Speaking at Pride Week: Ace/Aro Inclusion

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities flew me up to the chilly north to participate in their Pride Week on April 13, 2015. I was invited by the asexuality group, fACES—a division of the Queer Student Cultural Center—to do a one-hour talk on asexual, aromantic, and demi/gray inclusion in LGBTQ spaces.

mnspringpride

The presentation went very well and everyone was really nice! They were super receptive to my message and my visit, and very friendly during the hangout times we had before the event. I also got to go to a trans inclusivity presentation that I enjoyed as well.

I made a recording of my presentation:

I even got to pick the audience’s brains at the end to discuss one thing I want to revise in the next edition of my book, so that was great too! And while I’m honestly not that big on going around personally making appearances because I prefer content creation, this certainly felt worthwhile. (And I didn’t get lost even though I had to ride the train.)

For the record, the presentation was primarily about the objections some people have to including asexual, aromantic, demisexual/demiromantic, and/or graysexual/grayromantic people in their larger LGBTQ groups; there are some folks who feel that ace/aro-spectrum people don’t belong except as allies. My presentation discussed why I do not believe this is an appropriate way to approach ace/aro issues, and it highlighted both what LGBTQ and ace/aro folks have in common and discussed what we can each learn from each other.

And it didn’t hurt that they had a welcoming and attractive cultural center room. 🙂

flags1

Article (Reprint): “Asexual, Aromantic, Partnerless, Child-Free… And (Yes!) Happy”

Everyday Feminism contacted the editor of my February Drunk Monkeys piece and asked to reprint it on their site. This is pretty exciting since they get a huge amount of traffic!

They did modify my wording slightly (specifically, they chose to use “child-free” instead of “childless,” and I don’t really like identifying as “child-free,” though technically it describes me).

Please read “Asexual, Aromantic, Partnerless, Child-Free… And (Yes!) Happy” on Everyday Feminism.

Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Finalist

Foreword Reviews is in charge of the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award every year, and they’ve posted the finalists. I’m one of them!

Please see the announcement.

I am one of thirteen finalists in the Family and Relationships category:

  • Johann Christof Arnold: Their Name is Today
  • Julie Sondra Decker: The Invisible Orientation
  • Shelly Vaziri Flais: Raising Twins
  • Deborah Gilboa: Get the Behavior You Want…Without Being the Parent You Hate!
  • Kenneth R. Ginsburg, Martha M. Jablow: Building Resilience in Children and Teens
  • Jerry Mahoney: Mommy Man
  • Don Meyer, Emily Holl: The Sibling Survival Guide
  • Mark A. Michaels, Patricia Johnson: Emotional Intimacy and Long-Term Love
  • Shelly Rivoli: Travels with Baby
  • Isabel V. Sawhill: Generation Unbound
  • Steven P. Shelov, Shelly Vaziri Flais: The Big Book of Symptoms
  • Shubhraji: The Lotus of the Heart
  • Franklin Veaux, Eve Rickert, Tatiana Gill, Paul Mendoza: More Than Two

Selection happens sometime in the next few months.

Lambda Literary Award Finalist

Today I found out my book The Invisible Orientation is a finalist for this year’s Lambda Literary Award! I’m one of eight in the LGBT Nonfiction category:

  1. An American Queer: The Amazon Trail by Lee Lynch
  2. Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS by Martin Duberman
  3. The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker
  4. Nevirapine and the Quest to End Pediatric AIDS by Rebecca J. Anderson
  5. Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not a Metaphor by Hilton Als, Ann Temkin, Claudia Carson, Robert Gober, Paulina Pobocha, Christian Scheidemann, and the Museum of Modern Art
  6. Sexplosion: From Andy Warhol to A Clockwork Orange, How a Generation of Pop Rebels Broke All the Taboos by Robert Hofler
  7. The Transgender Archives: Foundations for the Future by Aaron H Devor
  8. The Up Stairs Lounge Arson: Thirty-Two Deaths in a New Orleans Gay Bar, June 24, 1973 by Clayton Delery-Edwards

I’m especially excited to be listed here because I entered in the category of LGBT Nonfiction due to having nothing more appropriate to choose–and my getting shortlisted shows that my choice was the right one. I was a little worried that I would be thought unwelcome or even that my applying would be deemed offensive by the judges, being that the book’s content isn’t centrally focused on any content that is L, G, B, or T (though there is of course discussion of where people who do identify as LGBT intersect with and overlap with asexual identities). Even if I’m not chosen as a winner, being listed as a finalist does feel a little bit like my community is getting closer to being broadly accepted under this umbrella, and that is an incredible feeling.

The winners will be announced in a ceremony on June 1, 2015. I have to decide whether I’m going to attend. 🙂

Video: What Literary Agents Do (Besides Sell Your Book!)

Sometimes people think the only reason to try to get a literary agent is so you can have a chance at the Big Five or get considered by publishers who don’t take unagented stuff, but there are so many more things agents can and likely will do for clients besides sell their books. Here’s my video about those things. Agent love!

Article: “Asexual, Aromantic, Partnerless, Childless – and Happy”

The smart and quirky literary/blog zine Drunk Monkeys accepted my short piece “Asexual, Aromantic, Partnerless, Childless – and Happy.”

It’s a personal essay about how other people’s obsession with changing me has actually been more of an impediment to my happiness than anything these folks can attribute to my lifestyle and inclinations.

Check out the article to read my perspective!

Review (Prismatic Entanglements): The Invisible Orientation

Elizabeth of Prismatic Entanglements has offered a thoughtful, comprehensive, gently critical review for The Invisible Orientation.

An excerpt:

This is the Asexuality 101 book. It’s for laypersons, but I think it should also be required reading for professionals looking to better serve their asexual clients. It’s a starting point for real understanding, and one that outsiders looking in just can’t provide.

Books are prone to becoming quickly outdated as societal understanding deepens, and even less than a year after its release, there are already some passages beginning to show their age. But that’s more about how fast our high-level community discourse moves! On that level, it makes sense to forgive the subtle nuances rooted in older discussions. Here, we find the community’s foundation, preserved by someone who has been part of it much longer than most of us.

On such solid ground, we can now take steps toward further progress.

Please read the full review on Prismatic Entanglements here.

Completed New Short Story: “Aquarius”

Hey, remember when I wrote a queer story for a submissions call? And I expressed doubt about the story being good enough to get into the magazine?

I was right. It wasn’t chosen. Surprise!

But. I figured it’s not very often that a person has a chance to submit to a special issue that’s looking for submissions from a small sliver of the population that you happen to fit into, and I wanted to take my chances one more time before the deadline and submit again.

So I thought . . . what appeals to me in science fiction? What cool questions do I like seeing explored? What concepts blow my mind? What do I love about this genre?

I thought about one of my favorite short stories of all time, Joan D. Vinge’s “View from a Height,” and remembered how compelling the protagonist’s situation was to me. It’s about a woman with an immune deficiency blasting off on a one-way trip into deep space, and how she reacted when she was far enough from home that she could no longer receive signals from other people. I decided to take a similar concept but do it with a different dynamic–with two people in a spaceship going to the stars for a different reason. The dynamic changes a lot with two.

So I wrote a short story that was primarily about the protagonist and her partner trying to get chosen for the space mission and dealing with prejudice that comes with being in a queer relationship. My protagonist, Becks, is my first ever aromantic asexual protagonist. Her partner, Austin, is gender fluid, and is also on the asexual spectrum (being graysexual and demiromantic). And they’re in a queerplatonic partnership. It was interesting to write partly because there were “rules” attached to Austin’s gender and what pronoun I used had to match. I enjoyed being subtle about that in the narration, even though there’s some very explicit stuff about the gender fluidity in the story.

I hope I’m not too much of a failure when it comes to the actual science, though. I’ve read a lot of stuff that happens on spaceships but I don’t know a lot of theoretical science that would make what I wrote realistic, and it’s not super advanced because it’s only set like a little more than 100 years in the future.

Anyway. “Aquarius” is 7500 words and is going to be submitted to the same submissions call. I like this story better than the previous one and if Lightspeed doesn’t want it then I actually think I’ll have a good chance of selling it somewhere else.