I get frequent asks about what “ace discourse” is, and these asks usually sit in my ask box for a while because – really – there are dozens of answers I could give that define what “ace discourse” is and what it has been, but the common theme in “ace discourse” I have seen is the use of what appears to be social justice rhetoric to undermine the value and experiences of asexual people to the point of manipulating people into viewing their anti asexual attitudes as socially just, which is – in an ironic twist – contrary to the goals of social justice.
When I was younger, the most common “ace discourse” was about whether or not asexual and ace-spec identities inherently slut shamed women and that asexual and ace-spec women were suffering from internalized sexism. This was around the time “sex positivity” was a big thing on the internet, and asexual and ace-spec people were thrown under the bus during this movement as if our goals were completely contrary to sex positivity and we were a threat to the liberation of women.
So, I find it sketchy when people try to pin “ace discourse” down to one single argument (i.e. “asexuals are/are not inherently LGBT.”) In doing so, a lot of issues relevant to asexual and ace-spec people are framed within an argument that has nothing to do with what is being discussed. For example, many times an asexual person will discuss an issue relevant to the asexual community which will be followed by reblogs going “this is why asexuals are/are not LGBT” when that isn’t relevant.
This ignores the historical arguments that have arisen against the existence of asexual and ace-spec people, and weaponizes current issues (such as feminism and LGBT rights and representation) and the investment people have in them to position asexual and ace-spec people as an inherent threat despite the fact that the goals of asexual and ace-spec people can very much coincide with these current issues. This also works to alienate and silence asexual and ace-spec people from issues that immediately effect them.
In addition, by continually positing one’s hatred towards asexual and ace-spec people within the framework of current events and issues, people also position their hatred towards asexual and ace-spec people as a matter of social justice instead of as a virulent hatred for an intrinsic part of one’s identity that does not inherently harm anyone. They also boost voices of asexuals who do hold harmful attitudes in order to prove that their hatred of asexuals is socially just, while ignoring people within their movements who cause as much harm.
“Ace discourse” has been and will be many different things. It is not a single issue. “Ace discourse” is the persistent villainization and derailing of asexual narratives and experiences to suit a particular agenda.
“Ace discourse” is built on flawed ideas of asexuality, and involves an excessive use of logical fallacies to treat asexuality as inherently harmful and contrary to “progress.” We need to think of it as separate from intercommunity and intracommunity discussion which is productive and helpful to us.