on RFAS’s “Asexuality & Mental Health” page (not linked because
c’mon) that says PLEASE DO NOT LINK THIS PAGE DURING AN ARGUMENT and yet
people are still doing it.
If you link to us in order to argue on tumblr about whether aces
count as “oppressed enough” to be included in any LGBTQ spaces (or
acephobia or anything else), you will cause a wave of hostile traffic to a website specifically set up to support ace survivors. If you reblog an argument that contains such a link, the effect is the same.
Our bandwidth is NOT FREE. And there is an emotional cost to survivors when you decide to use our stories to win political points.
Ace survivors are not rhetorical devices. Mentally ill aces are not “receipts of oppression.” We are not sad puppies or oppressed lamps, and we are not your ultimate trump card. We are people. We have agency. And we are right here. We’re part of your community. We see what you are doing.
If you are going to engage with detractors, or “Discoursers” or whatever they’re being called by the time you read this, you DO NOT have permission to pull someone else into your argument.
If you want to use someone else’s story as an example, YOU NEED TO GET
PERMISSION FIRST. That is how consent works. If you circulate someone’s
story without asking, you are non-consensually exposing them to a serious risk of harassment. Even if no direct harassment occurs (or can occur, because the person may have shared anonymously), just being exposed to the argument,
especially when those involved have shown a disregard for your consent
and your safety, is INCREDIBLY triggering and anxiety-provoking.
And there is splash damage to other survivors and mentally ill aces, including
those of us who volunteer at Resources for Ace Survivors to help fellow
survivors. You tax our emotional resources, and make it so that we are
less able to help each other, because we have less energy to engage. And
you make other survivors & mentally ill aces witnessing the
argument feel LESS SAFE sharing their stories.
These kinds of arguments may make survivors and mentally ill aces feel too unsafe to even participate in the community at all. I
have personally already withdrawn from the ace community for a few
years because I did not feel safe enough to keep participating!
So if you do this, or if you reblog someone else who has done this, you are directly contributing to further harm of ace survivors and mentally ill aces.
Please, please STOP.
And look, I realize that a lot of you doing this are young and have
never thought about this before. I get that. I’m sure you didn’t intend
to harm anyone. But that still doesn’t erase the fact that it does harm people.
And I’m exasperated, because gentle reminders haven’t
had much of an effect. I don’t know what will reach people. Please feel
free to circulate the full text of this post on tumblr, because I am
not connected enough there to make a dent myself.
If you’re going to get in arguments with people about whatever topic, please do me a favor and don’t link anything I’ve written about asexuality and sexual violence (unless you want to link the series about how you shouldn’t use ace survivors in arguments). When you link things I or other ace survivors have written during an argument, there’s a very good chance that the person you’re arguing with will attempt to “prove” that the ace survivors you’re linking to are either lying (”That never really happened; they’re just saying that so they seem sufficiently oppressed”) or misrepresenting their experiences (”They might have been raped, but it was because of racism/sexism/homophobia, not because they’re ace”). Given how frequently survivors are victim-blamed and disbelieved, opening us up to more of that (without our consent or knowledge) is unfair and jeopardizes our safety and health. Please don’t do it. I really don’t know how to make this clearer. Don’t do it. Please.
There is a gigantic notice