Why AroAce Jughead Is Important: An Eighth Update

I’m back and this can only mean one thing, Riverdale is airing it’s second season. This blog post is mainly going to focus on three different things. The first is the news that Jughead apparently said the dreaded three words (“I Love You”) to Betty, which coincides with the second topic the sneak peek to the first episode of the new season between Betty and Kevin and lastly is a certain article by DigitalSpy. Heads up for mentions of acemisia and aromisia, and mention of the Bughead sex scene from the season one finale. This blog post is coming late as the article was posted a month ago but at the time I felt I expressed most of what I was feeling on twitter, but with the news of the sneak peek I decided that it was time to talk about that too (note: I know the first episode of season 2 aired last night on the 11th but I haven’t, thankfully, seen anything to do with what happened other than this sneak peek hence why I’m focusing only on that).

The word “love” doesn’t always have to mean romantic love but because of this amatonormative world society has wired us to think that it does. I briefly talked about this here but I hate that society has made me and everyone else think this way. I’m always checking myself and rereading over things to make sure I haven’t jumped to the conclusion that whatever I’m reading isn’t just talking about romantic love but all forms of love. But I am going to assume in this case, since I never saw the scene and that Bughead is sadly a thing in the show, that Jughead meant love in a romantic sense. And from what I can tell Jughead was the person who said it first, which honestly I don’t understand.

The sneak peek, which you can find here, is a scene between Betty Cooper and another Riverdale character named Kevin (I don’t know much about Kevin I’m sorry). The scene plays out like this:

Betty: He told me he loved me
Kevin: Wait what? Jughead Jones said “I Love You”
Betty: Yeah
Kevin: Mr “I’m weird I’m a weirdo”?
Betty: And I told him I loved him back

Not only is there an aromisic vibe coming from everything that Kevin says I just eyeroll at the whole scene. The only thing I knew, until I was informed on this new scene, was that dreaded sex scene that I found existed because of tumblr gifsets (my poor sex repulsed eyes). From what Kevin says immediately it tells me that he thinks that Jughead can’t or won’t fall in love because he’s strange/different and that he won’t say the dreaded three words because of it (I believe in the show his character falls under the “loner” type character.) The aromisia that comes from this is stemmed from the idea that everyone will fall in love eventually even the so called “weirdos”.  So thumbs up for more amatonormativity. I’m honestly not sure what angers me more the sex scene or the fact Jughead said “I Love You” because both of those scenes, even though I haven’t seen the sex scene (I sadly saw gifs that was enough) or this “I Love You” scene, seem really out of character to me.

If you follow me on twitter you may remember that I stumbled upon this article because I was trying to find out whether or not the Jughead 2015 comics have been cancelled (I still don’t know whether this is true or not). The article is titled “Riverdale star Cole Sprouse addresses asexual Jughead possibility in season 2” already before even clicking I was wary about what the contents might be giving Cole Sprouse’ past of amisic comments. And let’s just say after I clicked it things didn’t get any better.

The first part of the article I’m going to discuss is this quote said by Sprouse himself:

Of course, I havent stopped the dialogue. Im sure Im quite the pest. Cant spoil too much unfortunately, but this topic was one of the first I discussed with [Riverdale creator] Roberto before this season started.

And I think this quote really speaks for itself. If you haven’t read update seven of what sadly became a series of blog posts then you’ll realise how this quote basically erases everything Cole Sprouse has said and that this is a blatant lie. Maybe he hadn’t stopped talking about it behind the scenes I wasn’t there I can’t vouch for anything. But from everything that we’ve seen and heard about how this version of Jughead isn’t that version of Jughead and all the other amisic comments that he’s said over the course of the year. Then yes I’m angry. If you truly haven’t stopped getting this representation then great but that doesn’t excuse or erase all of the terrible things that you said about my community, about our representation. I still remember how I felt each time Sprouse said something amisic, I still remember the disappointment and anger I felt having wanting to believe that we had someone on our side fighting for us but them ending up turning against us. Apologise for the terrible amisic comments, apologise immediately don’t just pretend they didn’t happen because we are hurt.

The second part, the part that infuriated me more than the fact that Cole Sprouse and everyone else seems to have forgotten his amisia (especially acemisia since he and everyone else mostly erased Jughead’s aromanticism) was this part of the article:

So, if you want to see asexual Jughead in the future, its time to start spamming the show’s creators.

I’m sorry I can’t even put it politely anymore how ignorant can you be that you haven’t noticed that we’ve been spamming the writers for over a year. And not only that they also have forgotten to talk about Jughead’s aromanticism (but sadly that’s the lest shocking thing to happen in this article). On the day that Riverdale aired the first episode of it’s first season we as a community launched #AroAceJugheadOrBust and #JugheadRepresents where we spammed our twitter accounts trying to get the writers’ attentions on whether or not they were keeping Jughead asexual and aromantic. We ended up with silence. I remember that day clearly (or rather night for me). Riverdale aired at 2:00am GMT (my timezone) and I remember staying up for at least three hours launching this movement. And we got nothing in return.

Yet we still continued to make blog posts (hence why there’s eight other blog posts like this one you’re reading, as well as others). We continued to spam, make threads, created petitions and so many other things. Some of us (included myself) poured our hearts out, poured out personal things that we have experienced just so we could be heard. And yet this article comes out and basically tells us that all our hard work, all the things we shared were for nothing? I made seventeen threads about the #AroAceJugheadOrBust movement over the course of the year, most were done in the early stages of the show. I’ve continuously made blog posts on both this blog and my tumblr trying to spread awareness of Riverdale’s erasure. And what did I, and the rest of the community, get? Silence absolute silence. And more erasure. More “discourse” and gatekeeping, more amisia and invalidation because of something that the Riverdale writers could have prevented.

In the sixth update of this series I talked about a podcast where a Riverdale writer talks about knowing the aroacejugheadorbust movement exists. So the spamming that we have done has been seen and heard yet they haven’t changed a thing. So why should we continue to spam when they’ve repeatedly thrown it back in our faces by ignoring us, erasing our identity, saying acemisic and aromisic things to our community, creating scenes like that one in the finale that there really isn’t any coming back from (I created a thread here if any of the Riverdale writers are reading this and actually want to fix the mess that they’ve made with the Bughead nonsense). Why should we waste more time trying to get the writers to listen to us when they’ve been ignoring us this entire time? I think as a whole we are just too tired at this point and we would rather put our energy towards books/tv/movies/etc that have explicitly stated aromantic and/or asexual characters written by actual asexual and/or asexual people without having to deal with erasure like this again (this goes for you too Shadowhunters).

Could their be a ninth update on this? Most likely, because sometimes your pal needs to vent out some frustration. Could Riverdale actually fix anything? Yes they could but the true question is would they?


A/N: If you are unfamiliar with the term “amisic” it is a less ableist way of saying “aphobic”. So [x]misia/misic is being used instead of saying [x]phobia/phobic.

Also I want to apologise for the lack of posts in the past few months, I’ve had zero inspiration or motivation. It’s kind of sad that something negative was what gave me motivation and inspiration to write another blog post.

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Riverdale’s AroAce Erasure: What I’ve Learnt From It.

It’s probably strange of me to write a post like this but honestly this erasure has given me such a learning curve as an aroace person and I thought you know what I want to shed some light in a sad and angry situation.

Obviously there’s some negatives to this erasure so I’m going to share those first. And then end on the positives.

Some people just don’t care. I can speak first hand that a majority of people don’t care, I’ve seen the reaction of people when I’ve had to unfollow dozens of people on a variety of different social media sites as well as going in the tags to block aphobic people. When you know people have seen your hurt and anger but are still choosing to ignore it, it really does hurt. It tells us that you don’t care about our struggles, our pain. The fact people don’t care takes me back to the fact that asexuality and specifically aromanticism are “invisible” identities which leads into my next point…

Lack of education. Without Tumblr I don’t know if I’d ever would have come across the terms “aromantic” and/or “asexual” because there’s so many things that we aren’t taught because of this heteronormative world. Similarly to what I’ve said above the lack of education on both aromanticism and asexuality is very obvious in the writers and the actor who is playing Jughead. Because throughout the past months many of them have said very invalidating and aphobic things, and it feeds off to the fandom, which use it against us. When an actor who was on our side with our representation turns against us we see it, the Riverdale fandom sees it and then we see that people are against us. And that they want us to experience that pain. If they don’t know much information on an aroace person’s experiences then they won’t know how much it is damaging when it comes to their writing. And because of the lack of education they flip our criticism and our want to educate into us being called “haters” and feeding off “discourse” when none of that is true. If the writers, and actors listened to the criticism, read through the #AroAceJugheadOrBust tag, read our threads they’d understand how much hurt we are suffering because of it.

Our voices should be heard but are being ignored. I still remember that moment when we found out that the writers knew about asexual Jughead (not sure if they knew about aromantic Jughead but they probably did) and that one of the writer’s knew the comic writer who finally gave the name “asexual” to a character who has been portrayed as such for years. I remember that anger that built up inside me, there’s most likely a post on this blog that I made about it. Why should we be heard? Because a show shouldn’t be allowed to cause this must hurt without a good reasoning or message. You know what the aroace erasure is telling me, especially with putting Jughead in a relationship with Betty? It tells me that I’m invalid, that I’m broken and need fixing. And how do I fix myself? I do that by putting myself in a relationship. That’s the message Riverdale is giving off to many aroaces. Break your boundaries, force yourself into a romantic relationship you don’t want. Sorry to burst your bubble Riverdale writers but I’ve done it in the past and it’s not great. It’s terrible. It’s damaging and dangerous especially for the aroace people.

Onto the (somewhat?) positives because even through this darkness there has been some light, surprisingly and I feel like my blog posts have been mostly talking about the hurt and anger of this situation (which is valid) but I want to talk about the positives because I wouldn’t be here without these positive parts of this situation. The positives aren’t really directly from Riverdale itself more so of the people I’ve surrounded myself with because of what Riverdale is doing.

Our pain, our anger, our disappointment is valid. This one I went back and forth with whether or not to put it under negatives or positives. Because the first half of the sentence is negative but the fact that I’m saying that it’s valid is a positive. Because it is a positive. We are allowed to be angry, we are allowed to be hurt and disappointed because they’ve taken such an iconic character from us and turned him into something he isn’t. Speaking for myself when discovering I was aroace Jughead was one of the few characters I found out was like me. And I used knowing this as validation. Because if the people around you aren’t accepting you there’s someone out there who does. There is other people out there like you. And that’s okay. This iconic character is aromantic and asexual just like you. You are valid. So the pain we are feeling, it’s okay to feel it, to embrace it, to share our stories to show the importance of the meaning of this character. All of it is okay. (I feel like I may have used “okay” a little too much here).

It’s made me stronger. Before this situation, especially if it happened when i was first figuring out I was aromantic and asexual, it probably would’ve broken me. Depending on where I was in my life I am grateful that it’s happened now rather than before. It’s made me realise that it’s okay to share my story as an aroace person and how this situation could affect aroace people badly because of the way a character who is like us has been twisted for a show. I now longer fear that this situation will get worse, I have a way to channel my anger and my sadness of the situation and I have the strength to overcome it and share it. This blog is evidence of my strength.

It’s made me more confident in finding good representation. I used to just cling to any representation that I could find even if it was harmful. But Riverdale’s twisted erasure has shown me that instead of looking for the bad I need to look for the good and that means looking elsewhere. It means finding #ownvoices books, and supporting actual aroace/ace/aro authors, who care about us being represented and wanting to share our story. Because of this situation I’ve started to read so many good books that have real and healthy representations of aro characters, ace characters, and aroace characters. And it’s a great way to feel so validated and loved because of this amazing work that people are doing with sharing their experiences through their characters.

It’s made me more confident in my own story writing. If you didn’t know for a whilst now I’ve actually been writing my own novel. This novel in fact has an aromantic asexual lead character. And this situation has given me a boost of energy to get my novel finished and out there, so that there is good representation and that my story, my experiences are heard. Because if you’re going to take away characters who represent me I’m going to make my own. For every aroace character who is straightwashed, or stripped of his/her/they/etc aromantic identity I will write another aroace, aro, or ace character to full my anger. Through writing a story with an aroace main I’ve been able to address so much that I couldn’t address before in the right words through my story telling and my characters. And it truly has made me feel better. I can take this situation, twist and bend it a little and have my characters react to it.

It’s brought me closer to both the aro and ace communities. I kind of felt like an outsider when it came to the aro and ace communities because I didn’t really know anyone and I was fairly new to discovering that I was aroace. But because of the erasure I’ve talked to so many aro/ace/aroace people who also share the pain and hurt of this situation and it’s helped me see and understand the amount of people are in our communities and that are hurt because of this situation.

It showed me who my real friends are. What I mean by this is that it’s showed me who exactly cares about the fact that a character that is like me is being stripped of everything he should be. And how much they care that it’s giving me a lot of hurt. Obviously I can’t stop any of my friends from watching a show but it’s shown me if they’d rather support an aphobic show or support their friend. If they’ve been there for me, and are helping out with the #AroAceJugheadOrBust campaign and if they are pointing out to other people that this cannot stand. It has really shown me who out of my friends care more about their shipping “rights” over their friend who this situation is making xir feel invalid most of the time.

It showed me who are both indirectly and directly aphobic. It’s probably ironic that this and my next point are on this list because both are probably for a lot of people are going to seem negative but for me they’re not. Why? Because I don’t want aphobic people in my life. Understanding the difference between indirect and direct aphobia has started to become more clear because of this situation. And direct aphobia is when people actively ship Jughead romantically with any character, even when aroaces have told them that their ship is aphobic and they’ve chosen to ignore it. Indirect aphobia is basically if the person is unaware of the situation and ships Jughead romantically “harmlessly”. You’re probably thinking how can someone not know about this especially with how much I’ve talked about it or other people have. It’s sadly quite simple. They don’t follow enough aros, aces, and aroaces who are speaking up about the erasure. Or if they follow just me, for example, they don’t see it because of timezones, or their Tumblr dash or Twitter timeline is so full that they never get a chance to see it.

It showed me who is specifically arophobic. As I’ve spoken about in previous posts it’s taken me a lot longer to accept being aromantic than it did being asexual. And through this situation I’ve realised how many people are more accepting of Jughead being asexual than him being aromantic. Because of their shipping “rights”. The reason why this is on my positive list is because I don’t want aphobic people, especially arophobic people in my life or anywhere near me. Having struggled with internalised arophobia for at least a year and finally overcoming it I don’t need to see people who are like “Jughead can still be asexual even if he’s with Betty” or some other shit excuse like that and deliberately ignoring and erasing Jughead’s aromanticism. I know exactly who I should and shouldn’t follow (and who I should block) when it comes to social media (my Tumblr life is so much more fun now that I no longer follow anyone who posts Riverdale and now that I’ve blocked (mostly) everyone in the romantic!Jughead ship tags).

I’ve probably repeated myself a million and one times not just in this blog alone but repeating stuff I’ve said before but the reason for that is because there are certain things that need to be addressed, that are so important that people need to know but aren’t listening too. It’s why many of us are saying the same things over and over again but in different ways.

If you want to know more about this situation please follow more aroaces. Boost our voices. And let us be heard. Don’t allow Riverdale or any other show *cough* Shadowhunters *cough* get away with aroace erasure (in Shadowhunters case just aromantic erasure). Because this hurts a lot of us.

Why AroAce Jughead Is Important: A Seventh update.

Fair warning this one is going to be full of anger, sarcasm and swear words. This is mostly a rant to be honest. Trigger warning: A LOT of aphobia. 

Every time something happens I tell myself “it can’t get any worse than this” and to my shock and amazement something worse happens. And this time this article by TeenVogue. An interview of Cole Sprouse about his character Jughead. And what has sparked this update is this section of the article:

“Jughead is 16 going on 17 (as  of episode 10),” Cole wrote. “Sexuality is fluid. And where his sexuality is headed has, already, been heavily discussed…Riverdale is a new universe, and we first need to think of Jughead as a human agent within his environment, his decisions about his sexuality are going to be informed by his upbringing and his immediate and longterm desires. Betty and Jughead’s coupling are a great example of such an informed decision.”

Let’s start off with the fact that in the beginning Cole was fighting for us, he even said that this part of Jughead’s character is important and should be shown. And now he’s saying this?! What aphobic bullshit is this?! Because what Cole said above is quite long I’ve decided to break it into parts because each section makes me angry in a different way.

First the aphobia and just blatant queerphobia in “Jughead is 16 going on 17”. This implies that being 16 or 17 is too young to know for certain what your sexuality is if you aren’t straight. The heteronormativity and amatonormativity in these couple of words are enough to boil my anger. How comes is okay to know for certain that you are straight when you’re 16 or 17 but if you’re figuring out you’re queer you’re suddenly “too young”. If I had the words aromantic and asexual I probably would’ve identified as them since I was probably 13/14. But because I didn’t I suffered through a lot of hurt and pain. Feeling broken. Not understanding who I was.

“Sexuality is fluid” I really love how sexuality being fluid only comes up when talking about a character who is or might be queer. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this come up when a character is straight. It’s only when people see them and headcanon them as queer or if they are queer. Yes sexuality is fluid in some cases. But it’s not for Jughead. Jughead is aroace. He is touch adverse and he is romance repulsed. He has been for years. This is no excuse for this aroace erasure or aphobia.

“Riverdale is a new universe”  THIS IS NO EXCUSE FOR AROACE ERASURE. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again if Jughead was gay the writers would have kept him that way. That outcry would have gotten this show cancelled in the first two weeks. This excuse means nothing. You don’t suddenly get to use that “it’s an adaption” excuse because you don’t want to play a character who you don’t understand. I’m so annoyed and shocked that this is okay with so many people. I just can’t see how they can’t see that this is so damaging. When has it ever been okay to change a queer character’s identity in the adaptation. NEVER until now. Just because being aromantic and asexual is lesser known and “more invisible” to a lot of people does not make this okay! It will never be okay.

“We first need to think of Jughead as a human agent” oh what lovely dehumanisation of aro, ace, and aroace people we have here. It’s not like I’ve not seen this before. Are you serious right now. Was Jughead not human before? Was aroace Jughead not human? Was he an alien? Was he a vampire? This is news to me. This is what amatonormativity it tells sex and romance is “what makes us human” and if we don’t experience it well boy do I have news for you, we are no longer human. I’m so infuriated with this sentence alone. Stab me in the heart it would heartless…oh wait…what heart? I mustn’t have a heart because I’m not human right? Fuck you.

“His decisions about his sexuality are going to be informed by his upbringing and his immediate and longterm desires” WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS MEAN?! “By his upbringing” what bullshit is this? “his longterm desires”. The only desires Jughead should have is for eating burgers. Anything else is aphobic. Jughead has never shown interest in anyone or anything but burgers. I don’t understand how Jughead’s upbringing could affect his sexuality, especially his aroaceness. I swear if they are going to do the “his only aroace because he hasn’t met the one, and he closed himself off to romance because of his troubled past and didn’t want to go through what his parents did” (and what I mean here is experiencing his parents having a divorce) I’m going to flip. I’ve seen this so many times. Being closed off to romance and being aroace isn’t the same thing!

“Betty and Jughead’s coupling are a great example of such an informed decision” well this is just the icing on the cake isn’t it? The aphobia, the erasure, the amatonormativity, just I can’t put it into words. You know what Bughead is? Bughead is a great example of aphobic writers taking a character they know is aromantic, asexual, touch adverse and romance repulsed, stripping him of everything he is and forcing him into a relationship because they are so aphobic that they can’t see that not everyone, not every character, needs romance to “be human” and to be happy. It’s a great example of how much hurt they can bring to two communities because of a damn ship. It’s great example of stripping one of the few characters like me and telling me you know what we don’t like you like this, this is how you should be. Bughead is a great example of dehumanisation of aromantic people. Bughead is great example of heternormativity. Bughead is a great example of dehumanisation of friendships.

Riverdale is aphobic trash
Bughead is aphobic trash
Cole Sprouse is aphobic trash
The CW is aphobic trash

On a last note ALLIES WHERE ARE YOU? Why are you supporting this show that is giving us so much hurt? Why are you allowing it to carry on and have another season? Why are you not speaking up about this erasure? Why are you shipping Bughead? Or Jughead with any character for that matter? Why are you only speaking up about the Beronica queerbaiting but not the queer erasure? Why are you not here when aros and aces need you the most? Why don’t you care?!
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Let’s Talk: Aro/Ace Online Safe Spaces

Or rather lack thereof. Personally I don’t know any other aromantic or asexual people in real life, so I have to use the internet and social media to talk to people like me. I believe that’s similar for a lot of aromantic or asexual people. And a lot of people go to Tumblr or Twitter for these so-called safe spaces.

If you read my last post you’ll know that “ace/aro discourse” is a thing that I believe developed on Tumblr. Where people try to hate and gatekeep aros and aces from the LGBTQIA+ community and post arophobic content in our safe spaces (otherwise known as tags). And because of this I fear just going on Tumblr let alone going in our tags to find validation and safe spaces.

I’ve seen a lot of gatekeepers say “make your own safe spaces” but when we do like make another tag that hasn’t been infiltrated with aphobia, aphobes find it and that tag is no longer safe either. Since I’ve become more active in both the aro and ace communities we’ve created at least three new tags/safe spaces on Tumblr, but all of them are no longer safe. We can’t go outside of social media because a lot of us don’t have anywhere to go. And it’s so infuriating because sometimes something can happen in my personal life (usually it’s going to family dinners) and someone will say something and I’ll feel invalidated so I need our safe spaces to allow myself to feel valid. But where can I go if our safe spaces are invaded by aphobes and would just make myself feel worse?

Nowhere.

Our safe spaces aren’t safe. As “ace/aro discourse” has grown the more unsafe our tags get. Even though we have a tagging system and there’s a potential blacklist there’s still no way to avoid the aphobia within our tags. Because people don’t tag it as aphobia. I fear following people just in case they post “ace/aro discourse”, I constantly have the fear that I’ll stumble upon “ace/aro discourse” or some sort of aphobia on my Tumblr dashboard or my Twitter timeline.

So how are we supposed to create our own safe spaces, like you said, when our spaces keep being invaded by people who don’t want us to have safe spaces.

How is this fair?

Why do you hate us that much that you want us to feel terrible all the time. Let us have our safe spaces. If you don’t want anything to do with the ace or aro communities leave us the hell alone. It’s that simple. Stop trying to invalidate us all the time. We are tired of it. We just want our safe spaces to remain safe.

Let’s Talk: The Weaponisation of “Cishet” [Aphobia TW]

“Cishet” was a term that meant “cisgendered, heterosexual, and heteroromantic”. It was usually used by the LGBTQIA+ community to identify people who were not like them, otherwise known as people who are straight. But as technology has improved,  and social media has improved and become more popular it has become a weapon against asexuals, aromantic, and aromantic asexuals of all genders and/or sexual or romantic orientation.

If you are asexual, aromantic, aroace, or even questioning any of this I would either recommend you don’t read any further or you read with caution. I’m going to discuss why I hate the word “cishet” and how it’s been used against me a nonbinary aromantic asexual, and the aro and ace communities in general.

If I’m honest I don’t think I’ve ever seen “cishet” used in a non aphobic manner. I don’t even know how it started but I do know it’s the main thing that is used in “ace/aro discource”. Ace/Aro discourse, usually found on Tumblr (I think it originated there), is when people try to gate keep aromantic and asexual people from the LGBTQIA+ community and/or invalidate our experiences. Just all out horrible things said towards the ace and aro communities.

Aros, aces, and aroaces are not “cishet” because they either aren’t (depending if they are aro, ace, or aroace) heteroromantic or heterosexual. And a lot of the time the aro, ace, or aroace person who is being called “cishet” isn’t/aren’t cisgendered.

The usage of “cishet” has been used to invalidate all and every aro, ace, aroace person’s identity by saying we are “basically straight”. It has been used to tell us that our experiences aren’t “that bad” and that we should “suck it up” because we could have “had it worse”. It tells aros, aces, aroaces, who have suffered from abuse, rape, etc because of their identity that it doesn’t matter, that they should just accept it and move on. Which isn’t true. Every aro, ace, aroaces experience is valid, whether they be good or bad experiences.

When I see the word “cishet” used naturally in a normal conversation I’m really wary of it. It makes me nervous, because I try to make my experience safe around social media (I’ve never heard or seen the word used outside of social media). Because I use social media to help talk about issues, and educate people, as well at times to remind myself I am valid as an aromantic asexual. But the usage of “cishet” against me sometimes stops that.

I’ve heard that in the past “Cishet” was also used to gatekeeper and invalidate both bisexual people’s experiences and identity as well as trans people’s identities and experiences. But because I was introduced to the word “cishet” through “ace/aro discource” I don’t really have the right to talk about this.

Before I started questioning my gender I thought I was a cisgendered heteroromantic asexual before I realised I was aromantic so it changed to cisgendered aromantic asexual. And during that time I did not once have the word “cishet” used against me. But since I realised I was nonbinary it’s been used against me multiple times. I talk a lot about asexuality and aromanticism on Tumblr and people who don’t even know or follow me will tag my posts, comment on my posts, about how I’m “cishet” and how “aro/aces aren’t queer” or aren’t “valid in the queer community” or that we “don’t have the right to reclaim the word queer”. (I use queer because I have so many labels, but that’s a topic for another day). I have enough trouble as it is in real life with my gender because I’m “seen as female” I don’t need the term “cishet” thrown at me as well. It invalidates me as an nonbinary person, as someone who hates the fact that they are perceived as the assigned gender at birth. It also invalidates my experiences as both an asexual and aromantic person.

A good (probably a bad choice of word here) example would be when I made a post about respecting aromantic and asexual characters (this one). And one of the comments, in a mocking tone a similarly to how I wrote it, was something along the lines “you know what would be nice? gay/lesbian/trans characters. You know what would be nicer? People respecting those characters are gay/lesbian/trans and not ignoring it” I’m not 100% sure that they said trans characters, and I think they said something about ace/aro people “being straight”, and their username was proof that the comment was aphobic, but because I blocked them and I can’t remember exactly what their username was I can no longer see the comment on my post thankfully.

I’ve seen more people use “cishet” against non cis people, and aroaces more than I do towards actual allo cis straight people. The fact is that cisgendered heteroromantic asexual exist, and cisgendered heterosexual aromantics exist and the usage of “cishet” really invalidates their experiences as either an asexual or an aromantic person. “Cishet” is hardly ever used against allo cis straight people, it’s used against aromantics, asexuals, and aroaces more than anything. It’s used to invalidate, and gatekeep all and every aro, ace, and aroaces from the LGBTQIA+ community. I’ve seen non LGBTQIA+ people gatekeep aros, aces, and aroaces from the community, which makes no sense.

I’m really sorry if I’ve repeated myself, but I really needed to get this off of my chest. I will clear one thing up, if I ever use the word “cishet” I’m usually speaking out against it and I’ll always use quotation marks to show that I don’t mean it in an aphobic manner, and I will never use it casually in a conversation to talk about all cis straight people. I probably missed some key points as well, but just being on tumblr alone can show you how easily it’s weaponised against the aro and ace communities.

Stop using “cishet” to invalidate non cisgendered, heteroromantic, and heterosexual people.

Why AroAce Jughead Is Important: A Sixth Update.

I wonder how many of these I’m going to have to do before we actually get acknowledged. So this week a podcast came out with one of the writers of Riverdale and let’s just say I’m not very happy with what was said during this podcast.

The first thing I want to discuss is that fact that we were referred to as “Riverdale discourse”. When it comes to fandom, or LGBTQIA+ issues “discourse” is always used badly. The movement #AroAceJugheadOrBust is not discourse, it’s a movement. We are here to speak up about the wrong doing of a show that is actively erasing our identities. Of course we aren’t going to stay silent about it, we want to be heard, we want to be represented, we want Jughead to be the character he is, not this imposter. When it comes to fandom the word “discourse” is the equivalent to calling us haters. Yes we may hate Riverdale but we have a valid reason. No one wants to see the only rep they have taken away from them.

Next I want to talk about the part that really fueled my anger and it’s the fact that another writer, the one with the most influence, knows about asexual Jughead and knows the comic writer (Chip Zdarsky) who properly canonised asexual Jughead by using the word (I’m not sure if the writer knows about Jughead’s aromanticism but if they personally know Zdarsky it must’ve come up once at least). And as well as all of this they have decided to ignore it in season 1 and don’t even have plans for it in season 2. I would’ve been angry if they didn’t know but then discovered about it, but the fact they knew from the beginning and still chose to ignore it deliberately, makes my anger harder to place into words. They decided from day 1 that they would take this aromantic asexual character, who many people really connected with, and thought the best way would be to destroy everything he is just to force him in a relationship with Betty.

If I wasn’t angry with what I said above I was definitely angry now. The writer in the podcast confirmed that they’ve heard or read about the #AroAceJugheadOrBust movement/seen our concerns about the erasure and are actively ignoring us over it. They are ignoring us, this isn’t a question, it’s a fact. Instead of acknowledging the pain of two communities they would rather keep us hurting. They would rather us suffer the loss of our only representative, who is unapologetically aroace, than acknowledge their wrong doings. Who does this? Who would rather their viewers suffer with harmful erasure, than do something that was canon from the first place. It’s disgusting.

The writer did suggest that we keep voicing our anger but we’ve been doing it for months now, and we are continuously being ignore. They are hearing us, seeing us but they don’t care enough to acknowledge us. Why is it only okay to erase aromantic and asexual characters? Since when has it been okay to erase canon LGBTQIA+ characters? How long am I going to have to face my representation stripped away from me?

Respect characters who are LGBQIA+ in canon. Respect them. Don’t erase them.

Let’s Talk: That Scene in Shadowhunters 2×10. [Ace/Aro Rep]

So 2×10 of Freeform’s TV show Shadowhunters aired last night and I want to discuss one certain scene. The scene is the “coming out” scene between characters Raphael Santiago and Isabelle Lightwood.

Raphael Santiago before the show is/was what you call “word of God” or “post-it representation” because author of The Mortal Instruments series confirmed that Raphael was both aromantic and asexual in two different tweets. For years this was always a taboo subject within The Shadowhunter Chronicles fandom because people who weren’t aromantic and/or asexual would say this didn’t count as canon because it wasn’t “explicitly stated in the books”.

Now to my actual point, in 2×10 Raphael somewhat comes out as asexual, and in my opinion aromantic too. I’ve discussed this both on Twitter and Tumblr but I want to talk about it in more detail. The scene plays out like this:

It begins with Izzy is lying in Raphael’s arms & he’s stroking her hair, they’re talking about Alec at first.
Then Raphael says “Your happiness, your well being is all I care about.”
Isabelle: “That sounds like the Shadowhunter blood talking.”
Raphael: “It’s true. I haven’t felt this way about anyone in a long long time.”
Isabelle goes in for a kiss Raphael looks away, avoiding it, and tries to drink the blood from her wrist instead
Isabelle:“Kiss me”
Raphael:“It’s not like that. I’m not like that. I’m just not interested in sex.”
Isabelle: “Being a vampire made you this way?”
Raphael:“No. I’ve always been like this.”
*Raphael goes to say something else but gets interrupted by Isabelle’s phone ringing.*

First I’m going to start with the first 3 lines focusing mostly on “that sounds like the Shadowhunter blood talking” said by Isabelle and Raphael’s response “that’s true. I haven’t felt this way about anyone in a long long time.” This is aro coding. Whether it was intentional or not I don’t know but this is very obviously aro coded. The reason is because with Isabelle’s statement it implies that Raphael drinking Isabelle’s Shadowhunter blood is being used as a stimulant and symbol for romantic attraction. There’s two ways you can look at this statement. 1) He’s talking about being demiromantic (an identity on the aromantic spectrum) or 2) He’s saying that the blood is like a drug that has allowed him to feel something that he didn’t before.

Secondly, the most obvious part, is the ace coding from the minute he shows his disdain towards Isabelle’s kiss it shows asexuality and what really puts the cherry on top of the cake is when he says “It’s not like that. I’m not like that. I’m just not interested in sex.” Honestly they could’ve stopped there and I would’ve been satisfied but the best part of all of this is the fact that Isabelle asked him if was because he became a vampire and his answer was “no I’ve always been like this”. I can’t put it into words what this response means to me. The fact that it wasn’t caused by his vampirism is so important. It’s so important that they emphasised this, and that becoming a vampire didn’t change him. This part, about how he’s always been like this, is also slightly aro coded as well.

The issue I have overall with this scene is the lack of labels and the arophobia that is coming from it. I’m so thankful that people are emphasising and celebrating the fact that this obviously shouts that Raphael is asexual. But there is a lot of aromantic erasure happening in the fandom both deliberately and accidentally. I’ve seen a lot of people not realise that the scene was also aro coded because the first bit goes by so fast and the fact that just after he emphasises his disinterest in sex. But people have also deliberately denied Raphael’s aromanticism because of shipping. And saying things like “he can’t be aromantic because he’s in love with [insert character here]”, which hasn’t actually been stated in canon.

I have another issue with how allorom aces are celebrating and also ignoring the aromantic side of Raphael. Yes we should celebrate but this is very harmful erasure for the aromantic community. I’m both aroace, like Raphael, and even though I’m really excited and happy about this scene, the lack of acknowledgement of his aromanticism is damaging and upsetting. Because he was confirmed aroace by Cassandra Clare. Please don’t throw aromantic aces under the bus, because this was our representation. He’s always been aromantic and asexual, not one, both.

I want to end on a positive note and this scene was really beautiful, they handled it really well and I couldn’t have asked for anything better to be honest (except the labels being mentioned). I’m glad that the writers decided to keep this important part of Raphael’s character in the show and that they had always planned to do this. From the bottom of my heart thank you for doing something that other shows decided to ignore. Thank you so much. I’m really interested in seeing how they handle this. I feel like the scene was definitely unfinished so I can’t wait to see how they’ll handle it when the show returns in June. They’ve handled sexuality really well in the show so far and I’m so excited to see the rest of Raphael’s story.

I will be honest when my friend who was watching the show live told me that this scene happened I cried. This meant so much to me as both an aromantic and asexual person, this week wasn’t nice towards aromantics especially with a certain article that came out about a certain show about a certain character who was aroace in the canon by a certain actor who plays the character. And just getting this made my week so much better. It’s only up from here, one step at a time.

Raphael Santiago is canon asexual (and hopefully aromantic) in Shadowhunters. There’s a canon asexual character on my TV screen. I honestly can’t believe it’s happened.