Today’s character is in a tiny piece of writing I did, which appeared in Circuits & Slippers, an anthology of sci-fi fairy tales retellings. I’m not big on fairy tales, so I cheated and retold a legend from Québec in which the MC is a magnetic skater who travels away from his small colony planet to a big international tournament. In the original legend, he parties all night and sleeps around before the competition and fails miserably, but I had decided to make it… more personal. I gave him an ace girlfriend, Céline, and I made him into the very common dudes who pressure their girlfriends for sex and consider it all part of a normal and healthy relationships. Except he gets solidly spurned, for once.
And I want to talk about Céline because sexual assault and sexual coercion are very common among the ace community. Writing Céline was one of the hardest thing I ever had to do, because half of that conversation was real. It had happened to me, and I knew it would happen to others too. I’ve had boyfriends who were very pushy with my boundaries with sex, because we thought it was just fear, that if we pressed on I’d fix myself. They’d stop when I said no, but they essentially forced me to have to say it.
Anyway. Céline is important to me because I wanted to tell that experience. It was weird, because the framing of my story meant I was telling it from the dude’s point of view, but at least it’s out there. I mean, it’s not like stories with ace characters lack in sexual assault or coercion plot lines. It’s everywhere, and it’s also usually handled like shit—just shock value, with complete disregard with how and why these things happen to us. Honestly, sexual assault has become such a staple of ace rep (having none is one thing I’ll always give Every Heart) it took me forever to get around to writing anything even close to it.
It’s done now. It’s a small, kinda obscure short story, but this is a part of me that needed to be out there. It’s part of our truth, too—one I wish people were more careful with.