VOTE: Proposed themes for Vol. 1, Issue 4 of The Asexual journal
It's that time again to select a new theme for The Asexual's upcoming journal issue Vol. 1, Issue 4, the final in the volume one series as well as the final of 2017. Body, the theme for Vol. 1, Issue 3 was chosen via Twitter poll previously, receiving a plurality of votes, more than other proposed themes of Interspace, Symbolism, and Pride. Some of these proposed themes are back again, but the process of selection will be slightly more expansive than last time. Listed below are sixteen potential themes being proposed for future issues of The Asexual journal as well as a short description containing questions and topics concerning potential directions for discussion of the theme in the issue. Be sure to vote for the themes that you support as potential topics. The eight themes with the most votes will be included in two separate Twitter polls (of four each). Within each of these polls, the two themes that receive the most votes will advance to a final Twitter poll. The theme with the most votes in this final Twitter poll will decide the theme of the next issue. All of these themes intersect with a multiplicity of questions that have circulating in my thoughts concerning how asexuality societally functions, including how it is understood, perceived, portrayed, accessed, and expressed.
The questions included with each theme are only meant to spur an introductory discussion on each theme and are not required to be addressed and do not define the limitations of potential discussion regarding the theme in the issue.
Until October 3rd - Deadline for preliminary voting. You will have until October 3rd to choose which of the 20 themes from above you wish to see as a future journal theme. The 8 themes with the most votes will advance to the next round.
Defining Asexuality 10
BDSM / Kink 3
Attraction, Representation, Community, Pride, Gender, and Intersectionality are determined to be moving to second-round voting. However, because of a 4-way tie, another poll will be created between the four choices of Defining Asexuality, Race, Privilege, and Sex, with the top 2 that receive the most votes also moving to the next round. This will be done on Twitter on October 4th. Topics with fewer votes from the entire list of topics will be considered for a special yearly issue of The Asexual journal that is currently being proposed as a Patreon goal.
Results of Tiebreaker (Poll) - 149 votes
Sex - 31%
Race - 25%
Defining Asexuality - 24%
Privilege - 20%
October 5th to the 6th - Deadline for second-round voting. These two polls containing the top 8 themes will be held on Twitter via @AsexualJournal (in order to increase the total votes and potential audience) from October 5th to the 6th. The top 2 from each will move on to the final round of voting to decide the journal theme for this issue.
Group 1 - October 5th (Poll) - 226 votes
Attraction - 52%
Race - 24%
Community - 12%
Intersectionality - 12%
Group 2 - October 6th (Poll) - 117 votes
Representation - 31%
Sex - 28%
Pride - 20%
Gender - 21%
October 7th - Final round. This poll will contain the top 4 most-voted themes, and will be open for voting on Twitter via @AsexualJournal (in order to increase the total votes and potential audience) on October 7th. On October 7th, the theme for Vol. 1, Issue 4 will be announced and submissions will open.
Final Four - October 7th (Poll) - 206 votes
Race - 31% (Theme)
Attraction - 25% (Tie)
.Representation - 25% (Tie)
Sex - 19%
Many ace/asexual people often identify by how they experience non-sexual attraction, such as romantic, aesthetic, or sensual attraction. As an ace/asexual person, how do you identify in relation to attraction? How do you define attraction? What does it mean to you, as ace/asexual person, to experience non-sexual attraction? If you do experience attraction, how do you negotiate attraction to people who may be inside or outside the ace community? If you are aromantic, how do you navigate assumptions of romantic attraction as well as other types of attraction?
BDSM / Kink
As an ace person, do you engage in BDSM or are you kinky? If so, how does your involvement in the BDSM or kink community intersect with your asexuality? BDSM and kink are often perceived as explicitly sexual practices. Does your practice of BDSM or kink countered these perceptions? Should it? Does your involvement in BDSM or kink lead to sexual arousal? How do you navigate misunderstood or limited conceptions surrounding the relationship between ideas of sex, sexual arousal, and sexual attraction? What types of BDSM or kink do you engage in as an ace person?
As an ace/asexual person, how do you define community? Do you feel connected to the ace community? Have you formed a community with other ace people for support (online or in-person)? Is community important to you? Do you find the ace community to be exclusionary? Has the ace community made you feel empowered? Do you feel as though you are accepted as ace/asexual person in the larger queer or LGBTQIA+ community? How do you navigate between multiple communities which may be perceived as in conflict with one another (such as being gay and asexual)?
For many ace people, online spaces have been intrinsic in their process of discovering and embracing their asexuality. How have online spaces been important to you as an ace/asexual person? Has the internet operated as an effective tool to spread awareness and acceptance of asexuality? Have online connections led to in-person connections with other ace people in your life? Without the internet, how would you define your ace identity? Could you?
What is your definition of asexuality? Should definitions of asexuality be specific and limited or loose and expandable? Why? Is it important that a singular definition of asexuality be adopted entirely by the community? What does your definition of asexuality include and exclude? How does defining asexuality relate to identity management? Is someone only asexual if they self-identify as asexual?
Asexuality has been and is perceived by some as a disability. Disabled people have been perceived as asexual. Why does this relationship matter? Should the relationship between asexuality and disability be deconstructed or can it be constructive? What is your experience as a disabled asexual person? How do you navigate understandings of your asexuality and disability? How does asexuality inform understandings of disability and vice versa?
Are certain gender identities in conflict with asexuality more than others? How do you navigate your gender in relation to your asexuality? Do you feel excluded from the ace community or from identifying as ace because of your gender? How do understandings of gender complicate asexuality and vice versa? Do you feel as though your asexuality is entwined with your gender identity? Is your gender identity entwined with your asexuality? What is the relationship between your gender and your asexuality regarding perception and expression?
How has access to healthcare and your asexuality intersected throughout your personal life? Do institutional services relating to health invalidate or validate your asexuality? Has the status of your health, mental and/or physical, been questioned because of your asexual identity? What implications has this had in your life? How have you had to navigate this relationship between your health and your asexuality?
How do discussions of asexuality overlap with intersectionality? Do you think asexuality is forgotten or acknowledged in discussions of intersectionality? Does asexuality expand conversations of intersectionality? How does your asexuality relate to your embodiment of an intersection of identities? How does oppression factor into this understanding? What is the relationship between oppression and asexuality? How do asexual/ace people's experiences differ or relate based on how they embody various identities?
According to a census of the ace community conducted by AVEN of over 10,000 ace people, only 13.3% of the ace community identify as a "man" or "male." Why? Are understandings of asexuality and masculinity in conflict with one another unlike femininity and asexaulity? What does it mean societally to identify as a man/masc and asexual? What is your experience as an asexual man or masc ace person? Does asexuality challenge masculinity?
Being sexual, having a sexual drive, and experiencing sexual desire/attraction, has been viewed as being "natural." Does asexuality challenge these understandings? Is asexuality perceived as "unnatural"? Does asexuality challenge what it means to be human regarding ideas of "human nature"? How is asexuality connected to nature? What does nature mean to you as an ace person? How have asexual people been compared to asexuality in nature?
Expressing pride is a form of empowerment for many ace people. How do you as an ace person express pride in your asexuality? Is ace/asexual pride important to you? How has asexuality been excluded or included from queer pride and should it be excluded or included? Do you use symbols such as the ace flag to express ace pride? Are symbols such as the ace flag important to you in expressing pride?
Self-identifying as asexual is only accessible to those who have access to the term. Is privilege entwined with having access to the asexual identity? How is identifying as asexual a privilege? Do you feel that the ace community is inherently exclusionary to certain voices? Does the ace community privilege certain voices over others? What is your relationship to privilege as an ace person?
According to a census of the ace community conducted by AVEN of over 10,000 ace people, a massive 77.3% of the ace community in the survey identified as "White (NonHispanic)." Asexual communities are highly dominated by white people and white voices. How does this impact understandings and perceptions of asexuality? How does the relationship between whiteness and asexuality impact understandings of your own asexuality as an ace person? What is your experience as an ace person of color? How does race intersect with asexuality? How can the centrality of whiteness in the ace community be dismantled?
How do you see asexuality represented around you regarding portrayals in media? How has ace representation allowed you to embrace or accept your ace identity? What is the importance of representation of ace experiences? Do you see yourself represented in media? How has ace representation been harmful and/or helpful? How have you contributed to improving ace representation in media? Do you create ace/asexual representation through your art or writing?
What does sex mean to you as an ace/asexual person? Do you engage in sex? How do you navigate understandings of asexuality as being synonymous with being "nonsexual" as an ace/asexual person who engages in sex? Are you sex-averse, sex-repulsed sex-positive, sex-neutral, etc.? What are your thoughts on sex, if any at all? How does reproduction factor into discussions of sex and asexuality? How has sex functioned in your life (negatively or positively)?
Vote for every theme that appeals to you in the following voting form:
Body (Vol. 1, Issue 3)
While "body" may appear to refer most directly to the human body, the term can also be interpreted and applied more broadly and abstractly, incorporating other types of bodies and bodily forms. Some potential themes of written and visual work to submit include discussing, analyzing, or questioning how your own asexual/ace body is perceived by yourself and others, how issues of body-image and/or fatness intersect with asexuality, as well as how, in a general sense, asexual/ace bodies are perceived societally. More abstract themes may grapple with asexual bodies in nature, universal ideas of purpose and asexual bodies, as well as conceptions of reproduction and asexuality.
Michael Paramo is an asexual Latinx demiguy located in southern California. They are currently a graduate student who has been selected to present their research at national conferences, such as by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music's U.S. branch, the Popular Culture Association, as well as the National Women's Studies Association. They are the founder of The Asexual and the Editor-in-Chief of The Asexual journal. Twitter: @Michael_Paramo