If you didn’t already know, this week (October 23-29) is Ace week, or Asexuality Awareness week! Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to others, or a low interest in sexual activity, and is an often overlooked part of the LGBTQIA+ community, even though it’s right there in the acronym. While many assume asexuality means no desire for any romantic relationship whatsoever, that is not the case. Some asexual people feel no romantic attraction either, and consider themselves aroace (aromantic and asexual), however, not all asexual people are aromantic, and many still desire a romantic relationship without physical aspects. Asexuality is extremely nuanced, and is an important part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and the asexual community deserves to see themselves represented in the media.
In GLAAD’s 2021-22 Where We Are On TV report, out of 637 LGBTQIA+ characters, there were only two that identified as asexual, and one of those was HBO Max’s Genera+ion, which will not be returning as it was cancelled. That is .03 percent of all queer characters on television, and simply is not good enough. According to a 2019 report by the Williams Institute at UCLA, 1.7% of the queer community identifies as asexual, meaning television is far behind where it should be. While there have been some increases in the last year since the report came out, and there are six asexual characters featured below that are on currently airing television shows, it still barely reaches one percent of the total number from last years report. Representation matters, and asexual representation is still lacking in today’s media landscape.
While we continue to advocate for more asexual representation in the media, here are some of our favorite asexual characters that are currently holding down the fort in today’s television and video games.
*WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW*
Elijah, Big Mouth
In the most recent season of Big Mouth, which was released on Friday, new character Elijah (Byran Tyree Henry) was introduced as a love interest for Missy (Ayo Edebiri). Toward the end of the season, Elijah questions his hormone monsters as to why he doesn’t feel the same attraction to Missy that his classmates feel. His hormone monsters and his aunt help him realize that he is asexual, and he expresses joy in being able to name himself. In the finale, he tells Missy that he’s asexual and Missy accepts this about him and the two remain a couple. Watch season six of Big Mouth on Netflix now!
— metacritic (@metacritic) October 28, 2022
Ca$h, Heartbreak High
Netflix’s hit new revival Heartbreak High features Ca$h (Will McDonald), a drug-dealing delivery boy who lives with his Nan, and also happens to be a closeted asexual. His asexuality is revealed slowly over the course of the season, and certainly is not the only focus when it comes to Ca$h’s complex character. Ca$h is not aromantic, and spends the season getting close to Darren, a non-binary character. The show was already renewed for a second season, so hopefully we’ll get more of Ca$h next year! Watch Heartbreak High on Netflix now!
Cash (heartbreak high) – asexual and queer pic.twitter.com/BIITuNGHXy
— lyds is seeing louis !! (@rainbunrry) October 23, 2022
Earlier this year, Heartstopper took the queer community and beyond by storm, and on twitter Alice Oseman, the aroace creator of the comics and series, confirmed that supporting character Isaac (Tobie Donovan) is an aroace character. They also said that if the series was renewed, they had “big asexual plans.” Luckily for Oseman and queer people everywhere, Netflix renewed the series for not one, but two new seasons following the success of the first. Watch Heartstopper on Netflix now!
if we get a season 2 of Heartstopper, I have PLANS. BIG ASEXUAL PLANS
— Alice Oseman Updates (@AliceOseman) December 21, 2021
Abbi Singh, The Imperfects
One of the lead characters on Netflix’s The Imperfects, Abbi Singh (Rhianna Jagpal), comes out as asexual in episode one, and moreover actually uses the word “ace,” unlike many shows that simply imply asexuality in characters. Abbi is an aspiring scientist that develops abilities that ironically make those around her aroused and extremely attracted to her. Abbi is not aromantic and is attracted to women, as she has a romantic attraction to another character on the show, Hannah. All around, Abbi as a South-Asian asexual lesbian scientist is a fantastic character to have on television, and hopefully the show gets renewed for a second season. Watch The Imperfects on Netflix now!
There’s a new asexual character on TV!
Abbi Singh (played by Rhianna Jagpal), one of the protagonists of Netflix’s new show The Imperfects, explicitly states she’s ace in the *very first* episode! pic.twitter.com/YWDGM21GMM
— Mo (@mo_journeys) September 13, 2022
Jae, Supernatural Academy
On Peacock’s Supernatural Academy, Jae (Ali Eisner) is an aroace non-binary Faerie that can communicate with nature. They casually mention that they’re “not into the whole relationship thing,” but “get that some people are.” Jae’s non-binary and aroace identities are casually acknowledged rather than made out to be their entire personality, as queer identity often is. Watch Supernatural Academy on Peacock now!
Fun news! I’m a main character on @Peacocktv‘s Supernatural Academy! I play a Faerie named Jae. A chill, musical, funny charmer who can communicate with nature. One of the most rad things about Jae, is that they are Transgender/Non-Binary, just like me. Streams Jan 20th 2022! pic.twitter.com/O44ZvE5O42
— Ali J Eisner (@AliEisner) December 12, 2021
In the (very queer) roguelike video game Hades, floating Gorgon head non-playable character (NPC) Dusa is aroace. In Hades, players control Zagreus, the son of Hades, as he attempts to escape from the Underworld in a series of runs in which the player gets ever-stronger until they succeed. The character works as a maid in the House of Hades, and is constantly floating around and cleaning. If you attempt to “romance” the character, she will inform you she is not interested in those kinds of relationships. In a conversation with Zagreus, he admits his feelings for her, and she says she is not looking for an “intimate relationship.” Play Hades now on Steam or your preferred console!
Pavarti, The Outer Worlds
In action role-playing game The Outer Worlds, Pavarti is a potential companion for the player, and also an asexual character. The game is set in an alternate United States in 1901, where President William McKinley was never assassinated, and megacorporations dominate and have begun to colonize space. Pavarti is a shy mechanic, whose intelligence is oft overshadowed by her lack of confidence (think insecure golden retriever). According to her dialogue, she has never been interested in physical relationships like other people are, and that makes those around her think she is “cold.” If you want to keep an asexual companion by your side at all times, check out The Outer Worlds on Steam or your preferred console!
Honestly this game has made me so incredibly happy, this is the first time I’ve seen ACTUAL ASEXUAL REPRESENTATION!!
There’s a whole side quest about her struggling with being different & I just, it’s me represented in a video game & it just made me feel seen you know? pic.twitter.com/CA5fDggOfw
— CurseImEd (@CauseImEd) July 7, 2021
These characters represent a wonderful, diverse representation of asexuality on screen, and we are thrilled to highlight them for you this Ace week. Seven characters, however, is not good enough, and asexual representation in pop culture still has a long way to go. Asexual people are a valued part of the queer community that deserve to see themselves represented on screen just as much as anyone else. We will continue to advocate for asexual individuals and all members of the queer community, and to get involved with Ace Week yourself, check out the website for resources and places to donate.