It’s okay to be overwhelmed right now. The world is being extra.
We’re struggling to put an 18-month pandemic behind us (“struggling” being the operative word). Mass shootings are back. The climate’s still fucked. Black people are still dying at the hands of police. SCOTUS is poised to wipe out reproductive and queer freedoms. The Far Right is still bonkers. And it’s Pride Month, and some of us still have to argue for our place in the community.
It’s okay to look around at everything that’s happening and think, “I don’t know what the fuck to do right now.”
The message I receive isn’t unfamiliar:
Hi. I’ve been questioning myself lately, and I think I might be asexual. I relate a lot to the content you make about it, but I don’t think I totally fit the definition. And I don’t want to call myself ace if I’m not really ace. But I don’t know what I’d be if I’m not. It’s confusing, and I don’t know what to do. How do you know for sure that you’re ace, so I don’t get it wrong?
I get some version of this message all the time, projecting varying degrees of…
Omg I’ve never seen an ace person your age before!
I get some variation of that comment all the time online, most often on TikTok. But it happens across the communities I inhabit online. It happens on Instagram. It happens on YouTube. Ans Twitter has provided my absolute favorite of these responses from young ace folks:
The community of asexual content creators is small, but mighty. And I — a silver-haired, tattooed, bearded guy in his forties that looks like a mall Santa going through a tough time — am not the typical face of asexual content creation.
I discovered my asexuality while scrolling through Tumblr. I was 42 years old.
My husband is fourteen years younger than me. I learned Tumblr through him. “It’s a good time-waster,” he said. “You’ll find the stuff you dig, and if you curate the right way, it’ll just be a stream of stuff you dig, whenever you want.”
Horror stuff? Check. Art stuff? Check. Queer stuff? Check. The occasional chubby hairy guy to gawk at? Check. Check. Check.
It was a good time-waster, and as someone in love with shiny new things and prone to hyperfixations, Tumblr became a constant digital…
Scruff is my app of choice. I’m bored at work so I open the app. There’s a message waiting for me.
Blank profile. No picture. This never ends well. I open the message.
hey you lookin this afternoon?
There’s a picture: a fit white guy, probably in his thirties, shirtless. He’s showing his face (an act of digital courage for what I assume is a “discreet” fellow) and flexing his abs. Stone cold face. Gotta project that masculinity. One arm curled up to show off “the guns.”
This this not the kind of guy that hits me up on Scruff…
I'm an asexual writer, educator and advocate living in Hartford, Connecticut. You can find me on Twitter @cdaigleorians.