More on Sexual Orientation Diversity

I’ve previously written about sexual orientation diversity in fiction, but my recent exposure to this graphic (from Lee & Low Books) has it on my mind again:

Diversity in Publishing 2015 E

As someone who falls on the asexual end of the sexuality spectrum (demisexuals unite!), I found this graphic to be jaw-dropping. Are there really so few asexuals in the publishing world?

If so, is it just that no one wants to admit it, if they even know that there is something to admit? Because I didn’t realize that I’m demisexual until I was in my mid-twenties.

One of the reasons that I struggled for so long with my own sexual orientation is that I knew I was different, I just didn’t have the language to describe it. For a long time I thought I was a lesbian (my closest friend was a woman), then I thought I was bisexual (turns out I can be attracted to men, too), but never asexual. I have a sex drive, after all, and everyone knows you can’t have a sex drive and be asexual, right? I pretended to have crushes because everyone else had them and I desperately didn’t want to be different, but deep down I thought I was broken in some way.

One of the ways that a child learns is by finding people that they like and saying, that person is like me. For 12-year-old me, that “person” was Elizabeth Moon’s character Paksenarrion. Spoiler alert: her stories have no crushes, no love triangle, almost no love angle at all. She’s a bad ass who does cool deeds and just doesn’t care about all that other stuff. In the first book, she falls in love and wonders whether she should have given her love sex because he wanted it, even if she didn’t. And while I’m not quite that asexual, her story resonated with me. It was like being in my own brain.

This is why queer characters are important to me. This is why I have a burning desire to write LGBTQ characters. Not because it’s a platform, but because somewhere out there, there’s a kid who likes fantasy/sci-fi/horror who might pick up a book and feel a little less different. She might not even know why she felt different before because she might not have the language to describe herself yet, but she’ll have someone to identify with, and that fact will be as comforting to her as it was to me.

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