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TAAAP member here. First of all, my apologies for not noticing this thread as it happened. Thank you @bananaslug for clarifying the intent and logistics of the carnival.

 

Regarding the topic, I have responded to these concerns on multiple other platforms, but I just wanted to say something here:

 

I believe three things. First, I believe that it is important that the aro and ace communities form a constructive dialogue to address concerns felt on both sides, as well as that it is important for that conversation to happen sooner rather than later. Second, I believe that it is important that everyone is involved in this conversation in both a sharing and listening capacity, whether they are alloace, aroace, alloaro, non-SAM-using, somewhere in the grey area, or a combination. Third, I believe that the Carnival of Aros will help foster higher-level dialogue among the aro community, and that it was important for it to get started sooner rather than later.

 

If you disagree with any of these beliefs, then you won’t agree with the decisions we made because of them. When it comes down to it, I can’t see a way that we could have done anything significantly different enough that would have alleviated the problems everyone here is mentioning while at the same time honoring all three of those beliefs. If anyone here has any suggestions that do align with these beliefs, please share. I am at a loss for how we could have made this better, and I would love to learn for the future.

 

I don’t want to shove the problems that exist between our communities under a rug and hope that they go away. I hope I am not alone in that sentiment.

 

On 2/6/2019 at 6:05 AM, Mark said:

Given that I was unaware of this until this thread I'd ask how and when this "reaching out" happened.

 

TAAAP provided Siggy and Sennkestra with the names of 4-5 people who were active in aro-specific communities, critical of various ace community initiatives, and willing to have constructive conversations with us or others in the past. We figured that they would know additional people who would also be willing to work with them in launching the carnival.

 

On 2/6/2019 at 6:05 AM, Mark said:

The issue I have with TAAAP is that they are an asexual organisation. With links to other ace organisations and some, good, ace resources.
For some reason they have decided to rebrand as "ace and aro". Without substantially changing their content or resources.
 

On 2/6/2019 at 11:07 AM, bananaslug said:

I think your analysis of what's going on with TAAAP is pretty spot on, although admittedly I live on the other side of the country from them so I'm not as aware of their stuff as I could be. They're very good at being an ace advocacy group, but if you want your community to be inclusive of other groups then that inclusion needs to be built into the foundation of your organization, it can't just be tagged on at the end.

There seem to be quite a few misconceptions about our organization floating around here! Let’s clear some of that up:

 

TAAAP is an aro organization. TAAAP is also an ace organization, yes, but we do just as much aro advocacy as we do ace advocacy. In fact, were I to pick whether we are more ace-focused or aro-focused at this very moment, I would say that we are more aro-focused, as we are currently expending more energy and resources towards aro initiatives than ace initiatives.

 

Yes, we started as an ace-specific organization, but we naturally started doing aro advocacy because a lot of us are aro and we care deeply about aro issues. We were working on two separate aro advocacy projects before we ever changed our name. The substance behind our organization changed first. We changed our name to be a reflection of that. We have been around for less than a year and a half, and are only really solidifying what our foundation is now.

 

Our website lists an equal number of ace and aro resources. You may look at our website, taaap.org, to verify this information. If I somehow missed something, please let me know specifically what it is so I can fix it. I recognize our header image is still out-of-date; I plan on replacing it when we have a chance to take a new picture at pride this year.

 

We do need to work on having a greater number of non-ace aros on our board and volunteer teams at the moment. We have one, but due to personal reasons they haven't been able to commit much time to helping work on projects recently. We have been a bit swamped with all the other work we have been doing, and recruitment hasn't been at the top of our to-do list. That being said, if you or anyone else you know might be interested in getting involved (especially if you live in or around DC, but people living in other locations are welcome as well), please send us an email.

 

In the meantime, we do our best to read as many allo aro perspectives on aromanticism as we can so that our work can best reflect all aros, not just aroaces.

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I realize I haven't said anything on this actual thread yet, only complained about it on Discord, so I'm going to go ahead and give my two cents.

 

I very much recognize the history between the aro community and the ace community, and I appreciate TAAAP organizing this, I really do. I also understand why, as an "ace and aro" organization, they would want to make the first set of prompts an intercommunity thing open to both aces and aros of all sorts. But if I'm being honest, speaking as one of those terrible, horrible dirty heartless sex machine allosexual aros? Making the first month about the relationship between the two communities was, frankly, kind of a dick move.

Let me put it this way: Imagine your friends invite you to come to a double feature movie. The second movie is your favorite, a little-known movie that you deeply love... But the first movie is one you hate, and frankly makes you uncomfortable, but all your friends love it. When the first movie ends and everyone starts talking about how much they love it, are you going to declare how much you hate it? Or are you going to smile and nod and try not to say anything?

It's all fine and good to say it's ok to talk about whatever, sure. But what the fuck am I supposed to do? Waltz in on day one of the aro-ace carnival and be like "What up, the ace community is in many ways directly responsible for a good 8 years or so of my personal suffering that has left significant lasting psychological effects, continues to treat me like shit and frankly I don't trust allo aces further than I can throw a piece of paper"? Come on! The ace community hates me enough as it is, I'm not stupid enough to go and rock the boat. And starting the event off like this, this event that's supposedly by-aros-for-aros, with the first month being something where I feel like I- someone who desperately clings to the aro community because it's all I fucking have, because the rest of society sure doesn't want me- have to sit down and shut up and hide my problems, that really fucking hurts. Not to mention that it doesn't do a lot to disspell the notion that aromanticism is only a subset of asexuality, which is the thing that fucked me up for so long in the first place.

Maybe it would've been fine if it were a later month, but starting out like that... I don't feel welcome. I don't feel enthusiastic about the rest of this event. I don't feel celebrated. I don't even feel like I'm allowed to speak up about it. I feel nasty, forgotten, silenced, unwanted, and excluded in my own community. I feel unwelcome in the aro community because I can't take two steps without being told Remember That We Owe It All To The Asexuals! Remember The Aro Community Is Part Of The Ace Community! Remember How Many Aros Are Ace Too! and TAAAP is really not doing anything to change this feeling.

 

Also, it's perhaps worth mentioning that I'm not the only allo aro to feel this way about this event. I've heard the same sentiment from several others, but of course, nobody's really bringing it up to TAAAP's face because... Well, as mentioned, the ace community already hates us enough as it is and we don't want to rock the boat.

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On 3/6/2019 at 2:54 AM, LauraG said:

If anyone here has any suggestions that do align with these beliefs, please share. I am at a loss for how we could have made this better, and I would love to learn for the future.

I'm just gonna repeat what I said on DW:

 

If you were really keen to do this topic - which I agree is important! - it would have come across much, much better if it were proposed after there was an established Carnival of Aros, which had earned a trusted place in the aro community by addressing aro-specific issues. 

 

I feel that if I were kicking off an event like this, my number one priority would be to make sure everyone in the community it intends to serve feels welcome right from the start. Maybe you had time pressures that outweighed that priority; if so it might have helped to communicate why this specific carnival topic absolutely had to happen in February 2019 and no later, especially since you say non-ace people had flagged that starting the aro carnival with this topic could be a problem.

On 3/6/2019 at 4:29 AM, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

Maybe it would've been fine if it were a later month, but starting out like that... I don't feel welcome. I don't feel enthusiastic about the rest of this event. I don't feel celebrated. I don't even feel like I'm allowed to speak up about it. I feel nasty, forgotten, silenced, unwanted, and excluded in my own community.

Hey, massive hugs to you. I completely empathise with your reaction here. I felt and to a large extent still feel the same way about how this event was started. 

 

That said, I'm determined to MAKE this event something that's ours. Something that is by and for aros. Tost and I are trying to move towards that goal by hosting the March carnival and focussing it entirely on positivity around our aro identities. We're both fellow heartless-monster-alloaros and we're absolutely here for you 💚

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I know this is a bit late, but I've posted my own response about some of the reasons for going with the current carnival timing / proposed topic here. I don't really do forums much these days, especially after getting burned out on AVEN, which is part of why I was interested in trying to promote more centralized spaces for aro blogging conversations, so I wasn't aware of the attempts to communicate issues here, and apologize for being so late to respond. 

 

I know that there's a lot of tension between various parts of the aromantic community, and I had also hoped that the topic could be an opportunity for a sort of airing of grievances exactly like what people have already to posted - to some extent I think this is a reckoning that was going to have to happen sooner or later in any attempt to connect more disparate parts of the aro community, and I had hoped to just get it over with instead of leaving it simmering just under the surface to build into more and more resentment. It's clear now though that the timing may have been too soon for that, so that's also on me.

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I've thought about this a bit, and I think I've been having a bit of trouble distinguishing between having a significant majority of people (with diverse aspec identities) being comfortable with how everything rolled out vs having literally everybody feel comfortable. So my logic was that we were never going to have everyone okay with it, so we shouldn't let that stop us from trying to work towards a common understanding, but perhaps there were ways that more people could have been okay with it. I guess I need to do a bit more work on not using black-and-white thinking myself.

 

I'm sorry that the way things rolled out made some people feel unwelcome. That was never our intention (quite the opposite, in fact).

 

@Jot-Aro Kujo I am truly sorry you feel that way. I actually have been feeling very similarly lately about interacting with the aro community, and I just want to get to a place where none of us feel unwelcome in our own communities.

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On 3/8/2019 at 7:50 PM, LauraG said:

I've thought about this a bit, and I think I've been having a bit of trouble distinguishing between having a significant majority of people (with diverse aspec identities) being comfortable with how everything rolled out vs having literally everybody feel comfortable. So my logic was that we were never going to have everyone okay with it, so we shouldn't let that stop us from trying to work towards a common understanding, but perhaps there were ways that more people could have been okay with it. I guess I need to do a bit more work on not using black-and-white thinking myself.

 

I'm sorry that the way things rolled out made some people feel unwelcome. That was never our intention (quite the opposite, in fact).

 

@Jot-Aro Kujo I am truly sorry you feel that way. I actually have been feeling very similarly lately about interacting with the aro community, and I just want to get to a place where none of us feel unwelcome in our own communities.

 

Thank you for the apology. It means a lot to me to hear that someone does care how allo aros feel. I hope that in the future, events like this will be organized with more input from allo aros before they start off.

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On 3/6/2019 at 2:54 AM, LauraG said:

I believe three things. First, I believe that it is important that the aro and ace communities form a constructive dialogue to address concerns felt on both sides, as well as that it is important for that conversation to happen sooner rather than later. Second, I believe that it is important that everyone is involved in this conversation in both a sharing and listening capacity, whether they are alloace, aroace, alloaro, non-SAM-using, somewhere in the grey area, or a combination. Third, I believe that the Carnival of Aros will help foster higher-level dialogue among the aro community, and that it was important for it to get started sooner rather than later.

 

If you disagree with any of these beliefs, then you won’t agree with the decisions we made because of them. When it comes down to it, I can’t see a way that we could have done anything significantly different enough that would have alleviated the problems everyone here is mentioning while at the same time honoring all three of those beliefs. If anyone here has any suggestions that do align with these beliefs, please share. I am at a loss for how we could have made this better, and I would love to learn for the future.

 

I don’t want to shove the problems that exist between our communities under a rug and hope that they go away. I hope I am not alone in that sentiment.

First paragraph singular first person. Second paragraph plural first person. Third back to singular. Please make up you rmind :)

I disagree with the premise of "both sides".
Since there are at least THREE groups involved here. Specifically alloromantic asexuals, aromantic asexuals and aromantic allosexuals. Which, as I've said before, interconnect in various ways.

I'd also say that "& aroing" is anything but 'constructive dialogue'.
I think the first part of addressing the problems is enumerating them.

 

On 3/6/2019 at 2:54 AM, LauraG said:

TAAAP is an aro organization. TAAAP is also an ace organization, yes, but we do just as much aro advocacy as we do ace advocacy. In fact, were I to pick whether we are more ace-focused or aro-focused at this very moment, I would say that we are more aro-focused, as we are currently expending more energy and resources towards aro initiatives than ace initiatives.

 

Yes, we started as an ace-specific organization, but we naturally started doing aro advocacy because a lot of us are aro and we care deeply about aro issues. We were working on two separate aro advocacy projects before we ever changed our name. The substance behind our organization changed first. We changed our name to be a reflection of that. We have been around for less than a year and a half, and are only really solidifying what our foundation is now.

There are still plenty of references to The Asexual Awareness Project (TAAP) on the site.
Since you started an an ace organisation then the only "aro advocacy" you are likely to have done is "aro ace advocacy". How can you possibly have the aro allo people involved to give you a good foundation for aro advocacy.
The aro ace experience of aromanticism is different from that aro allos. Their experience of asexuality is also different from that of allo aces. That's "intersectionality 101".

 

On 3/6/2019 at 2:54 AM, LauraG said:

Our website lists an equal number of ace and aro resources. You may look at our website, taaap.org, to verify this information. If I somehow missed something, please let me know specifically what it is so I can fix it.

The obvious place to look for resources, the projects page, is currently blank.
The etiquette and inclusion guide has three asexual paragraphs and one aromantic. Aromanticism isn't a sexual orientation. "...assumptions that sex and romantic relationships..." might be better written as "...assumptions that sex and/or romance..." or "...assumptions that sexual and/or romantic relationships..." Under "Please do not:" add "Assume that because someone is ace they are also aro". "Assume that because someone is aro they are also ace", "Insist that someone can't be aro on the basis that they enjoy or are interested in sex, dating, physical affection, hand holding, marriage/normative appearing relationships, kissing, candle lit dinners or anything else 'romantic coded'."
(I can't find any obvious explanation of the distinction between romance and romantic coded behaviours/actions.)

 

On 3/6/2019 at 2:54 AM, LauraG said:

We do need to work on having a greater number of non-ace aros on our board and volunteer teams at the moment. We have one, but due to personal reasons they haven't been able to commit much time to helping work on projects recently. We have been a bit swamped with all the other work we have been doing, and recruitment hasn't been at the top of our to-do list. That being said, if you or anyone else you know might be interested in getting involved (especially if you live in or around DC, but people living in other locations are welcome as well), please send us an email.

Until you can do this I don't think you will be ready to do aro advocacy.
 

On 3/6/2019 at 2:54 AM, LauraG said:

In the meantime, we do our best to read as many allo aro perspectives on aromanticism as we can so that our work can best reflect all aros, not just aroaces.

I think it's essential that all published perspectives on aromanticism indicate clearly if they come from asexual or allosexual aros.
It's a problem that most of what is currently available is aro ace. So any aro allo will who reads it will simply think "not me". Especially the first paragraph is about being ace. This is a big part of why we have under representation of aro allos (especially aro hets) within the aro community.



 

 

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@Mark you are right about the both sides comment. As I said in my last comment, I have thought about this a bit and no longer agree with the statement I made that you quoted there. I wrote that when I was a bit frustrated, and my apologies for that. Hindsight is 20/20, and I realize now that we should have coordinated with Siggy and Sennkestra to delay one of the projects so they didn't happen at the same time. We didn't think of a solution to this problem at the time, and I apologize that this led to people feeling excluded from this initiative, as that was never our intention. We will try to do better in the future, particularly by getting more input from allo aros.

 

We did not delete all past references to TAAP on our blog posts, as that would be disingenuous to go back and re-write history to be something it wasn't. I'm sure you would agree based on other things you have said that pretending we never were TAAP would not be a good thing. The projects page is also not blank when I look at it? I'm not sure what the problem is there but I will look into it.

 

Thank you for the suggestions for the etiquette guide. That was copied and pasted from the Creating Change 2019 program, and we will probably be taking it off our site soon. I will certainly pass on the suggestions to whoever the team is working on it next year. I find the issue with the three paragraph thing is the format typically used to explain split attraction: [explain asexuality]+[explain the SAM through an asexual lens]+[explain aromanticism once people understand romantic orientation] which is very common. Since helping work on that guide, I've toyed around with reversing it, and explaining the concept of the SAM through an aromantic lens to try to combat it, and I am now wondering if there is a way to explain the SAM neutrally. (Same goes with explaining grey identities as goes with the SAM)

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12 minutes ago, LauraG said:

and I am now wondering if there is a way to explain the SAM neutrally.

 

I'm not sure that there is.

 

For what it's worth -- I'm gonna say more about this in a bit, just waiting on permission from someone else to link something, and for now, I just wanted to flag that I do think that's a site of complexity and that I have some grievances about how it gets talked about.

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I think Mark put things very well. I do not think TAAAP will be ready to advocate for the aro community as a whole until you have multiple, active allo aros on your team. If you want to do aroace projects, great, have fun and I wish you the best, but you're clearly not nearly aware enough of allo aro issues to reflect all aros. I highly doubt anyone would ever find it acceptable to have a handful of aroaces represent the entire ace community- So why is it fine for them to represent the entire aro community?

Oh wait, I know why, lmao.

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15 hours ago, LauraG said:

We did not delete all past references to TAAP on our blog posts, as that would be disingenuous to go back and re-write history to be something it wasn't. I'm sure you would agree based on other things you have said that pretending we never were TAAP would not be a good thing.

An alternative would have been to have retained the TAAP website as it was and start a new TAAAP website from scratch.
 

15 hours ago, LauraG said:

The projects page is also not blank when I look at it? I'm not sure what the problem is there but I will look into it.

I get "This page is under construction. Please check back later."

 

15 hours ago, LauraG said:

I am now wondering if there is a way to explain the SAM neutrally. (Same goes with explaining grey identities as goes with the SAM)

I'd suggest a matrix/spreadsheet.
The most simple would be 4x4. With a note to the effect of using bi to also mean pan, omni and poly.
This could be colour coded to indicate perioriented: Aro Ace, Hetero Hetero (Straight),  Homo Homo (Gay & Lesbian) and Bi Bi; exclusive variorinted: Aro Het, Aro Homo, Aro Bi, Hetero Ace, Hetero Homo, Homo Ace, Homo Hetero and Bi Ace or (overlapping) varioriented: Hetero bi. Homo Bi, Bi Hetero and Bi Homo.

 

Then have a separate explanation of what the grey and demi modifiers mean. Possibly also mention that no distinction is made between allos who also experience secondary attraction and those who don't.
 

13 hours ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

I highly doubt anyone would ever find it acceptable to have a handful of aroaces represent the entire ace community- So why is it fine for them to represent the entire aro community?

Or even a large number of aro aces. Since I think it's more proportion than absolute numbers. Especially if they also felt that they were more aro than ace.
Though it might be enlightening for some allo aces to imagine what that would be like. Since it's rather like the situation aro allos find ourselves in. Even in parts of the "aro community". 
A related problem is that many aro aces appear to feel they have to "pick a side"...

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2 hours ago, Mark said:

 

18 hours ago, LauraG said:

I am now wondering if there is a way to explain the SAM neutrally. (Same goes with explaining grey identities as goes with the SAM)

I'd suggest a matrix/spreadsheet.
The most simple would be 4x4. With a note to the effect of using bi to also mean pan, omni and poly.
This could be colour coded to indicate perioriented: Aro Ace, Hetero Hetero (Straight),  Homo Homo (Gay & Lesbian) and Bi Bi; exclusive variorinted: Aro Het, Aro Homo, Aro Bi, Hetero Ace, Hetero Homo, Homo Ace, Homo Hetero and Bi Ace or (overlapping) varioriented: Hetero bi. Homo Bi, Bi Hetero and Bi Homo.

 

@Mark Your suggestion is talking about sexual & romantic orientation, and @LauraG used the term split attraction model. But romantic orientation and the split attraction model are not the same thing.

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On 3/6/2019 at 5:29 AM, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

. I don't feel welcome. I don't feel enthusiastic about the rest of this event. I don't feel celebrated. I don't even feel like I'm allowed to speak up about it. I feel nasty, forgotten, silenced, unwanted, and excluded in my own community.

My aroaceness gives you big virtual hugs. 😢 I have no parts in the events  (I'm not really aware of what's happening) but I am sorry if you don't feel welcome in the aro community. The last thing I want is that the aro community becomes as exclusive and uncorfortable as the ace can be.

I really believe that though aro allos and aro aces have specific problems, we are part of the same community and have a lot in common.

(And though we owe some things to the ace community, they also harmed us à lot sadly).

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