[This is part of a series on opportunities for ace activism. See the masterpost here.]
Asexual history is always a popular topic. People thrive on scraps of information that show that asexuality existed before 2001. Someone tweets a picture from a feminist conference in the 70’s or talks about a Dear Abby column from the 90’s and everyone gets excited.
And then the tweet falls victim to the timeline and the blog post gets forgotten.
And six months later…
Have you seen this Dear Abby column from the 90’s?
There is a significant effort that goes into rediscovering things that have already been found, because there’s nothing that’s keeping track of what’s already been known. Writing about ace history tends to be transient. Every couple of months, someone starts a new Ace History blog to great fanfare, but like most blogs, they lose interest after a handful of posts and all their work disappears. Once in a great while, someone makes a new important discovery, but if you’re not a follower of the right Twitter account or sitting in the right Unconference session, you may never hear about it.
We need something more permanent. Something that will catalog and categorize and contextualize all these findings. At a minimum, this is just a bibliography, but ideally it will be so much more. I want to see commentary about how it connects threads to other pieces across time or about how it says “asexual”, but they didn’t mean the word like we do. I want to see interviews with the people who were there. I want to see profiles of potential and confirmed aces, whether real or fictional. Maybe it’s a website. Maybe it’s a book. Maybe it’s a wiki. Maybe it’s a physical storage unit full of records and ephemera that turns into a museum exhibit some day.
And there’s also a sense that asexual “history” means anything prior to the founding of AVEN. That’s not where asexual history stops. Asexual history flows through the meetup groups, the conferences, the parade contingents, the published papers and books and articles, the flags and symbols, the documentaries, the laws that have included protections for asexual people, the TV show characters, the ceremonial proclamations recognizing Ace Week…
Ace history is happening now.
We owe it to the future to keep a record of what’s going on, what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it. Even things that happened just a few years ago are being lost, as blogs get deleted and people hiding behind Internet pseudonyms vanish.