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AVENUES

SEX ED. EDITION OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2018

HOLI DAY 2018


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Hello again aces! This is our last issue for 2018! Isn’t it crazy how fast the year can go by? My favorite holiday is Halloween. This issue is about sex ed and our experiences in school when it comes to sex ed. Heads up that there may be some TMI involved in this issue. We do talk about ace experiences, but all are welcome here and on AVEN. A new feature we are starting is the AVENues Short Story Corner. We are looking for short stories 500-200 words long that are PG-13 or tamer. See the very last page of this issue for all of our submission info. Have a great end of 2018!

scarletlatitude Editor-in-Chief

EDITING/CREATIVE TEAM

CONTRIBUTORS

Editor in Chief: scarletlatitude Layout: kelico Co-editors: Blue Ice-Tea, Snao Cone, kelico Creatives: SkyWorld, kelico

Writers/Artists: Snao Cone, Dreaming Ace, bluenose2722, Blue Ice-Tea, Silk Bones, darvyn, disneydork, kelico, Tass Special thanks: SkyCaptain and Puck for the interview


FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE

4-5

Asexuality and the Direction of Sex Ed By Snao Cone

6-7

Sex-Ed Submission and A Moment of Ace

8-16

Questions of the month

17

Classifieds

18-21 Interview: SkyCaptain and Puck 22-23 Ace Mini-Review: “Love, Simon” 25 Open Mic: Inktober Art 26-29 Short Story Corner 30 Asexual Awareness Week 31 Asexy Puzzle: aMAZEing aces

Featured

in this issue

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ASEXUALITY AND THE DIRECTION OF SEX ED By Snao Cone

For far too many people, sex education is far behind the times compared to the reality of the relationships we form. Political conflict is deeply entrenched in this very loaded issue: Should we teach our youth how to do things safely, or tell them not to do anything at all? Is it acceptable to teach kids about the pleasure of sex, or just the mechanics of reproduction? Does teaching students about same-sex attraction help fight intolerance towards sexual minorities, or is it pushing an agenda? Different political climates and contrasting ideologies make this a heated issue all over the world, even as gender and sexual minorities fight to gain more rights, acceptance, and visibility. Earlier this year, the Conservative Party of Ontario was elected to lead the provincial government. An early target for the new government was the sex ed curriculum – or rather, a comprehensive health education curriculum implemented a few years ago by the previous Liberal government that included many updates to sexual education throughout K-12. Such updates included topics about sexual health, masturbation, consent, and LGBT experiences – topics some people thought were too ideologically heavy to be taught in class and should be left to parents. The Conservative government listened to those people and removed the updated curriculum, going back to the previous one last updated in 1998, before any student in these classrooms was born. Attitudes towards sex, gender, and the diversities therein have changed significantly in the past two decades, so the

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question is how should this impact classroom curricula? What knowledge should be spread to everyone, instead of going by the varying environments and experiences young people may face in other parts of life? Some asexual people might prefer not to learn sex ed. “Why do I need to know how it works if I’m never going to have it?” But sexual education should go far beyond mechanics. It influences many parts of our lives and our identities and how we interact with the world around us. It impacts our futures: the partners we’ll have, the discrimination we’ll face, and the way we take care of our bodies. It influences how we will treat others, and that should make it in the interest of any gender or sexual minority – including asexuals – to make it comprehensive and inclusive. Even sex ed curricula with the best of intentions in this area might not get everything right. Asexuality is probably much more neglected than other sexual orientations. Children may be taught they may grow up to want to be sexual with people of the opposite gender or same gender or both – but how many are taught they may grow up to not want to be sexual with any gender at all? No matter how modernized a sex ed curriculum may be, neglecting to include asexuality as a valid orientation leaves a void, however small, that might make all the difference for some students who are struggling to understand themselves, or who feel unacknowledged by their teachers or their peers. The previous curriculum the Ontario government is reverting to doesn’t mention asexuality. Why would it? How could it? Awareness of asexuality was almost non-existent in 1998, and any agenda that chooses to ignore or gloss over visible orientations of homosexuality or bisexuality would surely ignore largely invisible ones. This is doing a disservice to everyone. Education should provide people with a grasp of the world around them, including the diversity of people they will meet. It should provide people with confidence in who they are. Too many people in the ace community, on AVEN and elsewhere, have expressed that they wish they knew about asexuality earlier. An updated and relevant sex ed curriculum that includes all gender identities and sexual orientations (and romantic orientations too!) can grant that wish for today ’s youth and future generations, and hopefully instill healthier attitudes in kids towards themselves and others.

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SEX-ED EXPERIENCE By Dreaming Ace I honestly don’t remember much from the brief flashes of school Sex Ed/health education. My lack of interest did mean I was great to have in your group because I could say the biological terms without freaking out since to me they were little different from saying elbow or toe. Most of my sex-ed, romantic-ed, relationshiped has come from fanfiction and stories. I surprise people with my view that: Someone likes anything you can think of and assuming it is between consenting adults, it does not matter what “it” is. (“It” might be my not-sex thing, someone else’s sex thing, or that thing someone thinks is really really kinky.) Since I started to identify as Ace, thanks to an article online, Fanfiction has been a safe space to learn how various ace relationships could develop including between the characters in my fandoms.

S ex-E d E xperience - D reaming A ce


A MOMENT OF ACE Asexual person: “Hey. I need to tell you something important.” Friend: “Sure. What is it?” Asexual person: “Umm..so I-I’m asexual” Friend: “So? I already know that you are a sexual person. It’s like me telling you that I’m straight.“

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QUESTIONS OF THE MONTH


THINK BACK TO YOUR SEX EDUCATION IN SCHOOL. WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT? HOW WAS IT DIFFERENT THAN EXPECTED? I learned about what sex was, and what to expect developmentally during puberty (particularly for women, as a girl, so this was periods and the like). I learned later on about safe sex, birth control, and different sexual orientations (which was largely limited to homosexuality and bisexuality and me answering my mom’s questions about things like that, as I was homeschooled) during my senior year of high school. - Anonymous My sex ed was thinking about “are STDs just the same as other illnesses” (not even what they all are or how to prevent them) and some of us managed to grab a leaflet on contraception. Then that teacher went on maternity leave - no more sex ed. - Anonymous For starters, we didn’t have a designated lesson for sex education, the school got professionals in the medical field to give us a ninety-minute lecture on sex education. During these ninety minutes, they told us about puberty and the changes that the human body undergoes, human reproductive biology, STDs, safe sex, contraception methods and their effectiveness, peer pressure and consent. What positively surprised me was that they also mentioned that in a heterosexual relationship, the boy can also be pressured by the girl to engage in sexual activity and it’s not only the other way around. - Tass I remember learning about the very basics of puberty and STDs. In the end, I just felt embarrassed about it all, which I wasn’t expecting. - Anonymous In 5th grade, “sex ed” was more like “puberty ed”—we learned about menstruation, body hair, and other body changes, both for AMAB and AFAB bodies. By the time I was old enough to take “real” sex ed, I was in a private, conservative Christian high school where workbooks told me that sex outside of marriage was evil and wrong, the only acceptable forms of birth control were condoms and withdrawal (but wives were expected to give their husbands all the sex they wanted, and God would ordain how many children they had), and that abortion was murder, and homosexuality was a sin against God’s natural order. I had expected a bit more discussion about sexual health, having gotten the bare basics from my mother, but there was only the briefest mention of STDs—in the context that it was just another reason why abstinence was so important outside of marriage. Nothing about symptoms of infections, whether sexually transmitted or not. 9


Nothing about proper use of prophylactics—even the acceptable ones. Not even any discussion about what the all-important hymen really was—apart from a marker of a woman’s virginity—or how it fit into the general anatomy of the reproductive system. - Kira S. Roth I was taught abstinence-only sex ed. I was taught to be ashamed about wanting sex and that everyone was dirty. I remember an exercise where we each spit in a cup and then we had to mix each other’s spit and we were told that that was what sex was like. Another instance I was told to eat the tip of a Hershey Kiss. I was told off for wanting to eat the rest of it. I was told that desire would be like my sexual desire after I lost my virginity. - Anonymous The sex education in my school was a joke. It wasn’t even called sex education. It was always called health class. There was like one week where we actually got sex education. It was all abstinence. We were never shown how to use condoms and we were never introduced to other forms of birth control. The teacher focused on the negative things about sex to try and scare us. We were never introduced to different types of sexuality. - Krystal Cooper I learned about everything from a allo/heterosexual perspective. It can be summarized to “Everyone has these urges. These urges can lead to sex. Sex can lead to STDs/babies, so here’s how to use a condom. But condoms can break, So abstinence is the most reliable way to not get STDs/have babies.” I also vaguely remember some information on sexual abuse, abusive relationships and different methods of birth control, but I think it was skimmed over. I always assumed I had an okay sex education (specifically because I learned how to correctly use a condom), but after learning that others learned about some sexual identities, I feel like I got cheated. - Anonymous My Sex Ed teacher last year was actually really good, and he spent a lot of time making sure it was as informative and useful as it could be. I was pleasantly surprised, because I expected to hate the unit, and I ended up learning a lot from it. Some of the materials he had were unintentionally exclusive to asexuality, but he never said anything invalidating, and actually mentioned it in class once. - Athena32 It was a little weird, because the best sex Ed I had was in middle School. My teacher brought in some people from the planned Parenthood that was closest to my school, and they taught us about several forms of birth control, and how to put on a condom, and they even had

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groups write lists of both why a person wouldn’t want to have sex, and why they would. That teacher also made sure to mention sexual harassment and LGBT, although it was very brief and basically just acknowledging that they exist without going into much detail. I figured my high school sex Ed would be the same, but we didn’t talk about much. We even had some dude come in to tell at us about abstinence for a class period. We did talk in way more detail about STI/STDs but there were very graphic pictures, and I did not appreciate it. I think I was most surprised that they didn’t septate is out by gender, which was very welcome, because I know that’s such a common experience. - Anonymous My school never had sex ed. The closest thing we had was one time in seventh grade one kid bribed another to ask the teacher how babies were made, and she explained it very simply, but it really unnerved me. - Carolyn Greco It was mainly really cut and dry. It was very vague and I don’t remember much. - Nova

DID YOU EVER LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT ORIENTATIONS? DID YOU LEARN ABOUT ASEXUALITY? I didn’t learn anything about different orientations. It was all based on heterosexual relationships and I didn’t even know that there were people out there who could be attracted to same gender or who didn’t desire to have sex at all. - Anonymous I think gay and lesbian people were mentioned once but that was it - Lexi Slobodnik Sexual orientations were covered very briefly in one lesson. The class came up with a list and definitions of the more common sexual orientations (hetero, homo, bi) and that was about it. I have no memory of asexuality being mentioned. - Anonymous I didn’t learn about different orientations in Sex Ed so much as teach my teacher about different orientations, including asexuality. I actually came out to him halfway through the unit, and gave him a bunch of resources on asexuality and aromanticism. - Athena32 11


We didn’t learn about any different orientations. I think that the school viewed it as too political and not something that they should teach. - Anonymous In high school we didn’t learn about different orientations. It was avoided. When I took human sexuality we did learn about the different orientations, except asexuality. I only learned about it because it was mentioned in the textbook. - Krystal Cooper I was ONLY taught about heterosexual couples. I came from a family with several LGBT members in it and also from a dance and art background, so I was exposed to many orientations early, but school taught me nothing. I learned about asexuality on the internet when I was in college. - Anonymous I learned about different orientations through friends. It was mostly used as an insult. I was labeled as a lesbian in middle school, and it stuck with me all through high school because I never had a boyfriend. I never learned about asexuality, and in high school, just assumed it was a term used for people who were oblivious to gender or to the act of sex. In college, I revised my definition to include those who had no interest in having relationships (sexual or non-sexual) with others. - Diana I learned about this officially during my senior year of high school, but already knew more than what was taught in class. Asexuality was given a brief mention, in a negative light, which is eventually what lead to my questioning for three more years. - Anonymous I wish I did. The only sexual orientation mentioned was heterosexuality. There was absolutely no mention about homosexuality, which is a shame because homosexual students or bisexual/pansexual/polysexual students who engage in sexual activity with an individual of the same sex also need information about safe sex. I guess they were afraid of the parents’ reactions. Asexuality wasn’t mentioned, but I wasn’t surprised. Asexual visibility is almost nonexistent in Greece and we’re in need of asexual representation. However, when consent was mentioned, they told us to not be afraid to say no and leave if we are uncomfortable in any way or if we simply don’t want to engage in sexual activity, which can help asexual/a-spec individuals. - Tass

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WHAT ABOUT ROMANTIC ORIENTATIONS OR GENDERS? WAS THERE ANY EDUCATION ON THESE? No, never. I wasn’t exposed to different romantic orientations until I entered college and decided that now I could look into certain things without being told, “It’s just a phase” - Nova Romantic orientation was assumed to be the same as sexual orientation (it was assumed that a heterosexual person must be heteroromantic as well) and there was absolutely no talk of gender identity. There was only talk of biological sex. Granted, biological sex is medically important and there’s only so much information that can fit in 90 minutes, so I don’t blame the medical professionals who gave us the lecture. - Tass We were not taught about gay sex (again due to controversy) and open relationships. I suppose they assumed that since a majority of us weren’t out as something other than heterosexual, they could get by with teaching us solely about male/female relationships. - Anonymous They basically mentioned trans people, but just male and female, and nothing else, really. The teacher in charge of GSA mentioned non-binary. - Anonymous My church taught that gender is an inherent characteristic passed down from before birth, that it never changes, and that God does not make any errors in His creation. This cuts out the whole gender question and ignores trans people and non-binary people in their entirety. People can dress how they choose to in all but some instances, but anyone who undergoes sex change surgery is excommunicated. I was never taught anything about romantic orientations until I discovered asexuality on my own. - Anonymous No but our teacher always used to say “boy or girl or others” when talking about people in general. He didn’t explain why he said that though. - Anonymous 13


We only discussed biological sex. As far as romantic orientations go, I think that it was never mentioned. From the way sex education classes were taught, I think it was assumed that romantic orientation was simply part of sexual orientation or at the least lined up with it. - Anonymous

IF YOU COULD CHANGE SEX ED IN SCHOOLS, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE? It’s hard to know as I’m out of date knowing what it is like now. But obviously talk about different orientations etc. And a talk about the morals of sex - is casual sex just fun like anything else, or should people wait until marriage? - Anonymous I would definitely make sex-ed more inclusive. That is, although information about heterosexual sexual activity would still be there, there would also be information about homosexual sexual activity. Sexual orientations such as homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, polysexuality and asexuality would be included. There would be talk of a-spec identities. There would be information about polyamory and queerplatonic relationships. Romantic orientations would be treated as separate from sexual orientations. There would be talk about aromanticism and aro-spec identities. The different types of attraction would be mentioned (sexual, sensual, romantic, platonic, aesthetic). - Tass


Especially in the liberalist US states, I would change it so that people learned not only about heterosexual sex but gay (lesbian) sex and asexuality, to remain informed that not only can a person want sex but another person can also not want sex, even in their wildest dreams. - Anonymous I want more open discussions to be had, not delivered by a decade-old VHS tape series. I want asexuality and bisexuality and homosexuality at least mentioned. I want gender to be discussed. - Anonymous Literally everything. I’d include more about all orientations and attractions. I’d want it to be a safe place, not a scary place. And I’d want to hear from different kinds of people with real life stories and experiences. - Anonymous I think there should be more of a focus on the different orientations towards sex. I would love to learn what it feels like to feel sexual desire. I think the name “sex ed” makes you think that all you’re going to learn about is sex. I also think it’s important to teach tolerance of different orientations and that there can be successful partnerships across orientations. - Diana I would make sure it is taught that not everyone feels sexual attraction and that not feeling sexual attraction is perfectly healthy. I think that just being aware of that possibility would have saved me several years of confusion and a couple unnecessary relationships. - Anonymous I would also make abstinence only education cease to be a thing. Data suggests that the majority of teens are not abstinent and pretending like they are is harming people. I’ve seen a few teenagers who have gotten pregnant, and it presents so many challenges. Luckily, there are a lot of people at my high school that care enough to help the teens graduate, but it’s a rough future that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. - Athena32 I would like that there would be more focus on homosexual relationships as well as asexuality in general in the schools. People believe that one just CAN’T live without sex, and I want them to know, that yes, you can live without it. It would help many people to explore their own orientation and gender as well. However, sex-education shouldn’t be over graphic as well. - Anonymous

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I would separate the guys and girls into different rooms because we learned about male and female parts in the same room and it was super awkward. Also, we should learn about orientation at school. - cp1213 For my school, sex-ed was a one-day special presentation. There just wasn’t enough time to cover everything; that would be the biggest thing I change. I would also like to see sex-ed be alternated between people of different orientations; or have special lessons from people of different orientations so we can get a variety of perspectives. - Ris My experience was obviously absolute rubbish so I’d change the entire thing, mainly starting with having more classes on it! There definitely needs to be information for identities outside of heterosexual as well, and if it was possible to have asexuality at least mentioned in schools I think it would save a lot of people a lot of time. (All those wasted years of my life I spent trying to fit in with the straights!!) - Anonymous Well I would take my middle School (specifically eighth grade in this case) experience and make that the base standard for all people across all schools and countries. But then I would up the teaching about sexuality (and the two types of orientations they relate to it) and gender (in fact just teach about gender starting in kindergarten and give kids room to figure it out, while we’re at it). (CW: sexual violence) Then I would definitely add a full curriculum about consent, sexual harassment and sexual assault in order to make sure we stop amplifying r*pe culture. - Anonymous

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CLASSIFIEDS PIECES OF ACE

MERCHANDACE

Pieces of Ace is a podcast broadcast live via YouTube every Sunday 7.30 GMT, and available to watch or listen to via iTunes, Reddit and Stitcher. AVEN users littledib (Robin), TheRealMrGray (Thom) and DreamwalkerSteve (Steve) started the show in July 2015 and have since featured interviews with swankivy, Maaple frontman Stephen Broughton and are one day hoping to have David Jay involved too!

Looking for ace-themed clothing, accessories, flags, bags, home decor, or pretty much anything else? Check out Merchandace - the biggest catalogue of asexual merchandise on the web! Or if you’re a creator and would like to find out more about how to get your ace merch out there, why not get in touch?

The show also includes live phone-ins, a YouTube chatroom, information about meets and live cake-testing, just to conform to the stereotype! There’s also plenty of random stuff too, so if you fancy getting involved then visit piecesoface.com or search on YouTube.

Find all your Pride essentials and much, much more at http://merchandace.com

Do you have an advertisement you would like to add to future issues of AVENues? Send us the info at newsletter@asexuality.org!

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MEMBER HIGHLIGHT: SKYCAPTAIN & PUCK

This time, we have a double interview! Both of the most recent mods for the Sex Talk forum agreed to be interviewed. Same questions, two interviewees. Enjoy! -Interview by scarletlatitude

SKYCAPTAIN 1) What was your personal experience with sex ed, in school or elsewhere? At school it just didn’t happen. Nothing at all. At home “the talk” with dad was perfunctory at best. However, being a teenager when AIDS became a major news issue meant that mass media meant that everyone was taught about safe sex, and sex outside of cishetero normativity. 2) As current/former mods of the Sex Talk forum, what kinds of questions did you see the most? What were people most curious about? Perhaps not surprisingly masturbation is a more common topic than actual sex. At the moment the most popular discussion is whether tampons pop the hymen, there’s very little talk of actual sexual activity there 3) Asexual people real-life spaces). What In real life there’s feel brave enough. moderated.

usually feel invalidated in some online spaces (and in some advice would you give to ace people who are feeling like they don’t belong? not much you can do other than try to educate people if you Online, join an Asexual specific forum, preferably one which is

4) What are your plans for the winter season? Work to pay for going back to Iceland in January, several AVEN meets and my busiest two months with my club job

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PUCK 1) What was your personal experience with sex ed, in school or elsewhere? My sex ed came dominantly from two sources: School classes and peers. My parents never talked to me about it, they ’d prefer to pretend that sex isn’t a thing their kids do. Classic baby boomer, am I right? My school’s sex ed was more advanced than most American schools, though still lacking. They focused largely on the biology from labeling the different parts of the genitalia to the developmental phases of the embryo/fetus. They also had a half year health course that was meant to teach us the more moralistic side of sex. We learned what options we had if we had to deal with a teenage pregnancy, the cycles of abuse, talked about what we should do if we were raped or abused, STIs, and opened a discussion about gender expectations and if we thought they were fair. The part that best stood out to me was that they brought in three parents one day to talk about adoption; two parents who had adopted kids (one open, one closed), and a mother who had chosen to give her child up for adoption. They talked to us about why that worked best for their family, how the open adoption parents kept in touch with the biological parents, and just answered any questions we had. I suppose I’m just mentioning that because I was always impressed that my school really put in an effort to prepare us. I wished they talked more about sexuality and gender, but I know I got so much more than the average American. The rest of what I know came from peers, the internet, books, and experience. Reproductive health and rights is a very important topic to me so I tend to do a LOT of research into it. I just think that creating life is such an important thing, people shouldn’t take it lightly and should always be supported to make the best decisions they can. Plus, sex is often when people are most vulnerable, especially in societies that don’t know how to talk about it. It’s so personal and primal, people need to be able to talk about it, accepted for it, and be allowed to have an intelligent dialogue to work through things with their support networks. 2) As current/former mods of the Sex Talk forum, what kinds of questions did you see the most? What were people most curious about? Honestly, mostly it was the basic “What am I?” questions commonly found across AVEN. Which was very interesting. I feel like the current high school age (and probably younger) is growing up in such a different climate than any previous generation in terms of thinking about their sexuality and we’re seeing that reflected on our forums. In previous generations, people didn’t talk about labels. “Gay ” existed before “straight” did in that people were considered either “normal” or “gay.” My

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generation bridged that gap, where most my peers thought of labels as “gay, bi, or straight” with no other possibilities (trans education being lacking especially). But now, the gay rights movement and the community that has strong up around it has made one’s label something to be proud of, something to identify with, something to find a community thanks to. So now the hunt for a label to help a person know where the fit in the world seems to have become a fierce need in a lot of the younger generation and I suppose I don’t know, but I’m sure sex ed in our schools and community have not grown enough to come close to meeting this thirst for knowledge and understanding. Thus, they come to forums such as this to share their experience and learn if there are others like them that will provide them with the community they see the LGBTQ+ community providing. I always tried to be one of the first to respond to these questions so that the usually new person was always met with a serious, understanding post that attempted to validate their experience while also hopefully provided information and resources, so they could continue their journey of self-discovery. I mean, that’s what a community should be doing for everyone, sexuality-related or otherwise, right? 3) Asexual people usually feel invalidated in some online spaces (and in some real-life spaces). What advice would you give to ace people who are feeling like they don’t belong? Find your support group, ignore the others. It’s easier said than done, but I think it’s a very important lesson to learn as one matures. Your sexuality is a fact about you, not something that can be dictated by someone else’s opinion. You will never need another person’s approval to label yourself as asexual (or any other sexuality), other people’s thoughts can’t change you. Honestly, taking the high road can be very powerful. If someone comes to you and says “I don’t believe in asexuality ” and you just respond with “Ok, that is your belief ” (or sometimes even better, don’t give them the privilege of your attention at all) and turn back to your peers and their thoughts, you take the power from the other person, you don’t let them dictate how you feel or how valid you think you are. Always remember that what a person says always says more about them than about you. If someone doesn’t “believe” in asexuality (or any other sexuality) and says that to you, it means they are lacking knowledge, understanding, or compassion, not that you aren’t valid. Honesty, I kind of stand on a tight rope sometimes on this topic when I talk about sexuality. I don’t really support the idea of so called “microlabels.” But I try VERY hard to express that it’s not because I don’t believe anyone’s experiences are valid and worth expressing. I strongly believe that these “microlabels” describe very real, very valid, and very important experiences that a very very worth discussing and expressing to others. I just disagree that the label model is the best way to discuss these experiences, especially because I think it becomes unhealthy to develop too many “us vs them” mentalities that label identities sometimes develop and also because labels can feel like something someone has to choose and stick with rather than continuing to grow and under-

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stand themselves more. I simply wish people would discuss sexuality in the same way they discuss their diet. Some people are vegetarian, some people are keto, most people don’t have a label and just allow themselves to eat what they think is best when they see fit, and our diets are constantly evolving. I think it’d be much healthier for most people if we could just think of sexuality as something any one should do with any consenting adult (or consenting person of reasonable age for minors...) they want to, and instead we can focus on discussing how we feel about different sexual experiences. Down with labels! Up with expression and open dialogues! But society is very not ready for that, and some people gain more from their label(s) than I feel I do, so I’m always open to discuss what systems work the most intelligently. Hmm, I went off topic there didn’t I? Point is, your experiences always valid, never forget that regardless of what people are saying about the label you choose. 4) What are your plans for the winter season? I’ll be headed to my hometown to spend a hopefully white Christmas with the family! I have a big one and it’s the best time of the year to see all the aunts, uncles, and cousins! Oh, and very importantly the family dogs! I love to bake, so I am always in charge of desert for Christmas Eve. I usually make 4 batches of cookies/other treats. There are 3 traditional ones I usual do, then for the last one I like to shake it up and try something I’ve never made before. Which usually means I experiment in the weeks before. Which my friends and the family in town always seem to find an incredibly pleasant practice.

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ACE MINI-REVIEW: “LOVE, SIMON”

-By Blue Ice-Tea More reviews at AceFilmReviews.wordpress.com.

HOW GOOD IS THIS MOVIE? A big, warm, fuzzy hug of a movie! Simon has pretty much the perfect life, and he also has an almost perfect coming-out experience: his sister defends him, his parents reassure him, his friends support him, and his teachers stand up for him. It’s a very different story from Moonlight, but if the Jenkins film is a satisfying three-course meal, this is a very tasty dessert!

3.5 Stars (and 3 Aces)

HOW ACE IS THIS MOVIE? This is in many ways a conventional romantic love story, but it differs from most romcoms in that Simon and Blue spend significant time as friends before their feelings turn romantic. Since they meet on line and get to know each other over e-mail, their relationship is also clearly based on more than physical attraction. And, although the romance is the main driving force of the movie, Simon’s relationship with his friends is granted equal importance. As a coming-out story, Simon’s experience has a lot in common with many ace peoples. Being gay means he doesn’t respond to social situations in the expected way, and being in the closet means he cannot explain this to people. He and Leah talk about feeling like they ’re always on the outside of things, like there’s an invisible line separating them from the rest of the world. In Simon’s case, the feeling is resolved by owning up to his gay identity, and he is almost immediately rewarded with a hunky new boyfriend – a rather optimistic ending that may appeal more to alloromantic than to aromantic aces.


It is actually Leah who remains an outsider, and, in so doing, she reflects a different side of ace experience. Although we may assume her to be straight, our only real evidence for this is her crush on one person. In fact, her statement about being “destined to care so much about one person it nearly kills me” suggests that she is demisexual. The unrequited crush side of her experience may be more familiar to allosexuals, but the fact that she eventually takes a back seat (literally!) to her best friend’s romantic partner is one many aces can relate to. I have mixed feelings about this conclusion. On the one hand, I’m glad that the gay character gets a happy ending, and that he maintains a good relationship with his friends. On the other hand, I wish that the friendship story had been pushed just a little bit further and been allowed to play a bigger role in the happy ending. Still, I am glad that the film avoids giving Leah a consolation love-interest. At the end of the movie she is still single, and the most important person in her life is still her best friend. The film thus provides positive portrayals of same-sex couples, opposite-sex couples, and singles, and it affirms the importance of both romantic and platonic attachments.

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OPEN MIC • Artwork - Tass, darvyn, Silk Bones, disneydork • Short Story Corner - bluenose2722 • AAW - kelico • A-MAZE-ing puzzle


Here are some Inktober artworks from our members.

disneydork

Tass

darvyn

Silk Bones 25


Short Story Corner By bluenose2722 A young woman with long dark hair was sitting in front of a computer. She was slowly and carefully moving the mouse around. On the screen, a little lasso icon was tracing around a picture of Kate Upton. When the outline was finished, she moved Kate’s picture onto a picture of a bubble. She inspected the Upton picture to make sure the background was completely gone. She carefully removed a few bits and pieces, then clicked on the “Quick Fix” tab. From there she adjusted the brightness, hue, and temperature of the Kate Upton picture until it looked right. Once that was done she clicked on the layer that had the bubble picture and duplicated it. She made sure the duplicate was on top of the Kate picture. Finally she played around with the opacity of the duplicate layer until it looked right. When all was said and done, she had created a picture of Kate Upton inside a bubble.

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Nikki surveyed her work. She wasn’t fond of the pose Kate was in, but since she had no control over it she was content. Nikki had been using Photoshop to create pictures for years. It all started when she decided that since she couldn’t find pictures she liked, she’d make them herself. The majority involved famous women inside bubbles since that was an interest of hers. Once she was done, she always posted them to an art sharing site called Deviantart. She had a handful of fans of her work. While Nikki was busy with Kate, someone was surfing through her Deviantart gallery admiring all the bubble encasement pictures.


“I just had a great idea for the cover!” a female voice exclaimed. She clicked on the send note button and started typing. The next morning, Nikki logged on to her Deviantart account and saw she had a private note waiting. She sighed. Notes usually came with trouble. The user name in the From box was TayTay13. The note read “I’ve been admiring your bubble pictures. I was wondering if you’d be willing to help me out with a project I’m working on?”

2 conditions. One, a free copy of said CD. Two, she gets to dictate the pose. Her terms were accepted. They made plans to meet up and do a photoshoot the following week. On the day they agreed upon, Nikki drove to the place where they were to meet. She pulled up in front of a fancy looking building. She walked inside to discover the room was full of all sorts of professional grade lighting, cameras, and even some backdrops. A man with long blonde hair greeted him.

Nikki sighed again. she hated doing requests. One would lead to two, which lead to three. Next thing she knew she reached a point where she couldn’t do what she wanted anymore. But then again based on the screen name the person was obviously a Taylor Swift fan. She didn’t mind helping a fellow Swifty out.

“Are you TayTay 13?” Nikki asked. “Heavens no!” the man replied. “I’m just the photographer.” “I’m TayTay13.” said the sweetest voice Nikki had ever heard.

She replied “I may depending on what the project is.”

She turned around then did a double take. Standing in front of her was...

TayTay13 sent back “I’m a singer and would love for you to design my album cover.”

“...Taylor Swift!?!” She giggled. “Guilty as charged.”

Nikki’s first instinct was to decline, but the more she thought about it the more appealing it became. She’d be showcased somewhere other than Deviantart. Granted if the person was combing through the net for artists they can’t be that big. Finally she sent a note back accepting on

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Nikki got tongue tied. Taylor Swift herself was asking for her help! “What the...? How did...?” she blabbered. Taylor turned to the photographer. “Can we have a moment alone?” she asked. “Yes Ma’am.” he said and left the room. 27


Taylor took Nikki by the arm and lead her over to a chair. Nikki pinched herself. It hurt. This wasn’t a dream!

After the photoshoot, she exchanged email addresses with Taylor. She promised to have the pictures done as soon as possible.

When she finally came to her senses Taylor explained things to her.

There was one last thing to do. Nikki needed to sign a nondisclosure agreement. She signed but really didn’t need to. One, who would believe her? Two, Taylor asked her not to say a word. She gave her word she wouldn’t. She didn’t want Taylor to be angry with her.

“My newest album is releasing in a couple months. It’s titled ‘Bubble’. I saw your work on the net and was impressed. I want you to do the cover picture.” she said. “Why me? I’m sure you could get a professional to do a better quality one.” “But then it wouldn’t have the heart you put into all of your work.” Nikki blushed. The two talked for a while until Nikki was calm. Then Taylor called the photographer back in. “You’re in charge here.” she said to Nikki. “Tell me how to pose and I’ll do it.” Nikki never had this freedom before. She had so many different ideas.

As a bonus, Taylor let her listen to the album. In her opinion it was her best one yet. Taylor gave her a kiss on the cheek and thanked her for doing this. When Nikki got home, the real work started. She spent day after day cropping and layering pictures until she narrowed it down to 10 she was most proud of. Her favorite had Taylor’s bubble floating high above a city while she had her arms and legs extended, pressing against the transparent sphere and was looking up.

She had Taylor pose as if she was trapped in a small space, down on all fours, annoyed, scared, amused, and all other ways she could think of. When all was said and done, the photographer took over 100 pictures. Now Nikki needed bubble pictures.

A week or so later, a package arrived in the mail. Nikki opened it up to find Taylor had picked her personal favorite of the pictures as the cover. The package contained an autographed copy of the CD, a T-shirt with the same picture on it, tickets to her concert to be held in her area along with backstage passes, and another CD.

Taylor used a bubble gun and a formula she found online for high quality bubbles. She blew them while the photographer snapped away, changing backdrops every so often.

Nikki popped the other CD in her computer. It contained a video of Taylor thanking her for an awesome job and a special song she wrote just for Nikki.

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This was so awesome! She designed the cover of a Taylor Swift CD! She couldn’t wait until she was able to talk about it.

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ASEXUAL AWARENESS WEEK By kelico

Asexual Awareness Week 2018. October 21st-27th. Be there or be...square, or perhaps, triangle? Well, when you’re reading this, it’s obviously past AAW, but I’m sure you’ve seen posts on social media about it. This year’s AAW was a great success. It’s a time to bring awareness to the asexual community and celebrate it all around the world! Explaining what asexuality is, the basics, personal stories, support for one another--this is what this week is about. We wanted to have a theme of happy pl(aces), asking where aces have found support and community, and I hope that this AAW brought more happy pl(aces) to everyone that discovered asexuality through it. It is probably one of the biggest events for AVEN PT during the year, especially for the social media director (me). If you have a Facebook account, you might’ve seen people with nifty ace pride frames on their profile pictures! Ones like what you see on this page. They were quite fun to make! The perks of being a graphic designer is being able to design on the fly, so when people commented, asking for specific ones, I was able to do that, too. :) Together with OptimisticPessimist (what would I do without her?) and the social media team, we practically bombarded Facebook and Twitter (and a smaller barrage on Tumblr) with articles, flyers, comics, and videos relating to asexuality. We received a ton of support, gained a lot of followers, and saw supportive posts from groups like Trevor Project, GLSEN, and Planet Ally. It was so meaningful to see groups giving aces more visibility! In addition, we announced the 2018 Ace Community Survey (goo.gl/forms/0iOOOCbD5OX0pT3S2). Thank you to the Asexual Census for putting that together and working on analyzing the data each year. While this was a big week, our goal to bring more visibility and education to asexuality continues on no matter the time of year. But we do know that thousands of people around the world were able to learn a bit more about asexuality during these 7 days!


ASEXY PUZZLE: AMAZEING ACES

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THE NEXT ISSUE WILL BE A SPECIAL, ALL-CREATIVE ISSUE! So please send us all of your creativity! Art, art, and more art! Writings, poetry, stories, jewelry, photography, any and all the creative things!

FILL OUT OUR QUESTION OF THE MONTH FORM HERE: https://goo.gl/forms/EeUqL3ThDQrOThmQ2

Remember, we are always looking for articles and artwork to add to AVENues! • To submit creative works, please go here: https://goo.gl/forms/QQqfdfOR69niJFoP2 • Send us your asexy jokes and puns here: https://goo.gl/forms/Rg4vlY6XZ7c17bNJ3 • For larger submissions, please email us at newsletter@asexuality.org or avenues.submissions@gmail.com • You may also send a private message to any of the AVENues staff on AVEN

AVENues Newsletter: Winter 2018  

A newsletter for the community, by the community. To download go to: http://bit.ly/avenues-holiday-2018-download

AVENues Newsletter: Winter 2018  

A newsletter for the community, by the community. To download go to: http://bit.ly/avenues-holiday-2018-download

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