Aces and Friends: Where’s Home?

(A brief response to Coyote’s request for submissions to the Asexual Agenda’s Carnival of Aces on the theme of ‘Home’)

Lack of time to use the internet a lot, but I regularly check the Asexual Agenda and AVEN sites. Usually on my phone or tablet. Sometimes seated at a desk in front of my PC. I don’t find the desktop set up very relaxing. Putting up with the discomfort has one big advantage when I’m forum-ferreting though: if users wish to offer it, there’s extra personal info. I always want to know the answer to the question, “Where is home?”

Some people inhabit places found in books, or dark spaces of the mind. Others make something wonderful up. They should be publishing poems and stories – there are some brilliant locations. (I’d give some examples, but I doubt it would be ethical.) The majority of users simply state a genuine place you can find on a map. I love geography. Homelands interest me.

It probably comes as no surprise that the asexual (and ace-friendly) community seems to be strongest in the United States and the United Kingdom. At least, it does when I’m looking. I’m sure there are lots of reasons. A time-zone bias perhaps. I tend to be on-line mid-evening, UK time. Not good for catching posters from Australia and Japan. Language bias maybe…although I don’t really think that language is the barrier it would have been, say, thirty years ago. A brief look the other night showed posters living in Poland, Belgium, Sweden and the Czech Republic. All were posting in English. Many homelands are represented – but others rarely or never are.

I can’t believe that the reason is that no one in those missing countries is ace. I’m prepared to believe that they don’t know that they are ace, though. I don’t like to think that there are people who are living with all the problems caused by ignorance of their orientation. Because their political and social and/ or religious systems are so repressed, they don’t have access to information, and they’re denied the comfort that comes from sharing on-line with a community of like-minded people. It’s so helpful to share like that, particularly if actually meeting other aces isn’t possible. However, this blog, or any blog published in response to Coyote’s request, is unlikely to be read by people who live, for example, in mainland China. Mine is hosted by WordPress, as is the Asexual Agenda’s, and I understand that although the WordPress software is unrestricted, all blogs hosted on wordpress.com are blocked there. Ditto if posts go out on Tumblr and Blogger. (Not sure about Pillowfort or Dreamwidth.)

But, occasionally, information does get through. When I last looked, there were over 7,000 posts on AVEN’s Alternate Language Forum (dating back, admittedly) and they included some from China. I shouldn’t have written that sentence. All that’s going through my head right now is Katie Melua’s ‘Nine million bicycles in Beijing’ and, sorry, it’s totally stoppered more blog-thoughts. If one or two per cent of the cyclists are asexual (the usual aces-in-the population figure that’s quoted), that’s a helluva lot of aces on saddles.


the Asexual Agenda: https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com

AVEN: https://www.asexuality.org

Wiki has a lengthy article on internet censorship. Dates aren’t current, but under ‘Around the World’ there’s a neat map that shows the degree of restriction, and many links and briefings. For China-specific info, there’s https://pgamboa.com

3 thoughts on “Aces and Friends: Where’s Home?

  1. Living in a ‘free’ country, we often forget and take for granted freedom of speech and the use of the internet. Hard to imagine having our access restricted – and harder still that due to that restriction, you may not even know what you are missing out on. I believe that are many, many aces who don’t know they are ace. Even in a country like the UK there is hardly any education given on sexuality and especially the more ‘obscure’ ‘alternative’ ones. Even now in this age in this country idiots and bigots are protesting against children being educated about sexuality. So what chance do people in other countries have, where there are even stricter restrictions and control on education and lifestyle?

    As for where people say they are from on AVEN, when I first joined it a year or two ago, I filled out my bio completely honestly and earnestly, because I wanted to be OUT and I wanted to be able to connect with other people as similar to me as possible. That was the reason I was there, to meet people like me. I quickly discovered that most people write jokey replies, especially those who have been on there for years or for thousands of posts. I found that disappointing. Gone was the openness I was hoping to find.

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    1. I understand why people’s responses disappointed you. Not everybody is happy to be out though or, maybe they’re happy about it, but they need to protect people close to them. I sometimes think I might have put too much detail on my bio. I’m not too concerned for myself, but there’s my husband’s privacy to consider. I’m ace. He isn’t. There are compromises to be made there, and a lot of people wouldn’t understand the nature of those compromises and would critical of him, I think.

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  2. I’m from The Netherlands, and until a few years ago I did not know asexuality existed. I always knew I was different but I didn’t have a word for it. I first encountered the term in an (American) romance novel, which set me googling, and I realised “Oh, it’s a real thing, I’m not broken!”
    So even in relatively progressive countries there is not always enough education, sadly. And if there’s a Dutch asexual community I haven’t been able to find it. I’m so grateful the internet exists.

    Liked by 1 person

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