Hey what's up hello! This week we discuss International Asexuality Day which is on April 6th! We share some of the exciting events happening and discuss why asexuality is so Western/English-speaking focused and what we can do to truly make the community more international.
Episode Transcript: www.soundsfakepod.com/transcripts/international-asexuality-day
Learn more about International Asexuality Day and the events happening this week: https://internationalasexualityday.org/
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SARAH: Hey what’s up hello. Welcome to Sounds Fake But Okay, a podcast where an aroace girl (I’m Sarah. That’s me.)
KAYLA:… and a demi-straight girl (that’s me, Kayla)
SARAH: talk about all things to do with love, relationships, sexuality, and pretty much anything else that we just don’t understand.
KAYLA: On today’s episode: International Asexuality Day.
ALL: — Sounds fake, but okay.
SARAH: Welcome back to the pod!
KAYLA: Mmm… hold on, hold on. M’adagascar?
SARAH: Penguins of?
KAYLA: I was just trying to think of a place that wasn’t in the United States that started with M.
KAYLA: M’orocco that’s a very good one. Not as many as you would think apparently. Or at least none that I can think of. I’m sure there’s many that I am just too bad at geography to know.
SARAH: We’re also thinking of countries, we’re not thinking of any location.
KAYLA: M’adrid. That’s not a country though. Anyway.
KAYLA: M’ilan. Anyway.
SARAH: Kayla, hello.
SARAH: We were in the Michigan Daily again.
KAYLA: We did it folks, we did it.
SARAH: We posted about that on our social media, on our Twitter, really. So if you want to read what our alma mater said about us, go for it.
KAYLA: Become so moderately successful that your school’s newspaper has to feature you twice.
SARAH: Yeah you gotta.
KAYLA: That’s my advice to everyone here.
SARAH: Do you have any other housekeeping?
KAYLA: I think the rest of the housekeeping is stuff we’re actually going to talk about in the main episode.
SARAH: Okay! Kayla, what are we talking about this week?
KAYLA: This week we are talking about and celebrating International Asexuality Day, which if you’re listening to it the day this comes out, it is in 2 days. It is April 6th.
KAYLA: It’s here. Sarah, what is International Asexuality Day?
SARAH: It’s a day to talk about asexuality and celebrate asexuality and educate about asexuality internationally.
KAYLA: I can read you what’s on the website.
SARAH: That would be really helpful because I didn’t expect you to put me on the spot there.
KAYLA: Yeah I know you didn’t, I was very interested in what was going to happen. “International Asexuality Day, or IAD is a coordinated worldwide campaign promoting the ace umbrella, including demisexual, grey-asexual and other ace identities. The four themes of IAD are Advocacy, Celebration, Education, Solidarity. These themes highlight the aims of recognizing and enabling the work that the international ace community, particularly in non-Western and/or non-English speaking countries. Everyone is encouraged to participate, and especially non-English speaking and non-Western countries.”
SARAH: Because those are underrepresented voices in the community.
KAYLA: So that’s something that we’re going to be talking about this episode is why the community seems so English/Western focused. What we can do to help that along, I guess. Move towards a future where that’s not the case. And also share some of the exciting events that are going to be happening all around the world on this day. Here’s the issue I have is that very understandably the events page, each of the events is listed in the language of the country putting them on but I can’t speak other languages.
SARAH: Kayla is an American monolingual bitch.
KAYLA: Yes, even though I took maybe six years of French.
SARAH: Your French is not good.
KAYLA: It isn’t. You’re correct. So I’m not going to attempt to butcher these languages. And also I don’t know that it would be helpful for me to just rattle off what the events are cause I don’t think anyone would remember or be able to find what these events are from me just saying them. I’m going to link this website in the description of this episode and I’m sure we’ll be retweeting stuff online. But, internationalasexualityday.org is the main place to find everything and there’s an events tab with most of the events that are happening.
SARAH: We’re listed as an event.
KAYLA: The lovely people who are doing the organizing for IAD were like what are you doing and we were like we’re doing an episode and they were like, we’re going to promote it. And I was like, it’s not as good as what everyone else is doing but go ahead. So yeah definitely go to this event’s page to see what your country is doing, to see what other countries are doing. I think that’s the particularly exciting thing to see what other countries are doing and seeing if you can participate at all. And to learn about other cultures and hear what they have to say. I will tell you the countries involved because I think that is exciting. Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Nepal, Netherlands, Turkey, Italy and also English-speaking countries but we don’t care about them right now.
SARAH: You already said Italy.
KAYLA: Did I?
SARAH: Yeah we don’t give a fuck about the UK and the US. Also Australia is also an English-speaking country but you know.
KAYLA: I guess that’s true. Well, anyway. There’s a ton of stuff, there’s an art contest going on, there’s a ton of livestreams going on with interviews and guests, it’s very exciting.
SARAH: I see for the German one they have a Sprachchat auf Discord which is also fun.
KAYLA: Oh yeah I have also seen there are several countries doing Discord chats and things like that. It’s all very exciting so please go to this website and look at what all of these people are doing. There’s also the International Asexuality Day social media accounts where all of this is happening.
SARAH: And also if you find that your country is not on this list or none of the events that are happening are taking place in your native language, obviously that can’t be fixed right now but there’s a place for you to launch something in your country or native language if that’s something you have interest in. That’s something you can help organize, maybe you can be involved next year and that could be very fun.
KAYLA: True and there’s also a tab for finding local advocates and it has a bunch of different countries listed with organizations and activists and you can see their emails and websites it’s very cool. So if you go to that and you don’t see your country—
KAYLA: I know! It’s really cool to see all of this stuff that’s there.
SARAH: I’m not seeing any East Asian countries. Oh there’s Japan I lied.
KAYLA: There is Japan. So yeah I’d highly recommend checking that out too and maybe giving all those organizations a follow so you can check up on what everyone’s doing.
SARAH: And you know what, even if they tweet in a language that you don’t understand, there’s a feature, where you can just hit the translate button.
KAYLA: I do that all the time!
SARAH: Someone tweeted about us in Spanish or Portuguese I don’t recall and I was like, I don’t know what this says, so I hit the lil translate button and they were like Sounds Fake But Okay are doing a podcast and I was like, yeah we are.
KAYLA: I would highly recommend checking this out. If your country isn’t listed, if your org isn’t listed, get in contact with the IAD people, send them a message, get on there.
SARAH: Hell yeah.
KAYLA: IAD they have so many accounts. There’s Instagram, there’s Tiktok, there’s Tumblr, there’s Twitter, there’s YouTube.
SARAH: There’s, I don’t even know what this is. We’ll find out.
KAYLA: There’s things on here that I don’t even know.
SARAH: I don’t know what Vk is. Oh it seems to be some kind of — it looks like Russian to me, I don’t know if it is Russian.
KAYLA: Ooh like Russian Facebook, it looks like Facebook.
SARAH: That’s exciting. Okay!
KAYLA: It’s very exciting. Sarah and I are in the Discord of so many organizers around the world that have been working since June or July, working on this, trying to find a day that works for everyone that doesn’t intersect with national holidays or other days.
SARAH: There was so much discourse about dates it was very dramatic.
KAYLA: There was a ton, it was very exciting. There are so many names that we as English-speaking US people that aren’t the “big names” just because of the reasons we’ll discuss later, they are the people putting in the hard work. It’s not people like me and Sarah.
SARAH: Yeah we did nothing. Just going to put it out there that we did jackshit.
KAYLA: The majority of the work came from people from these countries that need more resources and they were the ones doing the work, which isn’t how it should be.
SARAH: We shouldn’t have to put the onus on them. But that is unfortunately where we are in the process of—we have yet to build a true international infrastructure. And International Asexuality Day is one of the first steps in beginning to do that.
KAYLA: And unfortunately we because of ourselves and our schedules just couldn’t help that much. Hopefully, as time goes on more people from the US and UK will get more involved.
SARAH: And boost other people.
SARAH: We’re dumb, who needs us?
KAYLA: Not me. Huge shout-out. I know people from France and Argentina and Germany have been some of the people who have built the website and been running the website. They’re behind the scenes and not getting enough credit for what a huge initiative it was.
SARAH: And there are people from non-Western countries that are doing so much shit. We appreciate you, you’re great, fuck the west.
KAYLA: Yeah, so what I thought would be interesting to talk about in this episode is what a day like this that is focused on being international is necessary. Maybe some of the reason behind why asexuality feels so Western and English. And the ways that we could help. Obviously, Sarah and I cannot speak to that experience because we are incredibly privileged.
SARAH: The white bitches from the United States.
KAYLA: Yeah so we can’t really speak to the experience of people who aren’t Western or don’t really speak English. There’s nothing that we can really share on that. So we asked some of the people who organized IAD, some of the organizers there to share their experience and asked them if they felt that asexuality is Western-focused, why they thought it was, and what we can do to continue expanding the community outside of just English and Western values.
SARAH: And we got a handful of responses. Listen it is so wildly exciting to me that we got two responses from people from Nepal. I was like, Nepal? Yes, I want to hear everything you have to say. I was so excited.
KAYLA: We got a lot of responses from a ton of different places.
SARAH: Still very Western.
KAYLA: But not English.
SARAH: But not English, yes.
KAYLA: Having all these people on the actual podcast was going to be very difficult with how busy everyone is so we are just going to read their responses for you and share where they’re from. And hopefully, just start a larger conversation about this that we can have throughout this International Asexuality Day. We can think about, cause I’m assuming that most of the people listening to this are English speakers and Western, so just kind of sharing what we might be able to do and get all of our wheels turning, because you know, everyday life we’re not thinking about, because we’re privileged not to have these issues. So the first submission is from Pupi. It sounds like I am saying poopy.
SARAH: It’s just our accents that make us sound like we are saying poopy.
KAYLA: Apologies. Our accents in particular, being midwestern, are going to make it, so we’re not saying all of these names amazingly, so apologies.
SARAH: Apologies, we’ll do our best. I’m better at this than Kayla so if she struggles, I’ll try and help.
KAYLA: Yeah Sarah is more well-versed in language than I am. So the first submission is from Pupi from Argentina and here’s what they have to say. “I think there are a few reasons as to why the Ace community is so Western-focused and so centered around English: (1) AVEN is from the US; (2) Things done by AVEN spread across English speaking communities as expected; (3) English is "the universal language" and people assume/expect we all know English [when in reality, in most of our countries it's a privilege that comes with education and internet access]; (4) There used to be little communication between ace communities from different countries until IAD. I feel like the rest of the world just followed around whatever the English-speaking ace community decided because we didn't really have any other choice, how would we get people to listen to us when there were so "few" of us spread across the world? But again, it all comes down to the assumption that we all speak (or should speak) fluent English: there's so little information available in other languages compared to English resources that unless you know English, chances of you realising you're ace are very low. And even once you realise you're ace, there's still very few people openly saying they're ace outside the internet; so it's hard for people to meet other aces and be able to grow a community outside the internet -our "safe" place. I think the best way to help our communities to grow is to use your platforms -English activism groups in general- to promote ace orgs around the world. I don't think you guys realise how different the situation for the ace community is outside your own countries, and therefore you fail to acknowledge what a great difference you could make if only you'd share content in other languages or worked side by side with the rest of the world more often.”
SARAH: Again I’ll get to talking about this later, but I think one of the things it really keeps coming back to is English as a default is problematic. It makes things difficult for people to either know English as their native language or they don’t have the means to learn English as the second language and become relatively fluent in it.
KAYLA: That’s such an issue for so many communities in so many areas. It’s not like the ace community is alone in that but it does strongly impact us and it’s a very negative thing obviously.
SARAH: In the context of our podcast, if any of our listeners speak other languages and have any ideas on how we might be able to be more helpful in terms of sharing content in other languages or making our content accessible in other languages, hit us up.
SARAH: Keeping in mind that we have very little money.
KAYLA: We are spending our money on transcribing our episodes into English so people can read but obviously this is something we have in the back of our minds for when that project is finished so we can better serve this. The next submission is from Tee from Germany.
SARAH: It’s probably Tee (pronounced Tae).
KAYLA: T-e-e. Sorry. “1. On the topic of the ace community being English-focused, English (also due to colonialism) is evolving into a "lingua franca?"
SARAH: I love your attempts at trying to pronounce things that aren’t English.
KAYLA: I’m very sorry. I am obviously the problem. “A global language that's used to communicate with people everywhere, esp bc numbers of speakers are steadily increasing. So it's somewhat natural to use English to try and connect with a larger international community.
2. Also western values, Christianity and such have also been exported and imposed on other countries and North America and Europe are very globally influential. So first certain views on sexuality etc were spread and now they're being dismantled in a similar way. In many western countries, different sexualities are also more likely to be protected by law, or not illegal. And since most terms are coined in English first, they're more likely to spread to places with a lot of English speakers first. I think it's good that there are efforts to connect ace groups internationally (even if the language barrier can make this hard) and to make the information we have accessible in as many languages as possible.”
SARAH: TL;DR it all comes down to colonialism and imperialism being a big old bitch.
KAYLA: I mean it really does. I saw something recently for trans visibility day, that was talking about how even gender, as a construct is a western value and it’s particularly Native American have a much more nuanced understanding of gender and having third genders and things like that and it wasn’t until colonialism that that broke apart.
SARAH: Yeah a lot of Native Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures like that as well, I believe.
KAYLA: And I’m sure it was that was in a lot of cultures until America and Europe ruined it for everyone. So I think it’s the same thing for sexuality that you look back at when you learn about Ancient Greece in school, at least we did. In America, I don’t know we spent a lot of time learning about Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Everyone seemed much more free about their sexuality and what they were doing and over time it got much more rigid and it came from Western culture and now that Western culture is saying, just kidding we don’t do that anymore, I’m sure the rest of the world is saying, well what the fuck you just told us, we were doing this and you ruined it, what’s your problem?
SARAH: Yeah it has been imposed on other people. And there are some places where heteronormativity has been part of the culture so it’s a whole other hurdle there. Western culture has been so much imposed upon everyone else that everything’s our fault.
SARAH: We suck.
KAYLA: Not that us saying that is helping anything.
SARAH: It’s not but just so the kids know that we know how much we suck.
KAYLA: I also don’t want people to think that you and I think that we’re exempt from this behavior just because we are doing an episode on this. I don’t want anyone to think we are putting ourselves on a soapbox of “we’re different because we are doing an episode on this.” Very much not so.
SARAH: Yeah, yeah.
KAYLA: Our next submission is from Fox in Italy and they have said, “The problem is that most of the content is in English, and as everything goes, it’s the Western countries that speak English who really have the louder voice over everything, and the asexual community is not excluded. I would love to read more experiences not only in my language, but also in other languages that I know or in English, but from people from all over the world. I would love to see how being asexual and from different countries affects people and their own unique experiences. “
SARAH: Hearing the stories of aces around the world and how they experience that differently in different cultures would be wonderful. And also, the subtle European flex that you know many languages is found in this response.
KAYLA: It’s true. If you are from a culture that is so much different from Western culture and all you get to read is the stories of Western ace people discovering their sexuality or coming out, that’s not going to be relatable to you. You’re not going to learn much from that. They’re not experiencing the same culture as you.
KAYLA: This is from PMG in Nepal, which Sarah’s very excited about.
SARAH: I was very excited.
KAYLA: I know Nepal has been doing a ton with International Asexuality Day getting organized with their own events which is very exciting. “I think because in most Southeast Asian communities there were and still are concepts of "arrange marriages" so people from the older generation feel that aros and aces are "keeping themselves" for their future spouse. While they don't feel such things that other people who have attractions feel, they get forced together and it doesn't come out of the closet.”
SARAH: Yeah and that’s something I cannot speak to at all and it is never something I have faced in my cultural upbringing.
KAYLA: We had a very early episode with our friend Asritha who’s Indian and I think she talked a little bit about arranged marriages in that episode but also she’s not aro or ace and she’s also in America, so really not comparable at all because she’s not—I mean.
SARAH: If we have any listeners who are living in a culture that very much encourages arranged marriages and you’re feeling pressured to have an arranged marriage and you’re aspec, we would love to hear from you.
KAYLA: Yes, very true. The next one is also from Nepal from Prichha Giri. I’m very sorry if I butchered that. They say, “The advancement of LGBTQIA+ community in western countries is higher than our country. Here due to lack of awareness many people don't even know that the term 'Asexual' exists. To expand our community we should make Aces more visible and the right education must be given. The oversexualisation must stop. It tends to make us who feel no sexual attraction as if something is wrong with us. But actually, it's totally normal to have no sexual attraction. The first and foremost step is education and awareness.”
SARAH: The focus on education there is important. Impacting our education systems, I don’t just mean telling people on the street, I mean learning about asexuality and queerness in school, in more formal settings. That is a tangible thing that we can work towards and it’s something that can positively impact every culture regardless of the status of asexuality in that culture and how it impacts the social order and whatever. I think the focus on education is such a good point. There are tangible things we can do there and they can be done all across the world and they can be beneficial all across the world.
KAYLA: Yeah I think the main thing that I’ve been pulling from this is just that because our resources aren’t widely available in other languages, these other communities are having to start from scratch. We’ve had 20-30 years ahead of these non-English speaking countries because we’ve had things like AVEN or one of the other things was saying more access to the Internet. It almost reminds me of the general idea of affirmative action. These countries are so behind because they don’t have resources and we’re expecting them to be at the same level as us almost.
SARAH: But we’re not offering them those resources.
KAYLA: Right, we’re not offering them help. If we were able to just provide all of the resources we have in every other language, they would be able to advance so much faster, education could start faster maybe. They’re having to reinvent the wheel in their own language. The ideas that we have, the books, the discussions online, if you can’t easily translate them, you’ll need to have them in another language, it’s going to take that 20 years or whatever for them to catch up.
SARAH: Right, it’s also difficult from a translation standpoint, I’m by no means an expert in translation but I did take one class in college where I was translating all semester. The best translations are done into a person’s native language. You’re taking a foreign language and translating it into their native language. And so, you know, you can’t have random ass Americans who speak a little bit of Spanish translating into Spanish. You really need people who have a good grasp on the language so then the onus is on people who are multilingual to be able to do that translation and to have the access to semi-fluent in English. It’s all about access and how many degrees of separation you are from English and that sucks.
KAYLA: I almost wish there was some kind of grant out there that international organizations could apply for cause translating can also be expensive. If you want to pay someone to do hours of work, that’s expensive.
SARAH: Oh yeah. There is a BTS interview that was an hour-long and I am still patiently waiting for my girl to do her translations because it’s an hour long. And I’m like, your translations are great, I’m here to be patient, you’re doing this for free. It has taken over a week and she’s not done. Especially if you’re not doing this full-time.
KAYLA: Oh yeah. We as Americans and English speakers are sitting here like, oh my god, the western culture asexual community is the best, look at the strides we’re making, we’re the ones making news and doing all this stuff and okay, it’s not like we’re better in any means. We just have more access and more privilege.
SARAH: We have the infrastructure.
KAYLA: If things were, all things being equal, we would not be the main people doing things you know what I mean?
SARAH: That is something interesting. I’m not trying to make this about me but me getting into K-pop and BTS has really for the first time put me in the shoes of someone who is not the preferred language. Pretty much everything they do is in Korean and it’s frustrating to have all of this content out there that you can’t understand and you have to wait for people who can translate or who can do whatever. And yeah I’m learning Korean very slowly, I can formulate 2 sentences. It’s not easy, but then it’s also easy for me because my native language is English and that’s the first language everything is translated into. I’ve kind of finally gotten a taste of my own medicine where this is, at least to some extent, what people experience who don’t have English as their native language and it has made me so much more aware of the privilege I have just because I was born in the United States and learned English for a good portion of my life, my only language, neither of my parents speak another language. That’s it, that’s all I got.
KAYLA: Comparing it to something like BTS too. BTS is such a huge fandom that you’re bound to have someone in that company who is willing to translate. But with asexuality, we’re relatively small and the community in other countries is small—in some countries is small because of things like lack of education, or culturally it’s not as okay. The smaller the community, the less likely you are to have interest from people in doing things like that.
SARAH: Yeah if it’s taking me literal weeks to get good translations of a one hour interview for BTS which has a gigantic fanbase and a ton of people who put in a lot of excellent work for translating and then you try and be like, “let’s apply this to the aspec community.” The resources are just gone. Whatever “resources” that are had in ARMY just because how big it is. They don’t exist in the aspec community.
KAYLA: Yeah and obviously, like Sarah said, it’s not like people who only speak English can help translate obviously, but I think it’s just brainstorming ways we can support that happening. Can we give you money, is there anything we can do when we make this content in English that can make it easier, you know?
SARAH: I can translate from German into English, which is what I can contribute.
KAYLA: Go off, sis. Pop off, wig, it’s the translation for me.
KAYLA: Our second to last submission is from Amethista in Brazil. I think that’s probably the prettiest name I’ve ever heard. They said, “Yes,” in terms of do you feel it’s too western-focused. “At the moment in my opinion the main issue is that things are too "AVEN centered". I love AVEN's work and I'm really thankful for them for amplifying our voices but I still think it's harmful to have almost everything centered in one huge western organization. Our ace experiences are similar around the world but not identical, there are many countries that have, for example, different meanings and definitions for asexuality and the ace spectrum itself, but what I see is people always using one global definition (the AVEN one) to "correct" people from nonwestern countries saying that they are wrong and should "learn" the correct meanings. I think if we're going to promote international union first it's important to consider that our life experiences are different and culturally diverse and that doesn't make it wrong. I know AVEN doesn't claim for this central position but it happened with the years and well... that's in some way complicated to deal with.” I think this is a really good point. I know that this is something I’ve privately talked—I have a lot of communication with the AVEN social team, we’ll DM a lot, and I think it’s something they’ve struggled with, saying, “We’re not the main ace organization, please don’t look at us that way,” but you can’t change public perception of yourself, there’s no way to do that. As much as they don’t want that to be what they are, they absolutely are and I think, going back to what I was saying. AVEN has been around 20 years so it’s hard to get away from that. A new organization that started 5 years ago is going to struggle getting to that level. So it’s about, what can we do as a community to boost those organizations to get past their disadvantage of not being 20 years old.
SARAH: It’s so easy to be able to look at these organizations and see them as competing. But they are not competing. There is a place for all of them and they all add something to the discourse and to the community and we have to unlearn that capitalist thinking that they’re competing with each other.
KAYLA: That’s something I have struggled with that very much. As soon as there is a new activist on the scene or a new podcast, I feel threatened because of my capitalistic mindset that we have to be the best, we have to be the one and that’s an idea that stems to the community and to organizations to people thinking “oh if there’s AVEN, why do we need something else?”
SARAH: It’s also a very Western mindset and because everything is so Western-based, that’s just how it is.
KAYLA: Even thinking within America, AVEN is very American, UK-centric, so you might be thinking—there’s other big ace organizations that aren’t AVEN—but you could be thinking easily like that’s not necessary because there’s AVEN when diverse mindsets are very important and having more than one “competing organization” is going to push everyone to be better.
SARAH: Yeah we don’t want to be a monolith.
KAYLA: So yeah I think this is a very good point and I know it is kinda tough to swallow. People like us who do like AVEN but it’s very true.
SARAH: I also think too what Amethista noted about the global definition of asexuality, one one hand it would be beneficial to have a globally accepted definition of asexuality. It would be helpful in communication. I don’t want to erase different experiences and different understandings. What we really need to do is expand our understanding of what asexual means and expand our definition and I think a lot of people struggle with that and struggle with being willing to accept new definitions and ideas into their understanding of asexuality is which is a process.
KAYLA: Yeah, definitely. The last one is from Gaby in Chile. So Gaby says, “Totally. More specifically, I think it's mostly US/UK centered, and I guess the reason has to do with colonialism and the impact Europe and the US currently have in the rest of the world; like, it's not just the ace community: everything is Europe/US-focused. And, well, the first recognized records of ace history are from the US, or at least in English: the X category on the Kinsey scale, the Asexual Manifesto (even if Lisa Orlando thought about asexuality as a political choice, it still is important in our history), ace participation at Stonewall, My life as an amoeba, HHA, Anthony Bogaert's studies, Swank Ivy, David Jay, and AVEN… It feels like... (because of colonialism) you guys have the opportunity to experience everything first? The rest of the world has some sort of lag, so to speak. It needs to solve other problems before it can get to kinds of conversations about identity, I guess? And then we have other cultural factors playing a role, too.
Now, I can just talk about a few Hispanic countries from America (the continent), but our community is just starting to develop, to be honest. I think it's super important that people and communities that have a platform use their voices to share it and encourage aces across the world not only to have our own spaces, words and conversations, but to create The Community™ (in general, worldwide) together, too. Things like this, just asking the opinion of people from different parts of the world, help a lot! In the end, I think asking and listening is the key.” As much as me and Sarah are sitting here theorizing about why all of this is, we could be in this episode, completely off base. So, in the end, it is going to these international organizations, these international aces and asking ‘what do you need from me and if you don’t know right now just know that if something comes up, I’m here I’m listening” and not just automatically assuming that those countries are doing fine and they’re just lagging because they’re somehow worse. Understanding that there’s a very real systemic thing there of why other countries might not be on the same level as the US and the UK.
SARAH: And a lot of this really comes down to racism and stuff. When people think about the global south, there are reasons why they’re behind more advanced countries and it's not because they’re worse or they’re inferior or it’s whatever. It’s because there are—
KAYLA: It’s really because of colonialism.
SARAH: It’s really because of colonialism!
KAYLA: It’s not like these countries are stupid or bad at being countries. It’s because other people have fucked with them.
SARAH: It’s important to be aware of the struggles other countries face in dealing with aspec issues and being open to helping them and welcoming their input and thoughts and welcoming their voices to tell you what you need.
KAYLA: And as the Internet continues to expand, and globalism, and even with things like the feature on Twitter or Google translate, there is no excuse not to at least read what people are saying, at least read what international organizations are saying.
SARAH: And you may not understand every aspect of it and that’s okay. As long as you’re going to put the effort in, and getting the gist, that’s important too.
KAYLA: Ask if you don’t understand, than just assume it is too hard or not relevant to you.
SARAH: And I think one big critique all of this comes down to online when discussing this is the idea that Americans and Brits to a certain extent and I can’t speak to them but culturally it seems to be the case and I’m going to talk about Americans in this context and by Americans I mean people from the United States and not the broader Americas which is a whole other linguistic issue. But the big critique is that we think the world revolves around us and just because we do something, others will automatically follow and if we don’t that’s on them. Which is a valid critique and as I think about this and why this is, Americans think the world revolves around us because that’s what we’re taught. It’s shitty and it’s exclusionary and nevertheless remains something that has to be unlearned for any American and I don’t want our listeners to hear that as an excuse because it’s not. And I appreciate the patience others has shown us as we try to figure out how to make this a truly international effort and I understand if your patience has run thin because there are so many things at play than just the aspec community. It’s imperialism and communism and white supremacy and all that fun stuff, a whole host of other buffoonery, and we obviously cannot solve it all within our community but as we advance the cause I do want to encourage those non-English speaking and/or non-Western aces to continue to make noise, be it in English or in your native language, I want to encourage Americans and Brits and other native English speakers to be aware of all of this and put the effort into unlearning the mindset that the world revolves around us. We cannot always be putting the onus on other people. As much as I encourage them to make noise, we cannot put the onus on them to make noise to get our attention. We need to be reaching out to those people too. I know this person in this country. Even if you open it up to the void and be like, hey does anyone have anything to say, that’ll bring people in and it’s something we need to be aware of in the community and in the world generally and specifically in the community.
KAYLA: If it’s hard, keep going. If it seems like people are upset, or their patience is wearing thin, understand that because aces and people in the world in general have been trying to make noise for years and we just haven't listened. And I’m assuming are going to continue struggling to listen because like Sarah said we have a lot of unlearning to do. So, have patience of your own to understand that you are coming from a place of privilege and that is a frustrating thing for people who don’t have that privilege.
SARAH: And I think as a note, anyone who listens to this podcast has a pretty decent grasp on the English language. And so, anyone who listens to this podcast does have some privilege in the sense that the aspec community is so English centric and obviously favors those of us who are native English speakers, as well as those of us who are not native English speakers but are good at English because they are highly educated. And that narrows your demographic of who’s voice is being heard from the soapbox. And for so many people who do know some English but maybe can’t convey their meaning as they would like, even if they know some English, they’re kneecapped too and they are limited in what they can express. So the English-speaking world isn’t getting the whole story from them. That’s why I think it’s really important for events like this and also in general, we want to signal boost aspec communities that do not operate in English because it’s so important that those people have those places where they can confidently contribute to discourse and be understood and have people who understand them culturally and can deal with more local issues. So even if we don’t understand everything that’s going on in those communities, it’s important that they’re put up there with AVEN and other Western English-speaking groups.
KAYLA: And not to be told they’re wrong. Like Amethista said in their submission, to have people go to people and say your definition of asexuality is wrong, you have to follow the Western one, that’s not—
SARAH: That’s not constructive.
KAYLA: No one should be going to these interactions thinking they are the correct one, they are the more educated one, are the white savior going in. The playing field needs to be even. We are absolutely not saviors coming in to help these ace communities get better. The playing field needs to be even. We are absolutely not saviors coming into help these ace communities get bigger. We are providing the resources we can have so that they can do the hard work that we’ve been doing. We have obviously not being enough and it’s not our credit to take. If everything magically turned around, if AVEN suddenly finds a billion dollars to give to all of these organizations, they are not the ones to be praised. They’re doing what should be done. It is these other countries’ other organizations that are doing all of the heavy lifting.
SARAH: Yeah and to that end, I just want to bring it back to what we mentioned at the top. Most of the credit for International Asexuality Day, who were organizing in English but who don’t necessarily speak English as their native language. And whose names you may not know. Those are the people who have been doing this. And it’s important they get the credit and you’ll find their info on the International Asexuality Day website.
KAYLA: Yeah very true.
SARAH: Is that it?
SARAH: This is what happens when Kayla’s in charge of the episode.
KAYLA: This was a good episode.
SARAH: It’s good. There was a weird silence cause I don’t know if you’re done or not.
KAYLA: You’re supposed to ask me what the poll is.
SARAH: I don’t know if you were done that’s the thing.
KAYLA: I’m done.
SARAH: Kayla, what’s the poll this week?
KAYLA: I think it should be an open-ended poll. I was making the newsletter for March and realized that every single poll for March a question, not an actual poll.
KAYLA: So you can see which way we’re moving. But I would like to make a poll/question/tweet asking the same question we asked the organizers from International Asexual Day. What can we do to help move the community from being so Western-focused and English language focused into being a lot more international. What can we, as the people of privilege, of the people in the “larger community,” what can we do to actually support that and move that?
SARAH: And if you want to signal boost events or organizations or whatever, please drop those in the replies and we can help boost those fellas. Kayla, what is your beef and your juice this week?
KAYLA: My beef is that it’ humid, I think that’s been my beef for the past forever. It’s very humid here and I don’t like this. My juice is that I’ve been trying to get into yoga because I haven’t moved my body in years and I’ve gained a lot of weight. I posted a picture on Instagram and one of our friends messaged me like “have you been working out? Your arms look really buff,” and I was like, “it’s just fat.” Not that I need to lose weight or that I’m unhealthy. Or that anyone should be doing anything to change their weight. But, I do need to actually move my body.
SARAH: That’s a good point. Moving your body is an important part of the human experience.
KAYLA: Yeah I guess.
SARAH: It generally has a positive impact with some exceptions. My beef is April Fool’s Day. I just hate it. In the wise words of Travis Helwig, pranks are non-consensual comedy. Thought that was a great tweet I saw today. My other beef is Crossfit pullups. Those are not pullups. There is nothing you can say to convince me that flailing like that is a pullup. This was spurred by Marjorie Taylor Greene but I have had this thought for a long time okay? They’re not pullups. My juice is Emmy Raver-Lamplin’s performance of the Wizard and I from Wicked. I just happened upon it the Internet recently and it was delightful.
KAYLA: Did you see Australia is having musicals again?
SARAH: Shh I don’t want to think about it. You can tell us your beef, your juice, respond to our poll on our social media. @soundsfakepod. We also have a Patreon, patreon.com/soundsfakepod. If you’d like to support us there we’d be very grateful. We have a new $2 patron, actually a 2 Pound patron, it’s Peter G, thanks Peter. Our $5 patrons are Jennifer Smart, who recently joined the Discord. Jennifer Smart still exists and that’s really exciting to me.
KAYLA: It was literally a celebrity sighting. The Discord blew up. I was fangirling over Jennifer. Jennier I’m sorry it’s probably weird energy to join the Discord and immediately be bombarded but we’re excited that you exist still.
SARAH: Asritha Vinnakota, Austin Le, Perry Fiero, Dee, Quinn Pollock, Emily Collins, Bookmarvel, Simona Sajmon, Jamie Jack, Jessica Shea, Ria Faustino, Daniel Walker, Livvy, Madeline Askew, Lily, James, Corinne, AliceIsInSpace, Skye Simpson, Brooke Siegel, Ashley W, Savannah Cozart, Harry Haston-Dougan, SOUP, Amanda Kyker, Vishakh, Jacob Weber, Rory, Amberle Istar, Rachel, Kate Costello, John, Ariel Laxo, Ellie, Tessa, MattiousT, Chris Lauretano, Sam, Kelly, Scott Ainsli, Orla Nieve Eisley, Julianne, Lost In Space, Colleen Walsh, Mattie, Super Sarah who is a new patron you’re super, your name is Sarah, mine too, and BAGEL. BAGEL is now a patron. I kind of forgot that BAGEL wasn’t a patron. I associate BAGEL with SOUP. I know they’re two different people but they have similar energies and they’re both foods.
KAYLA: I’ll allow it.
SARAH: $10 patrons are Arcnes who would like to promote the Trevor Project, Benjamin Ybarra who would like to promote me playing D&D, anonymous who would like to promote Halloween, Sarah McCoy who would like to promote Podcast From Planet Weird, my Aunt Jeannie who would like to promote Christopher’s Haven, Cass who would like to promote the best of luck on the journey of self-identification, Doug Rice who would like to promote “Church Too: How Purity Culture Upholds Abuse and How to Find Healing ” by Emily Joy and Doug said that I didn’t have to read the subtitle because “Sarah already sounds like auctioneer listing out the S/Os since I listen at 2x. If she reads the subtitle, I think she might break lol” I ACCEPT YOUR CHALLENGE DOUG.
KAYLA: I cannot imagine listening to you at 2x speed because even at 1x speed I have no idea what you’re saying.
SARAH: Doug I accepted your challenge, tell me how I sounded. H. Valdis, Purple Chickadee, who would like to promote using they as a gender neutral singular pronoun, Barefoot Backpacker who would like to promote Reclaim the Night, The Steve who would like to promote Ecosia, Ari K. who would like to promote Thought Slime, Mattie who would like to promote The Union Series by T.H. Hernandez, Derek and Carissa who would like to promote the overthrow of heteronormativity, Aaron like to promote free forehead kisses, Khadir who would like to promote Gnocchi Feta Fettuccine as a wonderful name for any cat, Potater who would like to promote potatoes, ChangelingMX who would like to promote starshipchangeling.net, and Sarah Kujawa who would like to promote her dogs’ Aviat and Stevie’s Instagram @aviatthehusky and David Jay who would like to promote the book “Emergent Strategy” by Adrienne Maree Brown. Our $15 patrons are Nathaniel White - NathanielJWhiteDesigns.com, my mom Julie who would like to promote free mom hugs, Free Mom Hugs, Sara Jones who is @eternalloli everywhere, Andy A who would like to promote being in unions and IWW, we support unions. Martin Chiesel who would like to promote his podcast, Everyone’s Special and No One is, Leila, who would like to promote love is love also applying to aro people, Shrubbery who would like to promote the Planet Earth, Dia Chappell who would like to promote twitch.tv/MelodyDia, Sherronda J Brown, we are promoting her, Maggie Capalbo who would like to promote Lewis University’s Writing Center @writingcenterlu, I used to work at the University of Michigan writing center what a great place those are, Andrew Hillum would like to promote The Invisible Spectrum podcast, and Dragonfly who would like to promote the fact that this is starting to take a really long time and we might have to make some changes. Again.
KAYLA: It is getting pretty bad.
SARAH: It’s getting a little out of hand. If any of our patrons have any ideas on how to shorten this segment while still appreciating you do let us know.
SARAH: Okay. Thanks for listening. Tune in next Sunday for more of us in your ears.
KAYLA: Until then, take good care of your cows.