One Year Anniversary of The Ace Couple Podcast

It is our one year podcast anniversary! A lot has happened in a single year, so let's take a trip down memory lane.


Courtney: Hello everyone and welcome to this thing that somehow became A Thing. This is our 52nd podcast. 52 weeks of weekly podcast! What? That is one entire year. It is our one year anniversary special. My name is Courtney. I am here with my spouse, who– you famously refuse to introduce yourself, I have to do it every single time – so I’m here with Royce. We are The Ace Couple. And this is just wild. We’re just gonna take a little trip down my cousin Memory Lane. [laughs] We’re gonna talk about what a silly, weird, interesting, nonsensical year that it has been of us talking into a microphone. So first of all, hi Royce, how are you doing? This is the most public, I think, you have ever been.

Royce: Yeah, pretty much. I don’t really do community…? I was going to say, I don’t really do anything public. Like, I don’t really have social media. Or if I do, it’s like largely inactive and was never really used in the way that other people use it.

Courtney: Yeah, you have, like, a completely dormant Facebook account. That was dormant as long as I’ve known you.

Royce: I’ve never used Facebook to actually, like, to post or communicate. It was kind of one of those things where everyone set it up and it’s still there. Because for some people that may need to contact me that don’t have my actual phone number, or probably email, like that is one avenue.

Courtney: Mm-hmm.

Royce: And that’s pretty much it. I remember back in high school, the first social media platform that started going around was MySpace.

Courtney: Oh, of course.

Royce: And I did have a MySpace page for a bit, ’cause that’s what everyone was doing. And I tried for a brief amount of time to actually get on and interact with people. And the format of just posting into the void just does not make sense to me.

Courtney: Well, and that was the Wild West of social media.

Royce: That was like, it is– the act of posting is a full-on masking behavior for me.

Courtney: [laughs] Yeah.

Royce: Like, it doesn’t make sense.

Courtney: You have no intrinsic motivation to do this.

Royce: I am never at any point going throughout my day, having something happen and think, “I need to tell this to someone.”

Courtney: So that’s actually really interesting because I feel very much the same way. I didn’t really do MySpace to the extent that other people around me did at the time. I had a Xanga, which sometimes when I say that people are like, “You had a what?” A lot of people have never heard of that.

Royce: I recognize the brand, the name, but I– I don’t think I was ever actually on the site.

Courtney: I basically used it as, like, a catalog of my favorite weird videos in the extremely early days of YouTube. Because you could put like, “Here are videos that I like.” And there was an entire section dedicated to videos that you like, so I just put the videos I liked there and then I went to my account to watch. And like re-watch the videos. Instead of actually going to YouTube. But yeah, I didn’t use it to interact with people in– in normal ways.

Courtney: So this– this has been quite an odd little experiment for us, socially. Because I didn’t really use social media at the time I met you either, not– not socially anyway. And about a year before we met, I didn’t even have internet. I didn’t do anything online whatsoever. So to me social media across the last seven years has been basically for my business. I set up a Facebook and Instagram and a Twitter for my business, to promote it and advertise. Because that’s what they tell you you need to do in the– in the modern society we live in. But yeah, I don’t know, using it as a social thing is still very very odd to me.

Courtney: So when I set up our Ace Couple Twitter account, I decided Twitter was the avenue because we planned to talk into a microphone for as long as we felt necessary every week, and that’s very long form. And I figured, Twitter, we could just, like, post little quotes from our podcast and just, like, put it out into the world. And that would be like our short-form snippets taken from the long-form stuff. And I’m pretty sure my– I’m pretty sure the first post that we sat down to make on our Twitter was like, “Bear with us. We are new to talking to people.” Even– even at the height of my business social media usage, I had much bigger followings as an artist on things like Instagram and Facebook, and I could never really figure out how to get a Twitter following for my business in the same way I got on other platforms. So Twitter especially was an anomaly to me.

Courtney: But when I set up that Twitter account… Man, a year ago, the very first thing I saw was the Twitter Ace community just absolutely up in arms about a post by Natalie Wynn, AKA Contrapoints. So, we decided that was gonna be our very first episode. Was talking about that and why people were upset and our thoughts on it. And it was a bit funny, wasn’t it? Because we entitled that very first episode: “Contrapoints tweeted and made us start a podcast.” Which is a little bit click-baity because we were talking about doing this podcast for longer than that. For months really on and off.

Royce: We weren’t really prepared though.

Courtney: No. [laughs]

Royce: And if I remember correctly, recorded really quickly, we threw the episode up on YouTube and then over the course of like a day or two, actually got hosting and website figured out.

Courtney: Yeah, it was like one day we put it on YouTube and the next day we were up on the simpler podcast platforms to get established on, but some of them required a little extra time and approval. But yeah, I don’t know. It seemed topical. It seemed that we could take that conversation in a lot of different directions. And I guess, we can talk about– a little bit about why we wanted to start this podcast in the first place, even before we saw that.

Courtney: Partially because there hasn’t been an abundance of representation for ace-ace couples. Asexual couples of any kind, really, is still very lacking in representation, but as two married asexual people, we found our experience to be quite rare. And we’d also find just having little individual conversations with people over the years, that a lot of people really felt a lot of hope, I guess, knowing that this was and could be an option for them. Because I think– especially amongst romantically inclined aces, or aces who do want relationships, the struggle and thinking, “Well, I’m probably going to have to be in a relationship with an allosexual person, just by the numbers game. And what’s that going to look like? And is that gonna cause issues?” So, that’s a really big anxiety that a lot of people have.

Courtney: So, I suppose just creating a little bit of real-world representation, like, “Hey, we are here, we exist. This is an option!” Was certainly part of it. But then another part of it was also the fact that in the asexual discourse and asexual communities that we have observed over the years, we’ve had a lot of opinions that were kind of unpopular or not discussed, very heavily. Like, our very second episode was talking about how much we hated Sex Education. [chuckles] And the only reason why we watched that show in the first place was because all of these online ace spaces were just frequently talking about how good it was and how validating it was, and just praising this representation for this asexual character. And we watched it and we were like, “What?! Did we watch the same show?” But I hadn’t really seen anyone talk about that show in the way that we experienced it. So, there was also an element of, “Are there others out there who feel the same way we do, but nobody is talking about it?”

Royce: And it turns out, yeah, a lot of times that is exactly what had happened.

Courtney: We have gotten a lot of emails, and comments, and correspondence from people who have been like, “Thank you! I thought I was the only one!” So that’s been really, really good to see. And then just talking about deeper issues. I have been a spectator of – and to varying extents sometimes I’ll try to pop in and engage with an ace community online, and then retreat back into my little hole, back and forth over the last decade or so – I’ve noticed that a lot of the discourse just hasn’t really evolved very much. Some of it has and some people are trying to push it further than others. But I’ve seen the same sort of Asexual 101: this is your basic introductory information to what asexuality is. And it’s normally presented very much in the, “I am talking to someone who I assume knows absolutely nothing about asexuality whatsoever.” And over the last 10 years, I feel like we have gotten past that a little bit. We have gotten some more representation. We have gotten some better representation. More people know at least a little bit about what asexuality means. And yet a lot of our forward-facing, public talking points haven’t really changed to reflect that nearly as much as I feel it should have. Because, my goodness, a decade ago the ace representation on TV was like that dreaded House episode. Which we did an episode talking about that, but I watched it when that show released and that was the first time I heard the word asexual said on TV. And it was dreadful! It was awful! It was the worst possible representation you can imagine, but that was it!

Courtney: So, the fact that now, ten years later, we have shows like BoJack Horseman, we have shows like Everything’s Gonna Be Okay. We have books, both nonfiction and fiction. We have Ace by Angela Chen. We have– Well, if you’ve been with us this last year, we’ve done a ton of episodes about asexual representation, some of which has been very, very good, which we have praised quite highly. So it always just sort of frustrated me that people weren’t talking as much about the further nuances of individual experiences. Especially as it pertains to asexuality and race, asexuality and disability. My goodness, asexuality and disability has been one of the reasons why it’s been hardest for me to engage with the ace community at all, over the last decade. And I’m grateful to say that I think it’s starting to look up a little bit. Over the last year I think I’ve finally started to see a wedge that I can just dig into a little further. Just start of an ‘in’ to talking about these things in a way that people seem to be receptive to.

Courtney: So those were kind of all other reasons why we wanted to do this thing in the first place. We had zero expectations for this, though. There was certainly the big looming question of: “Is everyone just going to hate this and hate us so much that we’re just going to have to stop and call it a day?” [laughs] Especially since this was– Well let’s see, we started in September. So last Pride Month, so– June, less than three months. Three months had gone by since I had sort of had a crisis about, “Am I ever going to publicly talk about asexuality as a Disabled woman ever again?” Because I felt like a large portion of the online ace community was absolutely trying to box me out when I tried to get louder and more vocal, especially on Facebook. Facebook was the worst. Absolute worst. So, when we were looking to set up our social media for The Ace Couple podcast, I was like, “Absolutely not, we’re not touching Facebook. That place was cruel to me, I have trauma.”

Courtney: So yeah, it was kind of like, “Well, I guess this is our last attempt. We’re gonna– we’re gonna try to talk to the community in a more long-form way.” Because I don’t know, things like articles that have been edited down, things like social media posts character limits, things like that, a lot of nuance gets lost. And so we thought, perhaps if we just talk unedited into a microphone for about more or less an hour every single week, maybe we can get some of these ideas out there a little more. And people can get to know us and understand where we’re coming from a little bit better. But we were also fully prepared to just delete everything and vanish off the face of the internet if it didn’t work out. Which, this time last year felt like a very, very real possibility. So, a huge thank you to all of you who have supported us, and have listened to what we have to say, and have followed us on Twitter, and have listened to us every single week. It is thanks to all of you that we continued to do this. I don’t know, what were the odds? I thought it was maybe like a 50/50 shot that we were still going to be doing this in over a year.

Royce: Yeah, I don’t really know how to conceptualize that. I didn’t really have any expectations for community response, because who knows, that can always go any particular way. But I was wondering if we are going to have a patch where we didn’t have time for it, or get burned out, or have difficulty coming up with topics, or anything like that. But we’ve managed to approach this in a way that I think has worked well.

Courtney: We have so many topics that we, like, still want to talk about that we haven’t yet. We have no shortage of ideas. We have since the very first week had a document of podcast ideas. And some of them we’ve gone in and pulled from, sometimes we just get a strike of inspiration and we just go for an episode right off the bat before it even made it to the list, and just sit down and do it. But there are some podcast ideas that have been around since a year ago that we still haven’t had time to get to, but I still think they’re going to be very cool and very valuable. So, I’ve also been impressed at our ability to not run short of concepts.

Royce: And I think the format that we’re doing here, where we basically don’t prep or do as little prep as possible, has helped. Because that keeps the involvement down to pulling up whatever resources are absolutely necessary and then just talking and going through the editing. And that makes it a lot easier like if we had to write a script for every episode there’s no way we would have been able to do this.

Courtney: Yeah. Yeah. There is that. But I mean, since we lived together, since we have thought about these topics and discussed these topics regularly for years, and we’re constantly sort of reading more, learning more, it’s really not too difficult. I feel like we’ve been formulating a lot of these thoughts for years and now we’re just letting them come out organically. Because yeah, I’ve tried doing regular weekly, fully scripted like videos where I need to actually be on camera and that gets to be a lot really, really fast. So podcasting is pretty cool. Which is also very odd because I don’t listen to very many podcasts. I would not consider myself a podcast listener. So, I actually find it really quite funny that I host a podcast now. I’m much more of a reader than a listener for the most part. And I know some of you are too, some of you read our transcripts every week, instead of actually listening to our voices, which can’t really blame you there. Our transcribers are just the absolute most fabulous people. And I cannot tell you how grateful we are for them. They really are the unspoken heroes of our podcast.

Courtney: So let’s talk about all the things that have happened, and all the things that have changed in the last year. No, first of all, I feel obligated to mention this because our first episode was about this Contrapoints tweet. If you haven’t yet, you can go back and listen to that first episode to get the full context. But essentially, it was– she was talking about how certain pockets of the online queer community can be hard to figure out for outsiders, especially– and she gave a couple examples, one of which was like, “I’m a horny asexual who loves to have sex.” And we had mixed feelings on the way it was presented. Overall, we think she had a point there. That was maybe not the most well articulated. We didn’t love the framing of some of it, but for the most part we defended the overall gist that we thought she was getting at.

Courtney: And of course with people you do not know personally, people who have some level of internet celebrity, people with large social media platforms, it’s not usually worth it to try to spectate on, like, their personal motivations. Because everyone is a person at the end of the day and people can make honest mistakes. But people can also have more nefarious intent, and sometimes it’s really difficult to tell the difference between the two. But I try to come at most situations giving the benefit of the doubt. And sometimes I know I give too much benefit to too many people. But I was very, very disappointed when just a few months after that there was a new Natalie Wynn tweet, which was almost immediately deleted – it turns out she does that a lot. I don’t understand social media enough to know, to even conceptualize, what that means. Like, if you make tweets regularly and then delete them within the matter of minutes, is that because you’re just constantly regretting the things you’re tweeting? But you don’t stop to take an extra second to think before you tweet? You just tweet, then go, “Shouldn’t have done that. Delete.” Or is this like some kind of marketing ploy? Like, people are going to be talking about the fact that you’re deleting all your tweets.

Courtney: I have no idea how to even get into the headspace for that. But I happened to see a tweet which was deleted in, like, I kid you not, a minute – I don’t think it was up for two full minutes, so I don’t know what that means either – where she said, “The A in LGBT stands for ally.” But then she followed it up and said, “The B stands for Borat.” So, “The A stands for ally”? Not a good look, don’t love that. Because bunch of people actually, genuinely do think that. The “B stands for Borat”, it’s like, okay, so this is a joke. Sometimes it’s hard to read jokes online, but here’s the part that– that really, really upset me because I went down – I happened to be online right when this was posted and this was the only reason why I saw it – because I went down into the comments and the very first comment said, “I love when you go after asexuals.” And the very second comment was, “The most oppressed letter.” And so in my mind I was like, [skeptical] “I think Natalie Wynn is joking and doesn’t actually believe this…” But the immediate response from those followers was not taken that way. So that was really gross and icky, and I didn’t really know what to make of it. And then she, like, immediately deleted it.

Royce: And that’s sort of the danger with any sort of multi-part tweet. Because there’s going to be a certain percentage of your users that don’t read thoroughly. It’s like, it’s kind of like–

Courtney: Doesn’t open up the whole thread. Yeah.

Royce: It’s kind of like posting an article with the misleading headline.

Courtney: I suppose. It could be, it could be like that. So, yeah, I didn’t like that and then when it was gone, like, 60 seconds later, then it’s like, I don’t know, I can’t really speculate on motivations. But when I was just baffled, I was like, well, the– the two most obvious things I can think of are either she saw those first two responses and was like, “Oh that’s not what I was going for. Delete that,” in which case that’s admirable, like, “I was trying to make a joke but clearly it’s hitting exactly the wrong audience, and– bad joke shouldn’t have done that.” Or it’s one of those things that’s like, “I’m gonna post this, just long enough for some people to see it, and then delete it before it gets, you know, re-shared to a bunch of other people,” and, you know, get the rumor mill talking, that kind of a thing, and if that’s the case I super don’t love that.

Courtney: So I haven’t seen, really, personally, much else or anything else from her on that front, so I don’t have too much to talk about there. But over the last year we have had a variety of just, like, projects, community projects, various media involvement. I think the first big thing was Disabled Ace Day during Ace Week, which I was really quite pleased with how that turned out. I ended up meeting so many new faces with a variety of disabilities whom I had never heard of before, never spoken to. Some of whom have become friends and we’ve spoken quite regularly since then. So that’s been a really, really neat thing. So I’m still sort of in the process of formulating, and shaping, and thinking about what the biggest value in a day like this is and how to plan future years. Because I think that– that really coming together, and meeting each other and seeing each other’s stories, was something very unique for Disabled aces that we don’t get very often. So I would definitely love to get more of those stories out. Also as a result of Disabled Ace Day, I’d almost forgotten about this, but it was – I want to say North Carolina – a public radio station interviewed me in November about it. And I think it was North Carolina public radio, which seemed like a very random place to reach out to me. But I was like, “Sure!”

Royce: We’ve gotten a few different emails from local, like smaller scale, like not national scale, radio stations or publications. Some of them have been trying to find people for broadcast where we didn’t fit, and so we didn’t actually do an interview but–

Courtney: Mm-hmm.

Royce: I’ve been surprised at that. I guess it makes sense to have podcasters on an audio only format but I hadn’t thought that would happen.

Courtney: I’m surprised that it’s surprised you. Because I’ve done so much media for myself and my business over the last seven years, so you know how some of those things just, like, come out of the blue.

Royce: Yeah, I think it’s more that I haven’t regularly listened to radio in so long–

Courtney: [laughs]

Royce: –that I think that I just forgot, like, how radio stations do things.

Courtney: Yeah, I mean, honestly if I am listening to the radio it’s probably going to be talk radio. Because if I’m listening to music I would rather it just, like, be my own playlist that I can choose from and– and know what I’m going to listen to. So it makes sense that, yeah, talk radio stations are looking for guests. So that was interesting. We also appeared virtually at the PanACEa Conference, which I think to me was a much bigger surprise than like radio station interviews and other requests like that that we’ve gotten. Because that was a month after our first episode, we were brand new. We had hardly any episodes under our belt.

Royce: It did happen pretty quickly. I wasn’t super surprised because you specifically have had some overlap with some of the Indian ace communities.

Courtney: Mm-hmm.

Royce: I was specifically thinking about our podcast being started not that long after AceCon.

Courtney: The International Asexuality Conference. Yeah. Was in August, August last year. But yeah, that was really delightful. I had fun with that. It was great to meet some of the folks involved in that. That was also right around the time that we made our only attempted foray out into the real world since the pandemic started. Because we had gotten vaccinated, other people we knew had gotten vaccinated, cases were going down, we’ve been very carefully watching cases in our area ever since March of 2020. And it was like right before Omicron became like the new variant and the issue, and we had some friends who were getting married and you were actually in the– you were in the bridal party too.

Royce: Yeah. But of course, we decided to do a video call with some people on the other side of the world on the night in between the wedding and the wedding rehearsal.

Courtney: Yes! Which was also, like, right after Disabled Ace Day. And it was right around, like, Halloween time And I do a lot of, like, historian work with, like, mourning and death and grief. And just like the “Victorian hair art” thing is something that people really like to break out around Halloween, like all the historical houses are like, “Oh, we’re going to do the weird hair history stuff for Halloween.” So, being like a mourning historian, a hair artist and asexual… all of these things has me just so busy and frazzled at the end of October. Like I can hardly even just enjoy the season anymore, because I’m like a mall Santa at Christmas time. Just so much going on. So, we had Disabled Ace Day, which I did so much work for and I was so sleep-deprived because I was tweeting for like a solid 24 hours, trying to get all of the– all of the different time-zones involvement. So we did that, then we had a rehearsal dinner, then we had to be up at like before dawn to speak at the PanACEa Conference, which was a delight, but then we had the actual wedding that day. And then we never went out in public again, because then Omicron happened, and cases went up, and then they stopped requiring masks in places, and it was just a whole thing. So, woo! Goodness! Although that was a super, super odd experience, because we had just started this podcast, we only had a few episodes prepared, and now all of a sudden we’re seeing groups of friends that we have not seen in two years and they’re like, “Oh, what’s new with you two?” And I didn’t know if you were really out to them, or if you cared.

Royce: Oh, you knew I wasn’t. We had had that conversation before.

Courtney: Well, it’s– it was sort of like, is it because there’s a reason you’re not saying it, or is it just because you don’t talk to people. Was kind of the– like, I didn’t know how to answer that question when other people were asking me like, “Oh, why do you have to be up early in the morning? What’s new with you two? Oh, you started a podcast. What is the podcast about?” So, I was just like, “Oh, no.” Because I am an open book. I will tell anyone anything they ask, you don’t talk to people. So, which is, I think, oddly enough the only time that that has ever happened after being married 7 years. Because normally we’re either with people who very much know what our deal is, or we’re with very casual strangers where nothing like that is really coming up. So yeah, that was– that was– that was odd, that was an interesting one.

Courtney: And then, on International Asexuality Day, we successfully launched our Aspecs Committed to Anti-racism project, which is a – well, you can listen to the episode for yourself if you want all of the details – but it is a Discord community, it is sort of a book club. Many of us are reading, if not finished, with ‘Me and White Supremacy’ by Layla F. Saad, and doing corresponding journaling prompts along with it. But we also have an online Zoom meeting branch of it, where we have met, I guess, six times now, it’s been about six months. That was April 6th, that that was announced and– was IAD also the day that we launched the marketplace? Did we do all that on the same day or…? No, we did that for Pride Month, didn’t we?

Royce: Yeah, I believe so.

Courtney: Yeah. So Pride Month, we launched the marketplace for ace and aro small business owners. And that has been so cool, that has been just the coolest thing. We have over 100 shops on there. I did not even know that there were 100 aspec-owned businesses out there. But we have artists, we have authors, we have game designers…

Royce: I’d be curious to hear from some of the people who did take the time to fill out the form and get added on the shop, if they’ve seen any increased traffic. I know when we first put the site out, when we were clicking through things to see what was out there, we noticed at least a couple of sites that had metrics available, that had some recent purchases and things like that. But–

Courtney: Yeah…

Royce: It’s hard to say like, how much of an impact has that actually had for individual businesses?

Courtney: Yeah, I’ve heard from a couple who have said that throughout Pride Month especially that they were getting more sales and more traffic. So that was really, really good to hear. I mean, our website analytics has definitely had a huge uptick since we started that. So there are actually, like, we have pretty good traffic coming through there that of course, I mean, I’m a small business owner I know traffic doesn’t always mean purchases, but.

Royce: At least there’s some increased visibility.

Courtney: Yes. And that was sort of in part– I mean, we really just wanted to be– be hype men for the awesome artists and creators and business owners that are out there in our community. Because there is so much talent here, and a lot of that I got to see firsthand during Disabled Ace Day. A lot of people who picked up that hashtag who were disabled artists, who were crafters, were just posting about all these things that they create that were so cool, and I was just blown away at the amount of talent. So I wanted to keep that going and have something that people could reference. And here’s the coolest part, because– right, so 2021 I decided I actually wanted to get an Ace flag, but I also wanted to preferably buy a flag from an ace person. Because there are all of these, like, larger companies that you can go on that just have like every Pride flag and you can just pick, and they’re normally very cheap, like shockingly cheap. But I was like, “I’d rather buy this from an ace person if I can.” So I went to AVEN to ask, I posted on Twitter asking. I asked a ton of people if you knew anybody who actually sold Ace Pride flags, and nobody, nobody could give me an answer. Not a single person knew of an ace person selling Ace Pride flags. But my goodness, I’ll be darned if we didn’t do it. I think there’s at least one shop in– in the marketplace that actually sells Pride flags that I saw. It could be there are more now, because now we have over 100. But that was super, super cool.

Courtney: And really there are so many different things. There is someone there who makes handmade soaps, there are stickers buttons, there is underwear, there is pre-made artwork that you can buy for your walls, there are commissioned artists that you can work with to get exactly what you’re looking for. And like I said, books, video games, jewelry. So yeah, I want it to sort of be a hub where if you’re looking to buy something and you want to support ace and aro businesses, that you can just sort of search on there first. And you can search by product type, if you’re looking for something specific. You can search by identities, if you specifically want to look for Disabled aspec business owners or we have BIPOC, neurodivergent, trans, non-binary. We have all sorts of identity tags, as well as the products on there. And there’s just so much cool stuff on here. We’ve bought a lot of things from some of these businesses already, and I’m still working my way through, trying to see what everyone has because we got a bit of an influx there. And I couldn’t look at everyone yet, but I’m working my way through. So I think, yeah, as far as Pride projects go, I think that was a pretty successful one. I was happy with that.

Courtney: And I also wrote an article for Bon Appétit! [laughs] That was the weirdest place to write an article for, for me. I never would have thought that I would be writing something for Bon Appétit, but thanks to the fact that we had this Twitter account, I happened to see that an editor at Bon Appétit was looking for Pride pitches for things pertaining to Pride and food. And so of course when I saw that I thought, well, you can’t have a package of articles about Pride and food without talking about cake and asexuality. Or by extension garlic bread and asexuality. So I pitched it. With very little expectation, because I hadn’t written for an online article of that scale before. So I wasn’t sure if just on that alone they’d pass on it. But they picked up my pitch. I wrote my article. I was really, really quite happy with that. They actually paired me up with an ace editor also, which I thought was really really cool because they very much did not have to do that. But that gave me a lot of additional confidence that my article was going to be treated with respect. When was that? Am I allowed to actually talk about cake and asexuality yet? Probably pretty soon. We’ll have to do an episode on that, because, my gosh, I had like a thousand words to talk about this and my first draft that I sat down just to write, before editing it down, was like three times that. I went, oops!

Royce: That article was published on June, 22nd.

Courtney: Okay, so yeah, pretty soon! Pretty soon I can talk about cake again. But in the meantime, the link to that article will be in the description of this episode along with all other relevant links.

Courtney: So I guess here’s another odd one. So I was interviewed for a piece about asexuality and disability for a Canadian news site, along with a couple other Aces. And it was about a year difference from the– the article I have referenced multiple times that was not particularly well received in the Ace community. And the reaction was so different. It was astonishing because the Ace community pretty universally rallied around that article and said, “This is– this is good. Let’s boost this up. This is– is positive.” But then there were all these people in the comments calling us groomers. And just saying horrible hate and bigotry. Which is just… a product of the times I suppose.

Courtney: But it really, really seemed odd and put things in perspective for me. Because it was just one year different, and the year prior it was the Aces coming for me, not other people. And so now that it is the other people coming for us, I kind of wish that last year, the Ace community wasn’t spending so much time attacking our own. And not that we’re perfect on that, anymore. There have certainly been some times – where I’ve been more involved on Twitter than I have been in the past – I’ve definitely seen some instances where that sort of social media mob mentality has caused the Ace community to cannibalize their own to a certain extent. And I can think of two or three really solid instances of that, that I’ve personally witnessed in the last year. And that hurts every time, because I’ve kind of been there, done that, but not everyone stays around long enough to see if they’ll bounce back from it. Like, like we did, we were like, “Well, let’s start a podcast. If they don’t like us then, then we’ll leave.” [chuckles]

Courtney: So I do still think there is a conversation to be had, which– which we’ll have in some more detail, probably before too long, of just the ridiculously high standards that we sometimes hold each other to in these small sort of insular communities. A lot of which isn’t because someone is outright doing harm to others, but because we are so afraid that this person, and the way they’re talking about their experiences, is not going to properly appeal to outsiders, to allos, to straights. And that’s something I think we’ve gotten a little bit better at over the last year, but we’ve still got a long way to go on that as well. Because I just want the community to feel more like a community. I feel like I’ve started to find community in the last year, despite attempts to find community earlier, it never really clicked, because nothing felt like a community. It felt like just in-fighting, but not even in-fighting with people who you are in community with. It’s like you’re in-fighting with strangers who are trying to say that they are community, without supporting each other in the way a community should.

Royce: It’s a conceptual community based off of association or overlap of identity terms.

Courtney: Yes.

Royce: Without much more involvement going on aside from the fact that we are involved in the same spaces.

Courtney: Yes, very much that. So I think those are most of our big projects and our big things that we did over the last year. I guess we started that second YouTube channel, kind of. The A11y Couple.

Royce: Oh, yeah. That’s something that we– that we talked about a little bit a long time ago, just as a resource to document web accessibility things.

Courtney: Mm-hmm.

Royce: Right now the only thing that it has is a few short screen-recordings of tweets that are read through a screen-reader. At some point it would be nice to actually record a site audit and post. I think that would be a good resource to have.

Courtney: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Royce: But it’s just a place to house examples that we can link to and we’re actually discussing this thing– these things because we have spoken about web accessibility in an episode and occasionally on Twitter before.

Courtney: Well, and we do web accessibility things. People have hired us to audit their websites for accessibility. And last year, we did accessibility work with the International Asexuality Conference. And accessibility has just sort of long been a part of your job, in– I guess, professional settings. In your job-job, not your contract work. So, yeah. That’s been interesting. We haven’t done much with it yet. I’ve tweeted some of them out just because I think some of them are really interesting. But there is one tweet for example, with just– just a bunch of emojis and I think it was just the silliest tweet, it was just like, “Do not simp” was the tweet. That was the Tweet, but it was surrounded by pointing hand emojis. Just pointing to the words “Do not simp.” And what it took, like, over five minutes on a screen-reader to read that tweet that just says, “Do not simp” Baffling. It’s the worst.

Courtney: And I think that’s something that the average person doesn’t really understand. And because people sort of make this artwork with emojis, and make, like, very aesthetic looking tweets. And some of them actually are pretty cool. And what– what Twitter needs to do is recognize when there are more emojis than letters, and it needs to turn that into an image, and prompt people for an ALT text for it. That would solve a lot of issues. People can still have their visually aesthetic tweets, but you’re not going to be wasting the time of screen-reader users reading minutes of nonsense that means nothing! So some– some of those are pretty interesting. We’ll– we’ll put a link to that very small YouTube channel of ours, if you want to poke through some of those tweets. Some of them are nice and short, but we’ve got some– some memes that you’ll see, like the summoning circle, kind of a meme, that’s kind of interesting.

Courtney: Other than that, what– what have been our highlights? What have been the lowlights? What’s– what are some– some key statistics or episodes from the year?

Royce: Did you want to talk about charting?

Courtney: Sure, charts are a thing! It did not even occur to me when we started a podcast, that we would actually be charting in some countries…? But as of the time of recording this, we have charted in 24 countries. Twenty-four! That’s two new countries per month that we’ve been doing this, we have just charted in. And– and some of these we’ve charted in multiple times. But that’s been baffling. So, I guess I can read those off. If you’re from any of these countries, thank you! We love you. Thank you for being here. How did you find us? Where did you come from? So, some of these have been a surprise.

Courtney: This is also probably in the order that we charted in them into, so I don’t know if that’s interesting at all, but I’ve just been– basically every time we hit a new chart, I’ve just been noting it down. So in order: Norway – Norway was the first country we charted in. Hello Norway. We love you, Norway! – followed by Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, Russia, Australia, Canada, then the US – the US was number 7, our home was the seventh country we charted in – followed by the UK, Germany, Austria, Macedonia, New Zealand, Singapore, Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Belgium, Hong Kong, Costa Rica, Iceland, South Africa, Denmark, and Switzerland. And I don’t remember, I– maybe I should have noted it because now I– for some reason, just assumed I’d remember but I don’t, a couple of these we’ve actually hit number one. And I’ve been like, “Why?” I think we hit one in Costa Rica and or Macedonia.

Royce: These charts fluctuate so much.

Courtney: Oh yeah, it’s like the– they change daily.

Royce: I think what causes it is a big influx of new followers.

Courtney: Yeah. Like new subscribers.

Royce: All at once.

Courtney: Which has been really, really interesting. Because some of these countries we have been like consistently in the charts, ever since we first appeared there, and some of them will just be charting for like a week and then it’ll fall off and we’ll never see it again.

Courtney: What is the funniest thing that has happened to us as a direct result of having this podcast? Because to me, it’s either between some of the sillier hate comments, like when we were called “insults to humanity and nature,” which I think is great. [laughs] Or was it that, like, celebrity life-coach who was emailing us repeatedly asking to be a guest on the show? They’re both pretty good.

Royce: A couple of the emails we’ve gotten is where my mind went. Because as soon as you start a podcast you start seeing all these emails from companies that are wanting to try to monetize your podcast.

Courtney: Mm-hmm.

Royce: Or things like that.

Courtney: Mm-hmm.

Royce: Or to be on a podcast. And almost universally, you can tell that many of them don’t seem to have even read, like, the two sentence bio for the podcast.

Courtney: [laughs] Yes, all of them just get like mass blasted out to all the new podcasts.

Royce: Let alone listen to that episode.

Courtney: But yeah, the celebrity and media expert guest requests that we’ve gotten have been some of the funnier ones. Because the emails say, like, “I recently came across your podcast and was intrigued by your message. Your messaging platform resonates very deeply with me, as I can see so much of myself in the stories of your podcast.” Then it’s someone who’s like, “I wrote a book called ‘Love Smacked, how to stop the cycle of relationship addiction and codependency to find everlasting love’.” And it’s like, you’ve never listened to a single one of our podcast episodes, have you? But what really gets me is the– You ignore those emails and then you just keep getting them. Like, “Hey, I still want to be a guest on your podcast. Here are all the things I can talk about like, toxic relationships and codependency.” And I’m like, “No, thank you.” Very, very funny. So in fact, I believe we set up a Twitter poll about how offended we should be that– that was an ask, the options were “A little offended” or “Very offended.” And Twitter decided that we should be very offended by it. So that’s our stance. We’re sticking to it. Twitter has spoken. [emphatically] We are very offended by this! How dare she?! Her title is ‘holistic psychotherapy and life-coach’. I’m… I’m sorry, we respect our audience way too much to subject you to a life coach.

Royce: Yeah, I don’t like most of those terms.

Courtney: We wouldn’t do that to you. But we do have many other guests that are lined up for the future. As of the time of this, we have released two episodes with guests, but we have several more that are upcoming. And of course everyone we have lined up so far are people that we really like. So we hope you will too. Nay, we are confident that you will too. Other than that, I think that’s about all we’re at liberty to say right now. There are a couple other projects we have involvement in that we can’t really talk about yet. But I think those will be very exciting when we can. And otherwise we have more than 52 ideas for future podcast episodes that are still in our shared document, so I have very little doubt that we’ll continue to do this for another year. As long as you all continue to see value from it and continue to tune in, to listen to our voices every week.

Courtney: I guess I was trying to think if there was anything, like, just personal life things that have particularly changed or been interesting in the last year, and… not really. We don’t do anything outside of the house, so… we just sort of exist. I guess we did do an episode about our pets, and since that episode we have lost two of them in a very short period of time. We unfortunately lost one of our snakes, Sen, and we lost our possum, Lenny. So that was not great. That was really quite upsetting actually. But maybe that’s okay, because a lot of you didn’t even listen to that episode. That’s– that’s like our least popular episode. And here I was like, “Oh, people are always telling us on Twitter that they love our little personal life stories. And people like pets! And we have some weird ones. And let’s talk about our weird pets, people are going to love it.” And then hardly anyone listened to it? I think that was our only, like, real flop for the– for the most part our listenership has been pretty consistent at least on the podcast platforms.

Royce: It has been. There haven’t been– there haven’t been many huge outliers. I think the pets episode is the lowest ranking on every platform. It isn’t by a massive amount. And there’s– there’s also a general trend towards the first episode or two, partially just because they’ve been around for longer, but probably also because some people feel the need to start a podcast at the beginning, even though there’s no reason to do that on our podcast.

Courtney: Yes. I actually really, really love when I can tell that there is, like, a new person who has found us and gotten excited and started right from the beginning. Because occasionally, we’ll get a Twitter account that is, like, tweeting along and kind of live tweeting their listening to our podcast. So, they’d, like, tweet a comment about, like, “Oh, I’m on episode four now.” And I love that honestly! It’s good to know that there are people who are still finding us and are enjoying the content enough that they’re going back to older episodes as well.

Royce: The Sex Education video, I think, went through a period of time where it was very searchable, and on a couple platforms that one spiked quite a bit. As did the Heartstopper episode.

Courtney: Yeah, certain media representation episodes that we do will get a spike just because it’s kind of trending. We got that to a certain extent when we talked about Euphoria also, which I guess, that makes sense. I mean, that’s how– that’s how the internet works. Trending topics and all that.

Courtney: So, I think that will conclude our first year of podcast! If you are still with us, if you have made it this far, I’d love it if you would all tweet at us. And if you are someone who has listened to all or most of our podcast episodes, I’d love if you tweet at us @The_Ace_Couple – underscore between all of those words – and tell us what your favorite episode has been. That will certainly help us to know what kinds of things you like best. And what’s– what kind of episodes you want to see more of going on into the future.

Courtney: And if you are listening to this on Apple Podcast, if you would be ever so kind, we would appreciate it if you gave us a good review. Because we’ve seen that most of our reviews on there are good, we’ve had a couple of really nasty ones, but most of them are good, our overall average is pretty good. But one thing that is odd, which I didn’t realize as someone who is not a regular podcast listener, Apple Podcast kind of only shows you the reviews from your own country when you tune in. So, if you’re in the US, looking at US reviews– you’ll see all the other US reviews, but you won’t necessarily see the things that people in the UK are saying. And the people in the UK aren’t going to be seeing the things that people in Sweden are saying. And that’s pretty weird. I don’t know why they do that for something like a podcast that is online. I guess certain countries might have different trending interests and maybe that’s the goal there.

Courtney: But that also makes it so that in some of the countries where we have fewer reviews in that could mean that one really, really bad review is painfully visible amongst the others, or lack thereof. So leaving us a positive rating with a written review very, very much does help. Especially if you’re on Apple in a country where you don’t see a lot of reviews for us right now. So on that note, thank you all for being here. Thank you for giving us an overall really quite pleasant first year of podcasting! I really do think that we have a very, very cool audience and we’ve really enjoyed interacting with you. So, here’s to year one, and we will see you all next week as we embark on year number two.