As an asexual woman, finding my place in the queer community wasn't as simple as it sounds

Nervously, I reached into my purse and pulled out my ID, flashing it to the bouncer. It was 6 p.m. and I'd just come from work. My roommates were supposed to meet me, but they were always late, and tonight was no exception. So, it was with a pounding heart that I faced the crowd alone, trying to find the least threatening person to approach.

It was my first Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) meeting, specifically for those in the LGBT community, and I thought I'd found my people. Queer and political, sign me up. But as I took a closer look at those milling around, I realized that the space didn't look that different from what I was used to. I was still in the minority, because of both my race and gender. I was still being talked at by men who thought they knew more than me. I was still around people who seemed to assume that everyone wanted sex.

One of the only other women in the group came up to me and said "It's good to see another one of us here." "Another what?" I asked, a bit confused. "Another lesbian," she replied easily, as if it were obvious.


But that was not true. I'm not a lesbian. I'm asexual. And I had thought that coming to a group geared toward LGBT individuals—the full acronym being LGBTQIA+, where the A stands for asexual (also known as "ace")—would have allowed me the opportunity to meet others who identified similarly.

After figuring out that I was asexual, I thought finding community would be easier

I'd done all the hard work of figuring out that I was ace—I thought that finding a community would be easier. After years of internalizing heteronormativity, of consuming various movies and books where sex and relationships were presented as the ultimate goals, it was no wonder that it took me such a long time to realize that I didn't want that. And even longer still to accept and embrace that part of my identity, to realize that there were others who felt the same way. There was a whole community out there if I could just find them.

With the DSA LGBT event, I finally thought that I had. It turned out that it wouldn't be that simple. I kept attending events with queer and LGBT+ labels attached to them, hoping that I'd find someone who would understand. But I was realizing that just because we shared the queer label did not mean that we shared experiences. Many understood being different, sure, but not the difference that I felt. They still experienced sexual attraction, just not of the heteronormative variety. Sometimes, these spaces were even more sexualized as people felt comfortable expressing themselves in ways they couldn't in everyday life.

To find other ace people, I had to look elsewhere

When I was unable to find the community I was searching for by going to in-person events, I turned to the internet. Once I knew the terminology, I was able to search on various social media sites. I started following a blog on Tumblr that posted about ace topics. I began to see others post about experiences that mirrored my own.

It was on Instagram that I found a community of ace individuals in New York, where I live. They posted various resources for asexuals and even hosted monthly events. What I'd so desperately wanted earlier, an in-person community, was suddenly within my grasp. The page posted about a new support group for asexuals, and I decided to go.

What struck me first was that the room was diverse—there were a lot of non-cis men and a lot of POC folks. The organizers were women of color. As people began to share their stories, I felt a sense of calm envelop my body—I had found people who understood me. They had been uncomfortable in high school because they didn't understand everyone's desire to have sex. They had faced challenges navigating dating when sexual intimacy was something that may not even be on the table. They were older and wiser and made me feel like it was all going to be alright.

I may not feel like I belong in all queer spaces, but I've found a queer space that fits me. This space, and the people in it, provide me with the confidence to live my life authentically, to embrace the ace part of my identity. And when I inevitably encounter those who don't understand me, I know I've got a place to go for support.

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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

In a blog post published on Friday, DiMezzo explained how she had never tried to hide who she was and that anyone could have looked her up to see what she was about, in addition to pointing out that those who are angry with her have no one to blame but themselves:

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Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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