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I was going to post about (and still am), my glee at finding a reference to asexuality in 'Homophobia: A History' by Byrne Fone. While discussing the ancient Greeks and Romans, he describes Lucian of Samosata's play the 'Erotes', which describes four men. Theomnestus likes men and women, Charicles likes the ladies and is described by as possibly the first recorded homophobe. Callicratidas likes young men. They call upon Lycinus, the narrator, to be an impartial judge as to who is best, 'since you incline to neither passion'. (Homosexuality wins, just about.) It is a good bit of evidence to throw back at people who refuse to believe that asexuality's been around for very long, but I've realised quite how much I look out for asexual characters, mentions or role models.

I watched John Barrowman's 'Story of Me' about (mainly biological) reasons for being gay, and got a bit saddened by his constant need to be biologically different, as if that validated how he personally felt, when surely biology was irrelevant to that. But am I not doing something similar? Searching through history, fiction and people's personal lives in the hope of finding someone like me, to validate my existence by feeling the same way?

That seems rather unhealthy, but I know I'm not alone; lots of queer people feel the need to find people like them to identify with. Society tells us we're supposed to be in straight relationships, so we consciously or unconsciously look for examples where this doesn't happen? Gay celebrities, trans movies, lesbian tv characters, bi singers, queer fiction...

I just wish there were more ase ones. There's a handful of ase 'celebs' that I've never heard of (a comedian and an author, and then people who're famous within the ase community like David Jay), but none that other people have really heard of.

As for fiction, I'm pretty fond of Wall-E and Dr Who. But it'd be nice to have some thoroughly human and explicit examples out there. That's why the asexual character in Shortland Street is so exciting. OK, now we need a human and *cool* role model...

I am now awaiting the first movie to deal with asexuality. I may have to write the screenplay...


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
4th Aug, 2008 11:57 (UTC)
I do that, but not just with bi people, I look for bi, gay, ase, trans, in fact any sexuality other than straight. I've always wondered why I do it. I haven't come up with an answer yet. I don't think I'm looking for role models, I think it's more that I find people who aren't straight more interesting... That's really rude and unfair to straight people though, and not at all true once you know more about them... I really don't know.

I also watched the thing with John Barrowman, and I was a bit upset not just by the way he seemed to feel he needed to have a biological reason for being gay, but also because of the way he expressed that feeling. He made it seem like even he thought that by being gay without a "real" reason meant that there was something wrong with him. We're not gonna get anywhere if famous gay people give the impression that they think there's something wrong with being gay!
8th Aug, 2008 15:01 (UTC)
Yes... I suppose 'role model' isn't quite the right word, since I wouldn't model my behaviour on anyone, but I do find it interesting. Maybe it's the way that the people live/experience outside society's expectations? Hmmm. Dunno. And yes, he did give me that vibe... sad-making.
Ah well, I'll go listen to some Ani DiFranco and cheer meself up. :) She does seem very happy being bi/pan.
4th Aug, 2008 15:20 (UTC)
It's really cool to find that historical reference to us. So far, the only one that I knew of was a letter by Louis XIV's sister (I think), in which she, in passing, described the sexual interests of those at Versailles.

When I found it, I thought it was nice to see reference to asexuals. I guess it wasn't so much a need to be validated as a nice something in light of the frustration that there is so little acknowledgment that we even exist.
8th Aug, 2008 15:03 (UTC)
Acknowledgement! Yes, it's a lovely feeling. :) I'll see if I can find that...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )