#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Why Asexual representation is Important

 

Jill.png

For most of my life, I’ve been a reader. I’ve read just about everything—science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, etc. No matter which genre, there was always romance. Even if it wasn’t the focus of the story, love was never too far. Every novel described what it felt like to fall in love: the pounding of a heartbeat, desire for touch and affection, and the devastation of a heartache. While I never failed to absorb the feelings written, I’d never truly related to that heart-stopping rush of emotions these authors described so vividly.

Something seemed off to me. Something that dug deeper than the relationships depicted in the novels I read. Why did everyone feel that allegedly universal rush of affection for someone, and I didn’t? Was there something wrong with me? This made me dig even deeper into my life, and internet forums. And then, like a shining beacon gleaming into the night for weary sailors, I found the term: Asexual.

For all my life I knew the word asexual, but it only seemed to apply to biology, and definitely not a sexual orientation—and definitely not me. But as I began to unravel everything I knew about myself, asexuality seemed to reflect my entire life. The far flung crushes that lasted only a few days. My admiration for fictional boys as opposed to real ones. Imagining a future focused on my passion for writing, and never marriage or children. What external forces kept this revelation from me for so long?

Like most queer teens, I spent my early years confused. In a society where LGBTQ+ voices are minor and far between, proper representation for asexuals is practically nonexistent. The main characters never failed to end up with their soulmate, and the ones who didn’t. . .Well, they weren’t the main characters.

That’s why I still get so excited when I see asexual representation in the media—even if it’s briefly mentioned—makes my heart soar. Just knowing that more people are becoming aware of us brings me hope that one day asexual teens don’t have to question if something is wrong with them, or if they really just “haven’t met the right person yet.” Whatever you feel, you are never alone.

I’ve been fortunate to find a few books with asexual representation in the past year and a half. My personal favorites are Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee and Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann. Tash Hearts Tolstoy features main character who is heteromantic asexual, while Let’s Talk About Love features a biromantic asexual black woman and delves into subjects surrounding intersectional identities.

Among others novels with asexual representation is Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, and Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. Before I Let Go features an asexual main character and a pansexual supporting character. Every Heart a Doorway—which is a fan favorite in the young adult community, because it is recommended to me quite often—is about an asexual main character with a cast of diverse characters. Radio Silence features a bisexual main character, but has a demisexual supporting character.

While that is the only books with confirmed asexual rep that I can name, I am anticipating a new release soon: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. A spinoff of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, this novel features an aromantic asexual main character, and will be released this October.

Mackenzi Lee - #2 The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy .jpg

Moreover, representation matters. It was so comforting to not only discover I was asexual among a supportive community, but discover books with the same themes that I can truly relate to beside the typical literary romance. As long as we push for more representation, change will come and more readers can learn early that they are valid and do belong.


jill-sig.pngBook Blogger @  A Book Nerd Reads

Jill is a bookstagrammer (booknerd_reads). She spends most of her time blogging, writing, reading the endless stack of books on her tbr, or browsing social media (which she also considers as reading.) You can usually find her talking about books, activism, or asexuality—sometimes all at once.

Noteable Posts:

Diverse Book Bloggers Discuss is a way to boost diverse bloggers who are brilliant and have a lot to say but have smaller platforms and don’t really get as much reach as they deserve. What this is, is basically a guest post feature where twice a month diverse book bloggers will discuss things they are passionate about on my blog. 

21 thoughts on “#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Why Asexual representation is Important

  1. This is a great post and one I relate to! I think the next step for asexual representation is for ace characters to star in narratives that aren’t solely romantic. This is the one reason I like Every Heart A Doorway, in spite of its flaws – because Nancy’s happy ending doesn’t require her to find a love interest.

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  2. I’m always on the look out for more ace representation for books, so I definitely love posts like this that call attention to them 🙂 Unfortunately, I haven’t read any you listed yet, I think because I’m a little frustrated that the same books always seem to be mentioned and none of the actual plot really interest me all too much. Still, I’m thankful they exist, and I’m happy more people are aware of what asexuality even is because of them.

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  3. This is a brilliant post, and what you’ve said is basically the reason I think it’s so important to see other kinds of LGBT+ representation (other than gay and lesbian) in books. The first book I read with an asexual character was Every Heart a Doorway and I only picked it up after I started blogging. All the reading I’d done before then and I’d ever come across another ace character.
    I can’t wait for The Ladies Guide, and hearing there’s ace representation just makes me more keen to finally get around to it!
    Great post. 🙂 ❤

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  4. Indie books are more likely to have ace (or aro) characters, and most of it is #ownvoices. I’m not saying we’re drowning in rep, because we’re not, but there IS more than the ones from the big publishers! Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver for example has several ace characters (the short story “Always Be You” is specifically about two ace characters navigating their relationship) 🙂 Check out the ace and aro database for more ran by Claudie Arseneault: http://claudiearseneault.com/?page_id=1320

    Anyway, yes, representation is incredibly important, I can’t say much more on it that isn’t already in the post, so I’m just gonna spread love of the great indie titles with aro and ace characters.

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  6. Fantastic guest post Jill! Everyone deserves to see themselves in books. I must admit, I’ve never read a book with asexual representation, but Every Heart a Doorway, Radio Silence, and The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy are all on my TBR. I will definitely look forward to reading a new perspective to better understand those who identify themselves as asexual. Thank you for spreading awareness by sharing your story.

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