Help Save Net Neutrality!

The FCC is about to vote to kill net neutrality. Only Congress can stop it. CALL CONGRESS

Net Neutrality is important. Here’s why:

  • Neutrality means that Internet Service Providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T cannot block or throttle internet traffic based on what kind of website you’re looking at.
  • Without Net Neutrality, it would be legal for ISPs to discriminate. They could offer basic plans that allow access to only a small portion of the internet—powerful companies like Facebook, Amazon, or any of the ISP’s own services (Remember how AOL worked? People abandoned that for good reason.)—while either putting everything else behind a paywall, or making it extremely slow to load.
  • For marginalized communities, like the asexual community, this will have a chilling effect as fewer people are able to access services. If this happens, a lot of ace people who rely on the community may be left with a severely reduced support network.
  • The ace community is already dominated by white people. If this happens, it will very likely become even more so, because POC will be more likely to be affected. I worry that the association between asexuality and whiteness will be even more strongly reinforced.
  • If fewer people are able to access Resources for Ace Survivors, how will we continue to provide support to those who need it most? For that matter, if we end up having to pay much more both to access this part of the internet (dwindling our pool of potential volunteers) and to keep the site running, there is a real risk that we may not even be able to keep working on it—or at least, not in the same way we do now. We’ve already been facing severe burnout and most of us have been on hiatus for the past year. It could still get worse.
  • This will also have a chilling effect on free speech in general and make it much harder to organize resistance to the Trump regime and whatever new horrors await us in the future.
  • Verizon has already been caught illegally throttling Netflix and YouTube. Imagine what they would do if these protections disappeared!
  • ISPs are already doing this in Portugal. This could really happen here.
  • So, like Sara K., I have also been re-evaluating how much I need and use the internet this year. This, among many other things, has partially been to blame for how much less I’ve been posting here.

If you are a U.S. citizen, please consider calling your representatives today or tomorrow. I know this is daunting for many of us, including myself! To make it easier, 5calls.org provides all the numbers you need and scripts to help you know what to say. Battle for the Net also provides info on who to call and what to say.

A deluge of calls has worked before, to stop the health care bill. We shouldn’t give this one up without a fight.

We only have two days left to make an impact. The vote will happen on December 14th. Spread the word!

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A Tumblr accessibility trick I wish someone had told me about sooner

An old screenshot of a tumblr argument showing a long list of usernames with vertical lines beneath them.

An old screenshot of a tumblr argument that visually represents why tumblr’s design is the worst. Who can follow this kind of conversation?

I hate Tumblr. I’m sure that many of you who have been reading my blog for a long time already know this. I think the site is designed in such a way that it creates confusion and friction rather than facilitating good discussions.

To the right, you can see an example of exactly why the site’s design is so awful. This is an old screenshot from 2015 that I found on my computer again recently. I made this image and shared it with a few people privately, but I didn’t post it anywhere because I didn’t want anyone to feel like I was picking on them or talking about whatever the actual content of the discussion underneath these usernames was, which I no longer remember at all. It isn’t important. But notice how it looks. It doesn’t look like a conversation, it looks like a labeled bar graph. In order to really follow this conversation, to know who exactly is saying what, you’d have to scroll up and down with your mouse on each of the lines to match up the username with the text. And trust me, it was a veeeery loooooong  conversation, with each post being pretty substantive, so that was a lot of scrolling.

That isn’t the only problem, of course. With conversations decentralized, it’s difficult to even see other parts of the same conversation topic going on, so you have to click through a lot of notes—sometimes many thousands, most of which are just likes and reblogs—in order to actually see the full range of responses that a post spawned. I don’t have an answer for that problem, other than to wish that a better site would come along that could actually compete with tumblr, and spark a mass migration to the new platform instead. It will happen eventually, I’m sure. It’s happened many times before. (Hardly anybody still uses MySpace or LiveJournal, and AIM is about to be shut down for lack of use too.) It will take someone coming up with something better, and then lots of time and dissatisfied users. Until then, I’m going to be stuck reading a lot of things posted on tumblr, because such a huge portion of the asexual community resides there.

So for now, I’m just going to share a little trick that I eventually learned to help manage reading these blogs as someone who has vision problems.

Continue reading

How I spent National Coming Out Day

Another year, another National Coming Out Day.

I’ve long since stopped making a big production out of coming out, and I don’t really even have anyone to come out to anymore. No one important, anyway. The people who should know, know. The people who don’t? Meh.

More than anything, I guess I tend to come out via actions rather than words, to acquaintances, or random strangers on the street or wherever. I don’t make much of an effort to hide affection for my partner, although I also don’t go out of my way to show it, either. I have no idea who I’m actually out to anymore. Who is clever enough to put two and two together? Certainly not that one chatty grocery store cashier, who asked us if we live together and took it to mean that we’re roommates. But our next door neighbors probably more or less get it, because they’re a lesbian couple with two kids.

I don’t really bother coming out about asexuality anymore, most of the time. If I happen to meet another ace, I’ll come out. I wear an ace ring sometimes. Occasionally I might make a casual reference, but mostly nobody gets it, and I don’t care to explain. I just don’t have the energy to get into it, for the most part.

This year, I was pretty much by myself doing work all day. I read some Amy Lowell poetry and got mad about heteronormative interpretations of her work and homophobic smear campaigns leveled at her. If you don’t know her work, check it out. It’s well worth the read. She was also one of those women who engaged in Boston marriages, and if you’re interested in learning more, here is a great article that focuses on that aspect of her life.

I feel it’s pretty appropriate to spend some time thinking today about historical Sisters who came before us, obliquely open, veiled but still brazenly living their lives. These days, I often feel like I’m in a liminal space between out and not-out in my everyday life, but really I’m able to be a lot more open about all of these things, if I feel like it, than they were, and that’s thanks to all of those who have come before. I want to honor their efforts today.

The comments problem

I’m changing my comments policy. From now on, comments will automatically close after a post has been up for 90 days. I have also updated the rules to be more concise, and put them on the sidebar.

Why? Well, because people haven’t been reading or following the rules, and honestly, the amount of awful comments that I get is seriously draining on me. It makes me not want to log in and check comments. It makes me not want to even publish anything at all. It is also interfering with my ability to keep up with conversations with other bloggers across WordPress. If I’ve dropped a conversation with you at some point in the past several months… or really, the past couple years… well, this is probably why. I’m sorry. Continue reading

The Implausibility of Offline Meetups, and Idle Dreams for the Future

This post is for the July 2017 Carnival of Aces, the topic of which is “Ace-ing it up offline.” It has been cross-posted to The Asexual Agenda.

I live in an area with very little (visible) ace presence. Although I have met other ace people around me, and I know there must be more I haven’t met yet, there is no real local community here, so my opportunities for meeting other aces have mostly been limited to a few short periods of searching online sites like Acebook and OKCupid, and pure coincidence. So far, the handful of meetings I have managed have only ever yielded shallow connections, as most of the aces I’ve met in person have ended up moving away less than a year after I met them (or after they came out to me as ace), as younger people in my area tend to do.

To date, past attempts to start ace meetup groups in this area have all ultimately fizzled out. Meetups in general just don’t tend to work out too well here, because the people who might attend are so spread out that any attempt to make a group is definitely going to inconvenience someone. Some of the people who want to attend live several hours away. There just isn’t a large enough, or connected enough, population to support a regular ace meetup group here. Continue reading

I’m Not Okay

I was hoping the nightmare would be over today, but it’s not. It’s just beginning.

I’m not giving up yet, but honestly? I don’t know how I’m going to continue to survive. I don’t know how many of my friends will make it. I am terrified for all of our safety, especially the most marginalized among us.

I am from the southern border, and I have lived, literally, right on the site of a historic battlefield. I’m genuinely concerned that kind of violence will happen again. I’m terrified for my Mexican-American nieces and nephews (by pretty-close-to-marriage) growing up in this kind of environment, and all my Latinx friends.

I’m scared for my Muslim friends, my Native friends, my Black friends, my Asian friends. It will undoubtedly be much worse for all of you, and I will do whatever I can to support you. It may not be much, but at least know that I care about you, and I hope you are safe.

As a queer woman, as a (highly visible) survivor already struggling with PTSD… I just don’t know. My country has just told me how much they hate people like me, shown how utterly unconcerned they are about electing a person who openly brags about sexually assaulting women. I have to go on, but I don’t know how. I truly thought we were better than this.

I have no survival plan, because how can you possibly prepare for something like this? I will figure it out day-by-day. I have no idea how this is going to play out long term. For the moment, I’m staying put, I’m laying low. I’m grasping at whatever comfort I can. In nine days, Pokemon Sun & Moon will come out, and that is the only thing I can look forward to right now. It isn’t much, but it’s enough.

I’m not okay, and I don’t know how to be okay, but maybe one day I’ll get there.

I hope that you will manage, too. Reach out. Do whatever you can.

List of Suicide/Crisis supports in the USA:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Online Chat
  • Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
  • The Trevor Project (LBGT+):  1-866-488-7386 (also available by chat and text)
  • Trans Lifeline:  (877) 565-8860
  • RAINN provides both an online hotline and a national telephone hotline 1.800.656.HOPE (also available in Spanish)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
  • List of Warm Lines by state
  • Resources for Ace Survivors offers a peer support network, here’s the FAQ. Please keep in mind that this is not nearly as immediate as the options listed above, so if you need urgent help, try one of those first.
  • We also have some local affiliated organizations, including a new one (in Iowa this time), but this got out ahead of our announcement. It may take us some time to get our bearings, because I think we are all pretty overwhelmed, and most of us have been for a while now. I will work on getting some of this sorted out soon, but right now I desperately need to go take a nap.

Also, here’s a list of calming sites/activities in case you’re looking for something like that.

Comments are closed on this post because I am not opening myself up to gloating trolls, but there are other places you can reach me.

 

All right, I made a thing

On Imzy. It’ll be an extension of sorts to this blog, in case you want to follow my half-formed and probably sleep-deprived thoughts on there.

Fair warning, I’m really bad at doing any kind of social media. This one might be a little easier for me to keep up with though, since I can have multiple profiles without having to create multiple accounts.

If you need an invite, I have a few 200 or so. Or, you can try getting one from the asexuality community.

Niki Mattered to Me

This past weekend the world lost Niki Massey, who was an asexual “Social Justice Daemon” (as she put it); abortion clinic escort; reproductive rights, disability, and Black Lives Matter activist; and scathingly snarky atheist blogger at Seriously?!?

Olivia wrote a beautiful commemoration, as have many others.

Those of you who don’t follow the progressive side of the atheist blogosphere closely may never have heard of her, as she was not very closely involved with the asexual community, despite being unabashedly ace. She cited racial stereotypes and prejudice as a major barrier to her participation in August, on the Bi Any Means podcast. It makes me sad to know that. It makes me feel like on that level, we failed her. I can only hope that we do better in the future to make the ace community feel more welcoming to everyone, especially multiply marginalized people like her.

To that end, I don’t want to let her go unrecognized among the wider asexual community. Her life mattered. She made a difference. Her influence was much more widely felt than she ever knew. She will be remembered even among people whose lives she never knew she touched, myself among them.

I am only someone who followed her blog, and now any other possibility has been cut short, but still I feel her absence. My feed will never be graced by her vivacious, DGAF personality, her keen insight, and her biting wit again. She was much too young for this.

I want to highlight for posterity some of Niki’s writing that sticks with me the most:

I will always appreciate her candor and bravery in sharing these posts, and aspire to make even half of the difference she did.

My condolences to all of her colleagues, friends, and chosen family.