What’s the deal with this “Ace Day” Thing?

This document is a work in progress, and changes will be made as additional information is discovered. If you have any suggestions, corrections, requests for clarifications, or archived copies of missing links that you would be willing to share, leave a comment or drop me a line at sennkestra@gmail.com

As some of you may (or may not) know, many aces were taken by surprise on May 8th, 2020 by a flurry of “#aceday” and “#acevisibilityday” tweets that eventually went trending, as well as some complaints generated about things like date choices and vague references to 2015 that probably make no sense to anyone who is newer to the ace community. In the wake of the event, there’s also been a lot of confusion and misinformation going around about what ace day is, when it is, who’s involved, and what its history is.

In light of that, wanted to compile some notes and links to relevant bits of history that I remember from the original ace day campaigns and controversy, which date back to 2015 when it was created by theasexualityblog, as well as a bit about what I have found about what lead to #acevisibilityday suddenly showing up as a trending tag this year (after the event nearly disappearing into obscurity in the intervening years, as well as being previously celebrated for several years on a completely different date).

This is not meant to be a complete narrative of that history; but I hope that the sources included here may be helpful for anyone who would be interested in attempting such a history. Unfortunately, because many of the blogs involved have since changed their names or been deleted, many of the original posts are gone. I’ve tried to provide archived versions or reblogged versions wherever possible.

Please also note that this still doesn’t include the vast majority of commentary – for either event –  just because there was so much activity that it would get overwhelming. Instead, I’ve tried to include a sampling of some of the main points I remember seeing as someone active in ace communities around that time. I’ve also deliberately focused on discussions that were occurring within the ace community, rather than reactions from outside the community.

Update 5/30/20: FuckYeahAsexual has written up their own reflections on their involvement in Ace Day in 2015-2020, for those who would like to read another perspective.

Ace Day in 2015 Part 1 – Timeline

  • (background info) On March 16, several black tumblr users organized a community wide 24-hour Blackout Day event to promote the sharing of content created by or featuring black people, in order to combat the lack of positive black representation on social media. The event also ended up spreading to twitter 
  • (background info) On March 31, many trans folks and allies celebrated the 6th annual Trans Day of Visibility (a celebratory counterpart to the more solemn Trans Day of Remembrance) with active social media celebrations onTwitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram
  • On April 6th tumblr user theasexualityblog announces unilaterally that the ace community will be celebrating “Ace Visibility Day” in two days on April 8th, on which users are supposed to post an ace playing card, with assignments designated to specific romantic orientations.
  • On April 6th, theasexualityblog announces they are changing the date to May 8th
  • On April 8th, some people get confused and still celebrate on April 8th anyway.
  • Sometime around April 8th, theasexualityblog reached out to fuckyeahasexual who created  a straw poll to pick a new date, which was set to close on April 17th. (note that due to how tumblr works, the other post declaring it to be April 8th or May 8th, depending on the version, continued to circulate widely this entire time)
  • On April 18th, theasexualityblog declared the new date to be May 8, 2020. (for the second time)
  • On May 8th, the first Ace Day is celebrated.
  • Throughout this process, fellow big-name tumblr blogger FuckYeahAsexual continues to be heavily involved in sharing and promoting posts about the event and engaging in conversations with other users about the details, and remains involved in additional behind-the-scenes conversations with theasexualityblog.
  • After the event, some users try to add it to wikipedia, but it is removed. Other users then try to spam wikipedia until it gets added, but that backfires. Other users explain why that won’t work and what needs to be done to get it actually added. See links here.
  • Later that year, fuckyeahasexual and theasexualityblog publish an artbook which features many pieces of art that were originally created by ace community members for the May 8th ace day,

Criticism and Fallout from the first Ace Day attempt

Ace Day in 2015 Part 2 – November Boogaloo

Ace Day 2016-2019

Generally speaking, Ace Day activity starts to peter out when there isn’t much of an attempt at organizing anything major for 2016; there is an attempt by the theasexualityblog to officially announce it again in 2017, which does generate some activity, but to a lesser extent. All through this time, varying posts from all of the 3 previous date attempts continue to be circulated periodically (not helped by the fact that tumblr can sometimes make it hard to see date stamps).

  • At some point in 2017, theasexualityblog posted an updated announcement and link to the Ace Day event on November 26, 2017. The announcement was also posted on tumblr. At this point, fyeahasexual was also still celebrating it on the 26th
  • The AVEN twitter account does not appear to have any easily findable references to ace day post-2015
  • In 2019, theasexualityblog deleted their tumblr and website, including all ace day pages, for unknown reasons.

Ace Day in 2020

Bonus Content – Other Ace Calendar Events

Just to clear up any confusion – Ace Week, formerly “Asexual Awareness Week”, is  a completely unrelated organization which was founded in 2010 and has been hosting ace week events ever since, typically held in late October.

AVEN also had an unrelated “Ace Visibility and Education Day” (also known as AVED/DAVE) event back on October 12, 2008.

David Jay organized “Sweet Asexy Love Day” on March 14 in 2011 and 2012. (2011 thread here, )

France also has an unrelated asexuality day event – la journée de l’asexualité – that was celebrated on April 26, 2013. AVA now appears to be celebrating it (or a related event) on May 13, 2020. (I don’t understand french enough to do research, but if anyone is more in the loop about whether they’ve has similar events in intervening years, let me know!)

 


As a reminder, this document is a work in progress, and changes will be made as additional information is discovered. If you have any suggestions, corrections, requests for clarifications, or archived copies of missing links that you would be willing to share, leave a comment or drop me a line at sennkestra@gmail.com!

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