It’s Asexual Awareness Week, which means that though I’d do it any time of the year, it’s the optimal time of the year to recommend and gather recommendations of media with asexual protagonists. Today I want to talk about two brilliant geeky YA novels with main characters that are not only relatable, complicated, and funny, but sit on a perhaps lesser-known place on the asexual spectrum: these are two characters who are confirmed as demisexual.
Demisexuality is when you only begin to feel sexually attracted to people once you form a strong emotional bond with them. The most common misconceptions about it tend to be that the demi in question is just “picky” and chooses to get to know people first, or that they’re no longer, or never really were, asexual at all once they find someone they like enough to be attracted to. As with the many grey areas along the ace spectrum, it can be a tricky thing to both explain to people and define for yourself, especially given how society so easily conflates romantic, aesthetic, and sexual attraction all together as one big amorphous thing when they’re really separate and very different feelings—and, as always, different for every individual person!
I know that I’m somewhere under the ace umbrella, but finding an exact word to define my unique, personal scenario has kind of felt like I’m a sleep-deprived detective staring at a conspiracy board trying to link evidence together with bits of string. While I’m still bumbling along trying to figure myself out, it was immensely rewarding and heartwarming to read these two books where characters (who are younger than me, mind you) get to not only find happiness in their ace identities and have fulfilling relationships, but get to be the stars of moving and engaging stories. Continue reading →
I always mean to read more webcomics, but I’m often daunted by long-running stories which I never manage to catch up with. I’m also always on the lookout for representation of different LGBTQ+ identities, especially those which are most often forgotten, such as asexuality. Enter this week’s Web Crush: Heartless, a promising and adorable webcomic about vampires in Victorian London. It’s only a couple chapters in so far, but the premise is intriguing and the art is cute.
Spoilers for the first two chapters of the webcomic below.
As a genderqueer person I’m fairly certain that my own experience with slash fanfiction differs somewhat from the norm. Only recently have I begun reflecting on how formative both writing and reading fanfiction was at a time in my life when I felt isolated and frustrated by my own seemingly incongruous feelings. Knowing now that there are a surprising number of people for whom the gender binary doesn’t hold true, I like to think that for some small portion of the fan community fanfiction has been an important tool for self-discovery, as it was for me.
Lycanthropy also serves as a metaphor for the inherent state of physical transition and transformation that is a defining part of puberty. For most able-bodied, non-chronically ill people, puberty is the first time we actively feel out of control of our bodies (potty training notwithstanding). The changes are sudden, violent, bizarre; simple changes in height are nothing compared to the fundamental, irreversible changes to the character and nature of our bodies that happen during puberty. It’s rooted in the same basis that makes all body horror so terrifying—the involuntary changing of and lack of control over the body.
GT: if i marry him won’t that make me your stepdad??
TG: youre planning on marrying my bro
GT: i don’t fucking know!!
GT: we’re dating, so it’s kind of a possibility????
TG: is he aware youre already thinking about marriage
GT: dude, shut up!
TG: nah man i think we need to get our calendars out and see about booking a minister
TG: ill draw up the invitations
TG: sweet bro and hella jeff cordially invite you to the unholy union of egbert and strider
GT: auuuugh no i don’t want to be my best friend’s stepdad!!!!!!
TG: think the word youre really lookin for here is stepbro
GT: you’re in so much denial holy shit. no wonder rose psychologically dissects you all the time.
—The Ace Thing, Chapter Six
It’s been 84 years…
After a year-long hiatus, the unorthodox webcomic Homestuck has resumed to its semi-erratic updating schedule. Although I’m definitely not as into the series as I used to be, I’m super excited to see how the series ends—ie: hopefully without all the characters dying—and more than willing to celebrate its triumphant site-breaking return with a fic recommendation. In light of this and in light of Asexual Awareness Week, today’s fic delves not only back into the Homestuck universe, but also focuses solely on a perfectly healthy relationship between a character that is asexual and a character who is, self-admittedly, not asexual at all. Continue reading →
Bioware recently released another trailed for their upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition game. Since they pushed its release date back a month—and hopefully will remain only a month—I am really hurting for things to fill the void in the meantime. Of course, I could just play the games again for what would most likely literally be the thirtieth time for either, but why do that when I can turn to the world of fanfiction?
Spoilers: I will definitely end up playing the game again.
In my experience, it is difficult to find a good fanfic with an asexual character. Usually the fic either reads like a “very special episode” on asexuality, or just generally portrays asexuality horribly.
One of my major pet peeves with fanfics featuring asexual characters is that the entire fanfic ends up being entirely about the character’s asexuality. There’s no other plot, motive, or storyline; it’s just about “dealing” with asexuality. What I mean by this is that usually the asexual character is in a relationship, and a large majority of the fanfic deals with the sexual partner dealing with and trying to understand their asexual partner. And while a few plots like that are all well and good, when it’s overused it starts to become very similar to TV shows like Glee and many othersthat make homosexuality a character’s key personality trait and their entire plotline.
Another thing that sometimes bothers me is the lack of fanfic with a female asexual character. To be fair, the lack of female characters is a problem in our media in general and thus is naturally a problem in fanfiction.
“You work too hard, my nephew,” Iroh rumbles behind him, and Zuko can smell the lingering rich scent of the roasted duck he’d had for dinner, and he can hear the polished clack of pai sho tiles rolling between Iroh’s fingers. “Come with us,” he says. “It is so rare that we stay at port overnight; you should not miss this opportunity.”
“I’m fine, Uncle,” Zuko says, and snaps into the next form of the firebending set he’s been practicing for the past week. “And I don’t have time for breaks. The Avatar has had decades to train.”
Iroh sighs, as he always does when they argue like this. “Zuko, an evening spent on shore will not hurt you. Who knows? The rest could do you good! Leave you refreshed and stronger!”
“Or out of practice. I’m staying here,” Zuko snaps, and then curses, because he’s lost his concentration. His foot has slipped and slid over the treacherous deck too far out, like a soldier breaking rank—isolated, unbalanced, and vulnerable. Zuko snarls and stalks five paces back to his starting point. He tries again from the beginning.
There is no sound from Iroh, and when Zuko next looks, he is gone.
In the interests of continuing to celebrate Asexy April, this week I’ve found an Avatar: The Last Airbender fic that was written for Asexuality Awareness Week back in 2011 for all of you.
Their relationship in one image.
The Prince Zuko we meet at the beginning of the show is a tense, overstressed teenager with more daddy issues than Tony Stark and fewer healthy outlets—which is saying something—and that’s the Zuko author Etienne_Bessette has captured for us. The story begins with Uncle Iroh interrupting one of Zuko’s intense training sessions. Zuko takes it the wrong way when Iroh suggests his temper might be improved by some “pleasant company”. Continue reading →