaeld said:

Well it wouldn't be to decorate; it would be to improve the ace space, e.g. by adding activities or features that wouldn't be possible otherwise. However if we cannot effectively use the money in this manner, we will invest in other ace community projects or give it to a selected charity along the lines of your last paragraph. Like I say, we'd hold a consultation about what to do with the money, if it comes to this. At the moment we are just excited about the ace space itself.

It's their party.  They should pay for it all.  This isn't a neighborhood potluck.  A donation isn't a donation if you have to spend it promoting the person giving you the money, it's a marketing budget line item.  And you and Yasmin should be getting paid for consulting on top of everything else (if you're not).

 

This whole thing has echoes of the MAAPLE/UKIP disaster.  Just because someone is giving you attention, that doesn't mean it's good attention.  Sometimes saying "No Thanks" is the right thing to do.

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Kimmie.

To be clear i like the idea i really do. 

And it seems to go against what I hear more and more now days when asexuality is more known. That we have no right to be at pride because we are normative enough and so on.

 

So that asexuals actually get our own place at such a big pride festival as London is awesome.  I am a bit afraid for a backlash though from the LGBT community that we are taking money from those that really need it. And to be honest that is a valid point. 

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michaeld
3 hours ago, Redbeard said:

It's their party.  They should pay for it all.  This isn't a neighborhood potluck.  A donation isn't a donation if you have to spend it promoting the person giving you the money, it's a marketing budget line item.  And you and Yasmin should be getting paid for consulting on top of everything else (if you're not).

To be clear, we don't have to use the donation in this way. It's not part of the deal and it is our (my) suggestion to feed it directly back into the event. If that doesn't work out, we'll find another way of investing the money (see the above about a consultation) or indeed perhaps we'll ask them to make a donation on our behalf to a different charity. The fact we are eligible to receive a donation does not mean we have to accept it, and it may be too problematic for various reasons.

 

I am certainly not getting paid; I am here to represent AVEN, a non-profit organisation I volunteer for. My above comments are solely about AVEN. What Yasmin does is their own business; they are doing a lot more work on this than I am, and they are acting in their own right, not as an AVEN volunteer per se at this point.

 

Maybe we should take the discussion of the donation aspect to another thread; I'd prefer to focus here on ideas for the ace space itself.

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kelico

*gives extra cake to @michaeld for all the hard work he's been doing for AVEN* Like seriously, guys. You don't know how much he does for all of us. This will be an incredibly positive event for ace visibility! All for the community.

 

There should probably be pamphlets, like we made for World Pride before, to hand out, and maybe could get some artists to do face-painting with the ace flag etc. It should just be a generally cool place to be with education included.

 

tumblr_ofvjpu1Zi51tgka8ko1_540.png

(art by zi-qui-old on Tumblr)

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Kimmie.

Basically a place where aces can relax in. Where the sound level is not super high. 

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Dreamsexual

I .

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Anthracite_Impreza

No good for me anyway, always in London. It'd be nice if these events happened outside the M25 occasionally.

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michaeld
3 hours ago, Anthracite_Impreza said:

No good for me anyway, always in London. It'd be nice if these events happened outside the M25 occasionally.

Come to Edinburgh!

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FaerieFate

Is there concern of the fact many Budweiser ads are hypersexualized? 

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Skycaptain

I'm more concerned that we don't know where this is, what is being provided, or could be provided, that they are bypassing Pride in London, what hours it's available etc etc. 

I am the official point of contact between London Pride and AVEN, and have heard nothing, so I think it's safe to assume that this hasn't been sanctioned by Pride in London 

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rayc2601

I'm really excited for this! So great to have an event to raise awareness and make asexual people feel welcome at Pride!

 

Obviously I might be suggesting things that are impossible because we don't know the details yet but I would love a asexual club night where you could just go out and drink (preferably cocktails!) and dance without people trying to hit on you!

Also there are quite a few good books and comics with asexual characters - it could be cool to have author talks. Film nights would be cute too!

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rayc2601
47 minutes ago, Skycaptain said:

I'm more concerned that we don't know where this is, what is being provided, or could be provided, that they are bypassing Pride in London, what hours it's available etc etc. 

I am the official point of contact between London Pride and AVEN, and have heard nothing, so I think it's safe to assume that this hasn't been sanctioned by Pride in London 

Budweiser are a Gold Sponsor of Pride in London this year so I wouldn't have thought they are bypassing them?

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Blaiddmelyn
1 hour ago, Skycaptain said:

I'm more concerned that we don't know where this is, what is being provided, or could be provided, that they are bypassing Pride in London, what hours it's available etc etc. 

I am the official point of contact between London Pride and AVEN, and have heard nothing, so I think it's safe to assume that this hasn't been sanctioned by Pride in London 

It depends on the perspective you're thinking of. I don't think it's odd for Budweiser to contact Mic, rather than you. As Rayc says, they are an official sponsor, but they're also working with several LGBT charities. It's not that unlikely to think they've been given some space to use, and have decided to contact the charity directly to engage them as to how best to use their space - in which case, they'll likely reach out to the Board i.e. Mic. That's not to say they couldn't have gone via Pride but I don't think the fact they didn't means something odd is going on. Pride may also have been reluctant to give out your details for GDPR reasons. You generally can't give out people's details like that unless you've told them you will (which they might have done, in fairness).

 

From what Mic says, it also sounds as though they are still working out details, rather than hiding details. 

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Skycaptain

I'm just covering my ass, so that if anything goes wrong, it's recorded that I have had no involvement in it 

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Siggy

Sponsorship from alcohol companies is a public health risk, and one that has deeply impacted LGBT communities.  The asexual community has largely escaped alcohol abuse so far, but I am afraid that by accepting help from alcohol companies, we will create a new problem that will outlive us all.

 

AVEN should reject any donations from Budweiser.  I'm guessing the Ace of Clubs event is a done deal, but activists should avoid such partnerships in the future.

 

I wrote a longer article arguing this point.

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Kimmie.
7 hours ago, Siggy said:

Sponsorship from alcohol companies is a public health risk, and one that has deeply impacted LGBT communities.  The asexual community has largely escaped alcohol abuse so far, but I am afraid that by accepting help from alcohol companies, we will create a new problem that will outlive us all.

 

AVEN should reject any donations from Budweiser.  I'm guessing the Ace of Clubs event is a done deal, but activists should avoid such partnerships in the future.

 

I wrote a longer article arguing this point.

Yeah and by reading the comments in the links you posted people are not happy with the asexuality inclusion either. I personally think it would be for the best to if we take the money to donate them to a non asexual LGBTQ+ foundation.

 

It dosn´t really make me as a ace feel welcome.

 

To be clear i love pride and what it stands for.

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FaerieFate
9 hours ago, Siggy said:

Sponsorship from alcohol companies is a public health risk, and one that has deeply impacted LGBT communities.  The asexual community has largely escaped alcohol abuse so far, but I am afraid that by accepting help from alcohol companies, we will create a new problem that will outlive us all.

 

AVEN should reject any donations from Budweiser.  I'm guessing the Ace of Clubs event is a done deal, but activists should avoid such partnerships in the future.

 

I wrote a longer article arguing this point.

I guess I'm kind of unfazed by this type of advertising because I go to a lot of concerts. Bud light sponsoring a thing? Must be Tuesday. They also sponsor a lot of sport things too.

 

I already see their ads everywhere, and I already think their beer sucks. So them sponsoring an event will make me less likely to drink at the event because it'll be harder for me to get a drink that's actually decent. Which is odd because I dig beers with a higher alcohol content. 

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yazybee
20 hours ago, Skycaptain said:

I'm more concerned that we don't know where this is, what is being provided, or could be provided, that they are bypassing Pride in London, what hours it's available etc etc. 

I am the official point of contact between London Pride and AVEN, and have heard nothing, so I think it's safe to assume that this hasn't been sanctioned by Pride in London 

Budweiser are working closely with Pride in London. Multiple representatives from Pride in London were at the launch and will be attending the Ace Space. They definitely aren't bypassing Pride in London, they're probably just speaking to someone else in the organisation that isn't you. They're literally sponsoring Pride in London.

 

10 hours ago, Siggy said:

Sponsorship from alcohol companies is a public health risk, and one that has deeply impacted LGBT communities.  The asexual community has largely escaped alcohol abuse so far, but I am afraid that by accepting help from alcohol companies, we will create a new problem that will outlive us all.

 

AVEN should reject any donations from Budweiser.  I'm guessing the Ace of Clubs event is a done deal, but activists should avoid such partnerships in the future.

 

I wrote a longer article arguing this point.

While I appreciate your view and you taking the time to write an article about it, the Ace of Clubs isn't encouraging alcoholism. Invisibility is not being traded for alcohol abuse. Simply exercise self-control and there isn't a problem. Come to the club, have fun, drink whatever you want - including the non-alcoholic Budweiser option - and continue with your Pride Month celebrations. If it wasn't for Budweiser, a space like this wouldn't be happening, and it's one of the biggest visibility London Pride visibility projects ever. As an activist, I'm proud to be involved, and myself and AVEN will be there to ensure that everything is appropriate for our diverse community. 

 

On 6/5/2019 at 1:32 AM, Inkling_UK said:

It certainly seems to have caused quite a stir on social media that Budweiser UK have gone about supporting Pride in this way! I’m all for it, even if their beer wouldn’t be my usual choice of tipple anything that might increase ace awareness and visibility is great as far as I’m concerned.

 

So that those of us who don’t live in London might have a chance to participate, it would be great to have more information about the event schedule sooner rather than later...

It will be running over multiple days - not just one - so those outside of London will have time to travel in if they want to. :)

 

20 hours ago, FaerieFate said:

Is there concern of the fact many Budweiser ads are hypersexualized? 

I'll probably be in the ads so we'll see what happens. ;) 

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Kimmie.

@yazybee i have a question, what do you think of the backlash that seems to come from the LGBT community that asexuals are getting this attention?  I mean the more asexuality is known the more it seems that we are not welcome. I mean they created pride so it is not more than right that they have the right to decide who is and who is not a part of it.

 

This is based on the comments in the links from the article Siggy posted. 

 

I really like the idea of the ace space even though I don't drink myself and I am not a super fan of alcohol environments. And the cups i hope they are not made of plastic because that doesn't feel really up to date.

 

 

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InquisitivePhilosopher
11 hours ago, Siggy said:

Sponsorship from alcohol companies is a public health risk, and one that has deeply impacted LGBT communities.  The asexual community has largely escaped alcohol abuse so far, but I am afraid that by accepting help from alcohol companies, we will create a new problem that will outlive us all...I wrote a longer article arguing this point.

Thanks, for the article and for writing your personal story. The "seeing aces as an untapped market," due to most aces not being drinkers, was interesting; I hadn't really thought of it that way, before.

 

I was also concerned about an alcohol company wanting to sponsor the Ace space, because young adults (one of the largest demographic of aces), including among the LGBT+ community, commonly like to visit bars and drink. It's a problem, where I live, that has caused auto fatalities, due to drivers drinking and driving; I've experienced seeing several relatives and neighbors who've struggled with a cigarette addiction, some of whom also liked drinking alcohol, so it's just seemed to me like humans are very susceptible to all types of addiction, especially when being surrounded by those environments.

 

@Kimmie. :) I don't think you're being a "downer" for mentioning your concerns; others had the same concerns, too.

 

I would've thought AVEN's yearly, GoFundMe donations would've been sufficient enough to cover the event.

 

I'm wondering whether accepting that company as a sponsor might negatively affect who might choose to sponsor AVEN in the future. (I'm remembering how some Admods mentioned that because of AVEN's policies, some non-profit LGBT+ groups refused to be a part of AVEN).

 

Wouldn't it be considered a conflict with the fact that one of AVEN's highest demographics are teens, who are underage and unable to drink, in some countries in the world? Is it a possibility that parents and others might be bothered by that, feeling that accepting an alcohol company for an Ace event as a sponsor, might be seen as trying to push alcohol on teenagers?

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Sennkestra
2 hours ago, yazybee said:

While I appreciate your view and you taking the time to write an article about it, the Ace of Clubs isn't encouraging alcoholism. Invisibility is not being traded for alcohol abuse. Simply exercise self-control and there isn't a problem. Come to the club, have fun, drink whatever you want - including the non-alcoholic Budweiser option - and continue with your Pride Month celebrations. If it wasn't for Budweiser, a space like this wouldn't be happening, and it's one of the biggest visibility London Pride visibility projects ever. As an activist, I'm proud to be involved, and myself and AVEN will be there to ensure that everything is appropriate for our diverse community. 

 

(emphasis added by me)

Can I suggest that you actually read some of the research and articles that have already been posted, or even just basic research on alcoholism and alchohol abuse? It's not a simple matter of "exercising self-control", and for many people any social spaces that so thoroughly permeated by alcohol and alcohol advertising are going to be inherently unsafe and unwelcoming. Not to mention that no amount of self-control can turn an underage person into an adult who can access and participate freely in spaces like bars and clubs.

Even for those who don't have to worry about being young or having vulnerabilities to alcohol and peer pressure, there are also many aces who are simply uncomfortable with the kind of atmosphere that rampant drinking leads to - many aces in my local group are already hesitant to participate for long in many public Pride events simply because of the high levels of drinking (and resultant drunkenness) that can result. One of the best things we have been able to do for them is host peripheral pride events that aren't so focused on alchohol and nightclub culture, so that they can participate freely without fear. This event is basically the opposite of that.

Any space that is so centered around alcohol is going to unwelcoming to many parts of the community. If you aren't one of them, then great! That's good for you that these aren't barriers for you. But please understand that this is going to be a barrier that prevents many people from being able to participate; and that you can't just handwave it off as only a problem for people with no "self-control", as if they don't deserve to have ace spaces that support them as well.

And if you choose to continue to purse this, at least try to be smart about it. Read up on what Ad Agency groups like Revolt London are about. Understand that their client is budweiser, not you - they are only interested in supporting you so far as they can use you:
 

Quote

Pick a fight:

By associating brands with current issues – “picking a fight” – as the pair call it, the cultural impact lessens marketing spend through column inches and organic discussion. “By taking a stance people want to write and talk about, it will help to subsidise the media spend they would ordinarily have to put out,” says Lewis.

(Translation for folks who don't work in marketing already: their selling point is that they save companies money by "picking a fight" in order to get interest groups to shill for them for free instead of having to actually pay for regular advertising).

Understand that they are only about getting free publicity and boosting their brand, at the lowest cost possible. They don't care if the only publicity you get is hostile backlash. They do not have your interests at heart, so if you plan to wade in to a deal with them you need to be willing to be suspicious of everything to do, and to fight tooth and nail to make sure you're not just getting used to no avail. Don't be afraid of demanding more because it makes you feel selfish - they certainly won't care about gratitude or being selfless and neither should you.

 

If you aren't willing to walk away, it's your responsibility to at least make sure you are wringing every drop out of them that you can, and that you are returning those gains to the community, not just yourselves. If you want events or handouts at their event, that has their name on it, tell them they should pay for it. The amount of money that a large corporation like this can write off for a single promotional event could fund a tiny org like AVEN for years, and they almost certainly have access to products and services at better rates than you can get. Take any donations offered and use them to support events for those who can't access spaces like the club of aces; use them to help the people who can be harmed by the careless promotion of risky substances like alcohol.

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yazybee
2 hours ago, Kimmie. said:

@yazybee i have a question, what do you think of the backlash that seems to come from the LGBT community that asexuals are getting this attention?  I mean the more asexuality is known the more it seems that we are not welcome. I mean they created pride so it is not more than right that they have the right to decide who is and who is not a part of it.

 

This is based on the comments in the links from the article Siggy posted. 

 

I really like the idea of the ace space even though I don't drink myself and I am not a super fan of alcohol environments. And the cups i hope they are not made of plastic because that doesn't feel really up to date.

 

 

I think it's unnecessary and dramatic considering that the non-asexual parts of the LGBT+ community have plenty of bars, spaces, conferences, platforms and festivals dedicated to them, but people are made of an asexual pop-up. But keep in mind that Pride in London are closely involved in this and I've received a lot of support at events related to the event this year, so there are people who are happy to have more asexual inclusion. 

 

Also, the cups are made of plastic. But they're also made to keep and inform, so they're not to be thrown away. It isn't flimsy plastic like something you'd get for a picnic. 

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