Pillowfort is down right now, so I guess I’ll put this post here instead.

So, like, during the all of the Tumblr ace bullshit, something I saw exclusionists say a lot was something like “asexuality (and various other “MOGAI orientations”) weren’t actual orientations because they don’t describe what genders you’re attracted to.” As a trans person, this really bothered me.

I feel like this obsession people have with bringing gender into their attraction is something that leads to misgendering a lot of the time and I don’t like that. Refusing to change how you label yourself after your significant other comes out as a different gender, or coming up with ‘inclusive’ sexualities with definitions about how you’re attracted to “men and masculine people” are some of the more common examples I can think of.

And this viewpoint crept into other arguments exclusionists were making- there was one particular strawman that seemed to come up a lot, a cis man who identified as straight until discovering that one of the people he was attracted to was actually nonbinary. Exclusionists were insisting that he was actually straight and a chaser.

I just feel like limiting orientation language to “what gender you’re attracted to” doesn’t really help me personally. My orientations are all based a-spec language, not gendered language. There are a couple of reasons for that.

So, first off…technically, I am attracted to all genders. So I should just use bi, right? I don’t feel comfortable with that though. Just the way that most of the bi spaces I’ve interacted with (ie Tumblr) really feel like they emphasize the attraction part, which is especially uncomfortable for me as an a-spec person. And even that feels really gendered- if you’re a man, you’re expected to talk about you’re attraction to men primarily, if you’re a women then you have to talk about you’re attraction to women exclusively, non-binary people can talk about either I guess but they still have to talk about how “gay” it makes them all the time, and anything else is a “straight” relationship. It just feels like the gender of both me and the person who I’m attracted to is something I’m expected to be talking about all the time and I kinda hate it.

So, couldn’t I identify as pan? You know, the whole “I don’t care about gender at all” definition. But I still feel like you run into a lot of the same issues that you do in bi spaces. And I feel weird because “I don’t care about gender” seems to be more widely interpreted as “and so I’m equally attracted to all genders” (which, again, feels like it’s talking about gender too much). Which just isn’t true for me! I’m genderally attracted to men more than any other gender.

Then there’s the disconnect between who I’m attracted to and who I could actually see myself being in a relationship with. And at this point that’s really just non-binary people and butches? I have enough issues with men and honestly I feel super disconnected from 90% of the women I meet because of gender things so like…how am I supposed to label myself? Based on who I’m attracted to or who I’d rather be in a relationship with? I doubt either of them are ever going to be particularly relevant in my life, which makes it even harder. So I just call myself aro. Gender just isn’t a factor in how I identify anymore.

The Doctor and Orientation

[Note: This has been crossposted to Pillowfort]

So, Coy brought up ace Doctor headcanons and it made me start thinking about my own personal interpretation of the Doctor’s sexuality and orientation.

The first time I ever heard the word asexuality was on Radio Free Skaro, a Doctor Who podcast, back in 2013 or so*. One of the hosts, Chris, disliked the arc between the Doctor and River Song because he headcanonned the Doctor as asexual. If you asked me until a few minutes go, if asked about their sexuality I would have probably said the same thing without too much deeper thought on the issue.

But who likes simple answers on orientation when you could a complicated, interesting view on the whole thing? 😉

The first issue, of course, is that they are an alien- so who the hell’s to say orientation and sexuality frameworks would even make sense to them?** There’s at least one mention of Time Lords reproducing asexually in some of the extended canon, and going from that we can assume that Time Lord’s aren’t going to have the same relation to sexuality, gender or sex that we do. If we were to describe them in our terms, then “asexual” is certainly a label that would make sense- but again, that is a human term, and if that’s the norm on Gallifrey it’s likely they don’t have a label for it at all, similarly to how heterosexuality is treated as the default in many cultures here.

But the Doctor ~isn’t like other Time Lords~. For one, they don’t seem to like them that much- the Doctor did run away, after all! And the Doctor loves humans. Given that we know that they’ve identified as both male and female now, they seem to be completely happy with human classifications for their gender. So it’s possible that they would identify with human orientations as well.

I also feel like I’ve seen people talk about viewing the Doctor’s orientation as a bit more fluid- at least from regeneration to regeneration. After all, they’ve had substantial personality changes (and now a gender one!)- so why should their sexuality stay the same?

Now, it can get into some troublesome stereotypes about asexuality and aromanticism in the details, but I do really like the general principle behind this view of their orientation. I don’t really have specific evidence to point too- it’s more a general frame that I think could be fun to insert our own (fan?) fiction into instead of analyzing the canon.

It’d be a neat exercise, too, to try and see how an alien who is absolutely delighted by all of the little nuances of humanity would try to conceptualize their identity in relation to our cultures. Would how they identify change not just from regeneration to regeneration but depending on their closest relationships at the time, and the cultures those people come from? Would time travel itself impact their identity- being in different time periods and cultures and thinking of themself differently because of it? There are so many possibilities!

If anyone knows of any meta or fics that deal with the Doctor and a fluid sexuality orientation like that, let me know! I’d love to read them.

*Listen at your own risk, by the way. I haven’t listened to it in a while and even though the hosts are liberal and better than what you’d imagine from most straight white geeks there are probably jokes that haven’t aged well-and I definitely know there were a lot of dirty ones, which is probably relevant if you’re reading my blog!

**I think 12 made a flippant remark at the end of last season about gender and sexuality being fluid because Time Lords are aliens, buuuuttttt it was Moffat writing so I don’t really know how much this counts towards legitimate world-building.

On being out

[Cross-posted on Pillowfort]

I’m not out to anyone in meatspace and I always feel so guilty about it. My family probably won’t kick me out, or cut me off, or put in me in any physical danger. I’m white, and not a trans woman, and I’m not super-visibly disabled, so I’m probably not at risk of extreme violence if I come out to my classmates. So why don’t I come out?

Part of it is my time on Tumblr, I think. When you constantly hear about how you’re not really oppressed for your identity, or that the part of your identity that really matters to you is nothing compared to the “SGA” parts of you (whatever that’s supposed to mean, when you’re gender-queer)…it feels like I should be out, that I’m privileged and should have no problems declaring my identity to the world. So I feel guilty that I’m not out.

Part of it is just how messy and complicated my identity is. In the online spaces where I am out, even trying to describe what exactly I feel like is almost impossible! And that’s even before you get to the issues that I have with communicating pretty much anything. It’s easier to be out online when you can edit yourself- not something I really have the privilege saying aloud.

Part of it is my disability. I have Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD) which makes me terrified with opening myself up to people. And my identity is something so personal to me I just don’t want to deal with people in meatspace knowing it about me. It’s easier to share online- I can always block people if they react in a negative way. And it doesn’t feel as ~real~ to me, when it’s online (as real as anything can feel to me, anyway. But that’s a whole different topic).

It probably doesn’t help that I don’t have anyone in meatspace who I feel comfortable with. My parents always used to tease me about having “crushes” that I never actually had. They made me so uncomfortable, because of course the assumption was that I was a girl who liked a boy, or, if not that, then a girl who liked a girl. The possibility that I wasn’t a girl, or that I didn’t like anyone, never occurred to them. I told them I didn’t like anybody but they didn’t believe me.

After a while, my parents stopped teasing me about crushes. I’d say I was grateful but it’s hard to notice an absence like that and actively appreciate it. And besides it was replaced with…other things that made me uncomfortable.

And instead I got car rides where my mother tried to tell me that “It’s just like having a special friend. Why don’t you want that?”. And “There’s something wrong with you.”

I moved four states away for college.

I think I’m out to my sibling as ace? Maybe? And attracted to men? My memory of the time is really foggy…I remember feeling bad though. Like it was forced out of me.

I think there was a time too, when I was sitting with a bunch of friends at my birthday party. They had had a discussion about sexualities? Genders? I can’t remember which. And they asked me, and I said “I don’t know.” Because that’s always the safe answer, right?

And later, we were downstairs and about to have cake, and one of my friends started talking really loudly about how “all of us are queer, A and B and C are queer, and [deadname] doesn’t know!”, and my parents were there and they could hear but I didn’t know what to do.

One of my other friends told them to shut up, though. For that I’m grateful. I don’t think my parents heard.

So. I’m kinda out? But not really. And it’s weird, and messy, and I feel guilty about it, somehow.