Storify: Jughead, Aro and Ace and Queer

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

[Content Note: Bigotry against ace and aro identities; violence; rape.]

Jughead's ace and aro identities shouldn't be erased in the Riverdale show

If you care about queerbaiting and straightwashing, it's important to understand the Riverdale show is doing so, by erasing ace/aro identities

Jughead is an established ace and aro character, but the show has refused to write him as such because of stigma against asexuality. This is as important as any other time television or movies turn a queer character unqueer. Even if you're not into the show, this matters. The hashtag for this is #AceAroJugheadOrBust and I'd appreciate if people would read through and RT voices there.

Again: This is important. Just like when trans characters are made cis or gay characters are made straight. Erasure kills. A lot of trans kids are ace and/or aro. #ProtectTransKids doesn't stop with the allosexual/romantic ones. Please elevate their voices.

I didn't really understand this Jughead issue for a long time because I have zero interest in Archie comics, but that doesn't matter! We can get mad about queer erasure in a thing we aren't interested in--and we should. Support is crucial on this issue. If you've heard about this Riverdale stuff but haven't gotten involved before, there's no time like the present!

Ah, update: I just realized there are TWO tags, so please check both!
#AroAceJugheadOrBust #AceAroJugheadOrBust

Here is a good thread on how the COMIC is also going in a problematic direction with an acephobic writer. And, hey, again: You don't have to care about (or indeed KNOW anything about) the comic or show to still care about queerbaiting. We don't have to read every issue to prove to ourselves that this is a capital-p Problem. Enough ace and aro voices are saying it is.

I'm trans and bi and I know how y'all are SO GOOD about believing me when I say something is problematic for trans or bi rep. Really important ace and aro voices are explaining why the Jughead erasure is problematic for ace and aro rep. We must show up and support. We gotta have our queer siblings backs. Gods know they have ours, time and time again.

Oh, and because I have a lot of new followers this week: to be clear, I am not ace or aro. [Editor's note from 2018: hahahahah, turns out this was wrong, but whoops.] Please #FF follow the ace and aro folks on this! Our job is to listen to the ace and aro voices on the hashtag, follow them, RT them, and elevate their voices as allies. As always, if you have questions, try to google them first? I don't want to overwhelm the ace and aro folks with "educate me, pls!" asks. We're guests at this party, so let's behave and wipe our feet. And then help make some noise for our ace and aro siblings.

Queer Friends: I've heard from several ace and aro people last night who are in tears that an allo person like me is talking about this. I've been kinda RTing the Jughead stuff for weeks, but not speaking myself because I didn't want to fuck up or talk over people. BUT. It's really clear to me today that supportive RTs aren't enough, if the silence of our own words makes our queer siblings feel ignored.

AND we also know that RTs don't count towards a hashtag's count or trending. Only new tweets count for the numbers. So I wanna ask a favor of my follows. I ask that you copy and paste these hashtags into a new fresh tweet of your own and say that you don't support ace or aro erasure. I'm not ace or aro, but I don't support the erasure of either! Queer erasure kills. #AroAceJugheadOrBust #AceAroJugheadOrBust

I know that not everyone will want to do this (there are so many causes to support!) but our community has been silent-ish on this one. Even if the TV show doesn't listen to us, I'm hearing from our ace and aro siblings that our silence hurts them badly. We CAN fix that. And thank you, to everyone in advance, who speaks up on this.

Ace erasure kills ace kids.

Trans erasure kills trans kids.

Gay erasure kills gay kids.

This isn't hard. If you go through life being told you're broken, or a villain, or a sociopath, or will never be happy? Depression sets in.

I want to talk a little more about this Jughead thing and queerbaiting. Please bear with me! Some folks have mentioned that canon Jughead has dated girls, or had alternate universe appearances with wife or kids.

Well, one: that doesn't mean he's not ace and aro. Lots of queer people feel pressure to date and marry before coming out--and, hey, lots of ace and aro people can date or marry just because they want to! They're still ace and aro! When I married, I thought I was straight because I didn't know I had other options. Y'all, I was OLD when I came out as bi and trans.

Second of all, in ANY long-running series, the recent stabs at inclusion matter, especially when they're frantically rolled back. Imagine if we had a TOMB RAIDER game in 2017 in which Lara Croft came out as a lesbian. Then a 2018 movie is announced with a male lover. Yeah, some people would say "oh, the lesbian thing is recent, she's dated men in the past" but y'all.I'd be pissed at the back-pedal. C'mon.

So the whole "well, he's dated" or "lots of interpretations exist" don't change the fact that recent inclusion is being rolled back. In the opposite corner, I've had people tell me that Jughead has always been gay because he's "never been interested in girls". Um.

Okay, first of all, that's true for a lot of ace and aro people as well, like that isn't an exclusively gay thing. Second of all, the "he's gay" crowd AREN'T going after the "he dated girls" crowd. Just going after ace and aro folks. Weird, huh? Ace and aro are valid queer identities that experience queerphobia.

Concern over a gay Jughead isn't homophobic, it's understanding that changing a queer character to a different queer identity isn't neutral or without impact. We aren't widgets. If Nintendo made an explicitly trans Samus game, then a movie came out where she's a cis lesbian instead, we'd see the problem, yes? "Why are you so upset that she's cis now? We have lesbian rep on-screen!" Like, we're not MADLIBS to replace and change out at will.

Queer is a BIG, glorious, rainbow tent that holds a variety of experiences. People outside that tent often see us as interchangeable. So I super-extra beg folks to listen on this because I know it may not seem like a big deal but to an ace or aro teen? It's huge.

Thank you. You are all wonderful and I love talking to and with you. Blessed be you all.

I want folk to care about ace and aro erasure of Jughead on Riverdale ANYWAY, but I want to branch off here to talk about queer policing. I'm queer, y'all. I've been on here for YEARS yelling about being bisexual and transgender and QUILTBAG and LGBTQUIA+ and whatnot.

This week, speaking up on this, I had SO MANY queer babies flooding into my mentions to spew hate at me, call me 'traitor', and so on. A lot these folks had no idea who I was (fine) and were trying to target straight allies. "You can't say 'queer', it's a slur!" from a 17yo. When they learned I was queer, I was invariably doubted or accused of "internalized" queerphobia or of being a traitor.

Couple of lessons to learn from this. ONE, we queers are failing our queer ace and aro siblings, that speaking up is considered unusual. TWO, there is a HUGE queer movement of harassment directed against ace and aro people JUST for being ace and aro. These were established accounts of queer people, not eggs, term-searching "ace" and "aro" for people to scream at on Twitter.

THREE, less important but worth noting: We seem to be failing to teach queer youth about our history and reclamation. Part of that history we need to teach is the ugly policing of bisexuals and the shoving out of transgender people, plus our racism. White gaybys coming into my mentions to pretend that the queer community has always been white gays and lesbians turns my stomach. Because we risk losing so much when our history is lost.

I don't think this is necessarily the FAULT of the queer community--outsiders like Hollywood have misrepresented us SO much, etc. But this stuff should be more included in queer writing and articles and own-side stuff. Like, how long ago was that "lesbians means bisexual women too!" article that was SO VERY BAD? Etc. Etc.

Anyway. We're failing our ace and aro siblings and we've GOT to do better. And some (not all) of our youngers need some real history. Also worth noting: The language used to police ace and aro folks out of queer is almost IDENTICAL to a lot of own-side TERF rhetoric. And both THOSE rhetorics are similar to the own-side transphobia specifically targeted against enby/NB trans folk. Obviously, there's some overlap between the groups but the root here seems to be that hate sounds similar no matter the target.

ALSO, all the love and gratitude to the people coming in this weekend thanking me for the education. I wanna note again that I'm NOT ace or aro, so I don't want to be a "defining" voice on those identities, because I'm an outsider. But I AM happy to field basic questions and help people Google, because I don't want to overwhelm ace and aro folks just trying to live.

Some good 101 stuff to know is that ace (asexual) and aro (aromantic) are two separate things that may or may not overlap. Ace and aro people absolutely can date, marry, have sex, have children, etc. if they choose to. As always, the best rule of thumb is that if someone tells you their identity, believe them!

There are also, for the record, NON-ace and aro people who find the separate axes of Sexual and Romantic Orientation helpful. For example, there are heterosexual panromantic people and pansexual heteromantic people and really every possible mix and match. So please don't feel that the Sexual Orientation and Romantic Orientation model isn't open to folks for their own self-examination.

I've got some folks Trying To Learn in my mentions, so I wanted to branch out and share some links. I *urge* people to read them. This is a VERY important post about the history of ace and aro people in the queer community.

I need folks to understand that ace and aro people have ALWAYS been in the queer community. They aren't trying to "get in" now. Some people are interpreting efforts to shove ace and aro people OUT as them trying to "get in". That is just wrong and misinformed.

Here is a link to a study about the oppressions ace and aro people face. [TW] "Moreover, of all the sexual minority groups studied, asexuals were the most dehumanized (i.e., represented as “less human”)" This is important because a lot of queer folks assume that cis-allo-straights view ace and aro people as "like them". They do NOT. Cis-allo-straights repeatedly viewed ace and aro people as "machines" and "animals", NOT as cis-allo-straights like them.

Here is a link-roundup of ace and aro discrimination, including in the medical community. Here is ANOTHER historical post re: as far back as the 1890s, ace and aro folks were in the queer community.

[TW] Another link roundup, this time including corrective rape. I have been on the receiving end of corrective rape. BELIEVE ME, the guy doing it wouldn't have stopped if I'd been ace/aro. MANY queer people are raped in an attempt to "fix" them. Ace and aro people are subjected to this. Do NOT erase their trauma.

People have been adding more links in the comments. I urge folks to READ them, not skim and come back to argue. Look, there are a LOT of identities out there I didn't understand right off the bat. I've been on that side of the phone-screen going "ummmm?" In some cases about my OWN identities. Because I'd never heard those words. You know what I did? I didn't argue. I listened and read and decided that EITHER they were right OR they weren't hurting anyone. I was respectful and kind because I figured the last thing someone needed was me busting in like "hey, display your trauma for my approval!"

Learning takes time. And after a few months of listening and thinking and being quiet and receptive to ideas, I came to who *I* was. So I am asking people to take a moment, if you can, and listen to people who aren't them. Who have different lives. That's all.


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