If this blog convinces you of one thing, hopefully it will be that meetups are truly important. Maybe my endless rhapsodies over meetups will get you out to one, if you haven't been, or get you to start your own. I'm realizing that asexual discourse taking place over the internet will not be the same as discourse taking place in person. Under the cloak of anonymity that the internet provides, people can spout truly ridiculous ideas. Even though AVEN is very well-moderated, it's hard to regulate the constant anti-sexualism and asexual fear-mongering that I see. But at meetups, people aren't talking about whether asexuals are the peak of human evolution. We're talking about visibility, education, and food. (We definitely love to talk about food.) While there are many logical, moderate, and sensitive people on AVEN, when it comes to the internet, it's the sort of doomsday stuff that feeds into itself and grows, and I find that the more seasonsed members tend to get lost in the fray of people shouting "SEX IS GROSS!" and other things that aren't constructive. Complaning about sex and sexual people will not get asexuals anywhere. I don't love AVEN because some people are desperate to tell you how much they hate genitals, I love AVEN for the theoretical and helpful discussions about how to find our place in this world. And I fear that AVEN will devolve as "people like me" (sex-positive asexuals, I suppose we're called) get frustrated and leave. Just like it's hard to count on a soulmate for all your emotional needs, it's hard to count on AVEN for all your asexual needs.
Sure, you can think "Asexuals are smarter!" in your head. I'm not Catholic and I don't believe in the sin of your thoughts. But when asexuals communicate these things to one another in a public forum, they're creating a discourse and a shared experience. And what do we really want to be fostering? I guess it's too much to ask that AVEN participants keep a vision of our potential community in their minds. But when you're at a meetup, I think that vision becomes clearer. Meetups are not conducive to being prejudiced or pissed off at the world. I always leave happy (except when no one else shows up). I know that it's impossible to have a completely common vision. But if you're interested in building asexual community, I think it's necessary to think about what you want it to look like. For me, it involves getting offline and into the "real world", and I think I've made a pretty good case for the benefits of that. (Says the blogger...)