This post is an attempt to tie these recent posts together with an evaluation of asexual community (or lack thereof). First of all, is there an asexual community? Ask different asexuals and you're bound to get different answers. I would say, "yes and no". We have an online community that is growing, even though so many people are still unaware of asexuality. The online community allows asexuals from around the world to easily communicate, which should not be underestimated. Is an online community a "real" community? I think so-- while communities need a "meeting place", it doesn't necessarily have to be a meatspace one.
But while we're using terms broadly, we also have to think about communities providing "diverse places for diverse people". And I don't think a community that exists solely online can accomplish that. It's too easy for people to lose interest in online communities after they've found answers to their personal questions, or when "real life" gets in the way. And the anonymity of the web can make it hard for people to feel really invested in each other. What I think would be ideal is a thriving internet community as well as a thriving offline community that are intertwined.
What would an offline asexual community even look like? It would vary regionally, but here's one idea: At a meetup, one person told me that she wished a group of asexuals would meet every Friday night in a local pub, and she could stop by if she wanted. I think a setup like that would provide a lot more asexual community than our area currently has. And I can see it actually happening someday. At different times when I've met asexuals in person, I've had those really exhilarating conversations that to me, exemplify the feeling of community. On some level, I think we can throw bulleted lists out the window and say we know community when we feel it. I've felt it in the company of asexuals, no doubt. But as brief, isolated incidents. Maybe that's the nature of those sorts of incidents, but I wonder if we couldn't increase them, and make them available to more people. No matter how a community is structured, I think it's something as amorphous as a feeling that might keep people coming back.
While bridging from an online community to an online/meatspace hybrid won't be easy, hanging out with asexuals online has shown me that our group possesses qualities that will serve us well in community-building. If you don't mind a return to the bulleted list, I think that not all of us, but enough of us, have shared purposes as asexuals. The gay and lesbian communities have proved that hanging out with other folks of your orientation can be personally fulfilling, and I don't know why the asexual community would be any different in that regard. So far, it looks like asexuals are doing pretty well at not enforcing conformity. I really hope this doesn't change. And I've found asexuals, both on AVEN and at meetups, to be a relatively welcoming bunch.
So those are some things we've got going for us. (I guess this is a report card from a hippie school.) Now for the obstacles. I think for the most part, they're exactly the same as the obstacles to any other community. But I want to advance a theory that community, on some level, is a numbers game. You need a concentrated population, which is proof that Death and Life of Great American Cities has thoroughly infected my brain (in a good way). Especially when you're talking about a group that could be 1% of the population at the least. Say you want 10 asexuals to meet in that pub every Friday. You can't just find 10 asexuals and call it a night, since in all likelihood, 9 of them won't be interested. I've noticed the same thing when it comes to having "regulars" who come to most meetups. For every regular, there are at least 10 people who will show up once, and never again. Not to mention all the people who might think about going to the meetups, but never go at all. In most places, we just don't have the asexual population density yet. To achieve that, we'd need to get to a point where more people in a given area are aware of their asexuality. And getting there is going to take a lot of patience and visibility work. I know that's fairly obvious, but hopefully it wasn't painfully so.
And this concludes my little series on community. You survived! Did I leave anything important out?