Is it appropriate for asexuals to use the triangle as a symbol?

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Is the ace triangle symbol inappropriate?

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Is it appropriate for asexuals to use the triangle as a symbol?

Post by Aisling on Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:16 pm

http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=AVEN_triangle
From AVENwiki:
The AVEN Triangle is the symbol of AVEN and is also widely regarded as the symbol of asexuality.
The top line represents the Kinsey scale, the left being homosexual, the right being heterosexual and the third dimension, leading to the bottom point of the triangle, represents sexual attraction. Asexuals lie in the bottom regions of the triangle, which is why you might see the triangle two-toned, having only the bottom corner black. AVEN chooses to display it as a gradient, which allows room for demisexuals, grey-asexuals, and hyposexuals. It signifies that there really is no clear cut black-and-white; it is a continuum.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBTQ_symbols#Asexual
From Wikipedia:
The two most-recognized international LGBTQ symbols are the pink triangle and the pride flag. The pink triangle, employed by the Nazis in World War II as a badge of shame was re-appropriated but retained some negative connotations. The Rainbow flag was envisioned and created to be a more organic and natural replacement without any negativity attached to it.

http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=Asexual_history under the header 'Development of asexual symbols'
From AVENwiki:
One of the longest standing symbols associated with asexuality is the AVEN triangle, a simplified model of sexual orientation representing the Kinsey scale along its top edge as a line from homosexual to bisexual to heterosexual, with asexuality at the lower point of the triangle. It was also intended as a reference to the pink triangle used as a pride symbol in the queer community.[1] The AVEN triangle was included in a description of the definition of asexuality on AVEN in 2001.[1] It was originally developed by David Jay, and did not include a gradient; instead, the lower portion of the triangle was black (the double-triangle AVEN symbol). By 2002, Jay was considering abandoning the triangle, as it was based on a binary model of gender and did not take romantic orientation into account, but the triangle was retained as a symbol of AVEN rather than a complete model of orientation.[1] In May 2005, AVEN underwent a major site redesign, and the triangle was modified to include a gradient to represent the grey area between asexuality and sexuality.[1]

Once again, I'm not dropping any of my own opinions into this thread until it has several posts and several votes. I want to know what you all think about this matter.

Well, folks... is it really okay for aces to use something that the homosexual community reclaimed for itself, but just adjust the pigmentation?
Unlike the "queer" v.s. "straight" debate, this one seems pretty straightforward to me. *shrug*



Last edited by Tegid on Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Is it appropriate for asexuals to use the triangle as a symbol?

Post by mel on Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:23 am

I think this is mostly (mostly) straightforward. The triangle was very possibly derived from the queer triangle, but the "official history" of the triangle asserts a different origin. While I would usually argue that for a symbol as generic as a triangle (this is a shape that shows up everywhere) with a story that specifically asserts its origin as being related to a model of sexuality (plausible enough), but the asexual community in particular has been making some movements to strengthen its association with the LGBTQ movement and given that is the case, I think even a purely coincidental resemblance is enough to say that the symbol should not be used.

I don't think it's in wide use outside of AVEN either, nor am I sure what the best way of getting them to change it would be. Frankly, it has been my impression that the community in question as a whole (though there are obviously exceptions) is really not particularly sensitive to LGBT issues and that this change would be met with heavy resistance unless somebody there who commanded a great deal of respect were to kind of make it their personal project. "Outside" criticism would be ineffective, I think. This initiative would have to come from within AVEN and backed by a contingency of ace!LGBT users who knew the history well enough to be upset by the symbol.

In short, if we weren't associating ourselves so closely with the LGBT movement as a whole, I would say that the symbol's origin story is enough to solidify the resemblance as incidental, but that even incidental resemblance is too much if we want to cement close ties with a community for whom the original symbol has such a hurtful history.
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Re: Is it appropriate for asexuals to use the triangle as a symbol?

Post by Aisling on Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:31 am

*nod* Sorta' like... if we're going to half-and-half the situation, and try to be chummy between Ace and LGBT but still leave up the triangle, we invite every kind of bad PR... but if we're going to commit to the affiliation with LGBT, then we have to recognize the connotations and the painful allusions that result from AVEN's use of that symbol. - - ?




:-/ The reasons for using the fleur de lis in our logo are manifold, but one of them is blatant avoidance of the triangle.
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Re: Is it appropriate for asexuals to use the triangle as a symbol?

Post by mel on Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:45 am

Tegid wrote:*nod* Sorta' like... if we're going to half-and-half the situation, and try to be chummy between Ace and LGBT but still leave up the triangle, we invite every kind of bad PR... but if we're going to commit to the affiliation with LGBT, then we have to recognize the connotations and the painful allusions that result from AVEN's use of that symbol. - - ?

Pretty much exactly.

Tegid wrote::-/ The reasons for using the fleur de lis in our logo are manifold, but one of them is blatant avoidance of the triangle.

Well, my only problem with the fleur is that as a stylized lily, some of the symbolism it carries with it may contribute negative publicity as well. Lillies are a traditional symbol of chastity, virginity, and purity. Even though the fleur is used in other contexts, using it in a "sexually related" context knowing that it contains some of those connotations could further cement our reputation as being "slut shamers" or as celibate-by-choice. Better than the allusions to the pride triangle, but not perfect.
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Re: Is it appropriate for asexuals to use the triangle as a symbol?

Post by Aisling on Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:51 am

To be fair, it is also a stylized torch, flag / iris (aka "rainbow", a wee shout-out that doesn't borrow anything it oughtn't, hopefully), and spear/arrow head.

It's additionally a traditional symbol of France and the French royal line, and Charlemagne, and any number of political and religious powers.

If anything, its meanings are so varied and disparate that hopefully adding one more this way isn't hurting us or the integrity of the symbol.
Additionally, I like the central petal's similarity to the Ace of Spades, and how the two descending petals resemble the lobes on the Ace of Hearts.

All that said, I recognize your feeling about the fleur, and I'm not disregarding it.

When we have forty-five members, I'll start a poll about the fleur, to see how the members in general receive it. Savvy enough?
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Re: Is it appropriate for asexuals to use the triangle as a symbol?

Post by mel on Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:56 am

I do realize the symbol is quite versatile, and if it were being used for anything but to describe something related to sexual orientations which already specifically carry the burden of having to explain to people that we are not just obsessed with chastity/religion/repressed I wouldn't mind at all just adding another meaning to it.

I think maybe this is all too strongly worded, I do like the symbol and I also like its resemblance to the ace of spades, but when Wikipedia's Major Mention of Associated Symbolism is one that specifically references a misconception we're already fighting? I dunno, I worry slightly about sending mixed signals.
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Re: Is it appropriate for asexuals to use the triangle as a symbol?

Post by Aisling on Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:09 am

*nod* Noted. That said, whatever we determine our forum emblem (and community emblem, in extension) will be... I desperately want to avoid all manner of actual hearts, spades, and triangles.
I also want it to be something distinctive, memorable, easy to draw, and perhaps just common enough that anybody wanting to wear it as jewelry will be able to find it in multiple styles.

http://haelia.tumblr.com/post/5251541866/lgbtqshrvla-asexual-fleur-des-lis-ive-always
One of the first places I ever saw the fleur used this way ^.
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Re: Is it appropriate for asexuals to use the triangle as a symbol?

Post by mel on Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:35 am

This is a big chart of symbols included as part of the Unicode spec, which means they should all be available in fonts.

http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U2600.pdf

The Fleur is there, as are a lot of other symbols. The fleur is the most promising, really, I just don't really love the associations it may carry. Edits to the wikipedia to include other potential symbolism might ease my concerns, but I dunno. Still slightly uncomfortable with potentially fostering the asexuality/religious purity connection any further...

I agree with your more general concerns though, about the symbol being distinctive, memorable, simple, and hopefully common enough that people can find it.
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Re: Is it appropriate for asexuals to use the triangle as a symbol?

Post by epochryphal on Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:40 am

I really hate the binarism in the triangle, and in a lot of the ways we talk about "poor pan folks, they have to simplify down to the bio binary" (which, wtf, biology is not binary and that model is already incredibly flawed). It is not at all relatable by me as a non-binary person, and the way it gets talked about is as a challenge for the people who might theoretically *like* a non-binary person. Same for the Klein Grid and anything that posits "opposites." So, I hate it as automatically uninclusive.
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Re: Is it appropriate for asexuals to use the triangle as a symbol?

Post by Adam on Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:47 pm

I definitely agree -- an 'interesting', memorable symbol such as the fleur is much better than a plain old square or circle. Basic shapes are often too abstract and common to be claimed as the mark of anything, in my opinion. (The Unicode PDF listed the white circle as symbolising "asexuality, sexless, genderless".)
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Re: Is it appropriate for asexuals to use the triangle as a symbol?

Post by Aisling on Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:53 pm

Oy, I can just imagine the results of taking on a big white O as the semiofficial ace symbol. >_<

Aces ---> Zeros, or some such.
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