At the time I’m writing this, I am nineteen years old. Despite all the media I have soaked up - films I’ve watched, games I’ve played, and books I’ve read throughout those nineteen years - I can only recall a single canonically asexual character. This isn’t a new issue, and the problem of representation in general certainly isn’t a stranger to the LGBTQ+ community, but asexuality seems to be one of the subsections of the community that still hasn’t received much representation.
A part of the problem, the way I see it, is that asexuality is the afterthought of the LGBTQ+ community. In a realm where sex is so encouraged and accepted, it makes sense that the one sexuality that isn’t as comfortable with sex would be shunted out of the spotlight. When I use the word ‘afterthought’, I mean it less as an affront to asexual people, but rather as an observation of the culture around our sexuality. Whenever I hear about an asexual character in a story or series, I’ve found that the confirmation of that character’s asexuality is rarely addressed in the show itself. Peridot from Steven Universe is a great example of this since our discovery of her asexuality came from a Twitter post from a storyboard artist rather than Peridot (or an experience she might have had). Don’t get me wrong of course, the scene of peridot’s unsuccessful fusion from ‘Log Date 7 15 2’ is a big step in the right direction, but I wish we could break the stigma of the invisibility of asexuality.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that there was only one asexual character that came to mind out of all the entertainment I’ve watched and played. I believe that Todd Chavez from BoJack Horseman represents (at least in part) the answer to the invisibility of asexuality in queer media. Todd is different because he talks about his sexuality, even if he doesn’t understand it at first. In the episode ‘That Went Well’ from Bojack Horseman, Todd doesn’t have a label for what he thinks he is. He says “I’m not gay. I mean, I don’t think I am, but… I don’t think I’m straight either. I don’t know what I am. I think I might be nothing.” and in a heart touching moment, Emily reassures him that “Oh. Well, that’s ok.” Even before he has a label for himself, I think this is all we need to remove the veil around asexuality in media.
Just like being Straight, Gay, Trans, or Pan, being Ace is a sexuality. It gets talked about, and a lot more than media today makes a point to recognize. It’s a spectrum, and it’s always okay to not know where you are on that spectrum, or even whether you are a part of that spectrum at all. Seeing asexuality represented in media makes me really happy, and really comfortable. I think that asexual people often feel alienated, even inside of the LGBTQ+ world, so making spaces to address asexuality can really help to foster an environment where everyone can feel comfortable in their preferences.