It seems that ten years later, we still have a lot of growing to do…
Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. First of all, I just want to say that Iridium Eye Reviews is the place you want to go for an in-depth review of this particular documentary.
My view upon this series is personally skewed. I am person who knows what it means to be occasionally sex-repulsed. I don’t identify as “ace”, but I have experienced a personal revulsion to the sexual experience before. That experience heavily shifts my opinion on this documentary, and I want to be honest about that upfront.
If you want something much more impartial, read that review instead. I only know of this documentary because of his review, so justified credit where credit is due.
The asexual community also goes by the phrase “ace community” and those terms can be interchangeable. In this post I’ll be using both. Please keep in mind asexuality is not “cookie cutter” by nature. Like all sexual and gender identities, a vast spectrum exists.
As a person on the transgender spectrum, I absolutely need to talk about (A)sexual due to a few stigmas that have been within the LGBTQ+ community for as long as I can remember.
Before I begin though, allow me to just say this; asexuality should be openly discussed. It needs to be talked about and more widely accepted. Even 10 years later, it isn’t as vastly understood by the masses as it should be. This is my attempt to help rectify that problem.
There’s a fairly simple truth about society at large. Our mass media lives by a single motto above all else; sex sells. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, or as I’d rather call it GRSM community, we need to have a quick talk.
GRSM stands for Gender, Romantic, and Sexual Minorites. Some of the asexual community are most certainly included in both demographics, and to deny this fact would be downright stupid. That being said, to me the concept of representation is very important.
For example, you can be an asexual woman and engage in romance (with or without sex) with other women. That’s what a lesbian is. You can be transgender and be inherently asexual and sex repulsed by your nature.
One identity does not directly deny the other, not even in the slightest.
The asexual community requires representation too, just like the rest of us. This documentary, offers that representation at least in some small way. While I do have a few complaints about the documentary, it provides a voice and outlet for an under-represented community.
Now, in 2022 representation has gotten better for a lot of minorities. Still, there are plenty of ways this representation can be improved and expanded. Considering the relative rarity of openly and directly stated ace representation in books, films, and wider media, we do need to keep that in mind…
Sorry, but announced afterthoughts on Twitter by creative minds DON’T count as adequate representation in my personal opinion. However, documentaries like (A)sexual do.
Disclaimer: I am not asexual. I do not identify as one. I cannot speak to their life experience directly. I can only speak to my life and my view. For more information about the asexual life and personal experiences they face, you should go over to the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). This is merely a discussion of the documentary and little more.
Does (A)sexual Hold Up?
Well, that really depends I suppose. This documentary is over a decade old, but there’s a lot of small details that still hold true. As I said above, asexuality exists on a pretty diverse spectrum. The documentary interviews a few people among the asexual community across America. You’ll get insights into their everyday lives and personal struggles.
In truth, asexuality isn’t a monolith. What you get out of this documentary series entirely depends on what you know about the asexual experience already. I’d say it’s a good place to start though.
When it comes to furthering the general conversation, (A)sexual is informative and compelling to a person who may not understand the lifestyle. The leading asexual activist David Jay takes center stage. Aside from him, you’ll see opinions from popular YouTube personalities and influences within the ace community.
These people talk very frankly about the struggles that go along with the identity. However, it is a little dated. The documentary doesn’t correctly express the full scope of the acronym alphabet soup that the wider world likes to toss around.
Some asexual people aren’t lesbians, gays, trans, or queer. Some of them don’t identify that way… some do though, and for those that want the inclusion, we should be welcoming them with open arms.
For a complete beginner who knows nothing of asexuality at all, this is for you. It will give you a point to start off. That’s about it, though.
Inexcusable Behavior from the LGBTQ+ Community
Before I address this particular issue, I’d like to reiterate, this documentary took place ten years ago. That being said; the direct and pointed way that discrimination and worldly assumptions are addressed in this documentary hit hard. It will challenge you. That’s a good thing, but I do take issue with one particular scene.
It bothered me… actually it pissed me off, and I’m not even ace!
There is a point in the film where David Jay and several people in the ace community are shown at a San Francisco Pride Parade event. Clearly, they went to celebrate and to join the festivities. They’re covered in asexual pride and showing themselves off. They’ve even got signs… but things take a sharp turn. The straight and GLBTQ+ community lost their minds. They took out their anger upon the ace community at the event.
This stigma has always been prevalent to some degree. That’s my reason for this review, seeing that event fired me up something fierce.
I’m not going to say that David Jay shouldn’t have expected a little backlash, particularly for the time. That being said, the reaction from the LGBTQ+ community isn’t defensible. Honestly, it was harassment, full and flat out harassment.
I repeat for those in the back: sexuality IS a spectrum. Asexuality is too. This documentary was released in 2011, we are now in the year 2022. Yet, despite the ten years of advancement and understanding, there’s still plenty of stigma regarding the ace community.
For some odd reason, many who identify in the LGBTQ+ community also don’t want the ace community involved with that little inclusive “plus” sign. This is why I felt the need to make this blog post. It allows me to make a very important point.
Some asexual people are gay, some are lesbians, and you sure as hell can be transgender too. Body dysphoria and being repulsed sex can go hand-in-hand to some degree.
Let’s be transparent, shall we?
See this bowl? Know what those colors mean? That’s the trans flag. Our brand wears it proudly, because Kresh and I of The Demented Ferrets are on the transgender spectrum. On top of that, Ruka is lesbian with a non-binary or male-leaning mindsets. Even though she identifies as “butch” or female, she’s had moments of dysphoria too, just like Kresh and I.
We also have a friend who helps us out on occasion. Although Ebby is not an official member of our group just yet, he’s a straight cis-male. He has been strong ally and friend of Ruka and I for over decade years.
My point is this, allies matter…
Sure, we’re a group that’s rough around the edges. We curse up a storm, swear a lot, and we’re imperfect by nature… but we would never use our personal identities to intentionally harm another, and no one should.
The behavior I saw from the LGBTQ+ community in (A)sexual makes me sick… but a decade later I still see this kind of behavior on occasion. As someone who has experienced a sex repulsion myself on rare occasion, I just want to remind you all that some of us in trans community can also feel a repulsion to sex when dysphoria takes hold.
Sexually reproductive organs can bring up a lot of tender, uncomfortable feelings… and we can experience sexual repulsion too. When you so openly insult the ace community, you can also inadvertently insult one of the LGBTQ+ community too. It could be anyone who simply use sex as a means to define their romantic relationships.
I say this honestly. I have had a libido die on me. I have become sex repulsed for months or years at a time. I was just in that kind of mental head space, it wasn’t in my control. It was just the way I was. I found the idea of sex to any capacity disgusting. I didn’t want to see it, I didn’t want to read it, I didn’t want to even *think* of it… and I have felt surrounded by the over-sexed world I couldn’t seem to get away from.
Asexuality is merely an aspect of an identity that some people have close at hand. Meanwhile, others don’t. Yet it isn’t any less meaningful or valid, nor should it be.
(A)sexual does one thing very well. It tosses the proverbial stone into the ocean when it comes to sex, sexuality and the asexual identity. If you need to know the general idea of what asexuality is, this documentary will do you just fine to start off.
Though, I’ll be honest. In some ways the documentary falls flat on its face. David’s argument is that relationships without sex can be just as meaningful and important as those with sex. However, there is one scene where David says “I think sex makes people take relationships more seriously.”
That disparages his own argument. It also insults what sexuality is directly. If I may say so myself, I don’t believe the phrase “lesbian bed death” is hyperbole. Rather it’s a commonality. Sex in relationships, even straight ones, wane or die out sometimes. That doesn’t mean you take the romantic relationship any less seriously.
You can show your affection and romantic love in different ways. Romance doesn’t need to be sexual by direct nature.
If someone decides not to treat romance seriously with a significant other, that’s not a “sex” problem. If they disrespect a truly committed and romantic bond, that’s a “lack of respect” problem. That is an entirely separate conversation.
While sex may be a factor, that’s just one of many.
People take a relationship seriously because that’s what people do. Sex or not… sorry, that’s just the truth. That goes for friends, families and lovers. Romantic relationships are defined by the people involved, not sex.
Unless sex alone is what defines the relationship at hand, then sex is not what defines the seriousness of the relationship.
It all comes down to the people in that relationship… and that’s really what I want to end this blog post upon. Our personal identities matter, invalidating those identities that can and does hurt others.
That’s the one takeaway from this entire documentary that we should be drilling into our heads. In moments like this one, I look to RWBY. It is one of my favorite series. I leave you with this:
This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.
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