Sunday, May 4, 2008

Get Auties

We had a meetup on Saturday, and I'm happy to say that it went well. We had 4 people show up, which is twice the number we've been getting lately (I kind of don't want to say that-- can't be revealing our weaknesses! But, at least you know it will be a cozy, welcoming group that you don't have to be intimidated about joining!). I was especially pleased that we had two new people. New people, especially if they're enthusiastic, are probably more important than the number of people alone. Everyone seemed to express some interest in hiking, so I think I'll plan some low-key hiking for our next meetup.
We talked about many interesting things. One of these was an attempt to figure out why some groups seem to have a much harder time organizing than others. One meetup-goer had noticed that bisexuals seem to have an especially difficult time organizing themselves. I have a few theories as to why this might be:

They're already covered in the LGBT umbrella.
They're a more diverse group than Ls or Gs-- they're any gender and some bi folks can pass as straight, while others can't or don't want to.
Many people see bisexuality as being a phase. (For the record, I don't.)

If I had to choose an orientation that was "closest" to asexuality, it would be bisexuality. The diversity of people who so identify is a great strength, but also a barrier to community-building. Evangelical Christians seem to organize effortlessly because they all have similar views. Not so in our case. However, I've noticed another very diverse group that seems to be better at organizing than asexuals are: People on the autistic spectrum. They've had major successes in many places, and I'm learning a lot from some of these groups. For example, there are about 3 autism-related groups that meet in my area, and each of them draws anywhere from 10-30 people per meeting, who sometimes travel very long distances to be there.

I have no idea why autistic people are better at grassroots organizing than asexuals. You'd think that wouldn't be the case, but you'd be incorrect. Maybe it's because autistic folks often need assistance to get by in a society that's built for other people. What I do know is that there are a disproportionate number of autistic spectrum denizens on AVEN. I also know that the autistic spectrum is misunderstood by almost all. Many think autism is a pathology; many autistic folks think it isn't. "Coming out" is an issue for those who can pass as "normal", however, in the case of autism it's called "disclosure". I've heard autistic people call themselves "neuroqueers", and I know that awareness and education are major parts of their movement.
This is starting to sound real familiar, isn't it?

6 comments:

Queers United said...

i dont know if autistic people have better organizing, the reason autism has gotten so much attention lately is because some rich guys grandchild has autism and founded autism speakers or donated to it.

http://www.queersunited.blogspot.com

Ily said...

Hey Q_U, I'm not talking about huge national organizations, though-- most of them don't even involve autistic people anyway. I'm talking about local organizing among actual autistics, which in my area, has been pretty successful. Which is awesome!

rian said...

one thought I had is that other groups have something in common, whereas asexuals' thing-in-common is more of an absence-of-a-thing. if they're not out and/or active in spreading awareness about asexuality, they might not have much motivation to get together with others to talk about their (absence of a) thing in common. anyway, just an idea that came to my sleep-deprived mind. :)

Ily said...

Hey Rian! You're right, not having sex is sort of an absence of a thing, but it's also an elephant in the room as well. If there are asexuals out there who are entirely self-sufficient and never feel isolated, they should come to meetups just to share how they manage it!

Heidi said...

random thought - some of my autistic friends identify as asexual... maybe find other asexual auties to organize an ace/aut meeting? it's all about being socially awkward anyway, right? =X

Ily said...

Heidi, you're kidding, riiiight? :-) I mean, autism involves social difficulties (among MANY other things, as you know), but there's no reason why As would be more socially awkward than anyone else...just wanted to clear that up for the readers. Of course, I'd love to get asexual autistic people together, but it's hard enough to get A people together without adding any additional qualifications...