Asexual Visibility

I was looking up literary magazines to send my creative writing to and came across Glitterwolf. This UK based lit mag opens up submissions from LGBT writers and artists from around the world. This is a fantastic idea: celebrating the creativity of the queer community, but my issue arose with the use of the category LGBT.

Not everyone is comfortable, or agrees with, the umbrella term queer and I understand that, but LGBT is limiting. As an asexual, I didn’t know if I was allowed to submit because I’m not technically on the LGBT spectrum. As a Gender or Sexual Minority (GSM) however, I thought to ask.

I emailed the magazine and later that same day someone responded! Mr. Matt Cresswell told me:

I’ve never even considered this question before–I think I’d like to err on the side of welcoming though, so go ahead and send us a submission and we’d be happy to read it!

Even just these simple words of encouragement are enough to remind me that every part of the queer community can be visible. We don’t need to specifically identify as LGBT in order to be queer and I’m so excited that there are people who are open to this premise.

This little victory gives me assurance that the queer community can be inclusive. We’re not there yet, but we’re heading in the right direction.

3 thoughts on “Asexual Visibility

  1. Hello! I’ve just come across this post – and I remember that email well. Setting up Glitterwolf was the first step I’d put into having the navigate the subtleties of labels (not to mention the hosts of internet peoples that objected to me narrowing the submissions to LGBT contributors anyway). I’ve tended to find the easiest approach is always one of welcome, and to make the decisions from the heart. Plus, I’ve actually come to quite like the term queer, where I hadn’t before.

    Asexuality, as it happens, is something I feel quite strongly about. My best friend, a girl I’ve known since I was eleven, identifies as asexual (tentatively lesbian – she defines it as ‘if I was going to be with anyone, it’d be a girl… but I’m not interested.’) I’ve watched her take a very long time to come to any level of certainty or comfort about this stance, and the frequent times that lacking sexual interest in anyone has held her up for mockery from other people. One of my side projects is a webseries called End of the Rainbow, in which I made a great effort to include an asexual character because I’m genuinely struggling to think of an explicitly asexual character anywhere in literature, which is a shame.

    In fact, the reason I’ve come across this post is because I’m researching for a podcast I’m recording on writing queer characters, and about six weeks of discussion has ensued regarding how exactly we’re going to refer to characters – in the end settling on QUILTBAG. Which included a discussion on whether ‘asexual’ should be considered part of the spectrum. I latched onto that, and am surprised by the amount of opinion pieces I’ve found that argues asexuals shouldn’t be included as it isn’t a sexual persuasion. My response to that? No. As far as I’m concerned, its not about scientific delineation but about community and support, and in some ways a more rejected stance by heteronormatives than homosexuality so yes… with a little more thought and a bigger word count, I’m still concluding the same thing: I will always err on the side of welcome.

    • Thank you for your comment and your words of welcome are much appreciated. Can you provide more information about your upcoming podcast because I’d love to link it to my blog and spread the word.

      As far as having asexuality be visible on the queer spectrum, I’ve tried to start using the term GSM (Gender or Sexual Minority) which can be much more inclusive than queer. Let me know your thoughts on this term and thanks again for the comment!

      • The details aren’t in stone yet – it’s recording next Saturday, and is being organised by Dark Matters magazine. The panelists are myself, publisher of Lethe Press Steve Berman, and writers Melissa Scott and Traci Castlebury. I’ll post back actual details when it’s posted.

        GSM has a nice ring to it – I think it gets at the reason why we should be grouped together (goes against the logical arguments that people throw up about why, for example, trans shouldn’t be included) – it’d about a community of people who have faced adversity because of, or have had to act upon, breaking out of those norms.

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