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Advice for aspec students navigating college and for instructors to support aspec students?

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Hi folks, the week after next I'm giving a workshop to staff and students at the college where I work on Aspec identities in the classroom... I'm wondering if anyone would be interested in sharing any tips for Aro or Ace students to help them navigate college or any advice for instructors for supporting their Aspec students? I would obviously only refer to your username for privacy reasons. So far my biggest talking point is for instructors to avoid teaching material from a standpoint of amatonormativity, but I'm wondering if anyone has any advice/stories/thoughts they'd be comfortable sharing?

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Milque Toast
5 minutes ago, arielle1 said:

So far my biggest talking point is for instructors to avoid teaching material from a standpoint of amatonormativity

This is already a very good point, as it's really the only thing I can think of that staff/instructors can do to make a-spec people feel more comfortable/respected.

Not every relationship needs sex to be solid, and not every close relationship is necessarily romantic, etc.


Really the main issue I've had at school with being aroace is simply how often the topic of sex comes up and how uncomfortable it can make me. However, not all a-spec people are uncomfortable talking about sex, but there is a correlation.


I think just educating people that asexual/aromantic people exist would already be doing some help to make someone who is a-spec feel comfortable. But I'd personally just generally teach about the LGBTQ+ community anyways, for inclusivity and all that.


In my experience, I haven't really had many issues between school and being ace, and I can't really imagine many that could come, but maybe someone else has something to share regarding that. Anyways, it's cool that you're doing a workshop on this subject!

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This isn't related to instruction, but to college life.  A lot of fraternities and sororities really focus on sex, and that's mainly what kept me from rushing when I went to college.  I was worried they would try to "hook me up" with someone from a fraternity or make me do sexual things as hazing activities.  So maybe educate the fraternities and sororities on what asexuality is and to be more considerate when planning events so they can be more inclusive.


Then again, maybe fraternities and sororities just aren't for asexual people. 😕

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Moved to Visibility and Education Projects from Welcome Lounge




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If it isn't too late...


I appreciate that you are just helping to increase the awareness in the higher ed realm!


Here's a story from my college days for you. I once met with a professor and he was talking about a get to know you question he used in one of his classes. He asked everyone to say something about their first kiss, but there was one student who had never had a kiss. He acted like that was almost impossible. I was left thinking "Well, I'm glad I wasn't in that class..."


So, maybe just don't assume that people have the same or "typical" experiences. I also just think that was a bad icebreaker question. There are other reasons people wouldn't have had a first kiss yet.

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26 minutes ago, poetic_ace said:

a story from my college days

omg that is pretty much the most horrifying thing I can imagine in a first day of class setting.
Before we even get to the part about the instructor ridiculing the student who had not had a "first kiss" story, there is the horror of his having asked the question in the first place:
1) that the instructor thinks its any of his g.d. business what his students' personal relationships are like (that is absolutely on the list of unacceptable harassing behaviors)
2) that the instructor is so culturally insensitive as to assume that all students come from social/cultural backgrounds where he can expect them to have had that sort of relationship
3) that the instructor is so culturally insensitive as to assume that students of all backgrounds will take it that that is the sort of information that it is acceptable to share in a group of strangers/in a mixed-gender group

4) that the instructor is either so socially inept or so unaware of best practices in community building as to think that this sort of story will provide a good basis for forming collegiality among his students


I am dumbfounded.


That is even before the point at which the instructor ridiculed the student, which is horrifying in it's own right.

I would expect to be met with that sort of incredulity out in the world.  But it is the JOB of a teacher in a classroom to protect the dignity of all of his students.

Even if that teacher is himself incredulous about the experience that the student reports, it is nevertheless his job to treat the contribution to the  discussion with just as much interest and compassion and support as he would give to any other response, and, moreover, it is his job to ensure that each student is treated with dignity by the rest of the class. To do otherwise is unconscionable.  Then, as the teacher, if it matters (which in this case it obviously doesn't) and if you think the student has said something that could be cause for concern, or if the student has had an interaction with others that you think could be cause for concern, you approach the student privately later to address it.  But every step of the way, the job of the instructor is to preserve the student's dignity.



Your story takes my breath away and highlights the critical importance of cultural sensitivity and inclusion training...

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