hey folks, if you haven’t already seen and/or completed grey-is-my-favourite-color’s survey, and you id as grey or related to grey, please consider doing so!!
it’s going to help create an awesome resource, and all in time for AAW. huge kudos to Mara.
below are my answers along with the questions, for the curious 🙂
Can you explain why you identify as (or with) grey-asexual(ity)?
It makes the most sense, both for me and for explaining to others. It conveys how I’m “sorta asexual, but that doesn’t cover it.” It lets people know to expect things to be different for me, and to not expect to understand it. It tells them that sexual attraction is weird for me, and that they shouldn’t expect me to be or not be attracted to them (not that this has been foolproof; many still assume I will just never ever possibly be attracted to them).
For me personally, it helps me find some community and connect with other people who find sexuality weird, who think and feel similarly to myself. It helps weed out the asexual folks who think in black-and-white. It makes space for the complexity of my existence. I think that’s an important sentence, and it’s true.
Greyness means, murkiness and complicatedness and a lot to unravel. It means dense fog and dense yarn tangles and deep ocean depths. It means writing my own map, and losing it, and drawing a different one that looks really different, and finding the old one again, and making a hybrid, and reverting to an older draft, and on and on.
Greyness means, I don’t have to make perfect sense. I don’t have to declare with perfect certainty, “I do/not experience X thing, under ABC circumstances.” I can just keep living and keep moving, and be at peace.
It’s different from questioning, because I’m not actively searching anymore. I’m at rest, mostly. I may poke around, but I seem to stay in the same general area. And that’s not only off the Kinsey scale, but off the binary asexual-allosexual spectrum. I’m off in grey-land, which is uncharted but vaguely in that direction *gestures loosely*.
(Also, I have a complicated, arcflux kind of thing – changing from sex-repulsed, to sex-conflicted, to occasionally desiring sex but maybe for trauma hypersexuality reasons? And “grey” enfolds all that safely, and vaguely, without having to get into the nitty-gritty private stuff.)
Basically: Greyness means peace, community, and a way to articulate to others that hey, change your expectations of me.
Do you identify more with one term for greyness (eg grey-A or greysexuality) than others? If so, what are your reasons?
I prefer “grey” by itself. I find it more evocative, and less binary — less tied to the idea of a “spectrum” and being on an “asexual side.” It’s just grey. That also lets me subsume romantic and sexual stuff into one big ball of greyness, rather than doing the split attraction model. Romantic stuff is a lot less salient for me anyways, comes up less, is less of a question, uses less brainpower.
I do mess with orthography sometimes, and play with grey(-A) and grey + gay = gey, and other things.
I also like grey with an ‘e’ more than gray with an ‘a’ even though I’m American. Mostly because the visual word contour is prettier.
I don’t use “grace” or “grey ace” or “grey-ace” much because, it feels like it reinforces that the “ace” part is short for “asexual” and that’s the claim to community. I believe “ace” should be an umbrella term for all ace-umbrella folks, including greys, but when I see it used it’s usually nominal. Like saying LGBT but talking only about orientation, not gender.
Do you think this resource should be targeted towards people who know very little about asexuality as a whole (ie should it be a 101 resource), or would you prefer a resource for inside the community?
Hm….. I think regardless, it should be a debunking of common mistakes made in the usual 101s. And that can be targeted at both the ace community and newcomers! Any info that helps combat misinformation (like “rarity” and “binary spectrum” and “can’t be sex-repulsed”) is good.
Is there anything about grey-asexuality that you feel isn’t covered by 101 resources but should be?
– greyness is a specific identity (no, it’s an umbrella, that can be claimed as an identity, much like the q-slur)
– grey people are all fine with sex (no, we all vary around sex-repulsion, and some of us don’t find sex-repulsed / -indifferent / -favorable to be a useful model)
– grey is “between” asexual and allosexual, on a binary spectrum (no, we aren’t “in the middle” — no more than all non-binary people are “between” man and woman. some may identify that way, but it is NOT the definition, certainly not of the *umbrella* term. and conceptualizing as a spectrum turns quickly into measuring “how much sexual” and gross gatekeeping and essentialism.)
– grey as “fluidity” (no, not for everyone, probably not for most. not as an umbrella definition. grey is about fog, murkiness, which is present and usually stable; it is not inherently about changeability and fluidity, and it is especially not about “fluctuating between asexual and allosexual,” ew no.)
– grey means “rare” and mayyyybe sometimes it also means “weak, or in special uncommon circumstances” (isn’t that last bit another way of saying rare? the circumstances don’t have to be rare. can we drop the word rare. can we just say, “any of the following regarding sexual attraction: infrequent, low intensity, confusing, ambiguous, and/or only in specific circumstances”)
The dual definitional model with greyness and identities as TOOLS is super important here. Someone is grey, if they find it useful and apply it to themself!
And links to further, deeper conversations, is always vital.
Is there anything you see in 101 resources that you don’t think should be included?
I don’t think a definition of asexuality is necessary here. Maybe just a link.
Is there anything that you don’t see talked about enough within the community when it comes to grey-asexuality?
The “confused, ambiguous” bit. So, so many grey folks I’ve spoken with, identify as such because sexual attraction is Weird and Confusing and Nebulous, and do we experience it??
Even after intense conversations with asexual and allosexual folks, even after a ton of effort and time investigating what “sexual attraction” means…we’re still not sure?? Or we can only tell in hindsight? Or, vice versa, we can only tell when it’s happening, and afterwards we can’t recall how it felt and question it?
All the overemphasis on quantifiable, makes-sense-to-asexual-folks and is-non-threatening-to-asexual-folks stuff like “rare” and “not enough to be worth doing something about” gets hammered in, and what I’ve found to be the actual core of greyness for so many folks, the ambivalence and ambiguity, gets thrown out.
Basically everything in the Greyness 301 discussion:
Are there any experiences that you feel are unique to your being grey (ie something that asexuals and allo/zedsexuals don’t feel)?
Well…claiming an identity versus not, doesn’t necessarily mean totally different experiences. However, for folks who happily identify as asexual, and those who happily identify as not asexual-umbrella — yes, I do think my experiences differ.
I spend a lot of time being upset with and confused by myself, for feelings that “might be” sexual attraction — even though by identifying as grey, I am trying to give myself permission to just let my feelings exist and not have to quantify or qualify them.
I feel alienated by talk about aces not having sexual attraction…because asexual people always tell me that “ace” is supposed to include all ace-umbrella people, but they use it in ways that only apply to asexual people, not greys (or demis, or others).
I don’t think most allosexual people have to logically deduce their “type” or pattern of attraction, based on the dataset they’ve amassed…
I don’t think most allosexual, or asexual, people have the experience of looking at something that you think is probably sexual attraction, and then, because you looked at it, it changes and disappears.
And I don’t know if non-grey folks feel like they can turn off being attracted, but I doubt they also feel like they can’t turn it back on again, can’t tell if it’s real anymore.
Do you identify with any other sexuality terms?
I do identify as quoisexual, and as just “quoi” (and I coined them, yay). I feel like this highlights are part of greyness, the uncertainty and what-is-happening and what-is-THAT-feeling. I usually just collapse it into grey, unless I’m trying to prove a definitional point for either grey or quoi.
(Oh yeah, and I use gay, as a sort of flippant “I’m non-binary fuck gender attraction patterns anyway” thing.)
Do you feel that your grey-sexuality is affected by other parts of your identity (eg by your romantic orientation, by neurodivergence, etc)?
I do. Being autistic and having OCD and PTSD, all definitely affect me. They mean I overexamine things compulsively, and have a hard time relating to my body and my grey(a)sexuality. They mean that mainstream definitions are rarely good enough, comfortable enough, safe enough.
Do you feel that your grey-sexuality affects other parts of your identity (eg your race, gender identity, etc)?
Hm… For a while, I wondered if greyness affected my non-binary gender. In some ways, the way I conceive of my gender as outside the binary spectrum line, as in a separate constellation, has affected my conceptualization of my greyness. (Break the binary!) It’s certainly easier to break away from one binary model once you’ve broken away from a first.
Are there any parts of your identity that you can’t or don’t want to separate from your grey-sexuality?
The romance part. I just don’t find it useful to separate it out. Everything is grey.
Do you have a favourite resource for grey-asexuality, and if so what is it?
Well, I put together a pretty decent linkspam with all my favorite posts:
I especially love TheAceTheist’s posts.
And I love dredging up old, good historical definitions, especially Siggy’s: