Today is the International Day Against Homophobia,Transphobia, and Biphobia. To mark this important day in the fight against hate, I’m participating once again in the (formerly) HAHAB blog hop. While I enjoyed participating and supporting those dealing with homophobes and bigots, this is the first year that I’ve felt personally impacted by this.
As followers of my blog may remember from previous years, I define as asexual, a rare and misunderstood sexual identity. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve tried to explain what it means, which led to this blog post in 2013. I’m not going to write about that again, since I think I did a pretty awesome job of it already. Today, in keeping with the theme this year, I want to talk about the visibility and awareness of asexuality.
Since my post back in 2013, I’ve noticed that asexuality is becoming more and more recognized. I’ve met and befriended several other people who either identify as being asexual, know someone who is asexual, or know about asexuality in general, even if they did not personally know someone who identified as such. I’ve found that I’m not having to explain as often as I used to when my sexual orientation comes up, and it’s nice to see how asexuality is becoming more visible.
So what’s the next step in increasing visibility and awareness? Books. The books we write, read, review, buy, and share. We are part of a community that prides itself on being inclusive and supportive, yet I’ve noticed that there aren’t a whole lot of books with asexual characters, much less main asexual characters.
I was at a convention two years ago speaking with a gay romance author about how I wanted to see more people like me being represented in novels. He agreed with me, yet told me that while he would love to write an asexual character, he wouldn’t because an asexual character wouldn’t sell. He told me that people wanted tons of sex scenes and wouldn’t buy a book with a main asexual character. When I raised the question in a panel later, I received similar responses such as this.
Needless to say, I was not only upset by this, but a bit angry as well. I knew these authors weren’t trying to insult me, they were just telling the truth as they saw it. Nevertheless, I felt like they were telling me that those who were asexual didn’t matter as much as others in the LGBT community because we weren’t sexy enough to be marketable. Like the world would end if an author published a book that didn’t contain explicit sex scenes. Like we couldn’t have romances that people would like to read. Like we didn’t really belong.
Why had no one wanted to write about the challenges of a relationship between someone who was asexual and someone who wasn’t? What if you had a werewolf who discovered his mate, only to find out that he couldn’t just seduce him into bed because his sexy, manly wiles didn’t really work on his mate? Why had no one written about the confusion and complications behind a character discovering that he or she was asexual? Why hadn’t anyone dug into this gold mine of potential stories?
Since then, I’ve found books with asexual characters. However, these have been few and far between, and many only had secondary characters who were asexual, or they had main characters who were asexual but didn’t focus on romance at all. Several authors have also told me they were either considering writing novels with main asexual characters or they had novels coming out with secondary asexual characters.
While I’m glad that authors are willing to take the plunge and write asexual characters, I want to see people talking about this. Readers, let authors know you would be willing to buy books with characters with varied sexual backgrounds. Reviewers, be open to reading and sharing books with asexual characters (and for those of you who are sharing, please keep doing so!). Authors, there are readers out there who would be interested in these kinds of books.
I will buy books with asexual characters. I will buy books that focus more on the plot and the romance rather than the sex. I’ve been meeting and hearing from more and more people who will buy those books as well. There is a market for this, and more importantly, a need. It’s time to bring us in under the umbrella.
After all, we want happily ever afters too.
This year, instead of just giving away one prize, I've decided to give away 12. You see, when I find books that I like, I go and buy a second copy to either gift to someone or give away as a prize. And sometimes, I buy a copy forgetting that I already own a book, or that I've won it, etc. So I went through my list and chose some of my favorite books to give away to 12 lucky winners. Here are my 10 choices for M/M novels:
And for those who enjoy M/M/F:
To enter, just leave a comment and include the name of the book you'd like to win and your email. That's it! At the end of the hop, I'll do some fancy ordering and random generating (random.org is my friend in this) to find our 12 winners. Oh, and you have to have an ARe account as that will be where I am gifting all the ebooks. Other than that, easy peasy!
I hope you enjoyed my long post (yes, I did get a bit on my soapbox for this) and are having a great time hopping along and raising awareness about everyone under the QUILTBAG umbrella. To keep on going, click here to visit the other participating blogs.