Not A Bot: A Case Study on Identity Negotiation of A-spectrum Filipinos Through Discord

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This thesis paper examines the manners in which members of the Discord server ‘Aromantic and Asexual Support Ph’ (AASP) negotiate their identity on the platform. In order to discover how being in this online community has impacted their self-perception, interviews with members of the AASP Discord server were conducted along with an observation of the server itself. From this, the features of the server have revealed technological affordances, namely: connectivity, interaction predictability, security, and persistence, that allow its users to negotiate their identity. It was seen that members utilize the different aspects of the platform, such as the message reactions as well as the text and voice channels, to create connections and build relationships with other A- spectrum Filipinos. The server has proven itself to be a secure and safe space for them to seek consolation and advice whenever they voice out their own issues and concerns. It was found that their interaction and constant activity in the server has allowed them to unmask and feel more understood, respected, affirmatively valued, and secure with their identity.

Keywords: asexuality, aromanticism, Discord, Filipino queer online communities, identity negotiation, technological affordances

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