Signal Boost: Another eBook Sale

Hello all!

As you all know, I’ll be speaking on a panel at C2E2 this weekend (more information found here and here). To celebrate, I’ve decided to have an eBook sale on the first two books of my series.

From April 5th – 9th, the eBook of Sere from the Green will be FREE and Through Storm and Night will be 0.99!

If you’re a fan of fantasy starring strong queer women (including adoptees, written by an adoptee) or you know anyone who is, please check out my books. And consider leaving a review. Being an indie author, I’m relying heavily on word of mouth and signal boosts 🙂

Here’s some more information on the books:

Sere from the Green

SereFromtheGreen.Ebook

There is a race that lives among humans, unbeknownst to them, called shape shifters, those that can shift from human to animal at will. Many protect the innocent on Earth and act as the eyes and ears of the guardians, divine beings similar to gods in ancient myths.

Isis is a woman who lives a normal life until the day she photographs a murder scene for her job. When the body disappears from her photographs, Isis is determined to solve the mystery. Her investigation uncovers answers about her own past and sets her on a journey that will change her life forever.

Buy here

Through Storm and Night

ThroughStormAndNight.Ebook

The Meadows is home to the guardians, a race of beings similar to the deities in ancient mythology. They watch over the Earth from their serene lands, keeping everything in check. For millennia, it has been peaceful. However, in the beginning, there was a great war. A war with Chaos, a war that is still remembered in the legends of the guardians and shape shifters.

Months have passed since Isis’, a shape shifter/guardian hybrid and member of the prophesied Four, narrow escape from the Obsidian Manor. The Four still haven’t found answers about the mysterious Coop and their search for the Key has yielded nothing but more questions. When an old alliance is reforged, the Four are thrown into another mystery. Who are the strange shape shifters known only as the “glowing-eyes” and what is their connection to the odd symbol and vanishing bodies?

Buy here

Once again, this sale runs from April 5th – 9th.

I hope those of you who already have books are enjoying them and thanks for picking them up 🙂

Thank you so much everybody!

Interview: Emie

Today we’re joined by Emie. Emie is a phenomenal performance artist based in Malmö, Sweden and London, UK. She does a variety of different forms of performance art, including installations and video art. Emie has traveled around the world and recently gave a panel in New York. A lot of Emie’s work has a deeply feminist bent and she’s incredibly dedicated to her work, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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“Sexually Disoriented in Tokyo” Shibuya, Tokyo, 2017. Costume and Photo: Daisuke Tsukuda

WORK

Please, tell us about you and your art.

I’m an artist and film activist from Sweden who’s spent over a decade working in London as a filmmaker and cinema worker.

My main disciplines as an artist are video, performance and installations.

It was only in recent years I started exploring the field of performance art and transgressing various art disciplines. I make stylized, political work that is influenced by my background in DIY arts, avantgarde clubbing and queer/feminist activism.

My A Sexual Series includes a variety of works that explore and visualize our struggles as asexuals to find acceptance in the world, on a personal, local as well as international level. It also provides various methods for dealing with those struggles and gives a nuanced picture of asexuality to a wider audience, who may have no previous knowledge of these terms or never encountered any of these themes before.

“A Sexual Series is a sex positive asexual’s perspective on our contemporary sexual culture.

A Sexual Series is inspired by posthumanist theory and gender studies.

A Sexual Series works with contradictions as a premiss to find greater understandings of human and posthuman thinking.

A Sexual Series explores the queer identity asexuality with the intent to raise awareness of the sexual construction of teenagers from both liberal and conservative environments and offer alternative ways of thinking about desire and attraction.”

I’m so pleased that my work in A Sexual Series has an international appeal and has already showcased in two art venues in Tokyo (JAP), Athens Museum of Queer Arts (GRC), multiple places in Sweden. It just premiered in New York on Jan 25th at Utopia School @ Flux Factory and in London on Feb 8th for Cuntemporary’s Deep Trash Romance event at Queen Mary University. My hopes and ambitions are to continue bringing the work to more countries globally!

Whilst showcasing the work, I try to find more participants for my international documentary about the asexual spectrum. I call it Ace of Baes and the aces featured so far represent a variety of cultural experiences, being from Japan, the US, Sweden, Estonia, India, Greece and Spain. I am currently looking for an ace producer to help me secure funding for a group shoot. (Holla!)

What inspires you?

Everyday life, encounters, people, the world, technology and meditation – spending time in my own mind. And reading!

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techtest_SexDisorientation: Emie, featured in the documentary QUEER by Daniela Runesson, Thara Schöön & David Falck, 2017

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve identified as a filmmaker since I first touched a video camera at the age of seven! Then I started curating my family gatherings at the age of 10, turning them into social and performative happenings!

I carried on pursuing my dreams of making a living – or more importantly, a lasting impact on society – and during production of several films DIY, I started my own international production company in London.

The move into contemporary art wasn’t an obvious one, but it makes sense to me. I was in my late twenties and disappointed with some encounters of sexism in the film industry – similar to those that came to light during this current #metoo revolution! So I decided I would explore the field of progressive video art – only to realize that everywhere is a patriarchal world, with artists calling #metoo as well! My hope is to return to film as my main medium at a later stage in my life, but as an artist.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I can see a reoccurring trend with a lot of deep pink in my video works. And cyborgs in my performance art!

Being inspired by post-humanism and monster studies, the cyborg as a symbol, metaphor and identity really appeals to me, as I’ve had scoliosis surgery (reinforcing my spine with three long metal rods). My crip experiences really had an impact on my self-image and I share similar feelings of resemblance towards the Monster of Frankenstein as scholar Susan Stryker has expressed on behalf of the trans community in her My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage from 1994.

Bodies reshaped by science.

Recently I’ve started exploring glitch art as a metaphor for queerness.

A digital glitch, a rebellious pixel, reminds me of queers.

To go against normative expectations of you.

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aligning_glitch: “Straightened” physically and culturally by the hetero norm.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t overthink things, do something and reinvent it if needed. Challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zones. Don’t wait for people to invite you, do as much as you can yourself, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Doing it together is a really good method to progress as a creative being. DIT is the new DIY! Move away from the individualist idea of the sole artist by collaborating and start art collectives!

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“Asexual Rebel” Shibuya, Tokyo, 2017. Costume and Photo: Daisuke Tsukuda

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex positive, panromantic, demisexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Oh, definitely! Try dating as an open asexual…! The worst part is not that the Jungle is so much thicker than average for us in a context of this ultra sexual dating culture, it’s the fact that people in general show no interest in you beyond the sexual. Or you come out and they just fall silent and let their own preconceived ideas control their behavior and actions (usually non-actions). The only person who’s asked me a genuine follow-up question after coming out as an ace person (who listened carefully and didn’t judge me or argue their point), is the person I later ended up falling for and am still seeing today!

Generally, we need an intersectional perspective on how power dynamics impact our emotions and sexual behavior to fully understand the idea of sexual attraction and desire. And it would help if people learn to self-reflect, listen and be curious rather than douchebags.

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sex_dis04: Exposition of Emie’s Sexual Disorientation (performance video). Documentation by Anette Skåhlberg.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That all asexuals are the same.

In fact, I was surprised by the diversity within the spectrum and the intelligent level of thoughts and conversations about sex and sexual behavior in the ace community.

Some people argue that sex positive aces shouldn’t be included in the asexual community, but where would we belong? The lack of sexual attraction is what unites us, no matter our sexual behavior and whatever reasons behind it.

But actually, I’d like to challenge the phrasing of the question and proclaim that I believe the majority of people have misconceptions about their own sexual attraction to others. I believe the estimated ‘1% of the world population being asexual’ is a massive understatement.

So I can’t wait to live in a world with a greater understanding of what the ace community means when we talk about ‘lack of sexual attraction’ and do another poll. The problem is that everyone is so caught up in the middle of the sexual culture, that we don’t realize the power the sexual norm has on us. It’s an extremely hard norm to remove and distance yourself from, so I have the utmost respect for my ace siblings out there, because I know the inner self-dissecting and acceptance you need to go through before you can even consider coming out as ace!

Now, if I’m right when I believe there are a lot more than 1% of aces out there, suddenly we’re touching upon the infected question whether or now we belong in the queer community or not. If the queer community includes around 50-60% of the world population, is it still queer by definition? Personally, I’d like the definition of queer to stand for radical thinking and norm-breaking behavior. Capitalist queers is for me a far greater contradiction than asexual queers, as the status quo way of thinking is so influenced by colonialism and the global capitalist norm – especially in terms of how we are expected to conquer, consume and collect our lovers and relationships.

My utopia is relationships with ourselves and others built on curiosity, acceptance, love and consent.

Coming from a post-humanist standpoint, I want to move beyond the humanist idea of the polarized mindsets (white/black, man/woman, left/right, us/them…), so I would claim that the ace spectrum is building a complex parallel across the sexual dichotomies homo/hetero. We’re opening up the straight-line way of thinking about sexuality and attraction into a fluid mind map in 3d, which automatically encourage self-reflection and openness both towards yourself and others.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You’re not alone. Find people who are into similar things as you. Deepen the relationships with people that respect you for who you are and let those encourage personal development in you, as you in them. Grow! Do what you love, not what people around you and society at large say what you ought to do. Learn to respect yourself, your body, your (non-)desires and your boundaries (extremely important!). Don’t let people take advantage or disrespect your comfort zones.

This is what I wish I’d heard when I was a teenager.

Instead, I was under the impression that everyone was like me and shared similar conflicting feelings, but was just better at pretending and performing.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

If anyone’s in the UK, I’ll perform at Goodbye To London // This Dancefloor Isn’t Here Anymore’s event about disappearing queer spaces in London on Valentine’s Day! https://goodbyetolondon.wordpress.com/

www.happyendingsproductions.co.uk
www.facebook.com/HappyEndingsProductions
www.twitter.com/happyendingsltd
www.instagram.com/semiemie.

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M-E: A Video Selfie, 2015. Distributed by FilmForm.

Thank you, Emie, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Asexual Artists is going to NWSA 2017!

Awesome news, everyone!

Thanks to a very generous donation yesterday, I not only reached my fundraising goal, I surpassed it! Check it out!

ASEXUAL ARTISTS IS GOING TO BALTIMORE IN NOVEMBER!!!!!

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(I’m probably going to keep the fundraiser up until the start of October. I have a busy couple weeks coming up and I still have to write a couple thank you messages to donors.)

I’m absolutely overwhelmed at everyone’s generosity and I . . . I literally have no words! Gah! I’m sorry everyone! You know when you’ve gone through a rough patch and then receive unexpected good news and have like . . . no idea how to react or what to say? That’s pretty much me right now.

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Happy dancing gifs aside: I promise you, that I will do my very best at this conference, on this panel. I promise that I won’t take this opportunity for granted. This site has always been, and will always be, for and about ace-identifying artists. It’s a way to amplify your voices. I take that responsibility very seriously.

I just . . . I’m so happy I have this opportunity. Rest assured, I will bring plenty of business cards with information about this site with me.

Thank you everyone! Thank you so very, very much! 🙂

Interview: Abby Ramsay

Today we’re joined by Abby Ramsay. Abby is a phenomenal model and actress in LA. She uses her art to raise awareness of issues close to her heart. Her Instagram has recently blown up a bit after she gave an interview about social media. Abby is a fellow ace feminist, which is always awesome to see. She’s incredibly passionate, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I am an actress and model out in LA. I show off my work mostly through Instagram. Just creating these images and stories, whether they be moving or still, really gives me this outlet to express my thoughts, feelings, and ideals that I can’t always put into words.

I like to use my art to bring attention to topics like asexuality, body positivity, feminism, and mental illness as those are all things that are close to me.

I also like combining them. Everything I do is done with the mindset of “just because I am asexual does not mean I am not sexy or desirable.” but also “Just because I am viewed as sexy or desirable does not mean I can’t be asexual.”

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What inspires you?

Just the idea that I can use what I love to help people. The industry that I am in has the potential to have your voice be heard by many people all over the world. If I have the opportunity to use my platform to change it for the better then I want to do it.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I have been acting since I was about 5 years old. Granted at the time the only reason I was in these musicals was because I was a really good singer at a young age, but they fed my love of storytelling. I would create plays at home and act them out for my parents, and it really blossomed into a passion by middle school. I fought long and hard with my parents (especially my mom) to let me try to get an agent, and they eventually gave in. I was a freshman in High School (2012 I believe) when I was signed with a small agency, and they sent me on my first few jobs. I was in love!

The agency also dealt with modeling, so the first photoshoot I ever did was with them. I was really shy in front of the camera at first. I had dealt with a lot of body positivity issues in the past, but the longer I was in front of the camera the more I enjoyed it. I actually felt really comfortable with myself.

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Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Hmmmm. I guess I like to keep things natural. I have never been an over the top character actor (I mean it’s fun, but I have my preferences) so I usually try to take scenes to a more organic place. I do the same thing with my modeling. I always try to get a few pictures that represent me. There’s this idea that when you are modeling you can never smile and you always have to be sultry, but when I am working and talking to the photographer I like to smile and laugh and just be myself. Those end up being some of the best pictures.

I also do this hand on head leaning back pose a LOT. My friends give me a hard time about it haha. But it’s like my signature pose now I guess.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It is not going to be easy, but with hard work, dedication, and a little bit of luck you can make your art your life.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I usually just say I am asexual, but for me that means that I don’t find people sexually attractive, and I am just not interested in sex. I’m not sex repulsed and I am aesthetically and romantically attracted to people, but I would much rather kiss and cuddle than have sex.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

There have been a couple instances. When you have your work online, you usually get some not so pleasant remarks from people. You get people who want to “fix you” you which is the one that bothers me the most.

But even outside the internet, I have had some encounters that have been less than ideal. I had a teacher at my college basically say that I was too pretty to be asexual and that it would be a waste. I know she didn’t mean it the way it came out, but it’s one of the reasons we need more visibility.

I also had a fellow acting student come to the conclusion that she did not like me because she thought asexuality was stupid. I never quite understood the logic behind that.

And it’s also hard, especially in acting, because Hollywood is so sexed up that there is just this assumption that every character interaction is because they want to bone.

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What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

OK, the idea that “you just haven’t found the right person yet” or “you won’t know unless you try” pisses me off. I have gotten both and my general response to that is “you could give me a cheap piece of raw fish or a $200 piece of raw fish, it doesn’t chance that fact that I don’t like raw fish.” and “I have never been shot before, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy that either.”

There is also the idea that if you have a mental illness or if you have been in an abusive relationship or raped that your asexuality is just a byproduct. You know, whether it is or isn’t that shouldn’t make their identity any less legitimate.

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What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You are not broken. I promise you. Your feelings are completely normal. You are a valid part of the LGBTQIA community, and though we may be a smaller group, we are full of love, no matter where we fall on the spectrum. Just be yourself.

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Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

My Instagram is abbysworldsastage.

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Thank you, Abby, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Tabitha O’Connell

Today we’re joined by Tabitha O’Connell. Tabitha runs one of my absolute favorite asexual blogs: Asexual Representation. She also happens to be a phenomenal writer and has just sold her first short story (YAY!). Tabitha is a fellow ace feminist, which is always awesome to see. I could not be happier to feature her on Asexual Artists. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write nonfiction about asexuality and feminism, poetry (once in a while), and fiction of all lengths. My fiction is usually either fantasy or contemporary/realistic, and I like to explore interpersonal conflicts and complex relationships, awkward situations, and characters feeling alone and navigating social spheres where they don’t really fit.

I just recently had my first short story published; it’s a bit different from what I normally write in that it’s a light, happy fantasy story with a younger protagonist, but it was fun to write something different and I’m glad that it found a home!

What inspires you?

Sometimes it’s noticing a lack — I’m inspired to write certain kinds of characters or stories because I don’t see them in existing media. Otherwise, it’s usually just something random — a place, a dream, something someone says, an experience I had, an interesting fact.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve been writing basically ever since I could; I’m not sure exactly what got me into it, but I know I always loved characters and stories, so I guess that naturally led to me creating my own. When I was younger I would carry a notebook around and write Star Wars fanfiction or original story fragments wherever I happened to be; when I was first learning to drive, I didn’t know how to get anywhere because I’d spent my whole life reading or writing in the car instead of paying attention to where we were going. I got a laptop when I was 15 and started writing more seriously then, although I’ve only recently started actually submitting anything for publication.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

One thing that reoccurs in almost all my fiction is ace characters! Before I knew the word “asexual” and knew that I wasn’t just weird, I didn’t realize it was an option to write characters like me; I thought I had to make them all “normal”. I wasn’t interested in writing about sex/sexual attraction, though, so I basically wrote ace characters without intending to. Even after finding the word it took me a while to realize that I could write explicitly asexual characters, but once I did I think my writing significantly improved because I stopped trying and failing at writing non-ace protagonists (and I got lots of new ideas too). So in all my longer works now the protagonist is ace, and several of my short stories feature ace characters as well.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay to take a break. You’ll hear that you need to practice every day, you need to keep going no matter what, but trying to do that can just lead to burnout and guilt. Last year I got discouraged about my writing, and at first I tried to force myself to keep it up anyway, but that made it even less fun. So eventually I accepted that I had lost my enjoyment and motivation for the time being and let myself temporarily give up and spend my time on things I did enjoy. I’ve since gotten re-inspired, and am now happily back to writing regularly again. So I just want other people to know that it’s okay to take a break and wait until inspiration strikes again; you don’t have to force yourself to be creative if you’re just not feeling it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Sex-repulsed asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

No, not yet anyway; I’ve been looking for queer-friendly magazines and publishers to submit to so that I can hopefully avoid any negative reactions to my asexuality and my ace (and other queer) characters.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Probably just that it doesn’t exist. In the fairly conservative Christian environment I grew up in, there was no recognition that someone might not want to get married and have kids when they grew up. And on TV/in movies, every character always seemed to end up in a romantic/sexual relationship. Because I never saw any acknowledgment that some people might lack sexual attraction or interest, I never even thought to try to find out if there were other people like me. I had even heard the word “asexual” applied to a person before, but I didn’t really know what it meant, and didn’t find out that it was an orientation or something that could apply to me until I was 20. Even now, I rarely see asexuality mentioned or acknowledged outside of certain online communities. If the word ever is used on TV, it’s often as an insult (as if “sexless” is the worst thing you could say about someone), with no recognition that it’s an actual orientation, and we still have hardly any ace characters on TV or in film—even characters who at first seem like they could be ace usually end up in normative sexual relationships.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Not exactly advice, but I would just say, it’s okay to be this way. We get messages all our lives from all different sources that sex is super important, that we should desire other people (and be desirable), that romantic relationships require sex. But none of that is true; there is nothing wrong with not having sex or with not being attracted to other people. It doesn’t make you lesser or broken or unworthy of love.

Reading blogs written by other aces who critique sex-normativity and talk about their experiences and about navigating life as an ace has been really affirming and formative for me, so if you’re struggling, I would definitely recommend that. The Asexual Agenda is a great place to start.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

My official writing blog is on WordPress, and I also have a Tumblr. (I also run another Tumblr dedicated to highlighting and discussing ace representation in books, TV, comics, etc.!)

Thank you, Tabitha, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Where are the Asexual Voices C2E2 Presentation

As promised, here’s my presentation from C2E2 (all the thanks goes to Michi Trota of “Uncanny Magazine,” who was kind enough to record this for those of you who couldn’t be there. Thanks, Michi!).

This was one the scariest things I’ve done and I was so close to chickening out a couple times. But then I thought about how many ace artists there are out there, how many were in a situation to the one I was in just a few short years ago.

I have often written about my years in the closet, the number of toxic friendships I experienced, how I was made to believe I could never be an author because of my asexuality. This presentation was all about asexual artists and getting them the recognition they deserve, about showing that we do exist and we deserve to have control of our own narratives. A small part of it was also about myself, being the proud aro-ace feminist I have become. It was my way of saying “I love who I am, I’m proud of who I am, and I’m never going to let anyone take that from me ever again.”

Because asexuality is nothing to be ashamed of. Being asexual doesn’t mean you lack something, it’s just part of who you are. If anyone tells you differently tell them to fuck right off.

As I say in the description for this blog: “Asexuals deserve to be seen and heard.” And that is something I will always, always fight for 🙂

Signal Boost: Embraceable

Hello all!

This is a bit of a personal signal boost, so I apologize if I’m all over the place. I’m just ridiculously excited.

Shortly after I started Asexual Artists, I was contacted by August McLaughlin. August is the host of the radio program “Girl Boner Radio” (available on iTunes) for a segment she was doing on asexuality. She had found me on Twitter and wanted to know if she could interview me. I must admit, I was more than a little nervous: the sex positivity movement has often been rather indifferent towards the asexual community, occasionally even hostile. However, August was quite reassuring and I was impressed with her. So I agreed.

To date, it was one of the most pleasant and respectful interviews I’ve ever had the pleasure to participate in. August did her homework, didn’t ask any dehumanizing questions, and was the most professional and friendly interviewer. I walked away from the interview feeling empowered and I hoped that I had been a worthwhile interviewee.

Shortly after that wonderful interview experience, August approached me again and asked if I would be interested in contributing an essay to a book she was putting together about women’s sexuality. I was absolutely stunned and it took me maybe half a second to accept the offer.

I hadn’t really thought about how difficult the essay would be to write. I had to revisit a rather painful time in my life, what I frequently refer to as my “closet days.” However, I knew it was important that I do so. I finished the essay and sent it to August, who has done an absolutely phenomenal job with this book.

Embraceable was released on Kindle last Sunday (it will probably come out in paperback in early January). You can get a copy here. I realize that I’m quite biased, but it is truly an awesome book.

Let me tell you why this is really incredible: it is extremely rare for an openly asexual woman to be included in any kind of feminist anthology, let alone one concerning sex positivity. Guys, that’s super awesome!

I will forever be grateful to August for this opportunity. She’s exactly what a good ally looks like: she used her platform to highlight asexual voices, rather than talk over them. I am continually impressed with her own activism (Girl Boner is quite an interesting show, which covers a variety of subjects). She has done a spectacular job putting this book together and deserves a standing ovation for it. You can find out more about August and her own work on her personal website: https://augustmclaughlin.wordpress.com/

I hope some of you will check out the book. If you’re wondering how I got my start or why I created Asexual Artists, the story is in Embraceable.

Thank you.

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