Tag: pride

Trying To Be Less Invisible (a “Symbols of Identity” Carnival of Aces submission)

This is a late submission for the March 2019 Carinval of Aces on the theme “Symbols of Identity”. The call for submissions was here.


This past June 2018, less than a year ago, I bought off of Zazzle a medium sized silver-plated square ace flag necklace with this artistic “paint splatter” stylization of the ace flag. (Click the link to go to the page white you can buy it.) It looks like this (photo I took of it on my thigh):

And I wear it fairly often. I referenced it in my poem published in The Asexual last fall. I am wearing it in my bio photo too, from my family vacation to Maine last June, only a few weeks after buying it.

I had purchased it just barely in time to wear it for Pride. I took a few selfies and made these selfies with a visible Ace Flag necklace my Facebook profile pictures for many months on end. I love this necklace so much more than I expected to love it. It helps that I get a lot of compliments on it. I’m reassured that I’m not misguided or confused to feel good wearing it, to feel pretty and feminine and adult (not too juvenile) etc in the ways that I wish to. I can’t remember exactly how often I wear it but when I’m going to ace meetups and I remember that I should wear it, then I do. And I go to like 2 to 4 ace meetups every month lately. Half of which I’m hosting myselfl!

I like to wear it generally. When I’m going to queer conferences it feels vital (I went to the Centering the Margins nontheist event this past Saturday and made sure to leave the house wearing it). I wear it when I’m dressed up and feel like jewelry would enhance how dressed up I feel. If it even just kinda sorta possibly matches even a little I want to wear it. If it really clashes though I won’t. I’ve worn it to atheist meetups and to work and to visit my grandma. I’ve worn it plenty of places.

I like it so much more than the thought of wearing an ace ring. I can’t imagine starting to wear a ring regularly. But necklaces are natural for me.

In fact I’ve grown so accustomed to my ace necklace that it’s crazy to think how many years i went about my life without really explicitly ace (it’s an actual ace flag) jewelry.

Sure I’ve worn like silver colored & purple jewelry, like the bracelet in the following photo, since high school and much more often since figuring out I was ace:

(I couldn’t decide which of those two photos of my purse showed my bracelet better. The first it is on my wrist.)

Or a few other earrings/a bracelet etc that happen to be the ace colors five per take. Sometimes I even kinda do the aro greens purposefully with my jewelry.

I love symbols of identity these days. Like I said, that’s my purse! I have bought approximately a million buttons off Zazzle that reflect my gray-aromantic, gray-panromantic, asexual identity as well as a much smaller handful that reflect my identity as an atheist or as a person who cares about suicide prevention and gun violence prevention. I also got from redbeardace of Asexuality Archive two buttons from his donation to the Creating Change conference, so I didn’t spend money on those.

That just happens to be my purse at that one moment after I was getting ready this past weekend for the Centering the Margins summit. I also have the other side of my purse:

And my decked out backpack at the moment:

At any given moment in time my backpack and purse look very different. I carry my backpack to a lot of meetups and to and from my workplace every day. I get my buttons rusty in the rain, snagged on things and broken or lost on the street/in the grocery store/on the metro etc… I have to swap out what’s where pretty frequently. Replace buttons with others I purchased. Etc.

One time I even bought some stickers off Zazzle even though I wasn’t sure what i was going to do with them. Decided to put them on my portable phone battery which was just a solid black, blank surface and a really good spot for some stickers. Sadly the “asexual and proud” one has really seen better days but the “wear and tear” shows character, perhaps?:

I don’t know. It is what it is.

I actually own two ace flags, one six inches long and one a whole foot. I bring them occasionally to help people find me at ace meetups that I host. I bought them at the end of September 2018 at the 5th Annual Northern Virginia Pride Festival. I live in Maryland but drove there and wished there was aro (or pan? Did I look for that?) Flags for sale but was happy to see demisexual and asexual ones at multiple people’s stands, as well as pins and other ace pride items. So happy. It’s really nice to be represented. It’s nice people are aware we exist and choosing happily to include us. I gave out business cards for my at-the-time-still-ace organization (we changed a couple months later to be jointly ace and aro) and kept looking for ace symbols everywhere among this pride festival. Later, in January 2019 I went to an ace meetup where I painted a turtle with the ace, aro, and pan pride flag colors:

Which turned out after the kiln looking like:

All of the colors are there – pink, yellow, light/bright blue for being pan; purple, white, gray, and black for being ace; the latter 3 of those also applying to being aro but also both shades of green. It’s not exactly a work of art but I’m clearly somewhat obsessed with ace/aro/pan symbolism lately.

I have a zip up sweatshirt that has a small, maybe 2 or 3 inches of a striped rainbow on one side of the front. The rainbow is in the 4 colors of the ace flag with the small message under it that says “These are my colors”. I really like it a lot. I even wear it at work sometimes. (My workplace prefers business casual dress but doesn’t complain much about us leaning very casual and stretching those rules, sneakers with dress pants, sweatshirts, etc.)

I have a handful of ill-fitting ace t-shirts and a few that fit fine. I bought some from red bubble, I painted my own designs on other shirts, and for one I got it for free from any ace meetup attendee who didn’t want his shirt once he tried it on and realized how huge it was.

I like the playing card symbolism. I like seeing my ace friends wearing black rings even if I don’t wear one myself. I have mixed feelings about the cake symbolism for a variety of reasons, but that symbol and joke often makes me smile. I can’t help but love lemon cake and chocolate cake and carrot cake (as some examples) – and various types of icing can be delicious. It’s fun and silly and simple enough of the time.

I’m not a tattoo person and didn’t grow up in a family that understands them but more and more I see and understand wanting to make things visible directly on your skin, such as your love or your grief or your survival over really hard stuff when it feels so much a part of you. And yet it’s frustratingly invisible from a mere glance at you. People aren’t seeing all of the “you” that you wish they would see. I am surrounding myself with and carrying a lot of these symbols so much now and it feels like maybe it’s a bit much but it also feels good when a trans guy walking down the street shows me the trans flag on his tablet case he’s carrying in a show of solidarity or a gay guy at a general community building meetup I go to sometimes notices my flags and decides to ask me if I know of any local LGBT scene. It feels good to have something concrete to gesture toward with my hand when I’m causally coming out as ace again and again in my life, to all the new people I meet, when someone asks me my plans for the weekend, etc! It feels exciting when strangers on the sidewalk find the “I’m not straight” pin I used to have so amusing or a fellow passenger on the metro asks for asexuality 101 because of my pins. I love this part of my life.

I think it started with when I went to ClexaCon 3 years ago (wow time flies! That feels like yesterday). That is a fandom convention for LGBTQ women and I wanted people to maybe, possibly be able to see in that crowd of queer women a flag they might recognize. So I painted my nails with ace flags before going and even brought the nail polish with me and reapplied in my hotel room to keep my nails looking good all 3 days of the convention. You can see those photos in this old post of mine, just scroll down:

https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/asexuality-shame-and-the-importance-of-ace-pride/

And while there in March 2016 I saw an ace button aka pin for the first time and bought it and put it on my purse. I… Was starting slowly to see the appeal of all this symbolism being a tool I could use to help me feel as open and out as possible which for some reason is what I wanted, a reminder to myself that I’m proud to be who I am. (Which is super ace. An ace activist. An ace podcaster. An ace meetup organizer and frequent attendee. A person who is reminded of how ace I am constantly by the media. By being surrounded by adults married with children in a life i can’t just have that easily.) And a way to try to fight how frustrating it is to be so invisible, literally using prides flags and pins with words about asexuality and aromanticism and “I’m not straight” etc to make the invisible able to be seen if anyone is bothering to really look.

It feels pretty great. 🖤💜💚🖤

Asexuality, Shame, and the Importance of Ace Pride

This post was written for the March 2017 Carnival of Aces, which is themed around Ace Pride. The call for submissions was here – and the round up post containing all of the submitted entries is here: http://purrplelace.tumblr.com/post/159167437413/march-2017-carnival-of-aces-round-up


We’ll get to Ace Pride by the end of this post. First, I need to talk about Ace Shame.

[Content note: Heavy discussion of anti-ace sentiments, invalidation, shame, negative emotions, etc. Some NSFW text. Unhappy ace/allo sexual relationship dynamics also touched upon. It’s a bit of a rambling mess too.]


shame: n. A painful emotion caused by the belief that one is, or is perceived by others to be, inferior or unworthy of affection or respect because of one’s actions, thoughts, circumstances, or experiences.

  • What is there to be proud of? Isn’t asexuality nothing?

pride: n. a feeling of honour and self-respect; a sense of personal worth

  • “Are you sure you’re not repressed? because you grew up Catholic?”
  • “Everyone masturbates – and the few who say they don’t? are lying.”
  • What do you fantasize about though?
  • Everyone is turned on by some type of person.
  • “Maybe you should talk to a doctor about your hormone levels.”
  • “WAIT — you’re 22 and you’ve never been kissed??”
  • The 40 Year Old Virgin is a great movie, made me cry. I’m so happy that he finally lost his virginity at the end.
  • “It’s natural and healthy to have sexual thoughts and desires”.
  • You’re betraying feminists if you fight Flibanserin (Addyi) being on the market.
  • Who do you have a crush on?”
  • “You should watch this tv show, if for no other reason than the eye candy, you know what I mean? 😉 “
  • “Philosophical or psychological hypothesis: What if all human desires are, deep down, influenced by sex because it’s instinctual that we need to want sex in order for our species to survive? I mean it’s probably true, it just makes sense.”
  • My mom: “You don’t have to get Confirmed Catholic if you really don’t want to however… You might want to belong to a church for when you get married?”
  • “A soulmate is your other half,  the person who completes you, everyone is waiting to find theirs unless they are so lucky to have already found them.”
  • lust can be such a powerful feeling that it motivates people to cheat with a stranger they just met
  • without ‘passion’ in that marriage can you blame that miserable spouse for cheating?”
  • OK Cupid question: “How many dates will you want to go on before you’re ready for sex? One? Three? 12?” (See the 100 words prose poem thing I wrote, which I just tonight posted about this topic.)
  • Check a box: “Which of the three fits you best: straight,  gay,  or bi?”
  • “Have you tried having sex with both men and women and didn’t like it? Only men? You probably just didn’t give being lesbian enough of a chance.”
  • “Ok interesting.  But. Are you absolutely sure you haven’t just not met the right person yet? You don’t want to close yourself off to that possibility too young”  (said to me when I’m 24.)
  • Me before I accepted I’m ace: “I… this first kiss to you feels just as lackluster as the other time I tried kissing a different person last year. I need to admit something… I’m starting to worry I might be asexual, unfortunately. I like you a lot as a person already, so maybe I’ll turn out to be demisexual? Over time? (If we… fall in love or something?)”
  • It’s the standard narrative.  Boy meets girl.  One is too traumatized or just mistrustful of the world. Let’s say it’s the girl this time. The guy loves her hard enough, for long enough… that she learns to love him back with time. Or she suddenly has a revelation that the love of her life has been there all along. He might be suddenly attractive to her too. Like Lois and Clark in versions of their story where you see them before they get together. And wow.  They feel all the feelings. They have a magical kiss or even the best sex ever by the end of the story. Happily ever after. It wouldn’t be a happy ending without getting together romantically.
  • “Are you sure you’re not aroused right now?” – when I tried sex with my boyfriend.
  • “I’ve never met anyone who’s asexual before. (That can’t be real.)”
  • “Oh, that explains a lot about our conversations these past years. I always just thought maybe you were a bit prudish.”
  • Isn’t the idea of being proud to be ace arrogant, elitist, and saying you’re better than people who have sexual desires, shaming them for that, and that’s not cool?
  • “You’re lucky you’re ace. I wish I was ace. You have it so easy.”

Sorry I decided to write such a downer of a post for such a seemingly happy theme.  I kind of went a pretty… different direction than the other entries. At first I wondered if I was completely going off topic but now I realize… My post is basically a long answer to (Purr)ple(L)ace’s final bullet point in the suggested topics:

How do displays of pride (in whatever forms you choose to show it) help you deal with any negative aspects of being ace? How do they help you love/accept yourself and your asexuality more?

Continue reading “Asexuality, Shame, and the Importance of Ace Pride”