Today’s blog post is adapted from a Twitter thread I posted the other day.
The anti-ace-and-aro “discourse” on Twitter lately has been… interesting, to put it kindly and mildly. Demisexuality has been thrust into the “not actually a thing” spotlight. And as any minority knows, when the people who are not us thrust us into the spotlight, it doesn’t go well for us.
A lot of the “conversation” is centered around someone’s comment that demisexuality was “invented on Tumblr.” The implication here is that if people figured something out while talking about it on Tumblr, then it must not be real.
And the responding cry from aces has been to point out – accurately! – that demisexuality was not “invented on Tumblr.” The word first came up on the AVEN forums. When that conversation started, Tumblr didn’t even exist yet. You can Google it if you want to know more.
Of course I understand the drive to defend ourselves against those who would seek to delegitimize demis. But every time I see someone tweet, “Actually, demisexuality WASN’T invented on Tumblr!” I feel weird about it.
I mean yeah, that’s true, it wasn’t invented on Tumblr.
But so what if it was?
So what if Tumblr was the first place I heard the word “demisexual”? (It was!)
So what if Tumblr was how I first learned that other aces and aros existed at all, let alone demis and grays? (It was!)
So what if I have Tumblr aces and aros to thank for giving me the chance to learn that I wasn’t broken, I wasn’t faking, and I wasn’t alone? (I do!)
So what if Tumblr was where I found hope that I could one day have a partner who loved, understood, accepted, and adored ALL of me, as I am? (It was!)
Where would I have learned that truth, and found that hope, if not for Tumblr? I mean, if the last week has made anything clear, it’s that I wouldn’t have found it on Twitter!
Sure, TODAY I have plenty of aspecs to retweet. Now that I know where to look for them. Now that we’re brave enough, and confident enough in ourselves and our community, to stand up to the aphobes and exclusionists. But seven years ago?
Heck, I didn’t even HAVE a Twitter account seven years ago. I was on Tumblr for the Doctor Who gifsets.
What would my life be now, if I hadn’t stumbled across the word “demisexual” in a Tumblr post seven years ago?
I’m honestly having a difficult time imagining it. So much of who I am now, I was able to build because I knew there was a word for the way I experienced the world, that I wasn’t the only one who experienced the world in this way, that there was nothing wrong with it.
If I had entered my first romantic relationship still thinking that there was something wrong with me, that I was somehow broken or falling behind, that I was being “unreasonable” or “picky” and that I would need to prioritize my partner’s “needs” over my own comfort… It’s scary to imagine.
I was very lucky to see that Tumblr post when I did.
In the years since then, I’ve grown so much in self-confidence and in my belief that I know what I want out of my relationships and what is best for my body. And I have found so much love – for myself, for others, and from others – in the last seven years that I would not have otherwise found.
All of that is real. All of what I have experienced, and all of who I am, is real. Just because this part of my journey began on Tumblr doesn’t mean that it’s all been fake.
I refuse to talk down Tumblr in an attempt to legitimize my sexual identity. I don’t care how other people see Tumblr. Tumblr has played an essential role in my life, and I won’t discount that.
Tumblr is a place where people interact. That’s literally what the internet is, what Twitter is, what AVEN is. It’s a place where people who otherwise would have thought they were all alone in their experience were finally able to find each other, talk to each other, and together figure out words for their shared experiences.
What happens on the internet is real.
Demisexuality is real.