Happy January fellow Ace Book Club Friends!

Welcome ace book club peeps! I’m Amy. It’s certainly already been A Year and the month isn’t even over yet; I started 2021 off by testing positive for COVID despite precautions, and while my case was mild, it still took a lot out of me. I’m eternally appreciative of Rose for their support, love, and patience while I tried to get my brain and body to cooperate with me again, specifically to have the energy to do more than make it through my work-from-home schedule.

Now that my life is getting back to normal, I get to experience the excitement of working with the Great Ace Book Club I can’t wait to read and discuss all sorts of different books by and about ace folks, or featuring diverse groups of characters! Keep your eyes out each month for discussion questions, prompts, and other fun stuff for everything we read!

Join our newsletter at GreatAce.Club by Jan 26th and you’ll get a free ebook to start the year off!

Then I’ll be back with a new book to kick the discussions with a new great ace read for February!

When I’m not working on the book club or reading too many books at the same time, I’m probably doing something related to cosplay or chilling with my husband and three cats. By day, I’m a full time paralegal.

You can find me online at here @dragonbadgerbooks

Twitter at geminidragon_am.

Instagram at geminidragonbadger / dragonbadgercosplays

Or Tiktok: dragonbadgercosplay!

See you again in February!

– Amy

You can find the archive of older book club posts in our archive here.

Invisibility and why aces and all queer people can still use it to their advantage.

There’s a long standing joke that Asexuality’s superpower was invisibility. It started as a way to reclaim being made to feel invisible all the time. It was such of a thing that when Assassin’s Creed’s Evie has the master perk of tuning invisible I joked that was her ace canon confirmation. This jokes appear all over and even have Stonewall Nominated nonfiction books named after them in “The Invisible Orientation” which is dedicated too discussing asexuality.

But ‘invisibility’ is not a trait exclusive to asexuality. I’ve talked before about bi erasure and how that too renders someone’s identity invisible.

As of writing this, Supernatural ended after 15 seasons last night and there is lot of behind the scenes story to talk about where most people just laugh it off as queerbaiting to be mean. But it is truly a case of queer process as well.

Because if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that the process we make as a community in huge part is done by otherwise unknown queer people showing up and and fucking running full speed at something. If and when caught or where tip toeing is needed say a “Legacy” show owned by The WB. It becomes an Elementary school style red light green light game.

Queer writers and actors under contacts are often reduced to near morse code proxy of liking tweets. For example Misha going back and liking his own tweet from 2013 after Castiel being queer was made canon in 2020 to confirm that he did indeed attempt to reassure a nervous queer fandom now and then.

At the start of this year I had a celebrity encounter that also played out in this fashion. The more known a queer person is as queer the less freedom to create radical change they have. To those who stick it up dedicated to added representation gain it in inches.

Even this blog is under more scrutiny because it is now considered by some as a “big name player” despite just being a tumblr blog. Our perceived tone becomes an issue, if one of us is hurt and says ow, we get dehumanized. How dare we as activists show a pain. We basically get told “You can’t say ow in public you’ll scare the kids. You can’t make waves, it will scare off new allies.”

And I tell you all of that because that’s in spaces where money is not exchanging hands. There’s no “Man” paying our salary no “Corporate is here today” visits. No network demos, no cons planned around the fandom. Once you add that all in, you have something well… supernatural.

For the seven years I’ve been an asexual activist the general main focus of everyone within the community was awareness. But we must never forget that invisibility is a superpower.

I wish it was something that wasn’t needed. That we could freely be, and do, and write the tv scrips we believed in without subtext. If you haven’t been spotted. Pick a lane and drive like hell. But sometimes to make progress you have to be spy-like and plant seeds of change in the things you do when no one is looking.

If you’d like more on this and how it relates to television shows further check out occamshipper on tumblr for some really killer commentary on the capitalist feedback loop that social media creates with a fandom.

How to use Asexuality’s superpower of invisibility.

There’s a long standing joke that Asexuality’s superpower was invisibility. It started as a way to reclaim being made to feel invisible all the time. It was such of a thing that when Assassin’s Creed’s Evie has the master perk of tuning invisible I joked that was her ace canon confirmation. This jokes appear all over and even have Stonewall Nominated nonfiction books named after them in “The Invisible Orientation” which is dedicated to discussing asexuality.

But ‘invisibility’ is not a trait exclusively asexuality’s superpower. I’ve talked before about bi erasure and how that too renders someone’s identity invisible.

As of writing this, Supernatural ended after 15 seasons last night and there is lot of behind the scenes story to talk about where most people just laugh it off as queerbaiting to be mean. But it is truly a case of queer process as well.

Because if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that the process we make as a community in huge part is done by otherwise unknown queer people showing up and and fucking running full speed at something. If and when caught or where tip toeing is needed say a “Legacy” show owned by The WB. It becomes an Elementary school style red light green light game.

Queer writers and actors under contacts are often reduced to near morse code proxy of liking tweets. For example Misha going back and liking his own tweet from 2013 after Castiel being queer was made canon in 2020 to confirm that he did indeed attempt to reassure a nervous queer fandom now and then.

At the start of this year I had a celebrity encounter that also played out in this fashion. The more known a queer person is as queer the less freedom to create radical change they have. To those who stick it up dedicated to added representation gain it in inches.

Even this blog is under more scrutiny because it is now considered by some as a “big name player” despite just being a tumblr blog. Our perceived tone becomes an issue, if one of us is hurt and says ow, we get dehumanized. How dare we as activists show a pain. We basically get told “You can’t say ow in public you’ll scare the kids. You can’t make waves, it will scare off new allies.”

And I tell you all of that because that’s in spaces where money is not exchanging hands. There’s no “Man” paying our salary no “Corporate is here today” visits. No network demos, no cons planned around the fandom. Once you add that all in, you have something well… supernatural.

For the seven years I’ve been an asexual activist the general main focus of everyone within the community was awareness. But we must never forget that invisibility is asexuality’s superpower.

I wish it was something that wasn’t needed. That we could freely be, and do, and write the tv scrips we believed in without subtext. If you haven’t been spotted. Pick a lane and drive like hell. But sometimes to make progress you have to be spy-like and plant seeds of change in the things you do when no one is looking.

If you’d like more on this and how it relates to television shows further check out occamshipper on tumblr for some really killer commentary on the capitalist feedback loop that social media creates with a fandom. Or read more about asexuality and fandoms on our blog.

On ace characters in sex scenes

This is actually a cross post from the Fuck Yeah Asexual blog written by my mod Dew, but I found it important and thought it should be shared in a new format.

It started with an anonymous ask that went like this:

“I have been seeing a lot of smut with Asexual characters having sex. I understand that some Asexuals will still have sex but I don’t get why some Ace people want more Asexuals in smut. Isn’t that like wanting Gay people in heterosexual smut? I just don’t understand the defense of non tagged Ace characters in fanfiction.”

Here’s our answer –

While I agree that this content should be tagged appropriately to help people find or avoid it, this is wildly dismissive of the aces you’ve already fully acknowledged exist. Why should you get to see your experiences represented but they can’t? Why must we put forth the expectation of a singular experience of asexuality that denies the lives of so many people in our own community?

More importantly, why should we ever insist on a narrative that contributes directly to our own oppression, that ensures allos and allies and aphobes alike walk away with a tremendous misunderstanding of asexuality that encourages them to hurt us, that they’ve used to hurt us before. Maybe you weren’t there for it–we worked for YEARS to shut it down, to spare future aces–but learn it now: this attitude, this belief, is one of the most violent tools in the aphobe quiver.

You’ve pulled a clever sleight of hand here, equating the very existence of the content with irresponsible (untagged) portrayals, but it also seems very clear that your problem is with the content itself and the real aces who it portrays. You’ll find no support for that here, and we will not cast stones at members of our and your own community on your behalf.

This is a clear case of an intercommunity issue, and someone brought up what they thought the anon no actually they meant…, but message I want to bring you is how we go about asking each other these things really matters.

Dew writes I would have responded VERY differently to this ask if it actually was a simple vent about the disparity in the numbers of stories that feature aces who are vs aren’t sex-favourable, or about the difficulty of finding the content that does exist due to inadequate tagging. Those are very understandable complaints, and I’m sympathetic to them!

That’s not actually what anon did in this ask, though, if you actually look at the words they chose. They specifically lashed out at their own community–not the fictional representation, but the real, living, human aces who create or ask for or enjoy that content. Their complaint *as worded* is not a gripe about the fiction landscape, it is an attack on real people, and one that directly mirrors specifically oppressive movements among aphobes.

Anon didn’t ask for sympathy in their difficulties with finding the kind of stories they want to read. They asked us to join them in leveling vitriol against “aces who want [the content anon doesn’t like]” and against aces who “defend [portrayals of their own lives].” That is absolutely not a conversation we will participate in. Especially given how closely it echoes aphobic arguments that do things like deny any ace the right to consent, put forward rape apologia, exclude aces from relationships of any kind, and homegenize and dehumanize the entire community. Let alone echoing the very schisms that have haunted this community since it’s inception.

We will never, ever, deviate from the line that the full spectrum of ace and aro experiences are to be welcomed and protected on this blog. We’re more than happy to encourage conversations like the one you want to have, about how best to accommodate those experiences and where we might be falling short. But that will not happen at the expense of our own community members.

We can have good faith with each other even after comments like this which can read as harsh. Here’s proof of that as the original anon came back and added the following:

“Hey! I was the Anon about Aces in smut. I’m really sorry if I hurt you in any way. I am trying to learn more about Asexuality after one of my friends came out to me recently and was talking about that subject specifically. I am a pretty young lesbian and am trying to learn more about the entire LGBT+ community. Thank you for responding, I appreciate your time! Again I apologize for any hurt I caused, that was by no means my intention. I hope you have a good day!”

Dew adds, Hey thanks! I really appreciate the follow up on this. I know I came out swinging on that ask, but you–unintentionally–hit on some very tender points in some really specific ways that unfortunately mirrored attitudes that have historically been very dangerous for the ace community.

But I’m really glad to hear that the underlying motive for that was ignorance and not malice–please know that ignorance is not a character flaw; it’s the natural state of humans and easily changed. It sounds like your heart is in the right place and you’re eager to learn more so that you can be a better ally to your friends. That’s awesome, and if you want some more resources on how to approach this topic with a better understanding of ace community history and respect for the diversity of ace experiences.

When someone else brought up that they actually trust aces writing this more than others, Dew went on to say:

There’s definitely a wide range of the quality of depictions of ace characters of all sorts of experiences, and it’s often a lot easier to trust ace-spec writers to be coming from an informed and respectful place.

I would of course caution that this doesn’t fall perfectly across clean lines based on the identity of the writers and I don’t want to dismiss the efforts of allies who also approach the subject respectfully (recall that the broader aspec community does include allo members!) or to discount that aces can also externalize their own possible struggles with internalized aphobia.

However, yes, it can be particularly cruel to dismiss the efforts of ace writers, and there are valuable discussions to be had about the differences in writing ace characters from and internal vs an external perspective, especially considering how plentiful misinformation and erasure are.

When another party suggested that only aces should write aces in sexual situations both Dew and I had to disagree with the blanket statement.

Sorry friendo but Fuck Yeah Asexual also doesn’t stand for stark divisions across identity lines. We can and should talk about what constitutes a respectful portrayal, where the common pitfalls are, and what damage can be done from irresponsible or misinformed understandings of ace experiences without this level of insularity. Not every ace will magically produce a great ace character, and not every allo will magically produce a terrible one.

If only reading works by other aces is a boundary you want to set in your own life, please do so! As I addressed in the previous ask, there are patterns in play that make that an understandable choice.

We won’t, however, support extrapolating that boundary out until it cuts off anyone who isn’t asexual (and this effort nearly always wants to exclude the wrong *kind* of asexual eventually) from being able discuss or write about aces, until we’ve pushed away all our allies, all the questioning folks, all the supportive ones, all the allies-in-the-making who won’t ever learn what their mistakes are because we’ve isolated ourselves from them.

Nothing good or productive comes from broadly applying that kind of black and white approach to entire communities. – Dew

There is absolutely room to talk about the behavior of allosexuals in regard to their fandom treatment of canon ace characters. There’s also absolutely room to talk about some publishers making a fetish-like “Demisexual For You” trope. Which is a perversion of the biphobic “Gay for You” trope.

But honestly the media we’ve gotten from a main stream source has been from allosexuals inspired by aces, ace works, and ace activism. It’s more of a conversational story feedback loop. That’s the nature of all media.

If you wish you view the asks in their original context you can via that day’s archive. https://fuckyeahasexual.tumblr.com/day/2020/11/20

Asexual characters in sex scenes – Should You Do It?

This is actually a cross post from the Fuck Yeah Asexual blog, since I always find the subject of asexual characters important and thought it should be shared in a new format here.

It started with an anonymous ask that went like this:

“I have been seeing a lot of smut with asexual characters having sex. I understand that some Asexuals will still have sex. But I don’t get why some Ace people want more Asexuals in smut. Isn’t that like wanting Gay people in heterosexual smut? I just don’t understand the defense of non tagged asexual characters in fanfiction.”

Here’s our answer if asexual character’s should, well, do it:

We can agree content should be tagged appropriately to help people find or avoid it. The anon’s question is wildly dismissive of the aces. People they already fully acknowledged exist. Why should one person get to see their experiences represented but other’s can’t? Why must we deny expectations of a singular ace experience. Since it would deny the lives of so many people in our own community.

More importantly, we should we never insist on a narrative that contributes directly to our own oppression. One that would ensure allos, allies, and aphobes walk away with a tremendous misunderstanding of asexuality. One that encourages a narrow understanding of what asexuality is. We were there for this type of asexual exception before. We worked for YEARS to shut it down, to spare future aces. So know learn it now: this attitude that aces can never engage in sexual things is one of the most violent tools in the aphobe quiver.

The not so cute sleight of hand attempt at equating the very existence of the fictional asexuals in sex scenes as always wrong makes it clear that the anon asker desires a world where aces are a stereotype. You’ll find no support for that here, and we will not cast stones at aces writers who do write sexual content.

There should be discussions on the number of stories that feature ace characters who are sexless and those who aren’t. Concern about the difficulty of finding the content that does exist due to inadequate tagging are also very understandable complaints, and we’re sympathetic to them.

That’s not actually what the anon asked however. They specifically lashed out at their own community–not the fictional representation, but the real, living, human aces who create or ask for or enjoy that content. Their complaint *as worded* is not a gripe about the fiction landscape, it is an attack on real people, and one that directly mirrors specifically oppressive movements among aphobes.

The anon didn’t ask for sympathy in their difficulties with finding the kind of stories they want to read. They asked us to join them in leveling vitriol against “aces who want [the content anon doesn’t like]” and against aces who “defend [portrayals of their own lives].” That is absolutely not a conversation we will participate in. Especially given how closely it echoes aphobic arguments that do things like deny any ace the right to consent, put forward rape apologia, exclude aces from relationships of any kind, and homegenize and dehumanize the entire community. Let alone echoing the very schisms that have haunted this community since it’s inception.

There’s a lot of history behind this question.

We’re more than happy to encourage conversations like the one this anon wanted to have. Or about how best to accommodate those experiences and where things might be falling short. But that will not happen at the expense of our own community members.

We can have good faith with each other even after comments like this which can read as harsh. Here’s proof of that as the original anon came back and added the following:

“Hey! I was the Anon about Aces in smut. I’m really sorry if I hurt you in any way. I am trying to learn more about Asexuality after one of my friends came out to me recently and was talking about that subject specifically. I am a pretty young lesbian and am trying to learn more about the entire LGBT+ community. Thank you for responding, I appreciate your time! Again I apologize for any hurt I caused, that was by no means my intention. I hope you have a good day!”

Dew adds, Hey thanks! I really appreciate the follow up on this. I know I came out swinging on that ask, but you unintentionally hit on some very tender points. In some really specific ways that unfortunately mirrored attitudes that have historically been very dangerous for the ace community.

But I’m really glad to hear that the underlying motive for that anon ask was ignorance and not malice. Please know that ignorance is not a character flaw; it’s the natural state of humans and easily changed. It sounds like your heart is in the right place and you’re eager to learn more so that you can be a better ally to your friends. That’s awesome, and if you want some more resources on how to approach this topic with a better understanding of ace community history and respect for the diversity of ace experiences.

Others brought up that they actually trust aces writing this more than others. Dew went on to say: There’s definitely a wide range of the quality of depictions of asexual characters of all sorts of experiences. It can be easier to trust ace-spec writers to be coming from an informed and respectful place.

I would of course caution that this doesn’t fall perfectly across clean lines based on the identity of the writers. Nor dismiss the efforts of allies who also approach the subject respectfully. (Recall that the broader aspec community does include allo members!) Nor discount that aces can also externalize their own possible struggles with internalized aphobia.

However, it can be particularly cruel to dismiss the efforts of ace writers. There are valuable discussions to be had about the differences in writing asexual characters from and internal vs. an external perspective. Especially considering how plentiful misinformation and erasure are.

When people suggest that only aces should write asexual characters we have disagree with that blanket statement.

Fuck Yeah Asexual doesn’t stand for stark divisions across identity lines. We can and should talk about what constitutes a respectful portrayal, where the common pitfalls are, and what damage can be done from irresponsible or misinformed understandings of ace experiences without this level of insularity. Not every ace will magically produce a great ace character, and not every allo will magically produce a terrible one.

If only reading works by other aces is a boundary you want to set in your own life, please do so! As I addressed in the previous ask, there are patterns in play that make that an understandable choice.

We won’t, however, support extrapolating that boundary out until it cuts off anyone who isn’t asexual (and this effort nearly always wants to exclude the wrong “”kind”” of asexual. People must be free to write about aces in ways that don’t push way questioning folks or all the allies-in-the-making who won’t ever learn what their mistakes are because we’ve isolated ourselves from them. Nothing good or productive comes from broadly applying that kind of us vs. them approach to entire communities. – Dew

There is absolutely room to talk about the behavior of allosexuals in regard to their fandom treatment of canon asexual characters. There’s also absolutely room to talk about some publishers making a fetish-like “Demisexual For You” trope. Which is a perversion of the biphobic “Gay for You” trope.

But honestly the media we’ve gotten from a main stream source has been from allosexuals inspired by aces, ace works, and ace activism. It’s more of a conversational story feedback loop. That’s the nature of all media.

If you wish you view the asks in their original context you can via that day’s archive. https://fuckyeahasexual.tumblr.com/day/2020/11/20.

August’s Great Ace Club’s Book

It is a mystery! No, really. This month is a detective story, from not one, but two featured authors. Please welcome Katey Hawthorne and Jenna Rose. They are authors of Kanaan and Tilney Investigations. The third book in the series will be released Aug 28th, and to celebrate we are working together to give you the first ebook in the series!

About The Case of the Arms Dealers

John Tilney—praeternatural pyrokinetic and mystery author—has noticed the bottom dropping out of the market for his usual gothic fare, so he goes to Lowell Kanaan, PI, for a crash course in noir. Lowell, a cranky wolf-shifter detective, isn’t sure why he agrees to let John shadow him, though it might have something to do with John’s weirdly endearing honesty…and pretty lips. John thinks he’s found the perfect detective novel hero in Lowell, but it isn’t long before he realizes he doesn’t want Lowell for his book, but for himself.

As they become entangled in a supernatural whodunnit involving the Zombie Mafia, black market body parts, and shady insurance deals, their partnership grows closer—and hotter. But when it comes down to the wire, Lowell’s wolfish protective side threatens to drive John around the bend, or at least out of the office. Good thing John’s as much sunshine as he is fire; hopefully it’s enough to help them catch a murderer before they end up in literal pieces, too.

John Tilney is a biromantic ace, just like one of the authors! 😀

Be sure to sign up at for our email listing at GreatAce.Club before release day to get it!

#GiveItBack – The History of GLAAD saying “A is for-” and #WeGotYourBack

To save the history of disability friendly online activism, one must recap it. So this is about the blog’s 2015′s #GiveItBack campaign and how cool @glaad was about it, and how they continue to really show the fuck up lol 

The earliest post I can find is from 2003 debating if aces wanted to add an A letter to the English speaking alphabet soup that is the common acronym. It’s been a long standing question however. There’s always been thoughtless reasons, and thoughtful reasons why A could be ally or an endless amount of things.

But our story really starts in 2015. With GLAAD’s #GotYourBack campaign. GLAAD as a nonprofit is huge, and media watchdogs for the community at large. They will praise good representation of LGBTQ characters, and call out harmful stereotypes or the lack of diversity itself. 

#GotYourBack started as an ally focused event. As you can see in this screen cap below it’s focus was #GotYourBack but also [A] if for Ally.

#GiveItBack GLAAD Allyship

And for much of the non-AVEN ace community that this centered allies at the cost of our communities. This was on the heels of years of feeling excluded from the community at large. While that wasn’t GLAAD’s intent, it was a sign that the asexual community was not on their radar.

Awareness and fighting invisibility was key issue to the community at that time.

#GiveItBack was the hashtag coined by Fuck Yeah Asexual on tumblr. They asked GLAAD to change their phrasing towards inclusion. And not at a cost to others. We started with A for Asexual, but very quickly we realized could ask more than that. Why not share the A with any queer identity that inherently facing a negative? Within the first day of reaching out to GLAAD, A stood for Asexual, Aromantic, and Agender. While aces and aros didn’t feel included at all, tons of agender people also didn’t feel seen in ‘big tent’ organizations. So a-specs said, ‘We get that, you can be heard with us.’ 

GLAAD agreed within 3 days. An impressive feat for a group that large. (AVEN disagreed. And made its first public statement in 3 months. Belittling the work of non-AVEN activism, and was a message that stayed on AVEN’s front page for at least another year. Despite their founder praising FuckYeahAsexual’s lead activism.)

#GiveItBack GLAAD Allyship

“Acceptance of LGBT people, not just among non-LGBT folks, but also members of our own community. And this includes increasing acceptance of and being good allies to the Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic community.

“Let us say without equivocation, the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA represents millions of Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic people who are far too often left out of the conversation about acceptance.

“Part of being a good ally is learning how and when to do better for those people you support. For us, that means making sure the Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic community knows we’re #GotYourBack.” 

This is the best apology I’ve even seen in my life. May ever see. It not only says sorry, it says it is their duty to constantly do better based on community sentiment. It also absolutely follows the meaning of their #GotYourBack campaign. 

Not only in that, but in next few days did GLAAD further change the campaigns branding to no longer center A is for Ally.

#GiveItBack GLAAD Allyship

This is absolutely how you do it.

This was asexuality’s first huge endorsement of “Yeah, you’re us, we see you. #GotYourBack.”

And the following year in 2016, #GiveItBack was used against to call out American Apparel’s ally focused rainbow capitalism. Further raising awareness for asexuals, aromantics and agender people. It trended as an article on Buzzfeed, Yahoo News wrote about what the A was supposed to mean. 

#GiveItBack Allyship

And American’s Apparel also used both hashtags from the GLAAD precedent in their apology. Not as good as GLAAD’s declaration of acceptance but again it’s a clothing company. 

#GiveItBack American Apparel Allyship

And not only did GLAAD help set the standard by listening to use “tumblr aces” it also continued to include more queer diversity in other projects they did. Like in these 2016 #SpiritDay posts.

#GiveItBack GLAAD Allyship #SpiritDay

And in 2020, I learned that because of the 2015’s #GiveItBack campaign, GLAAD reached out to ace communities to include such a-spec heavy arcs in Bojack Horseman from 2016-2020.

Like GLAAD originally said, your voice matters. Use it. You just might accidentally sent a new standard for how people treat you, and your whole community, with respect. Continue reading about our asexual activism here.

Aren’t You GLAAD? – The History of “A is for-” & #GiveItBack

I was recently reminded that if want the history of disabled friendly online activism remembered I actually gotta recap it. So this is about the blog’s 2015′s #GiveItBack campaign and how cool @glaad was about it, and how they continue to really show the fuck up lol 

The earliest post I can find is from 2003, and it shows that debating if we (as aces) wanted to add an A letter to the English speaking alphabet soup that is was and is the acronym has been a thing for at least then if not before. There’s always been thoughtless reasons and thoughtful reasons why A could be ally or an endless amount of things. 

But our story really starts in 2015, with GLAAD’s #GotYourBack campaign. GLAAD as a nonprofit is huge, and really a media watchdogs for the community at large. They will praise good representation of LGBTQ characters and call out harmful stereotypes or even the lack of diversity itself. 

#GotYourBack was an ally focused events for people should visibility show up for the community. As you can see in this screencap below it is focus was #GotYourBack but also [A] if for Ally.

And for much of the non-AVEN ace community that praising felt like non-queer allies were being centered at the cost of our communities.This was on the heels of years of feeling excluded from the community at large. While that wasn’t GLAAD’s intent, it was a sign that the asexual community was not on their radar. Awareness and fighting invisibility was key issue to the community at that time, despite where your personal ace group was.

#GiveItBack was the hashtag coined by FuckYeahAsexual to ask GLAAD to change their phrasing so we could be included. So that allyship was not praised at a cost to us. When I started it was A for Asexual and very quickly it was debated that even we could do better than that. Why not share the A with any queer identity that inherently faced a negative? Within the first day of reaching out to GLAAD, A then stood for Asexual, Aromantic, and Agender. While aces and aros didn’t feel included at all, tons of agender people also didn’t feel seen in ‘big tent’ organizations, and we a-specs said ‘we get that, you can be heard with us.’ 

GLAAD agreed within 3 days. Which is really such an impressive feat for a group that large. (AVEN disagreed. And made its first public statement in 3 months a belittling the work of non-AVEN activism, and was a message that stayed of AVEN’s front page for at least another year. Despite their founder praising FuckYeahAsexual’s lead activism.)

“Acceptance of LGBT people, not just among non-LGBT folks, but also members of our own community. And this includes increasing acceptance of and being good allies to the Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic community.

“Let us say without equivocation, the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA represents millions of Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic people who are far too often left out of the conversation about acceptance.

“Part of being a good ally is learning how and when to do better for those people you support. For us, that means making sure the Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic community knows we’re #GotYourBack.” 

This is the best apology I’ve even seen in my life. May ever see. It not only says sorry, it says it is their duty to constantly do better based on community sentiment. It also absolutely follows the meaning of their #GotYourBack campaign. 

Not only in that, but in next few days did GLAAD further change the campaigns branding to no longer center A is for Ally.

A screenshot of a cell phone  Description automatically generated

This is absolutely how you do it. The respect communities cheered for this really first huge endorsement of “Yeah, you’re us, we see you. #GotYourBack”

And the following year in 2016, #GiveItBack was used against to call out American Apparel’s ally focused rainbow capitalism. Further raising awareness for asexuals, aromantics and agender people. It trended as an article on Buzzfeed, Yahoo News wrote about what the A was supposed to mean and so on. 

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And American’s Apparel also used both hashtags from the GLAAD precedent in their apology. Not as good as GLAAD’s declaration of acceptance but again it’s a clothing company. 

And not only did GLAAD help set the standard by listening to use “tumblr aces” it also continued to include more queer diversity in other projects they did. Like in these 2016 #SpiritDay posts.

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And in 2020, I learned that because of the 2015’s #GiveItBack campaign, GLAAD reached out to ace communities to include such a-spec heavy arcs in Bojack Horseman from 2016-2020.

Like GLAAD originally said, your voice matters. Use it. You just might accidentally sent a new standard for how people treat you, and your whole community, with respect.

How Acephobia in Fandoms Spread Ace Terminology

I have truly witnessed acephobia in fandoms like no other. Truly one of the funniest moments in a fandom for me was in 2016. Ubisoft posted under a long tumblr post debating Jacob Frye’s (bi)sexuality this simple message:

bi and acephobia in fandoms

It started with a post of a straight woman emailing a random Ubisoft staff member. Her demands? Declare Jacob Fray straight. It’s also among the best usages of an official platform using it to protect bisexuals and end biphobia.

But there’s more to this story. To aces in the dragon age community, we knew her URL. SolasTheWolf was what ace fans called an “Allo!Solas Fan.” The term allo means other, and allosexual meaning someone sexuality attracted to others. Basically a word based on existing naming conventions to mean non-ace.

A New Open World For Acephobia in Fandoms

Dragon Age: Inquisition released late 2014 and a huge active fandom until around 2016. Before this allo was used only by aces. Key question here: Why did a bunch of aces call a group of predominantly straight women allo rather than straight?

It’s because for every ace fan in a fandom space there are camps of acephobes. They’d actively go around harass asexuals for seeing themselves in the characters. The Allo Solas fandom in particular did this like no other. By setting themselves up in direct opposition to aces, their behavior became defined by their allosexuality, not their heteronormativity. This is the pivot when acephobia in fandoms became actively willful. It wasn’t about them being straight, it was about them being anti-ace.

Some of the allo dragon age fandom was also really racist. They vowed to “give us” a black character in the game as a “trade”. Why? It’s because they didn’t feel sexually entitled to a black women being a largely straight white group of women. They wanted Solas. A “bad wolf”. All the ace coding in the world did not stop from their violently aggressive patriarchal projections onto his character. These fans also would tweet the Dragon Age writers asking to confirm that Solas had sex with the player character. The writers never did. A year later the DLC confirmed it in canon dialogue. (The second funniest fandom moments I’ve been a part of.) But they stopped short of giving Solas a label.

Calling people “allo” here was never about aces being separate fellow LGBTQ people. It was pointing out the sexual entitlement of characters who weren’t sexual. Aces showed up, publically in fandom spaces.

Using Solas to help explain the nuances of asexuality to groups who never heard it before helped spread asexual visibility.

And it’s also why I have such a strong negative reaction to those who try to sort of Allo!CharacterName pattern. Because the history of that is one of white sexual entitlement. The assumption that those who weren’t overtly sexual were secretly dirty, nasty, and kinky underneath. Words used by straight women about their own desires.

It became a near meme to stick “Allo” before character name, or brand your url with it. Some would say “I’m a proud Allo!!” instead of embracing their own queer identity. They picked up the sex negativity left by those straight fans and turned it on themselves. Falsely claiming aces were the ones called themselves dirty. Relating to the sex negative lie of sex being dirty. While the straight women were gleeful with it their kinkiness and acephobia. LGB people doing this in the community doing were choking on homophobia. They hadn’t unlearn and started in on their own acephobia as if that was the cure for it.

“Allosexual” is not an sexuality on its own, it’s sole purpose was to help explain asexuality and acephobia. It’s far more like “cis” than any other community term.

For good or bad, asexuality and allosexuality became far more common words after this. The biphobia around Jacob Fyre and the acephobia surrounding Solas are linked by the same thing. Women who wanted bad boys who only wanted women. Nothing else would do for them.

Read more about the cross roads of fandom behavior and queerphobia in our media criticism tag.