Vol. 2, Issue 2: Asexuality and Representation
Lead Editor: Michael Paramo
Ai Baba, Evelyn Elgie, Katie Halinski, Emma Hutson
Joe Jukes, Sydney Khoo, Ashley O' Mara
Layout Editor: Michael Paramo
Asexuality and Representation
Asexuality is commonly interpreted as a lack of sex by society – a totally “nonsexual” experience that exists in direct opposition to that which is marked as sexual – while the ace community largely defines asexuality as a lack of sexual attraction. This incongruence in definining asexuality between community and society creates an environment for aces that is obstructed by forced navigation of misunderstanding and disbelief. Therefore, to think of the relationship between asexuality and representation, one must first conceptualize how sex itself is portrayed throughout social realms, whether that be in the media, public institutions, religious organizations, and further, as the social worth that sex is assigned through representation correlates precisely with the manner in which asexuality, as a lack of sex, is (de)valued. Where sex often represents what is meaningful, powerful, and successful in society, the asexual often represents what is meaninglessness, powerlessness, and devoid of success. For example, where sex defines meaning, advancement, progression, and success in and of a relationship between humans, a lack of sex represents a union that is unfulfilled and incomplete. Representation holds the power to shift these societal understandings of the sexual and, in turn, the asexual, as well as their implications.
If asexuality is to be widely understood as a lack of sexual attraction, sex not only must be decentered in representations, but there must also be a simultaneous intentional movement that acknowledges the complexities of ace existence and identity. Representations should dismantle hierarchical structures that position the sexual at the apex of social value while also portraying a complex imagining of asexuality as an identity that exists beyond sex, one that allows for a total reimagining of how human attraction, love, and intimacy function. Volume 2, Issue 2 of The Asexual journal on Asexuality and Representation includes artwork and writing by various ace-identified authors who think of representations of asexuality in varying respects, whether as expressions of the self and community, as readings and interpretations of media, and as opportunities to reimagine the current social and sexual landscape. Representation is a key component in the necessary project of unraveling the dominant position of sex in society and amplifying the complexities of asexual identity.
Founder of The Asexual
About the Editors
Vol. 2, Issue 2
Michael Paramo is a two-spirit queer ace graduate student researching (a)sexuality, gender, attraction, and intimacy. They founded The Asexual journal in October 2016 with the intention of providing a platform for ace artists and writers as well as to elevate discourse on gender and sexuality. They aspire to live near the forest and the ocean one day and be fully embraced by the beauty and power of nature. They can be found on Twitter @Michael_Paramo.
Ai Baba is an aroace agender PhD candidate studying race, gender, and a/sexuality in modern Japanese history. Besides working on her dissertation, Ai is currently volunteering with the Asexual Census Survey Team, and also founded "ace to ace" (http://ace2ace121.wordpress.com ) to connect aces in Japan. Twitter: @not_alibaba.
Evelyn Elgie is a queer ace poet, artist, and academic. Her work deals with mental illness, asexuality, deconstruction and landscape, and in particular a radical re-imagining of our cultural understanding of sex and romance. She holds a BA in Contemporary Studies and Creative Writing from the University of King’s College, and her poetry has appeared in Open Heart Forgery, Glass Mountain, and Hinge: Journal of the Contemporary. She is about to begin her master’s degree at the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia.
Katie Halinski is a non-binary grey-asexual from London. They are currently doing a PhD in Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic at the University of Cambridge, where they are researching human-bird interactions and bird symbolism in Old Norse culture. In their spare time, they enjoy playing bass guitar and watching films (the stranger the better). They can be found on Twitter as @Liminalitea, where they mostly post about kaiju, cats, the stranger parts of medieval culture, and mental health.
Emma Hutson is currently completing a PhD on trans literature at Sheffield Hallam University. She has work published in C Word: An anthology of writing from Cardiff, Severine Literary and Art Journal, CrabFat Magazine, the Harpoon Review and The Asexual journal. Her short story ‘Footsteps’ came second place in Sheffield Authors’ Off The Shelf short story competition. She is available on Twitter @EmmaSHutson.
Joe Jukes is currently studying for an MA in Sexual Dissidence at the University of Sussex, UK. Their primary research interests concern theory, including Queer- and Gender Theory, Critical Theory as well as Cultural Geography and Rural Studies. They have published in The Asexual before, in the Body Issue, and are hoping to pursue a PhD working towards the creation of “Asexual Theory.” Their Twitter can be found @JoeeJayyy.
sydney khoo is a non-binary and queer writer, born in new south wales, australia to malaysian-chinese parents. though typically located crying in starbucks or tweeting in mcdonalds, they can occasionally be found posting creative essays and short stories online. follow them on twitter @sydneykerosene.
Ashley O’Mara is a freelance writer, former Jeopardy! contestant, and PhD candidate at Syracuse University, where they are writing a dissertation about celibacy and asexuality in literature after the English Reformation. Their work on sexuality, religion, and politics has appeared in America and Metathesis. They identify as ace, enby, and some kind of andro- or biromantic. They have strong opinions about hummus. Follow them online at ashleyomara.com and @ashleymomara.
Vol. 2, Issue 2
The Asexual is an independent space that relies on donations of $1.00 or more via Patreon to fund this journal for ace writers and artists. Without this support from our patrons, The Asexual journal would not be possible.
Major supporters of The Asexual journal are currently donating $5.00 or more per month:
Walter Mastelaro Neto
If you would like to support The Asexual journal, visit Patreon.com/AsexualJournal.
All works in The Asexual are created by writers, artists, and creators who identify under the ace umbrella. Owner retains copyright of work upon publication, but agrees to give The Asexual first serial/electronic rights and print rights as well as electronic and print archival rights. Owner also agrees that if the work is published subsequently, either online or in print, credit to The Asexual is provided. For more information visit TheAsexual.com. Cover photography by Michael Paramo.