black girl blogs · reviews · tv reviews

Blindspotting: Welcome To The Best New Show On TV

Disclaimer: I am not from Oakland, so most references and homages to the Bay will go over my head. That’s entirely my bad. Now, let’s get into it.

In 2018 one of the most stunning movies in the last decade, Blindspotting showed us what’s it’s like to witness police brutality and the mental ramifications it can have. But it was also a love letter to a place like no other, Oakland California aka The Bay Area. Using spoken verse the film connected its audience to a culture most of us will never be able to see in person and it gave insight into the complicated world of male friendship. It was a masterpiece and there will probably never be another film like it. Which is why the chance it’s been given to expand the Blindspotting universe in the form of television couldn’t have been given to more deserving content.

In the film, life was shown to us through Collin’s eyes and it was his story he shared with his best friend Miles. We only caught glimpses of Ashley, Mile’s life partner, her story wasn’t fulfilling as it could have been. Now the show has come to rectify that. Here, this is Ashley’s world and she’s telling the story. And from her perspective, life is much more complicated than it seems. With the love of her life behind bars, the newly established security of a better life is ripped from under Ashley’s feet; leaving her to pick up the pieces. She’s thrown from a middle class lifestyle back into her Bay Area hood roots and no matter how much she wants to escape it, it’s the place where her support system resides. So she has no choice but to deal.

Despite being only a half hour, Blindspotting comes out the gate swinging. It throws the only character the audience really knew behind bars and shifts focus towards the side characters and the ones mentioned only by name in the movie. With Miles locked up, Ashley is forced to take their son, move in with his mother and half sister, and figure out how she’s going to survive. She and Miles were on their way out of the hood, now Ashley is back to square one and not everyone is happy about her return to the neighborhood. Hell, Ashley herself isn’t too pleased about the entire situation. She depended on Miles, she doesn’t even know their online banking password. Not to mention Trish, his half sister, has zero love for Ashley and loudly makes it known whenever she can. The dislike is mutual though and Ashley has no problem voicing how much she disapproves of Trish’s sex work lifestyle. But as much as Trish can’t stand Ashley, she and Miles’s mother Rainey seems to love her daughter in law very much. At least enough to allow her and Sean to move into her home on a whim’s notice. However Rainey’s house is a place of controlled chaos. Trish’s latest dream of running a female owned strip club has set up base in her mother’s living room. All day long girls walk around with little to no clothes on and constantly pose for sexy pictures. It’s not exactly the best place for a little boy. But again, what choice does she have?

There is solace in the chaos of returning home though. For Ashley it comes in the form of Janelle, her best friend and Collin’s little sister. Janelle has been away traveling world for five years and now that she’s back, Ashley’s got someone completely in her corner. Which is what she needs. And even though her daughter is practically disgusted with the new living arrangements, Rainey is also in Ashley’s corner. Proven when, after Ashley discovers an engagement ring in Miles’s old room, Rainey tries to comfort her by getting on one knee and pretending to be her son. It’s weird and awkward but it’s the thought that counts. Life has been turned upside down for Ashley, she’s gonna need all the help she can get to keep afloat and not lose her sanity in the process.

While the film was entirely male centric and through the male gaze, the show completely diverts from that and centers itself around the women. This is Ashley’s show, it’s her world, her perspective and her journey. And it’s being told by mostly women as well. Taking the criticisms of the film seriously it’s creators Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal have established a very woman heavy crew behind the scenes, especially in the writers room. Which is probably what makes Blindspotting feel so refreshing and new even though it’s a world we have been to before.

Having only seen the first episode there isn’t much to be reviewed as pilots are always the set up and establish episode. But the show is beautiful both visually and as modern content. There is no other place like The Bay, it’s a little world of its own and I’ve never seen a place presented to the audience the way Blindspotting shows us Oakland. Every inch of the neighborhood Ashley has returned to is full of life and anytime is a great time to turn up. Like the sideshow she and Sean attend in the middle of the afternoon.

The cast is brilliant and stacked with major talent. Jasmine Cephas-Jones has been a star in the making for a while and now her time to shine is here. She’s given life to Ashley in both new and old ways, the fierce protective mother we saw in the film is still present but in the show it seems she’s going to be allowed to be more than just Miles’s baby mama; and rightfully so. Right behind Cephas-Jones is Jaylen Barron who steals every scene she’s in as Trish. Outrageous and loud, Trish is like her brother but times ten and though she may be abrasive she made several points from the moment she appeared on screen. With the demeanor of Miles and Trish, it’s intriguing that they have such a hippie like mother as Rainey but it’s not often that a legend such as Helen Hunt agrees to be in the first season of an experimental tv show and it’s delightful to see her play off the likes of Cephas-Jones and Barron. Rounding out the impressive cast of women is Candace Nicholas-Lippman who, though we haven’t seen much of, lit up the entire screen with her bright and gorgeous smile. It’s a smile much like Daveed Diggs’s, meaning the casting department made the right decision in giving her the part of Collin’s little sister. Hopefully we’ll get to insight into what their relationship is like and what it’s like to return home by choice for her. Finally we have Earl, Janelle’s new roommate who is renting out the spare room in her mother’s home. Played by Benjamin Earl Turner, the most we know about Earl at the moment is that he spends a lot of time yelling across the street for someone to get him a burrito from the taco truck since he’s on house arrest and the truck is just beyond his monitor’s permitted perimeter. It’ll be exciting to see what he’ll bring to the show in later episodes.

I am excited for the plot points that had seeds planted in the first episode. At the top of my list is the dynamic between Ashley and Trish, if it’s not a highlight of the series then it will be an opportunity missed. Trish and Ashley are two sides of the same coin, they come from the same background but live their lives very differently and endlessly judge the other for the choices they have made. Which is a very real thing for a lot of women. It will be interesting to see where this sister-in-hate relationship goes, especially with the jarring way Ashley snips and snarks about Trish’s line of work. I sincerely hope the inner workings, internalized fear and the societal pressure that weigh down and project onto these two is addressed and explored.

It will also be interesting to see the way Blindspotting develops and grows its side characters. In the movie, there wasn’t enough time to tell Collin’s story, a bit of Miles’s and give Ashley the growth she deserved. With television, growth is the only way to keep a show interesting. So I hope to see in depth development to the likes of Janelle, Earl, Trish, Sean and Rainey. But I’m especially interested in Janelle and Earl, both of them have potential to make great characters. And since they both are the darkest of the main cast, I really hope that they’re given more substance than just being the comedic relief.

I’m very hopeful for the story Blindspotting is about to tell us. I still frequently watch the movie so now that it’s having its universe extended, I couldn’t be happier. I’m geeked for this Oakland takeover we’re about to witness.

Blindspotting is available on Starz, new episodes premiere Sunday nights.

-Danyi

Note: thanks for reading y’all! If you made it to the end and enjoyed it, buy me some lunch? Cashapp: $danyi13

asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Happy Valentine’s Day Aces

Once upon a time, I was in love with a guy. And in college, I attempted to plan a Valentine Day date for us. We’d been together for years before this but it’s hard to go on a legit date in high school. So I wanted to try and make the first Valentine’s Day of our college experience special. Back then, since I was in love I found myself trying to organize the things that I personally found romantic. To start, I wanted to spend a full 24 hours together, just us and the ever-growing bond between us. I had envisioned us eating breakfast together, taking a walk around City Park, getting lunch and dinner together, ending the night with a bath. In my mind, we’d stop at the bath. But I knew that in his mind the only thing he cared about was the sex at the end of the night. So I grudgingly shuffled that into my plans as well.

The only one of the plans that ended up happening was the sex. And it happened under circumstances I’d rather not give details about.

That was the only time I’ve tried to truly celebrate the holiday. Before it wasn’t a day I took seriously and after, it’s not a day I want to bring myself to revolve around. To watch my plans fall through around me, while my boyfriend made absolutely sure that the plans he wanted to happen went through no matter what; chipped a nice big groove in my shoulder. I haven’t looked at the holiday the same since really.

Now though, I’ve been asked to look at it through a different perspective. As an Asexual, Valentine’s Day is a holiday that can be stressful. The more I explore the Ace community online the more I watch my fellow Aces come to dread February 14th. And it’s not always the seemingly simple reason for not experiencing sexual attraction.

We can start there though, in society it seems the goal of Valentine’s Day has shifted from showing love to doing romantic things in the hopes of gaining sex. It doesn’t matter anymore if you spend the day with someone you love, the bigger question asked is if you spent the night having sex. And if you didn’t, it’s either because you’re single and lonely or you’re bitter and that attitude is stopping someone from wanting to be in your bed. There is no in between. At least not according to the internet.

When you’re asexual and don’t have the same feelings about sex as the majority around you, it can often be misconstrued as there being something wrong with you as a person. Which is very rarely the case at all. Even the Aces that fall in the grey area of asexuality and are okay with some sexual acts can still feel the intense pressure of Valentine’s Day. They’ll often encounter those with the mindset that if they’re willing to do some things on other days they should be willing to do all things on this special day. Which is both manipulative and abusive. But seems to be happening more and more.

On a completely different end, the last few Valentine’s Days in the online Ace community have been nothing but a day of trolls trying to bring down Asexuals in any way possible. Normally, I ignore trolls. I have a tough skin, mostly because of the fact that I’m Black and there’s nothing a troll who only cares about my Aceness can say to me that a racist hasn’t already said in a much worse way. However, I have decided to start an Asexual Advice Column and cannot simply ignore trolls anymore. Just because they don’t matter or bother me doesn’t mean that they don’t bother my fellow Aces. And I want to stand strong with Aces in all corners that I can.

The last few years I’ve watched as asexuality is mocked specifically on Valentine’s Day. If Aces are using the day to celebrate Queer Platonic Relationships, then they’re trolled for having a “special” label for their friends. If Aces are celebrating their individual relationships that mean something to them, they’re accused of faking being Asexual. After all, Aces cannot have any connection with another person. Or else we aren’t actually asexual, according to the exclusionists that roam the internet doing all they can to tear Aces down.

All of this is bullshit.

The more I study and observe Ace Discourse and those that participate in it, the more I realize that the social constructs in the world can easily be dismantled. However, the fear of not being different enough is constantly outweighing the cis peoples’ moral compass. That’s the problem with heterosexual and cisgendered people, they’re afraid that soon they’re going not going to be the norm. And to them, that’s devastating. It also means the spotlight will be on someone else. The last thing heterosexuals want is the spotlight on someone else.

Part of me wishes that I could gather my fellow Aces around and drill into their minds that holidays shouldn’t have the kind of power over society that they do. Especially not one that has been turned into a game of who’s sharing body fluids and who isn’t. However, the other part of me realizes that this will always be a fight and a struggle and I’m probably wasting my breath just bringing the subject up. As a society, we’re too deep into some constructs to ever reverse them, and I think the battle of Valentine’s Day is one that won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

Thanks for reading guys, details about my Asexual Advice Column will be coming soon 🙂

-Danyi

asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Let Black Queers Be

I don’t consider myself queer.

For a long time, I thought the word “Queer” was only something that white people could be. No one in my family, that I was aware of, was queer. None of my friends were talking about being queer. It wasn’t being said on the tv. It wasn’t being sung in songs. Whenever my aunts talked about someone being queer it was always a white person. I’m not white, so back then, I thought I couldn’t be whatever this mysterious queer thing was. I didn’t think I could ever label myself a queer being.

Many of my friends do though; they consider me the queerest of the bunch. Even though my older sister is a lesbian and one of my closest friends is trans. To the people around me, I’m queerer than they are because I’m asexual. A word that many people haven’t ever heard of and can’t begin to define. Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction and/or desire. That’s the simplest and easiest definition that can be given. I’m not attracted to people, sexually. I’m not attracted romantically either but that’s a different story, different article. I’ve had sex before, a bunch of times with several people so I’m by no means a virgin or inexperienced. I can still look at a celebrity and automatically think “I want to fuck them”. I understand the general idea of why sex is enjoyable to people. But it’s not to me and it hasn’t ever really been. A few of the times I had sex I enjoyed it, but I rarely saw myself actively seeking it out. Those celebrities I’d like to fuck are more enjoyable in theory because whenever I imagine a scenario of it actually happening I end up shutting down. I wasn’t able to properly express this when I was younger, when my boyfriend demanded sex from me daily or when girls weren’t taking the hint that I just wanted to be friends. Now though, I have the tools and the language to get my point across. I use this to my advantage at all times possible.

I don’t like to be touched. It’s a trauma thing and something that grew and crossed over with my Asexuality. When one is in a relationship, you realize it involves A LOT of touching. I’m not with it so I removed myself from the equation of sexual/romantic relationships. Other people, however, haven’t removed me and still expect me to be interested in them when they show interest in me. Nevermind what I want, all that matter is what they want. They don’t consider the idea that I’m not interested in anyone at all. As a Black woman with the face and body I have, I must just be curving niggas when I decline their advances. My ass cannot be this fat and there’s no man or woman claiming it. I haven’t had sex in five years so I must be “crazy” because only a mentally unstable person wouldn’t want to engage in that universally loved thing. I have been preached at, screamed at, lectured and given looks full of pity. And all the while, I simply sat back and observed what I saw happening around me and the things happening around Black Queers. It all comes down to one thing for me, personally: Black Queers are constantly being policed and it needs to stop.

My perspective on sex comes from a different angle, one that most haven’t thought of before. And that somehow makes me both broken and queerer than the people out here having sex. Which is strange to me. I’m broken because I lack sexual attraction but I’m queer because of that as well? I often lost track of time trying to figure out if when someone called me queer were they really calling me broken in a nice way. What’s even stranger though, is the idea that something or someone must be invalidated in order for one thing to make sense. While my friends around me have been calling me queer for a while, once I got on the internet, I was told with a hard resounding “No” that I’m not queer and it’s disrespectful for me to even think of myself that way. Because I’m not interested in sex, and honestly that’s fine with me. What isn’t fine, however, is the way that Black people are constantly policed by queer white people because we don’t fit in the definition they deemed would define “Queer”. If you’re not X, Y, Z then you’re not queer and can’t be apart of the LBGT community. As if all sexuality isn’t a spectrum and ever-changing, but that seems to only apply when discussing white queerness. The only people who told me that I can’t be queer because I’m Asexual, have all been white. It’s very noticeable on the internet that if you’re not thin, white and pretty by European standards then your experiences, words, and perspective as a queer person aren’t taken seriously. Queer white people aren’t interested in hearing how being LGBT interests differently when it comes to Black people because they aren’t able to wrap their minds around any suffering that doesn’t directly affect them. They refuse to. And in that refusal, Black queer people can end up drawing the short end of the stick.

In the Black community, sexuality is a sensitive subject. It’s not talked about. If it’s not a man and a woman having sex then suddenly it’s problem, or it’s mocked. Queerness isn’t a joke, it’s an important part of many young Black peoples lives. As a community, it seems we’re fighting amongst ourselves for the idea that we are all Black despite what happens in the privacy of our bedrooms. It’s the old heads versus the youngings and I don’t really understand it. Especially because there are definitely Black queers that are 50 years and above. Any time Black men are near each other and show affection, they’re called gay. Black women are hypersexualized by the masses (men and women alike) and expected to like it. Black children are groomed to be homophobic. Our instant reaction to something that makes us uncomfortable is to crack a joke, to put down whatever the thing is. Instead of talking about why it makes us uncomfortable in the first place. The safe space for Black Queers in the Black community is very small. That’s gotta change before we lose even more Black Queers than we already have. The problem isn’t the Black community as a whole, the problem is we’ve been conditioned for literal centuries to think and react to differences in a white way. We react in the only way we know how. However, every once in a while I see something that lets me know we’re headed in a better direction. A progressive direction that we as Black people should and need to define ourselves. I’d never met another Black asexual until I started posting about being Ace on Twitter. I found other Black individuals like me and they’ve put me on to even more Black Aces than I could have ever imagined. We’re out here, we exist.    

I don’t consider myself queer, but there are hundreds of thousands of Black people who are queer and deserve to be so in peace.  

-Danyi

asexuality · black girl blogs · black women · Uncategorized

Androgynous and Ace, The New AA

When I was seven years old, my older cousin told me that I looked like a boy. She did it because she didn’t want me hanging out with her and her friends. I wanted to go with them to the mall, but no group of teenagers wants a kid trailing after them while they hang out. She’s nearly eight years older than me so I was nothing but an annoying little shadow to her. I know now that she didn’t really mean it but the younger me, the growing up in a judgemental society me, didn’t and it has resonated with me so much that eighteen years later I’m only now starting to deal with it.

Back then, I was only hurt about my big cousin not wanting me to be around her. I didn’t understand the real meanness behind her comment. Until middle school, when a girl who I didn’t even know told me that I had the body of a boy. This time, it wasn’t my face, but my body that apparently didn’t fit the normal female standard. I remember how hot my face got when I had fully comprehended what she’d said to me and I remember how my stomach twisted in unidentified embarrassment. It was only more fuel to my growing need to disappear, a need that I didn’t quite understand. My older cousin said I looked like a boy and now someone else was saying it too, so it had to be true. I pressured my mother and aunt to buy me clothes that were too big for me and I hid in them.

I didn’t learn the word Androgynous until I was in high school, however, it wasn’t a pleasant introduction to it. My boyfriend at the time was upset because I had cut my hair into a mohawk, he was discussing with his friends through texts about how manly it made me look to him. One of his friends replied back “lol she’s just androgynous dude.” but my ex, hated that idea and claimed that he didn’t date “unknowns”. Oddly enough, I don’t remember my reaction or if I reacted at all. Maybe it hurt me so bad that I’m still repressing it, or perhaps not being able to remember is proof enough in itself. However, I do remember googling Androgynous and hastily searching for someone who looked like me in the images that were brought up. I ended up disappointed as Google, then and now, only provided images of white women with pixie cuts and strongish cheekbones along with guys who faces were slightly feminine. I looked nothing like them and they don’t even slightly resemble me.   

Either way, I took solace in looking like a boy. Or at least I tried to because I didn’t know what else to do. I cut my hair short and kept my clothes as large as I could get them. At least at first, but it was a constant battle with my boyfriend who was embarrassed to be seen out with me. He felt like everyone would think he was dating a guy and that he was gay. Soon, my baggy jeans and huge t-shirts started disappearing from my closet and were replaced with leggings and halter tops. I had the body, I should be showing it off. It wasn’t what I wanted, but everyone around me did. So I went with it. Fast forward through some years of trauma and the severe depression, my clothes no longer became a concern of mine. I had bigger problems than the fact people thought I looked like a guy. While they were busy judging my face, I was mulling over the fact that all my emotions seemed to have finally disappeared. I didn’t feel happy or sad or even content, I was just here.

Which makes for really interesting interactions when someone wants to date. Every guy that attempted to talk to me eventually gave up as I didn’t react to things the way they thought I should have. My need to distance myself from romance and relationships was practically unheard of. Black women are supposed to always want a significant other. Society has projected that image on us to the point it’s the norm and those of us who aren’t interested in that particular area, are usually mocked and made fun of. People around me couldn’t understand, I had been with my ex for six years and now suddenly I wasn’t interested in relationships anymore? Something had to be wrong with me. And trying to explain that me being with my ex and loving him but never really liking all the things that came with being in a relationship? There’s no simple way to explain something like that and when you’re trying to explain it to someone who already has an idea about you in their head, it’s like talking to a dust mite.

Then, to add on to my ever growing pile of heavy thoughts on my mind, I started identifying as asexual. If you’ve read my other articles you know that I discovered “Asexual” on Tumblr and ended up spending hours on Google learning and reading about it. Just like the images attached to my google search of Androgynous, most if not all of the stories about asexuality came from white people. I couldn’t relate to the stories of growing up with no crushes or the accounts of being made fun of not wanting to have sex (which isn’t what asexuality is anyways but that’s another day, another article). So for a year or so, I struggled internally. I had absolutely no desire at all to have sex with anyone. I didn’t want to kiss anyone and handshakes were about all the touching I’d allow. My trauma and it’s contribution to my asexuality is still a glaring red folder that I need to open and read, but it always added a layer of confusion to thoughts. Was I really asexual? Or just a trauma-ridden woman who needed time and space and an excuse to not date anymore? It’s easy to acknowledge when I see a face I find pleasing, but it’s hard to say these things around others because we’ve been conditioned to believe that any recognition of attraction is sexual. Even though I heavily identified with the term asexual, I wasn’t able to communicate with others about it because of reasons that just kept building up. I’ve had crushes before, I still have crushes now. I can see why some people love sex, for a while, it was kind of enjoyable at times. But on the internet, where most things are exaggerated, because of those things, I couldn’t be truly asexual. On one side I had to be like the accounts of white asexuals and absolutely not want anything to do with anyone ever to be considered asexual. Then on the other side, I’m a black woman and black women can only be sexual, to some of my fellow black people I was just on some weird white shit. I was stuck in a never-ending spiral of these labels existing but not thinking they applied to me because I couldn’t find anyone to relate to and was only being shown examples of absolutes.

I talk about being asexual a lot because the community is so small and the more visibility we can gain the better. But I don’t really feel as if I belong there, much like I feel like I don’t belong in the androgynous community either. On the internet, I watch as most if not all, asexuals fight for inclusion in the LGBT+ community. It’s been a long battle and at times a weird one but I don’t feel as if it’s my fight. Or even if I wanted to fight my words would be heard. Because I don’t fit into the already pre-established definition of an asexual. So when I try to speak up, my words are dismissed and pushed aside. The account of a black woman struggling with hypersexualization is boring compared to the want of being included in a group of people. After all, if I’m not fighting for asexuals to be included in the LGBT community am I really an asexual at all?

And because everything in life intersects, when I finally took the time to sit down and think about being both Androgynous and Asexual I was thinking for far longer than I originally wanted to. It’s hard to hear that my face and body isn’t the “set standard” for femininity. Not only from a family member but a complete stranger as well, not to mention the reactions my ex had to my style choices and even now how my short fade haircut makes men automatically assume that I’m a lesbian. With all of that surrounding me,  finding any type of confidence in myself and the labels I choose for myself became nearly impossible. It’s something I’m still working through. I often wonder if a chain reaction was started somewhere or if being both androgynous and asexual are complicated separate for myself. I know, of course, that I could be one without the other but I think about the phrase “everything happens for a reason” comes into mind and makes me second guess myself.

It’s taken years to try and come into some sort of acceptance about being androgynous and asexual. Funnily enough, I think I accepted the latter long before I did the former. Because if I have to, I can keep being ace a secret. I can’t hide my androgyny. My face is mine, and although it’s not perfect it’s like this for a reason. I try to keep that mantra in my mind always, especially when I find myself being stared at in public. I could always change my face, plastic surgery has been brought up many times. Both from myself and from other people. However, I reject that idea that I need to cut and pull and reshape my face. I applaud those who do get plastic surgery, it takes a different kind of confidence to be able to do that. One that I’m not sure I’ll ever have. But I don’t want to change my face and I’ve finally reached the point where I don’t want others to accept my face. I don’t need validation from others about my face and body because it’s not theirs in the first place, it’s mine. Only my opinion about my self matters.

I look back now, at my cousin telling me that I looked like a boy and part of me wants to thank her. She prepared me for the harshness that society was going to bring. Intentionally or not, she set me up to be ready for every negative comment that is thrown my way. Honestly, no one will ever say anything as bad as some of the things that she and other family members have said to me. Being told that I look like a boy may have at first hurt me to my core, but I took that hurt and studied it until I understood it. Now I use that hurt to help others understand that the way they are is okay. Because I wish that, instead of telling seven years old me I was boyish, my cousin had been there to help me understand the internal dislike for things I couldn’t change.

-Danyi

Uncategorized

BiAce: It’s A Thing

For a while, I thought I was exclusively into men, then for two years, I thought I was I was only into women. Fast forward a bit, I find that physically I’m into no one but I do like the way certain faces look, both male and female. And that was confusing at first. We’re conditioned to associate the acknowledgment of a nice face to sexual attraction. It’s a part of the heteronormativity that is taught to us and projected onto us from the time we are born until we die. I’m still working on convincing my friends and family that you can like someone’s face and never want them to be anywhere near you. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Bisexuality in its own right is a complicated sexuality that’s often misunderstood and misrepresented. For a long time, it was believed that if you claimed to like both men and women you were just a greedy, promiscuous person. Even now, bisexual people have been painted as confused or a traitor to one sexuality. And when we get represented in the media and/or pop culture, it’s almost never accurate. If we end up deciding on a partner in the story, our sexuality label is shifted to fit the narrative. When a bisexual girl ends up with a male partner she’s deemed suddenly straight and if she ends up with a girl, her label is changed to a lesbian. Usually, these changes aren’t made by the person they apply to but by the people who are uncomfortable with their bisexual label. I never truly understood why bisexuality makes some people uncomfortable nor the assumptions placed on people who identified this way. It was hurtful to hear from a girl that she wouldn’t date me because there was the apparent chance I could leave her for a guy, I found it strange she didn’t worry about me leaving her for another girl. And when it comes to men, I was disgusted to find they automatically assume that a bisexual girl is into threesomes as if all we’re good for is kissing on another girl in front of them.

Now to add another label onto my bisexuality, one in which representation is almost nonexistent seems like just asking for punishment. However, at this point in my life, I identify more with being asexual than I do with my bisexuality. Meaning, for now, my bisexuality is just me recognizing that both men and women are beautiful. While my asexuality is the one that gets more of my thoughts and attention. I’m more asexual than bisexual but that’s only because so many conversations end up revolving around sex. Usually, when asked I will tell someone I’m asexual or ace before I say that I’m bisexual. Not because I’m ashamed or anything but because stating that I’m bisexual gives the impression that I’m interested in sex with both men and women when I’m absolutely not. When asked, if I come right out and say I’m ace it can avoid having to explain, usually in great detail, that I like someone’s face but I don’t want to sleep with them.

In addition to asexuality not really being believed still, it’s also near unheard of for black women to be asexual. We are out there, I’ve been meeting more and more online recently but society as a whole and the media have only ever looked at black women as hypersexualized creatures. So for there to be some of us out there who want nothing to do with sex at all, it can be even more challenging to get ones’ point across. I’ve been told to my face by men both in my family and outside of it, that my asexuality was the result of a “who hurt you” situation. And while someone did hurt me and traumatized me, one of the reasons he did it was because I wasn’t into sex in the first place. He had been hypersexualizing me for so long that when I finally got the courage to speak up and say no, my words fell on deaf ears.

These days, when I allow someone to become a friend and I acknowledge liking the way a person’s face looks I undoubtedly get asked the ultimate question “Wait, aren’t you asexual?”.

And with that question comes the doubts and assumptions. It can be seen on people’s face when you’re trying to explain to them, which in turn makes me clam up and not want to say anything at all. That comes off as suspicious to the other person and now we are on a downward spiral of is asexuality real and if I’m asexual how can I also be bisexual? It’s a conversation I’ve had more times than I’d like to admit, more times than I ever should have tolerated. Back when I was just starting to wrap my mind around the term asexuality it used to embarrass me to have to explain what it meant to people. To be given that dead stare and have regret bubble up from my stomach as I tried to quickly explain what the word meant as a whole and what it means for me personally.

It’s hard to identify as either sexuality honestly, it’s something that I’ve been giving serious thought to for the better half of three years. I’ve worked through several confusing situations and conversations. I’ve discussed it over and over both with myself and other people. I’ve thought about it and I’ve cried about it. I’ve driven myself almost crazy thinking about whether or not me being both asexual and bisexual is a valid thing. Because it can be argued that being both bisexual and asexual isn’t valid since the definition of bisexual is being sexually attracted to two genders. I think though, that with the way sexuality fluctuates and changes, sexualities cannot have just one permanent meaning anymore. Everyone is different, everyone feels things differently and they shouldn’t be confined or made to stick with a society accepted definition. Barriers can be set around the definition sure but to look at someone and say you aren’t valid because you don’t fully feel something the way I way feel it, is ridiculous and obnoxious to me.

In the midst of this, there is a label called Ace Biromantic and I’m sure after posting this I’ll get asked why I don’t identify with that. To honest before it’s all said and done I probably will, but I don’t know enough about it just yet to be comfortable with placing that label on myself. I know that Biromantic means someone who can be romantically involved with someone but not sexually. So it’s a kind of asexuality really. However, I’m not entirely sure I even want to deal with someone romantically. I’m comfortable with being by myself in all corners. I don’t particularly like romance, I find most romantic gestures corny and embarrassing. So while Biromantic is something I’ve considered and am still considering, right now it’s not for me.

I’m past the point of explaining myself to others. I’m over it. In today’s society where so many of us are different, I shouldn’t have to explain why the way I feel is valid. Straight people never have to explain why they are straight. So I’ve decided to try and adopt that type of confidence for myself. My feelings about my sexuality are valid, I don’t need outside approval on this. For too long I thought I did and in seeking that approval I was only hurting myself. My need to have strangers look at me and say “you’re valid” was causing damage to my mind. That constant question of is the way I feel ok made life suffocating and I don’t want to ever feel like that again. So I’ve decided I’m not going to.

Saying is always easier than doing but when it comes to this, it’s something I’ve really done my best to follow through with. I can’t waste time arguing over labels and if something is valid or not. I don’t want my life to revolve around my sexuality. Even now when I write about it, I hope to enlight and create a safe space for myself but I never want it to be the only safe space I have. There’s so much more to life than who you choose to have in your bed and what you choose to do with them there. So I’m actively doing my best to know when to draw the line.

I don’t mind questions, I don’t mind conversations but usually, people think that because you’ve answered one question you will answer them all. They think that because your sexuality is different from theirs, that they can discuss it as like they’re studying for a school test. It’s weird.

And it’s rude.

-Danyi