Throughout Asexuality Awareness Week, I want to take some time to chat with a few ace folks about their experiences and identities. I’m calling these mini-interviews Embrace an Ace (because I’m hilarious like that), and hope you’ll enjoy getting to learn more about how diverse the asexual spectrum is!
Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Cass Lennox to the blog. Cass is the author of Blank Spaces, an M/M romance novel out in November which features an asexual protagonist!
So thank you Cass for stopping by today!
To start with, please tell us how you identify yourself on the asexuality spectrum (if you use terms, please explain what those terms mean to you!)?
I’m not a fan of labels right now, but if I have to use them or identify myself, I would say “I’m on the asexual spectrum”, or “gray-ace”. Basically, I am who I am, and the way I am fits within those terms, but I don’t consider myself defined by them. I hope that makes sense!
Do you remember how or when you first heard about asexuality, and what that meant to you?
I first heard the word “asexual” in context of a person’s sexuality when I was 18. I didn’t think it applied to me at all back then, so I just thought, “Okay, that’s a thing,” and went on my merry way. Fast forward about five years, with that amount of extra life experience and soul-searching, and I realised it did apply to me. (That’s the SUPER condensed version.) Embracing the label was a really positive, meaningful moment. It was so validating to realise that other people shared my experiences, so much so that they’d coined a word for it. While I don’t choose to use labels right now, I could only do that after accepting myself and the way I am in the comfort of the community, so I see awareness as really, really important. If I’d heard about asexuality as a teen, I think I could have avoided a ton of confusion and pain. Even knowing it was an option would have been hugely beneficial.
What’s your favorite asexual joke/pun?
Would it be bad if I shared one I made up? Eh, I’m gonna do it.
I marched with aces in Toronto Pride, which features a LOT of watergun use. I was totally soaked (willingly) by a group of people in the crowd, turned to them, and said, “It’s been a LONG time since I was this wet!”
(Is that too rude? That might be way too rude. I could come up with another if that’s too rude. I’d say I’m terrible ace but I’m worse at all the other orientations XD)
Well, I cracked up ;)! Have you come out to friends or family as ace, and what were their reactions?
A few people, across friends and family. Not everyone, not even within my family. I’m generally quite private, so it’s not something I’d share unless it was important to me that a given person knew. Everyone’s reactions have been positive and accepting, which has been lovely, but unsurprising because they’re all lovely people.
You have a book coming out soon with an asexual MC… tell us about how/why you decided to write an ace character!
After diving into asexuality and queer culture, I discovered how varied sexuality and relationships can be, and I was angry for a long time. I didn’t grow up with a lot of positive relationship models in real life; the positive ones were mostly in movies and books. Obviously I knew those weren’t realistic, but they were what I had. Finding out there were other options, and that I wasn’t a freak for being unable to fit in the heteronormative/highly sexual relationship template, was relief on a level that I can barely describe. I could rant forever about the default assumptions people carry with them about relationships, how they work, and what they’re supposed to look like, but I appreciate people reading this have lives to lead.
I love writing, I love writing people, and I love romance in all its cheesy, tropey, sexy glory. I have all sorts of stories that I want to tell! For Blank Spaces specifically, I wanted to write something more realistic, and more true to an asexual’s experience. I also wanted to show that other kinds of relationships are possible – they happen, the world doesn’t end, everyone’s okay, it’s all good! It was a personal challenge, and a fun one. I just hope that I pulled it off 😉 This is my contribution to greater awareness of not just asexuality, but other sexualities in general. Jonah (Blank Spaces’ other MC) doesn’t exactly fit neatly into boxes himself. My answers here have been serious and maybe a little heavy, but the book is a fun read, honest!
Asexuals are, at the end of the day, people, no more and no less, with functioning hearts and bodies and brains and lives, and all that those entail. If reading about asexual people falling in love is what helps others understand that labels don’t determine all that a person is and could be, then I’ll consider my job done.
Thank you so much Cass for joining us today!
Please stop by throughout the week for more posts about asexuality and more Embrace an Ace interviews!