Tag Archives: LGBTQ

Review: (A)sexual

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.

Final Verdict

(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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Agreeance to Meet: Gold Heart, Silver Chain Precursor #2

Author’s Note: This is the second precursor chapter for Gold Heart, Silver Chain. If you haven’t read the first one, start here.

Genres (so far within the totality of the universe): Romance, Slice-of-Life, Drama, Fantasy.
Tags (so far within the totality of the universe): F/F, M/F, Mature Sensual Content, Mild Fantasy Violence.

Totality Rating: This serialized content is “Mature” due to romantic overtures between adult women and use of hard language (cursing/swearing). No severe warnings currently apply to this fiction. Warnings will be added on an as needed basis.

Agreeance to Meet: Gold Heart, Silver Chain Precursor #2

Setting: “The Black Causeway”

A royal messenger from the north had ridden with haste down along the pathway of the Black Causeway to deliver a missive of great and profound importance to his people. With direct orders issued from his great and noble queen, he’d barely slept, hardly ate, only rode along the path to where he suspected the wandering nomads to be.

He cared little for the Arvad as a whole, he looked down his nose at them great many times when a collection of them roosted right outside of the auspicious kingdom that he called home. Still, loath though he was to admit it to himself, the new consort to his majesty was not completely useless. She was no waste of space. Granted, she was still a low brow, a questionable choice, but it was not his place to question at all. He was only to serve, his loyalty promised great rewards.

It would be beneath him to speak ill of the royal houses that so favored his tenure. As one of their messengers, he lived a life not many could. He’d never do a thing to give that up. That he would be regarded with a job of such import, that was an honor. It sugared what might otherwise be an insult. As he sat to break bread with the wandering nomads of the shadow’s influence late that afternoon, he waited for letters to return with.

Meanwhile, Blair penned her replies carefully, but with an urgency. She would not want to leave her chosen one waiting. She sat by the fire, meal untouched as she worked to craft the perfect responses to the members of the Birendra family. 

Blair’s most important letter of all came last.

Dearest Valda,

You mentioned something of a diatribe, but I assure you, this will not be that. It occurs to me, however, that there is much you’ve probably yet to be told of our ways. We don’t often speak of them, it goes against the very nature we keep. Tied to our elements as we are, there are plenty of ways that can go entirely awry. There is so much I wish I could tell you about my element, and we Advar who are so often stringently governed by them. However, there are details mortals cannot understand. 

The universe is much too vast, and even we Advar can’t possibly know everything either… more often than not, we know nothing. Conjecture becomes a comfort, our best guesses are merely that.

I was born by the Grace of Shadows, Valda… he is our patron deity. Well, for those of us bestowed powers in his likeness anyway. Of the six great beings to cultivate Basa, he is the one I am expected to answer when called. I recall when I was gifted to my parents as little more than a small speckle of a spirit. I remember those days, floating along at their side. 

I was conscious of my own individuality, even back then. I could think on my own and watch the world. Although I couldn’t wander far from the influence of my mother and father, I could at least learn the ways of the land. For several long years, I stayed in that form. 

She looked up to the ruckus going on around her, a pure and unmitigated havoc of curious infantile Advar frolicking where they ought not to. The poor Cadfan messenger ran away from the harmless youths, unaware perhaps, of their very young nature. The poor man looked as white as a sheet, and Blair could hardly blame him for his fear in the matter.

Cadfan and Aasa knew so little about the Advar way. Tangential knowledge could never be the same as the firsthand understanding of the primal flow. He tripped face down in the mud, and that was a fine point to make. Blair suspected that her cousin was going to teach the Birendra family a great deal about the Advar way of life. Still, she was not of shadow, she was of flame.

There was only so much that she could expect her cousin to impart about the matter. A lesson, a personal one, seemed wise.

Mortals think we are parasitic in our infantile state, but that is far from true. We don’t feed from our parents like leeches, we take nothing from the outside world. As newborn spirits, we only have a need for one thing; to be tied to this world, just as every Advar is. To be kept stabilized in a place that is not made from shadow alone. To be protected, we require the influence of our parents.

That is why we are born in their image, you see… 

It is so that our parent’s stronger influence can protect us from the environment. When we are small, it is entirely foreign to our nature. It takes time before we are mature enough to reclaim a bodily vessel after we have been reborn… I recall the shadowy void faintly from my own infancy, but I do not recall my past lives… the life that I live now, is all that I know. Perhaps this is only my first life, but somehow I find that doubtful.

Advar like my parents, with no mortality between them left to speak of, they can only have children this way… to wish for a child deeply. If they truly desire that bond, their own souls commingle with the void of our element, and that void makes life anew.

Why do I say all of this?

Valda, I don’t know what rests beyond the shadow, or why such a power resides within us… I only know one thing. We of the Advar, we are not meant to take life, but to birth it. The older we get, the less we require the influence of our parents. Eventually, the tether between us fades. Then, we are expected to lend ourselves to this world, or face the repercussions of our failure when we don’t.

A droplet of unplanned ink fell onto the paper. Blair suspected that was just her luck. First the rain rendered her penmanship imperfect, now the pen failed her too. Against her better judgment, or perhaps simply because she felt she would least be judged for it, Blair continued to write anyway.

The moment we are no longer needed, that is the moment we become obsolete… but, so-in rests the reason I tell you all of this. I have news. My parents conceived twin souls just last week… a grace for them, a damnation for me.

I’m of age now… old enough to cast out on my own merits.

The last vestiges of my own soul’s tether with theirs faded only recently. Once it did, they became viable tethers once more for new life, and so, that is what they became. The infant spirits are still too young for me to try and commune with. Only my parents can do that for now.

I’ve been told I’ve been given brothers.

Rather spirited brothers, if she were to say so herself. One seemed to float around bombastically at every opportunity. To search and find anything he could to harass with his curiosity. The little one simply knew no better. Commonplace politeness was a learned behavior, it was not instinctive. The other seemed the shy sort, or at the very least indifferent to anything besides his own family. On occasion he would linger, as he did now, floating above the paper.

Blair paid him no mind, she had no need to do so. It would be a few days before he became old enough to attempt a connection. Even then it would be so minimal, she doubted the little one would take kindly to the attempt.

She certainly hadn’t cared for anyone’s attention when she was a floating speckle, no larger than a single grain of rice. It took time to understand this new world, to contemplate its existence, and his new place within it.

Please, do not think I am displeased at the notion of siblings, Valda…

This is a blessing, of course it is. Still, it means that I must do, as I was given life to do. The final cord tying me to this world has been cut… and I must locate another. I have found that in you, and even if your family does decline me after this impending meeting, I’ll know that I have tried.

The element that lords over me… well, I dare not speak ill of him. However, it would be truthful to say he is a capricious being at times. I do wonder though, what factors make Arvad of the shadows, like myself, useless to him in this realm? 

We don’t know… we just don’t know. 

I doubt any Arvad truly knows those details, I think it is meant to be this way. You see, so much of my existence is like that. It is unknowable, the same as it is for all who walk in this world. We have our unanswered mysteries too. 

I don’t know when the shadows of this world will consume me once more… but, I don’t want to go back, not yet. I’m not ready to die, Valda. 

I want to live… and to live with you at my side… I would like for you to tie me to this world in a way that only you could ever do. I will see you upon the Vamon Coast as soon as I am able to reach it.

It will only be a little longer, promise.

Forever yours,
Blair Blodwyn.

 Setting: “The Vamon Coast”

To the gentle sounds of a harp, and the fading sun in the distant sky, Valda watched the golden hues paint the lands of Vamon. In the east, the open waters were calm. The boats slowly made their way into shore after a long day at sea. In the west, fields of grain rolled on as though it was also its own seemingly endless expanse.

Perhaps it was, for all that Valda knew. She rarely left the comfort of the northern kingdom. If she had her way she wouldn’t be tied down to a kingdom at all.

With a letter folded between her fingertips and plenty of considerations to make, she licked her lips nervously. She pushed some of her long crimson hair behind her ear. Loosening a bright white ribbon from her wrist, she used it to tie her hair back. 

It wasn’t what she was accustomed to, her sister had even stated as much when she took notice.

Valda turned to the woman lazing across a long plush woolen pillow upon the floor. Really, it had little to do with the woman’s own taste in decor, but rather the liking her newly kept consort had for it. Truth be told, she felt that her sister looked rather ridiculous. Still, Valda knew it was likely what she had to look forward to in her own future. A life lesser in splendor, but filled with other sorts of warmth.

“I should get used to a lack of finery, I doubt I’ll have attendants out on the open road.”

“That’s still assuming I agree,” her elder sister stated. 

“Do you doubt that you will?” Valda asked softly.

The elder sibling sighed at length. When she had chosen to take an Advar as a lover, she knew exactly what she was getting into. Perhaps she hadn’t been raised among finery, but as an Advar of the flames, Azar knew war. She understood battle, and in that way she was not so far removed from the Cadfan way of life. Blair was not the same, and loathed though the older woman was to admit it, neither was Valda.

She wished that her younger sister would keep to those of like minds. To find a suitor strong enough to protect her and keep her safe. Man or woman, Advar or Cadfan… her ethics be damned, even an Aasa of the right distinction would have possibly been tolerable. A woman of the shadow, such as Blair, was nothing of the sort.

“You were not made to go traipsing through the wilderness,” she said pointedly. “You’ve not even seen a skirmish, let alone proper war. I’d be a fool to blindly agree. I know what dangers loom unseen and they are not for the likes of you… not as you are.”

Valda rolled her eyes. “You doubt Blair’s ability to protect me? Now that is rather insulting.”

“I doubt many things, because I have seen many things. If that makes my thoughts on the matter insulting, so be it. I will come to a decision on this, but it will not be on your terms.”

“Virani,” Valda bit out icily. “Don’t you dare stoop to hypocrisy… not now.”

“Hey… Val, she’s got a point. Take it from someone who knows,” the woman beside her sister spoke, pointing a thumb in her own direction. “It ain’t always so easy out there. I’m not saying Blair can’t protect you. I know my cousin better than anyone… but, you know, that’s a lot to put on anybody.”

“It is a lot to ask perhaps, but it is a burden she seems to wish for,” Valda replied. She felt conflicted, holding the letter she had received aloft. She regarded that folded paper, eyes casting to it before looking to Azar. “Surely, you understand that, at the very least.”

“Yeah, okay… sure, but what about you, Val?” Azar said, feeling as though she had been put between a rock and a hard place. “What’cha have to understand is that you’ve got to be able to face down what the world tosses your way. You really do have to be strong-willed to be with someone like Blair… shadow-folk can get pretty nasty when you screw around with them.”

“Yes, well your temper is nothing to sneeze at, either.”

“Not the same, won’t ever be… our elements are too far down in us, it goes too deep. Blair’s not a bad person. Thing is, she is born from the shadow,” Azar said, sighing at length. “Nothing you do will ever change that. They say we fire-folk need someone to smack us upside the head when we get stupid. You know, that isn’t always so far off the mark. Someone who can match us, that’s someone worthwhile…”

“What exactly are you saying?”

“Shadow-folk… there’s no cooling them down, Val. If you wrong them, they won’t stop until they get retribution. That’s why I know Blair will protect you no matter what. Only question is, what’s the damn cost of it?” 

End of Precursor…
Precursor #3 will be released April 27th, 2022
Chapter one to be released May 4th, 2022

Go to Precursor #3 (Does not release until April 25th

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