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!


UPDATE: In a stunning show of jovial viciousness, cavalierly ignoring the massive outpouring of support for net neutrality, the Republican-controlled FCC did vote 3-2 in favor of eliminating it. This was not unexpected, but it’s still a huge blow. It will have major negative consequences in the years to come.

In case you are freaking out about this, keep in mind: things are not going to change overnight. This will be a gradual, slow change. And we’re not giving up.

The fight is not over. This decision will be challenged in court, and congress can also overturn it (hopefully, we will be able to elect enough Democrats to do so in 2018).

Read more here:

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2015 isn’t done with me yet, I guess

I’m going to be pretty scarce for a little while, here—I’m sure some of you have noticed me going quiet/mostly offline already. I had a bunch of plans/projects I wanted to work on, but right now I’m too sick to manage much beyond sitting around staring blankly at nothing. This courtesy of a gigantic family gathering I didn’t even attend, of course—a gift from C’s family that she brought home to me, after I got back from going to see my own family.

December was kind of just a bunch of crap piling up on me all at once—multiple family visits, drama, fights, symptom flare-ups, oddly extreme (but comparatively mild considering) weather that was still enough to do some property damage, and ended up messing up travel plans. And now a bad cold. I’ve never been drunk enough to have a hangover, but that seems like a good enough metaphor. Can’t really get into the swing of the new year because I’m still busy recovering from the last one. It’s been one thing after another nonstop.

Frustrating, but oh well. Not much I can do but rest. I’ll be back at some point in the next couple of weeks, I expect.

In the meantime, I’d like you all to know that the combined force of so many aces recommending it has finally gotten me into Steven Universe, which is just the perfect blend of sweet and gay to get me through this. Thank you, ace community!

Give my partner some questions to answer!

Three years ago C and I did an interview thing on here about being an allosexual/asexual couple, to show her perspective on what it’s like to date an asexual person. It’s the second most-linked post of all time, so it seems people were very interested! I thought it would be really good to do a follow-up interview, especially since in the last year she’s started to identify as aromantic. I asked her if she’d like me to gather some questions for her to answer, and she said, “Hey, yeah! That’d be fun!”

So let’s do that. I think it’d be a lot more interesting if other people ask her questions than if I try to come up with them myself, since I already know the answers. Plus, I probably won’t think about all the things that people might actually want to know. The questions don’t have to only be about our relationship or aromanticism, but those would probably be the most popular topics.

Here are some things about her (and us):

  • She is aromantic bisexual
  • She is a trans woman, and post-transition
  • We’ve been together for almost 7 years, but when we started dating it was accidental
  • We’re poly, and have been from the start—but being aromantic (and greyromantic) complicates things
  • We used to do some sexual stuff but we’ve been comfortably celibate for a while now—she has mostly lost interest for now
  • She has a lot of interesting thoughts about sexual attraction which she started writing out for a guest post years ago and never finished
  • She is INFJ and really strongly identifies with her Myers-Briggs type (I’m INTJ if you’re interested in relationship dynamics or something like that)
  • She likes outdoorsy things and is really knowledgeable about survival, camping, and hiking

So maybe all of that will give you something to work with.

I’ll leave this open for gathering questions for a while, and then post the whole thing on October 2nd. If you don’t want to ask the question publicly you can email them to me instead.

Ask away!

Have you emailed Resources for Ace Survivors?

Did your email include an attachment? If so, your email may have been blocked or gone directly to a spam folder. I’m trying to investigate this issue, so if you did email us and never got a response, please let me know.

For the time being, if you need to send an attachment, you can email our backup gmail account: asexualsurvivors [at] gmail.com. Or, you can use a service like Dropbox or Sendspace.

I’ll be away from my computer for the time being, btw, so I may not be able to get back to you immediately.

Sorry for the inconvenience, everyone! At least we’re figuring this stuff out before the full site launches, though.

UPDATE: This issue has been fixed! All is well now.

 

Blog Rants: Introduction

Cross-posted to Asexual Agenda.


Do you want to start a blog about asexuality? Do you already have a blog, but want your posts to hit harder, better, faster, stronger? Are you on tumblr but considering joining WordPress? Or do you just want to critically examine the way that ace community discourse has been shaped? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then this is for you.

Continue reading

Linkspam

I don’t usually do this sort of post, because most of the time I’d rather write up my own post and insert links as relevant. But right now I’m drained. My last post took a lot out of me, and I don’t even know that I actually finished writing out all the points that I wanted to cover in it. Originally it was going to be a two-parter, but the first part took so long that by the time it was finished, the carnival was already over. There may be a second part to it later, but we’ll see.

In the meantime, here are some things I want to mention that I don’t have the energy right now to make a full post on:

Asexy Stuff

  • SwankIvy’s book, The Invisible Orientation, is out! I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Please try to request that your local library (and queer resource center, if you have one) get a copy!
  • The August Carnival of Aces (on the Unassailable Asexual) round-up is here. The September carnival will be hosted at Grace of Diamonds, and the topic is “Asexuals, Advocacy, & Allies.”
  • Siggy posted something at The Asexual Agenda about doing visibility work, specifically on representing sex aversion to sex-positive audiences. I’m in on this project with him, and we’re looking for some input about how best to go about it. I’d like for sex-averse people to go and read the post and recent comments to give us some feedback. (Please note: sex-positivity here refers to the political movement. It is not about personal feelings about sex, and definitely not being “more than willing to have sex” as I recently saw it mis-defined. This specific sex-positive audience is probably more likely to value consent but perhaps not always realize the ways in which some of the rhetoric of the sex-positive movement devalues it and plays into compulsory sexuality.)
  • Two links on countering bullshit evolution-based arguments against asexuality: a more comprehensive one from SwankIvy; and one from biologist PZ Myers (which was meant to counter arguments against homosexuality, so he doesn’t actually mention asexuality but it applies equally well). Quote:

    “If evolution is all about competition, how come reproduction in sexual species requires cooperation between two individuals to occur? Have you ever noticed that reproduction isn’t actually literally replication? You take your complement of 20,000 pairs of genes, and you throw half of them away, splice the remainder into different combinations, and then you merge those with the similarly mangled set of genes from another person, and you produce a unique individual. Not a clone of either of you — someone completely different.

    That should tell you right away that you aren’t the focal point of evolution. You are a test platform for a battery of genes, genes that are shared with other members of your community. Evolution sees the propagation of a pool of genes that tends to produce successful individuals; look up inclusive fitness sometime. You share genes and combinations of genes with your siblings, your cousins, and more distant relatives — there’s more than one way for your population to propagate itself than for every individual to maximize the number of offspring they produce.”

  • Pretty old links at this point, but this discussion of the problematic aspects of the term “sex-favorable” mirrors some of my own thoughts about it, so I thought it was worth mentioning here. Still trying to think of a way to get out of the tendency to frame/read it as indifferent/repulsed dichotomy. Too historically entrenched to come up with an easy solution.

Other Stuff

  • [TW] Debunking Some Skeptic Myths about Sexual Assault – “why was a conference notorious for having a sexual assault problem hosting ‘Who’s Lying, Who’s Self-Justifying? Origins of the He Said/She Said Gap in Sexual Allegations’?”
  • [TW] What if rape at university wasn’t impossible to prove? – in support of these two posts by Maria Marcello.
  • [TW] Why is it easier to invent an anti-rape nail polish than find a way to stop rapists? – “So long as it isn’t me isn’t an effective strategy to end rape.”
  • What It Means to Choose Recovery – “Imagine yourself walking on a tightrope; some days you will be perfectly balanced, some days you will lean towards healthy, and some days you wont. And thats okay. You will constantly be on the tightrope.”
  • Ferguson: Some Concrete Actions You Can Take – However, I’d like to note that this sort of oppression isn’t new just because white people are paying attention to it, when they (we) haven’t before. It’s important not to perpetuate further violence via erasure. See these two posts from Gradient Lair.
  • Universal Snuggle-Care, Motivated Loneliness, and the Benefit of the Doubt – On Nice Guys:

    “The attention of paramours is not a reward for good behavior, but something you get by convincing someone that they want to be around you and share more of themselves with you than they share with their friends. That’s its own task, with its own rules and its own challenges.  You might resent that fact for a long time before you understand it, before you figure out that being “a nicer guy than Henry” does not, in fact, mean you have already done everything you need to do to earn someone else’s most intimate trust.  But when you recognize that a whole slew of habits, quirks, and preoccupations are telling the objects of your desire that you would likely make them regret letting you into their worlds, no matter your virtues, you will get better.”

  • Excellent post on the gender gap in schools and sexual harassment: “The girls figured out I won’t report them if they hit boys who are sexually harassing them, I’ll only report the boys.  This led to an increase in how often girls got the last word and boys got smacked in my classes, and, also, to a DECREASE IN HOW OFTEN GIRLS GOT SEXUALLY HARASSED.”

That’s all I’ve got for now, although I’m pretty sure some of the links I had wanted to post slipped through the cracks. I am going to try to use Twitter to start sharing links more often, so feel free to follow me there.

One final note… I’m aware I’m very slow at responding to comments sometimes, especially those hosted elsewhere, where I generally don’t have the same reminders visible to me as I do here. I just get overwhelmed trying to do too much and follow too many conversations at once. Sorry!

Relaunch & Rebranding

I am back!

In case you are reading this on a feed and you can’t tell who posted it, this is Elizabeth from the blog formerly known as Shades of Gray.

Henceforth, this blog will be called Prismatic Entanglements. The domain has changed to prismaticentanglements.com. My blog-related email address has also changed to prismatic [dot] entanglements, still at gmail.com.

Gray doesn’t suit me much anymore. I no longer identify as gray-ace, and there have been several confusions over the years with people choosing the same name as my admittedly uncreative old moniker (the most irksome of which, of course, has been a frightening work that originated as Twilight fanfiction). Had I known that this blog would last so many years, I would have put a little more thought into naming it.

The other day, I saw the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen. It filled the entire sky unbroken, with such distinct colors that even the broad band of violet, so often subsumed in the backdrop of clouds, stood out against the darkness behind it. There’s probably a metaphor in that. I wanted to pick a new name that would evoke that sense of color and light, and nothing fit better than a prism. The way that it refracts, bending and splitting light to show its constituent spectrum—that’s the sort of thing I aim to do with cultural assumptions. I want my experiences to serve as a sort of prism for my readers, so that they might come away from it understanding something that they didn’t before.

Plus, it’s a totally nonspiritual, non-religious metaphor. Rather than referencing the rainbow itself, I would rather reference the reason behind its wondrous appearance.

Searching for a second word was much harder, but I had this image in my mind of an intricately spun web of connections, each strand intersecting, inextricable from the rest. They all vibrate together in the breeze. The web is sticky and strong, so much stronger than the delicate filaments would seem, and the spider is good at repairing it, but the struggling of one can still be felt throughout.

My focus is widening. Asexuality is not my whole life—not even remotely. In fact, these days it’s something that I don’t (usually) have much cause to stress about in my day-to-day life, since I’ve been partnered to someone for the past five years who not only doesn’t mind it but actually tells me she’s glad that I’m ace. Maybe I’ll get her to write a guest post.

I don’t promise to write with any particular frequency. I’m still working on things behind the scenes here, and that will take considerable time. But at least I’m working on making this a space that I feel comfortable writing in again.

I have a backlog of 85 comments stuck in moderation, and I will go through them at some point, so please be patient. If you emailed me during my hiatus, I’m sorry that I didn’t get around to responding. I don’t intend to spend that much time catching up, since frankly, I doubt my response would be relevant anymore.

Please post any really awesome links or news that I should know about from the past few years!

Spoons.

Between all of the shit that’s been going on in my life, both now and over the past year, I haven’t got any left for blogging. So until further notice, this blog is suspended.

Every comment that has been left is still there, but I haven’t read them. They and all future comments left during this period of suspension will be kept in the moderation queue until I’m able to devote time to blogging again. Likewise for the questions on formspring. I intend to answer them eventually, but I have no energy to devote to them now.

I won’t be checking my blog-related email for the time being. You can still send emails if you’d like, but just know that you may be waiting a very long time for a response.

When I do eventually come back to blogging, it’s likely that I’ll be changing the name of this blog. It’s not particularly accurate anymore, and has acquired some unpleasant associations with a certain fanfiction lately. It’s about time to re-brand.

Rest assured that I am still writing. For the time being, though, my work will have to remain private.

New Year, New Look

You might notices that the blog looks quite a bit different now. I’ve changed it for a couple of reasons: 1) some people with vision problems were having trouble reading parts of the site, and 2) I don’t have the money to pay for another year of custom design, much as I’d like to mess around with it (okay, I’m probably too lazy to do that anyway). I’m hoping that this theme has enough color contrast that people with poor vision can still see it well, without it being too harsh. I don’t particularly like that the links in the sidebar aren’t distinguished from the regular text, but oh well.

I’ve been having a hard time coming up with the will to post much lately. I do have a couple of ideas, and there’s a draft of a guest post on sexual attraction that C is currently (not!) editing, so that will go up whenever she finishes it. If anyone else would like to make a guest post to this blog, please let me know! I’ve posted a list of guidelines for guest postings that you can find at the top of the page.

I don’t want to do a retrospective on 2011, and I don’t make resolutions. But I hope that in the coming year, we each find our place in the world a little bit safer, a little more accepting. Good luck to all of you!