Why I Began A Magazine For Asexual People To Express Themselves

Posted by Michael Paramo in Books, Cake, LGBTQ, Media
December 18, 2017

As “a space for ace creators,” The Asexual is an online and print journal for writers and artists under the ace umbrella that I founded by myself on October 5th, 2016. I originally created The Asexual with the intention of addressing the evident absence of a dedicated space for publishing and promoting ace voices as well as to amplify underrepresented groups within the ace community itself. Although I was knowledgeable of various online spaces advocating for the visibility of ace people and for improving education on ace experiences and issues, such as the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), I was unaware of any platform online that was dedicated to publishing the art, writing, and general creations of ace people on a regular and continuous basis. I wanted to read our words and hear our voices as ace people, and I was growing exasperated by the constant invisibility of our narratives and perspectives everywhere.

Hence, with my limited experience, I constructed The Asexual from a blank webpage to a quarterly journal and website centering ace narratives, perspectives, and activism within the time span of about six months before the first issue of The Asexual journal was published on March 31st, 2017. While initially it was a challenge to garner enough submissions to produce a finished issue, through promotion of the space on Twitter, I gradually cultivated a following. Apart from promotion, some of my discussion threads on Twitter regarding asexuality also began to attract increased attention to my personal account (@Michael_Paramo), which simultaneously helped boost awareness of the journal. I have now edited and designed three complete issues, online and in print, that have collectively included essays, poetry, and artwork by ace writers and artists from Hungary, India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Asexual has been a solitary project for myself since its inception and continues to remain as such. I currently manage every facet of the space, serving as its lead editor, layout editor, writer, and social media manager, which very much makes it an independent space. At several moments throughout the last year, I have considered publishing my writing on asexuality via larger established platforms, even those dedicated to queer voices, but I have realized that ace experiences can often be tokenized and remain at a surface-level dialogue on these sites. There is rarely, if ever, an editor or writer who identifies as asexual or ace on the writing teams of these sites, and that is a problem. Online publications by and for ace people may transcend these issues, and that is one of the central objectives I hope to address with The Asexual, to be a space that takes the conversation on asexuality further through centering ace writers and artists.

In doing so, I have remained conscious of the gravity of centering voices that are marginalized and invisibilized within the ace community, such as focalizing the narratives and perspectives of ace people of color. In fact, the upcoming issue of The Asexual journal is set on the theme of examining the intersections of asexuality and race, and is planning to publish a complete issue that centers writing and artwork by ace people of color in February 2018. I initially proposed this theme with the explicit intention of addressing the lack of representation and visibility of ace people of color in the ace community as well as to simultaneously emphasize how white ace people largely dominate ace spaces (I have written on why this may be the case before). I believe that it remains imperative to always prioritize those voices who are the most invisible, and I will continue to do so for as long as I manage The Asexual.

In the future, this space for ace creators will continue to focus on intersections that remain silenced or relatively unexplored in the current conversation surrounding asexuality, while also continuing to remain a space for all ace people to express themselves creatively. More specifically, I hope to add a special yearly issue soon that focuses on a very specific intersection in the ace community that is heavily under-discussed, and acquire submissions for it throughout any given year with the end goal of producing a collection of work on this intersection. In general, I plan to carry on managing The Asexual journal and website for the foreseeable future. Although it may feel like an immense undertaking at times, I ultimately enjoy every aspect of the work I am doing.

If you’re interested in The Asexual journal, you can read the latest issue here. If you’re interested in contributing, check out the submission guidelines here.