Esperantujo vs. Láadanehoth

Rachel Wil Sha Singh

A Reddit thread was posted about me (and English-speakers in general) the other day…

sexism

You can view the thread here.

In my opinion, many of the responses have good points as to why [American?-]English speakers may seem more concerned with sexism than people who speak other European languages. But you’ll also see messages like:

complain to complain

and

calmdown

The initial inspiration for this thread was my post from 2013, “Esperanto Controversey: The -iĉ suffix“, on my reactions towards there being a feminine suffix -in, but no male suffix, such as -iĉ, why having a male prefix vir- doesn’t make it better, and my responses to the vitriol one can find when reading threads arguing about whether or not Esperanto is sexist.

I believe that this single issue, not necessarily the ri pronoun or the -iĉ suffix, but the angry response to any discussion about this or any reform about Esperanto, is what has caused some amount of Esperantists (usually women or LGBTQIAA otherwise) to leave Esperantujo.

And, honestly, I’m getting sick of it as well.

I appreciate a lot of the posts made in response to this thread, there is a lot more discussion supporting English speakers in this thread than what I have seen in the past. But it is still tiring to always have to deal with this topic. I’ve seen people leave Esperanto for Ido, or just leave the world of conlangs altogether. And, I’m hoping, that’s where Láadan comes in…


Whether or not you agree with some of the reasons for the creation of Láadan – to me, it seems like the community that could be built around it would be a much more pleasant one to be part of than some places in Esperantujo. I still have my Esperantist friends, but just my close circle that I choose to talk to, via Facebook or otherwise.

By being labelled as a “feminist language”, my hope is that people who are aware of biases in our culture are more drawn to this language, rather than the people who do not have to deal with sexism who believe that it is a “myth”, that any grievances about a topic is just “complaining for the sake of complaining”. I hope that our community will be one that is accepting of LGBTQIAA people and all people, and that we treat each other with respect. Because I’m tired of being in a community where respect isn’t shared.

Also, with regard to “complaining for the sake of complaining”, this sort of discussion almost seems like it would be more appropriate in Láadan – the frustration of being told “what you perceive is false” almost seems like a core tenant of what Láadan is trying to fight. By making how we speak more explicit, in how we know what we know, and describing how we feel, hopefully an argument like this would not take place.

Of course, speakers of Láadan are human. And, like with any community, there are going to be disagreements and problems. Even within the LGBTQIAA community, there are arguments and anger. Nothing will be perfect, but maybe it will feel a little bit more like “home” than the home under the green and white flag.

Asexuality in Esperanto

Rachel Wil Sha Singh

ace-eo-star

Trying to describe one’s sexuality and romantic orientation can be rather a mouth-full in Esperanto. It’s not quite as mono-syllabic as saying “straight”, “gay”, “bi”, and so on.

I, in particular, have a difficult time remembering terms I’ve seen suggested to describe asexual people in Esperanto, so I’m going to keep this blog post so I can have a single source to keep notes. ;P


Asexual Terminology

These definitions are from asexuality.org

Asexual

Someone who does not experience sexual attraction.

Suggested terms I’ve seen: neamoremo, neseksumemo, neseksuala, neamoremulo, neniuseksema

Heterosexual is translated as “malsamseksema” or “aliseksema”, homosexual is translated as “samseksema”, so for the sake of consistency, asexual could be “neniuseksema“.

Demisexual

Someone who can only experience sexual attraction after an emotional bond has been formed. This bond does not have to be romantic in nature.

“Demi” here means “partially”. This is different from the definitions above, as those specify what one would be sexually attracted to, while this describes the degree. We could use “parta” for partial, though I’m not sure whether a different suffix besides “seksema” should be used.

The problem with Demisexual and Gray-asexual is that they don’t specify “targets”, for whom one is sexually attracted to, which is a problem because in Esperanto, the descriptions for sexualities (samseksema) specify targets. It’s not the same in English, but it’s difficult to come up with a fit in Esperanto without making a really long word.

Gray-asexual (gray-a) or gray-sexual

Someone who identifies with the area between asexuality and sexuality, for example because they experience sexual attraction very rarely, only under specific circumstances, or of an intensity so low that it’s ignorable.

I believe that “Gray” here refers to a “gray area” – ill-defined, ambiguous, indefinite, indeterminate.

Attraction

In this context, it refers to a mental or emotional force that draws people together. Asexuals do not experience sexual attraction, but some feel other types of attraction.

Esperanto: Allogo

Aesthetic attraction

Attraction to someones appearance, without it being romantic or sexual.

Esperanto: Estetika allogo

Romantic attraction

Desire of being romantically involved with another person.

Esperanto: Romantika allogo

Sensual attraction

Desire to have physical non-sexual contact with someone else, like affectionate touching.

Esperanto: Sensema allogo

Sexual attraction

Desire to have sexual contact with someone else, to share our sexuality with them.

Esperanto: Seksa allogo


 Romantic orientations

These definitions are from asexuality.org

In Esperanto, “seksama” could be used to mean “-gender-fondness”. Though, it does sound pretty close to “seksema” when spoken aloud.

Aromantic

An aromantic is a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others. Where romantic people have an emotional need to be with another person in a romantic relationship, aromantics are often satisfied with friendships and other non-romantic relationships.

Neniu-seksama

Biromantic

A person who is romantically attracted to two sexes or genders. Biromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not sexually attracted to their romantic partners. The sexual counterpart to biromantic is bisexual.

I’ve seen “ge-seksema” and “antaŭ-seksema” used for bisexual. I don’t like these, because ge- and antaŭ both mean “both”, whereas “bi-” denotes two.  Specifically, my definition of “bi-” is that you’re attracted to “same” and “other” genders, not just “both genders” (because I do not approve of gender binary speech).

Heteroromantic

A person who is romantically attracted to a member of the opposite sex or gender. Heteroromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons, including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not necessarily sexually attracted to their romantic partners. Most heterosexual people are also heteroromantic.

Malsam-seksama

Homoromantic

A person who is romantically attracted to a member of the same sex or gender. Homoromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons, including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not necessarily sexually attracted to their romantic partners. The sexual counterpart to homoromantic is homosexual. Most homosexuals are also homoromantic.

Sam-seksama

Panromantic

A person who is romantically attracted to others but is not limited by the other’s sex or gender. Similar to biromantic. Panromantics will tend to feel that their partner’s gender does little to define their relationship. Often someone identifying as biromantic will also choose to identify as panromantic. Panromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not sexually attracted to their romantic partners. The sexual counterpart to panromantic is pansexual.

The “pan-” in pansexual means “all, every, whole, all-inclusive“.

Ĉiu-seksama – Romantically attracted to each gender? (Suggested by frenezulino)


 Additional thoughts…

Geeze, why does describing ourselves have to be so long-winded?! Also, I think that it is a problem that -seks-ema (tendency towards a gender) and -seks-ama (loving of a gender) sound so similar, it makes it hard to differentiate between “samseksema” and “samseksama”. I guess technically, “-seks-ema” doesn’t even describe sexuality, but it’s used commonly for sexuality.

The term “Asexuality” means to not experience sexual attraction towards any gender.  Oni, kiu ne sentas seksan allogon [al iu ajn sekso].

Another problem is that the term “sekso” is used to mean both gender/sex, and in certain contexts also refer to something dealing with the act of sex. The 1880s were quite a while ago, and these sort of details were probably invisible to the activists of the time. Still, just as words like komputilo have been added to Esperanto, perhaps there should be a better set of terms to talk about sexual and romantic orientations.

Geja is also a term in Esperanto, after the English word “gay”. So, perhaps instead of “neniuseksema”, something similar can be done for “ace” — Ejsa? Grej-ejsa? Demi-ejsa? @_@;;; Ho, ve…

  • Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions!
  • Also send me any Ace resources you may know of, especially if it’s also related to Esperanto. :)

  Sources

Donated Books, Magazines, and Newsletters in and about Esperanto

Rachel Wil Sha Singh

Just this past December, I had decided to make a group on Facebook for Esperantists in Kansas and Missouri. I knew there were at least five of us in Kansas – Two in Wichita, three in Kansas City. I made it mostly as a way for us to get to know each other and keep in touch.

For Z-Day 2014, Andy and I decided that we should have a get-together at a local restaurant & pub, The Green Room. So, we proceeded to send out messages on Lernu, and the existing circle of us five brought in any others we knew about. I’m a member of Esperanto-USA, so I went through the little directory book and sent out messages inviting anyone interested to stop in.

And now, we’re going to start having regular monthly meetings. Wow.

Tim Wand, an Esperantist that I found out of the directory book, has been in the movado for a while, and has some interesting stories to tell about the history here in the U.S.A. He has also donated quite a few old books to the club, which originally belonged to a Mr. Runser, who passed away perhaps a decade ago.

I only began learning Esperanto in 2012, so I’m not completely sure what the best thing I can do with these books is, but I’m hoping to go through them and, for anything that is in the public domain, make scans and publish online somewhere.

I took pictures of the collection tonight, and I’m posting them up; perhaps it will pique somebody’s interest, and they’ll have a suggestion for me.

*edit* I scanned the covers of all the books, and they can be viewed on the Library page.