On Death Stranding, Queerphobia, and Rape Culture

This tweet was brought to my attention and I’d like to go over it. 

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In the following text, I will break down line by line this the above is just biblically old homophobia, recycled queerphobia in general, as well as sexism and rape culture.



The title says an “Asexual World” not a “Celibate World” not “A Population In Decline.” An asexual world. Many times casual acephobia would use those two words to mean the same, but what Death Stranding does is even worse. 

Line one and two reads: “Widespread aversion towards physical contact and intimacy”. Since we are talking about queerphobia and rape culture it should be noted that aversion towards physical contact and intimacy are not issues exclusive to asexuals. Not all aces have an aversion. Furthermore, sex repulsion and touch aversion are often found in rape survivors and other victims of abuse. It is a safety feature, not the back story to a horror genre. You also see an aversion to touch in same-sex couples that do not feel safe to even hold hands. If the societal issue is a “widespread aversion towards physical contact and intimacy” the issue is not “An Asexual World”. It’s a world were people have no ability be interact safely.

Line four, five, six read:  ‘”sexless lifestyle” among young people.” and “younger cohort were self-identifying as asexual, claiming to be incapable of feeling desire or attraction.” Once again asexuals may have sexless “lifestyles” but so may anyone. It is again not an inherent feature of asexuality.

You can also note in this section the double usage of young and younger. This is classic queerphobia of “the youth and their new labels.” It’s been said about every letter of the queer community. Death Standing further goes on to say people are “claiming” further removing the agency from those who gained enough agency to feel like they could safely label themselves in the first place. And year after year studies shows that the number of LGBTQ people goes up as awareness and safety for these groups go up. LGBTQ people vanish without labels, they hide.

Line nine, ten, elven reads: “demisexuals, who are incapable of sexual attraction without an emotional connection, and panromantics, who profess an attraction unrestricted by sex or gender–albeit one not necessarily sexual in nature.” I mentioned most acephobia is misguided definitions. These here have a flavor text of the game but are otherwise correct. This flavor text is not a misguided stray comment from Death Stranding. It’s someone who knows what the a-spec community is and still decided to take a shot at multiple queer communities. Attacking panromantics is an attack of any multi-spec person.

Line thirteen reads: “One theory posits that the Stranding accelerated the proliferation of these sexualities.” If you haven’t heard the recycled homophobia before this line, I hope you do here. This the classic homophobic line of: those social deviants are ending our society.

Lines seventeen, eighteen, nineteen reads: “Incidences of sexual harassment and assault have also seen a sharp decrease, which seems to suggest that sex could be further from our minds, for better or for worse.” First off, if anything that reduces sexual harassment and sexual assault. It is for the better. Rape culture is not the price we have to pay for having a culture, and it isn’t directly about sex being on the minds of rapists either. Even in a Me Too era Death Standing still does not understand that harassment and assault are abuses of power.

And while it is not directly mentioned in the screencap a few more things need to be mentioned. Two cis gay men did not produce offspring. They are not and should not be shamed for it. I point this out because  “Oh no, those queers are going to ruin the population” is a biblically historic form of homophobia. And the only reason Death Stranding isn’t direct homophobic is because those exact same believes are indirectly hiding behind willful acephobia. By taking a shot at asexuals for “not breeding” you are taking a shot at anyone who does not “be fruitful and multiply.”

Now that I’ve done a Scooby-Doo unmasking of homophobia, I’d also like to mention further implied rape culture and sexism. You’ll often find men like Hideo Kojima and his writers who concern troll over if those who can have children are fucking and having babies. You see this played out in the fight for rights for people to control their own bodies.

Horror as a genre can point out the unknown lurking out of our sight. Unmast it, or hold it just out of clear view. Death Stranding’s back story does not do this. Instead of subverting a society that already has rape culture, compulsory sexuality, heteronormatity, and sexism, Hideo Kojima theorizes that maybe the backstory to his great horror story is asexuals, the very same people who are not the monsters but the targets of those four things.

Creative Aces Publishing Is Live!

Publishing news isn’t rare, but making an announcement yourself is, and I’m so thrilled to say I have some news today!

Creative Aces Publishing was a brainchild I first had in 2015, and thanks to other aces over the years we published two community projects: What You See, an art book featuring two dozen aces, and Unburied Fables, an LGBTQ charity anthology benefiting The Trevor Project.

If you heard of us before, here’s how we’ve changed since then. Unlike other indie publishers, we seek to build from a community standpoint. Not only saying we put authors first, but also paying them a highly competitive rate unheard of for a group so small. Offering upwards of 50% royalty, and sometimes even an author advance.

As a full-service publisher, authors can also expect a professional looking cover design, comprehensive editing, a personalized marketing plan, training and support as an author from signing and beyond at no cost.

All made possible by a slow and steady mentality that makes sure you don’t get lost in a sea of other authors. Because of this, we aren’t currently open for submissions, but already have signed authors and will be making more announcements soon.

If you have any questions please contact us at info@creativeacespublishing.com.

Here’s what this means for anyone who knows me personally, I’ve been dealt a hand of cards that allows me to take the project to a level I always wanted and make it a full-fledged publisher.

I’ve been working for various publishers since 2015, and love helping authors. But I also see areas where many barely even get a chance because of factors around their disability or identity. As the company’s co-founder and creative director, I can’t fix the industry as a whole, but I can set a standard I believe in. One who’s core goal takes pride in creating art and supporting those artists.

Ace Ebooks Under $5!

Books can be expensive, so here’s a list of ebooks under five dollars. And if that still isn’t your pace check out our Kindle Unlimited list.  Or scroll to the bottom of this list. While Unlimited is a paid service you can normally get a month for free. But if you read slowly like me buying is often the best option 🙂 All prices should be their standard price so this list should be accurate no matter the date. For more details about these books, here’s our master list.

Comics:
Moonlighters Issue 1 & 2

Sci-Fi:
Bone Diggers
Hello World
Fourth World
The Deadly Nightshade
A Word and A Bullet
No More Heroes

Fantasy:
The Traitor’s Tunnel
Chameleon Moon
Poison Kiss
Sere from the Green
Sinners
Allaha of the Mountain
Dragonoak
Oathbound
Deadly Sweet Lies
Thief of Souls
The Last Chronomancer
Plastic Wings
Teeth
Keeper of the Dawn
No Man of Woman Born

Romance:
Blank Spaces
The Life and Death of Elie and Jay
How Now To Summon Your True Love
Heels Over Head
A Date With An Angel
Overexposed
Thaw
The Pardoner’s Tale
Learning Curves
Eligible
Carrie Pilby
We Awaken
Interface

Anthologies:
Unburied Fables
Ace and Proud

Free!:
The Alpha and His Ace
The Foxhole Court
Enemies Like These
The Beast of Callaire

Dudes Being Dudes (Aces in Fiction List)

Someone asked me for a list of asexual guys in fiction so here’s a wide collection across media times. But first, a warning. This list was made with what I know about the story. Any miscategorization is accidental and will be promptly fixed if you let me know. Some men might have been accidentally excluded because I don’t know enough about the character, the list will be updated when I do. | Masterlist found here | Send updates here

* Denotes I’ve read/watched/played it

Aro Aces (Assorted Media Type)
Daud from Dishonored*
Jughead*
Men of color (Assorted Media Type)
Dionysus from The Wicked and The Divine*
Luffy from One Piece
Lance from The Once And Future Queen*
Dareka/Anonymous from Shimanami Tasogare
Raphael from City of Bones*
James from Dreamland Burning
New Adult Aces
Aidan from The Alpha and His Ace
Trey from Crush
Brennan from All The Wrong Places
Elie from The Life and Death of Elie and Jay
Neil from The Foxhole Court
Cy from How Now To Summon Your True Love
Wes from Mr. March Names the Stars
Regan from Chameleon Moon*
Adult Aces
Casey from How To Be A Normal Person*
Scott from Hello World*
Roman from City of Soldiers
Nick from The Pardoner’s Tale
Young Adult Aces
Kevin from Guardian of the Dead
Tom From This Song Is (Not) for You
Jake from The Asexual Equation
Bran from Coffee Cake
Micheal from Thief of Souls
Manny from Ball Caps and Khakis
Dexter from To Terminator, With Love

Aces on TV
The only one I can fully rec is Todd from BoJack but remember to check the master list for details of more aces who were on television!  

Ace Audiobooks

       

Sometimes ebooks and paperbacks just don’t cut it, during those times you might want an audiobook and I got you covered!

To see which character is which & find more stories, check my master list!

🌹’S ACE COMIC RECS

Jughead

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If you are looking for a fun, silly, read I cannot recommend Jughead (2015) more! Written by Chip Zdarsky, and Ryan North you can see Jughead be a pirate, be a spy, hang out with a burger lady.

The Wicked and Divine

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I love this series but it is not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of death, and violence and our heroes constantly being in trouble. With that said, it’s an amazing series that has tons of diversity. The main characters are gods incarnate so if you love mythology be sure to check it out!

Moonlighters 

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Another very cute series. Currently online only, but another light fun read about a group of werewolves who solve monsters problems like locating their missing cats.

The Once And Future Queen

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I learned about this comic by quote RT-ing one of the authors with my shock that there was an asexual character and we’ve been friendly since. King Arthur is reimagined as a 21st-century multi-ethnic teen girl, and Lancelot is a black asexual. It’s lighter then Wicked and Divine, but definitely a fighting/adventure story. I’m trying to get a Volume 2 so ask your library for it if can’t afford a copy of your own!!

For a complete list of aces in comics, check out our master list!

What did it feel like to write a demisexual character in an erotic romance? By Kaelan Rhwiol

What did it feel like to write a demisexual character in an erotic romance?
By Kaelan Rhwiol

Asexuals aren’t interested in sex or are repulsed by it, right? Well, yes and no.

Many asexuals have little interest in sex, or they may lack sexual desire. Some asexuals lack attraction, meaning they may experience sexual desire but lack attraction to others. The asexual spectrum is incredibly broad and varied. There are so many ways people experience being asexual, but there aren’t a metric ton of fiction books exploring those individual realities.

Sex very much repulses some of us, and anyone talking about asexuality needs to know that aces like that exist. People also need to know that my kind of ace exists, too.

That for some of us, we can and do have sex for a lot of different reasons. As many varied reasons as there are individual aces; including wanting to please our partners because it pleases us to do so, to wanting to have children, to experiencing connection, to enjoyment. Some of us, given the right circumstances, can and do enjoy the act itself, really. We’re still asexual.

Have I blown your mind yet?

And what in the world does this have to do with the book I have releasing today? My BLOODBOUND?

A couple of years ago, after figuring out that I’m demisexual, I did what I usually do and looked around for fiction books, ideally in my favorite genres of romance and SFF that featured demisexual main characters.

I didn’t find many. In fact, I only found three. Three books and two of them were self-pubbed, so not well known. Thankfully there are more now, but at the time I felt that I needed to write a book in order to see someone like me on the page.

A gray-ace who very much identifies as asexual who happens to be in a happy relationship and who enjoys sex. One who, for all intents and purposes was a sex-repulsed ace until I wasn’t. Until I needed to start identifying as a gray-ace instead. I wrote all of that into BLOODBOUND.

So what did it feel like to write that?

It was hard, very hard. I’ve been known to liken it to scraping the main character, Rhian, out of my soul with a sharp blade and then bleeding her onto the page. Because a lot of the time it felt exactly like that. I had to relive a lot of relationships where I wish I hadn’t gotten sexual with people, and that wasn’t pleasant. I also had to examine a lot of my feelings and experiences from a semi-impartial writer’s viewpoint. So yeah, it wasn’t easy.

I write almost exclusively own voices work, meaning that my characters share parts of my marginalizations’. Most are queer or mentally ill; some are kinky, some are mixed-race or non-binary, some are autistic or have survived a lot of trauma, some experience the pain of a sibling’s death, but they’re all parts of me. I find I do my best writing when I’m passionate about the subject, and for me, lived experience gives me a unique perspective into a lot of intersectionally marginalized identities.

I’m used to the experience of writing bits of myself and my life into my work. So I expected writing BLOODBOUND to be similar, hard, but not too hard, easier in fact than writing things I’m not. 

It didn’t turn out that way. Rhian, my demisexual assassin, is the most of me that I’ve ever put on the page before and BLOODBOUND was the hardest book I’ve ever written. Rhian exposes the most personal aspects of myself in a lot of ways, the parts that I feel are most likely to be the worst reviewed, and the most hated parts. Why do I feel that? Because demisexuality is still so misunderstood, so unknown, and aces, in general, get a lot of hatred to start with. Demis tend to be the red-headed step-children of the asexual spectrum in my experience.

During the writing of it, I felt like I had to be so very careful with concepts and word choices, and at times I questioned what the hell I was doing writing an ace character who enjoys sex of all things, in an erotic romance!

But why not? Why shouldn’t people like me be able to see ourselves on the page as well? Why shouldn’t people who used to be sex-repulsed, like me, or who just never had any interest or understanding for it, (me at other times in my life) have that experience, that reality, to read? I think we should; I think we need to have that, as much as any other marginalized identity needs to see themselves. It’s imperative for us to have mirror books. Those books that we can see ourselves in.

So no matter how worried I am, or how afraid I am that people won’t connect with this very profoundly personal part of myself, shared through the vehicle of my main character, I still wrote and shared it. I needed to. Even if it hurts.

I’ve worried, all along, from the time I had the idea all the way up through writing, submission, acceptance, cover design and editing that demisexual readers will hate my book. It can only show my experience of being demisexual, which may be remarkably different from other demis. It has had four demisexual sensitivity readers, so hopefully, we’ve caught any issues there may be with representation, but it can’t represent all of us, because I’m only one person. Maybe it can let some of us see ourselves though, and that was my goal in writing it.

To let some of us see ourselves.

About Blood-Bound
Rhian is content in her life. As a pwca, a Welsh shapeshifter, she is bound to the Dark God Arawn as an assassin. So when he assigns her as ambassador to oversee Ontario for him, it’s a shock.

Her new job? To find out who murdered her predecessor and bring them to justice, as well as to oversee the otherkin and clean up their messes before the humans find them—all to preserve the illusion that magic and supernatural creatures do not exist.

The problem? One of the otherkin she’s supposed to oversee is her estranged husband, Kai, the only person Rhian never regretted having sex with, and the only one she can’t forgive.

Buy Links:  Blood-Bound from the publisher | Amazon | Indigo for Kobo | Barnes and Noble for Nook. And you can add it to your Goodreads TBR shelf here and read some reviews.

Plus, the first chapter and a giveaway are here on the Erotica for All blog!

If you’d like to read more about the author, you can find out a lot about xem on xyr website. Social Media for Kaelan on: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Kaelan was born and raised in upstate NY, in the Adirondack mountains.
Xie started writing when xie turned 11 and hasn’t ever stopped as evidenced by the massive amount of notebooks and digital files of xyr writing xie has hanging around.

Xie identifies as queer, because xie fits many of the letters of the QUILTBAG/LGBTQQIP2SAA acronyms.

Kaelan holds a B.A in bioanthropology/forensic chemistry and an MST in education/world history. Xie loved University, so holds minors in English, Literary Fiction, Creative Writing, Linguistics, Graphic Design, Folklore, Medieval History, and Modern Dance.

Xyr hobbies include reading, spinning wool with a spinning wheel, cooking, knitting, sewing and making jewelry.

Xie currently lives in Southern Ontario, Canada with xyr partner of 20 years, their two kids, three cats who put meaning to the phrase ‘foot fetishist’, and a grumpy rescue chinchilla.

The best place to connect with Kaelan is on Twitter, where xie spends way too much time.

 

*FREE BOOKS WITH ASEXUAL CHARACTERS 

For more details about these books check out the FuckYeahAsexual master list 

New Adult/Adult Novels

Young Adult

Anthologies

Hello World Twitter & Ace Community Interview!

HELLO WORLD came out yesterday,  and now I can type “Hello World” into amazon and find something I poured my heart and soul into. It’s so far getting glowing reviews for the exact things I tried so hard to get right. I have a paperback copy I can hold in my hands like portable magic.

Late last week I asked the ace and twitter community to send me questions about the book, and as promised here are those answers. Thank you to everyone who took an interest in this book baby of ours.

Anon Asked: What is your fav part of your novel?

I can’t think of a favorite scene, but I think my favorite part of the novel has been insistently Scott’s sass. His sarcasm and dry wit always made me smile even if scene wise there is chaos and destruction everywhere. I think being able to joke about things, even if it’s just gallows humor at times is really something that keeps everyone going.

Dawn Asked: What was the easiest/hardest parts of Hello World to write?

The easiest part was the general flow of the action. Scott has a singular focus in this book that question of “okay, where do we go next?” never had to be asked. Made writer’s block non-existent which was miracle like.

The hardest part, by far, was the sex scene. It never was right. It always felt like it assumed a lot about Scott that made me personally uncomfortable on his behalf. I rewrote it at least 4 minutes times trying to get it just write and it was hard because most people didn’t understand my concerns with it when I asked for feedback. In the end, I think it says something important, I just hope it comes off that way in the end and isn’t just glossed over as another pointless sex scene.

Osayi asked: How do you get better with writing? I mean I know it’s about practicing, so I suppose a better question is how to convince yourself to practice and actually practice properly? If, say, you only read horror stories and you were really good at writing them how hard would you think it’d be to write maybe a happy romance?

I think the one thing they never tell you is how hard writing can be. It’s a very slow process and if you don’t absolutely love what you are writing it hardly seems worth it. Find a plot or a message that you simply most tell, or maybe just a character who you absolutely want to follow where they go. That makes the world of difference when it comes to motivation.

As for the second half. I think that absolutely depends. I personally have an incredibly hard time writing happy cute things. I think that’s mostly because I always wrote as an escape from bad so I’d process daily or worldly struggles in fiction. I don’t think changing genre is the hardest thing, but if your heart is set to horror mode, and your head says no write happy romance your best chance might be combining them somehow. That juxtaposition might create something that only you could write.

Ace Apples asked: What would be your favorite characterization to see in an ace character? Like, what kinda personality traits would you love to see them with, or what kinda character archetype would you just adore seeing paired with an ace character?

Hmm, there is relativity so few aces in media and so many ways one can be ace that all I really want to see for ace characters is to be written by non-aphobes and with on page labels. I personally like the sarcastic, take no shit, aces. But mostly because if we were to go down as a single archetype  I’d love for that stereotype to be ‘dont fuck with us or the community.”

Anon asked: How do you think Scott being part of a marginalized and invisible orientation like asexuality influences his resilience as an activist (hacktivist!)? Looking forward to having this book in my hands and supporting you!

Bless you, sweet thing. By complete accident, Scott in ways became a metaphor for my own activism. I don’t want to make too close of a comparison because Scott runs around committing crimes every page, but I do think you hit on something important. Marginalized and invisible groups take so many more metaphorical hits than someone who is not. Sometimes I feel so worn down and literally feel like my face is all bloodied even if all my fights were digital that day. I think there’s a reason why the LGBTQIA/MOGIA communities’ greatest leaders are often people of color, trans women, and sometimes trans women of color. I wouldn’t dare compare myself or Scott to them, but I absolutely believe the most resilient people are from similar groups. I also think it’s why it hurts so much when you see them hurt.

Ben asked: What challenges did you face depicting asexuality on the page, given that it’s the *absence* of something?

It’s really hard and I think that was the driving factor that made me put a label on things. The more aware of things I become the harder it is for me to see that start line of explaining things. There’s a learning curve for readers and you gotta decide where you want to be on it. Straights who don’t understand the community as a whole need more things spelled out for them. Community members need less, and then as I writer, I see aces who are like hell yeah give me a strip club owning sex worker who is ace. I think it comes down to what audience do you want to speak to, readers will be from a range of backgrounds, but you gotta think who is this for. Is it for you? Is this to educate cis straight people? Is it for your own community? It’s definitely a big challenge in writing something that isn’t known by everyone.

Rachel asked: How would you describe your relationship to your characters?

They are definitely my children. I feel like if fan fiction was ever written I’d have to leave a note for the sitter that said make sure they are in bed by nine, here’s a list of their allergies, and an emergency contact number.

Ben asked: What’s computer tech like in Hello World? Is it close to established/probable stuff, or is it really out there?

I’ve always viewed the story as 20 minutes into the future. Everything bit of tech you see is based on existing tech. Even the creepy stuff. However, there is plenty of liberties taken with things that are only proven in theory that in the story are months away from being for the mass market consumer.

Marsianomo: I’m a teen asexual, what do you want me to get bout of this story?

I hope you have something I didn’t. I feel like calling him a hero is bragging, but at least someone who tries their heart out and is open about the struggles in that. That way when you fight, for whatever your own heart decides, you go into without Hollywood romanticism. I also hope you can see that ace lives are complexed and worth telling even if, or maybe when, jerks try to tell you otherwise.

Again thank you all for the questions and I hope you check out HELLO WORLD!

Unburied Fables Release Day!

Hello all! Today is the release of Unburied Fables! This collection enlisted talent around the world. From students to seasoned professionals, these writers came together to raise awareness and reinvent classic stories. While they showcase a wide variety of LGBTQA identities, origins, styles, and endings, all the tales in this anthology have one classic element in common: a happily ever after.

Fifty percent of this collection’s proceeds will be donated to The Trevor Project, a non-profit focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual and other queer youth.

You can win a copy on tumblr or get your own today on Amazon!