Screenshot from Facebook Live chat with Jera Brown, Ashabi Owagboriaye, and Jiyul Kim

I recently interviewed Ela Przbylo about her book Asexual Erotics: Intimate Readings of Compulsory Sexuality. You can find that interview here:

To continue a discussion about asexuality, Ela recommended I speak to Ashabi Owagboriaye and Jiyul Kim. I interviewed them live on Facebook and you can stream the video here. In our conversation you’ll find:

  • Their journeys to identifying as asexual and grey asexual (starting at 5:48)
  • What the asexual community has meant to them, how they found it, and difficulties within the queer community in validating asexuality (starting around 9:40)
  • What compulsory sexuality is (17:00)
  • Why and how the sexual and romantic spectrums are useful (18:20)
  • Validating one’s asexuality (starting around 20:30)
  • Ashabi and Jiyul’s tips on navigating boundaries in relationships and how to discuss intimacy (26:50)
  • What resources they recommend (34:26)
  • Asexuality represented in books and media (37:09)
  • And closing thoughts on labels and how we evolve throughout our journey (42:30)

Jera Brown: So it’ll take a little bit for people to join in, but folks will be watching this later. So I’m going to go ahead and introduce us and what we’re talking about. First of all, I’m Jera Brown. I’m a columnist at Rebellious Magazine and my column is Just the Tip, all about sex and relationships. I try to cover things that don’t get talked about enough or in depth enough.

And I am joined by Jiyul Kim, who is a Korean American grey-ace non-binary femme with BA degrees in gender and sexuality studies, English literature, and psychology from Northwestern University. She loves to spend time with her cats and go bouldering in the free time. 

Ashabi Owagboriaye is an asexual Nigerian-American artist and activist based in Chicago, Illinois, with a passion for the arts, culture and change. Growing up, she’s alway found ways to express herself through a multitude of mediums, making connections with performance and visual artists around the city. With her time here, she’s found work as the social media coordinator for Sex KiKi, sex+ multimedia sanctuary uplifting Black queer womxn and femmes; She also curates the space Ace in Grace, which educates folx about asexuality and centers the Black and POC folx in the asexual community. She’s always finding ways to stay involved in the things that drive her to do more in her community and uplift those whose voices have yet to be heard. When she’s not busy, she enjoys times with friends, books, video games and she’s also incredibly in love with pugs!

Before we start, Ashabi, can you tell us a little bit about Sex Kiki and Ace in Grace?

Ashabi Owagboriaye: Sex Kiki is something that I started to work with in October of last year. The founder’s name is Coriama and basically the premise of Sex Kiki is to center Black and Brown trans queer femmes around sex. Because typically when you see sex or porn or anything advertised as such, you’re seeing a lot of white bodies and you’re seeing very standard white bodies, very skinny, very muscular, all of that. And Sex Kiki is basically present to uplift other bodies that aren’t surrounded by that as well as highlight Black and Brown people, because all of the times, if we’re in those industries, we’re fetishized and this is basically a space to highlight our pleasure, our wants and needs without it being centered around fetishes and being centered around being tokenized. So that’s essentially what Sex Kiki is. We’ve done a lot of play parties that center femme-identified people who want to just be in a space where they can express themselves and not be basically the center of attention, essentially, as well as other events that talk about pleasure, activism and how to basically get control of your body and own your body and how to express yourself in a way that’s healthy. And that also empowers you.

So, that’s what Sex Kiki is about. And Ace in Grace is something that I started around last year. For context, I typically walk in Pride and when I do, I’m usually the only person who’s Black in the group and very out loud. And I’m also the only person who’s asexual. So, last pride I was walking; I had this awesome outfit and I was carrying my ace flag. And as we were stopping, there was this amazing boy or man person who stopped me. And he was, ‘You’re asexual, you’re ace and grace, you put the ace in grace, and I’m just, Oh, wow.’ But also, wow, that’s really, wow, I never even thought about that. So I took that and I made Ace in Grace. It is basically my platform that I use to center people of color and specifically Black people around sexuality and also educate people about asexuality. And I’ve been doing it since last year. And as I’m doing it, I’m also learning more about how different spectrums navigate and how basically different identities represent themselves in sexuality/asexuality. So that’s basically what Ace in Grace is about.

JB [5:48]: Awesome. So I just put the two links to the Instagram accounts in the comments so folks watching this can easily find it. So the first question that I had for you both was just about how you came to identify as grey asexual or asexual. I know it’s a very different journey for a lot of people. So whoever wants to start with that.

Jiyul Kim: I can start if that’s okay with you Ashabi. So I actually started identifying as just a blanket ace when I was about 11 years old. So it was really early on in my life. And I was dating in the sense that elementary school students can date other elementary school students, and the topic of sex came up. And I remember being so immediately repulsed by the idea without knowing anything about it. And then as I developed more of an understanding of what sexuality was starting from junior year of high school, I would say I started investigating the spectrum of asexuality and came across the term grey-ace, where it’s kind of a continuum where you’re not an entirely a hundred percent asexual person, but you aren’t a sexual person either. Other terms that can encompass that are allosexual versus asexual and then everything in between. And that’s, I think the first time I identified fully with the term grey-ace. 

AO: Um, for me, I identified as asexual very loudly when I was 17, but not really understanding what it meant past what I said. So by journey and understanding what that was more in-depth was through Tumblr. And that was honestly such a godsend because at that time there wasn’t really much, I mean, AVEN was a thing, but it wasn’t really as insightful at that time and didn’t really provide as much information in regards to validating me and my own experience. So I use Tumblr and I found other asexual people, and I found other people that identified as me along along their own journey of asexuality. And as I got older, I looked into it a little bit more and then understood that while identify as asexual  there’s a spectrum and I don’t have to just be asexual: I can be grey asexual or demisexual. 

And I typically bounce around all of that throughout my growth.  And me identifying as asexual now is a blanket term because I can bounce between all of those other spectrums whenever I feel like it, and that just is how I navigate that.  And now understanding asexuality and understanding that I can be asexual and be sex-positive; I can be asexual and be sex repulsed; and all of that still validates me in my identity. And that’s pretty much where I’ve been. I feel within my journey of understanding that that’s who I am, I felt a lot more validation understanding that I can be all of those things and still encompass all of the societal norms, and having other people and connecting with other people that also identify as such, has really validated my own experience and being more confident in my sexuality. 

JB [9:49]: I had the pleasure of interviewing Ella [Przybylo]. You know what, I still don’t know how to pronounce her last name. How do you pronounce her last name?

We’re giving away copies of Ella’s book Asexual Erotics, and you can find my interview with her on my column, and I’ll link to it. But one of the things we talked about was the usefulness of labels such as asexual and grey ace, but also queer or any of the other label that we learn to adopt. We get to decide what they mean for us, and so for the folks watching it, I think it’s just an important point, and part of why I wanted to do this, that identifying is a personal thing. Sharing multiple people’s stories means folks are not going to use the label in the same way, but it gets to be what feels good.  

Ashabi, you started bringing up Tumblr, and my next question about that, for both of you, was how the community played a role in finding support around who you are and and what it means to you. 

AO:  Hmm. Well, the thing about it is with asexuality and the fact that, you know, we’re having this discussion now, even though Tumblr was very useful to me, asexuality hasn’t been something that’s been validated really until recently.  And I’m going to bring up one person that I follow whose name I’m sure you know of Yasmin Benoit, and she has been doing a lot of asexual work since … I want to say maybe three, four years. And I’ve been working in regards of doing asexual work since I’ve been an undergrad. And I’ve been able to see the change of Tumblr versus in-real-life conversations versus now. And when I was going through my phases of being validated, even on Tumblr, there’s a lot of people who denounced asexuality as being a real thing. People really like to think of it as, ‘Oh, you’re just being a snowflake, you’re not real. You’re just a prude,’ all these things. And a lot of that actually came from the queer community, which is kind of disappointing because I’ve never been the type of person who has invalidated other people in their queerness, because, you know, it’s a journey. And in that journey, you’re allowed to feel and explore different things. And in my journey, a lot of my validation actually came from more straight people versus queer people. And as I’ve become more out loud with my identity, I’ve had more people kind of sit back and listen and reevaluate their own queerness in how they associate sex with their sexuality. And that’s allowed me to build more of a community around this specific identity and have people understand that, you know, being valid, isn’t just a gay thing. It isn’t just a lesbian thing. It’s an across the board thing. 

And I think now that the discussion of asexuality is becoming more serious and more spoken of, more validation is coming our way, but it wasn’t that in the beginning, because, again, asexuals take up 1% of the population, which is still  75 million people. And that percentage goes up as more and more people identify. And even in that percentage there’s even less that are black or brown and are asexual. So having to find that community has been difficult, and that’s also why I made Ace in Grace because that isn’t spoken about.

And within my own sexuality, being a black woman, my body’s always sexualized. And my journey isn’t ever really believed. And having to continuously validate that, even though it’s exhausting, has allowed me to build more community around people who look like me and support people in their own journey so that they understand that even though there’s not a lot of us, we’re still here. And we are helping each other out to make sure that they’re not going through the same things that I went through, through this journey.

JK: Yeah. I can definitely feel where you’re coming from when it comes to not feeling like there was a community before maybe the past five years.  And I feel  people spearheading asexuality scholars and Ela and other people who study asexuality in an academic context — I think that’s really helped legitimize the study as something that is valid and something that is real and not just a medicalized  hyposexuality.  And I think it’s easy to assume that asexuality doesn’t exist when there are so many identities contingent on there being an asexuality in the first place and assuming that there is a compulsory sexuality affiliated with everybody, and it’s just an intrinsic aspect of personhood. 

And so I think I’ve also personally experienced a lot of mixed feelings from the queer community. And most of it, I think is curiosity and coming from a place of genuine interest in what that could be. But some of it is very toxic, I would say, because it assumes that there’s a medical reason behind it, or there is an assumption that it is just a stage to go through before you figure out your sexuality.  And so I think that’s been challenging to navigate, but I feel the more I connect with other asexual people, it’s been easier to find solace in the fact that, asexuality is real. And even if the queer community doesn’t necessarily accept that under the umbrella of queerness, it is still valid and it’s still a legitimate identity category. 

JB [17:00]: Can you talk a little bit about compulsory sexuality, because I think that’s a really important term that a lot of us are pretty new to. I can introduce it. Ela wrote about it in her book, that it was also jumping off of compulsory heterosexuality, which is the assumption that heterosexuality was the norm and therefore what folks were supposed to or expected to be, and therefore anything else was a deviation. And so compulsory sexuality — and correct me if I’m wrong — is this idea that we’re supposed to be sexual beings and therefore asexuality is the deviation as opposed to just another valid voice. Does that seem right?

JK: Yeah. I’m not really an authority on the subject, but I think that sounds right to me. I think it’s just the assumption that sexuality is intrinsically a part of being human and not even considering the possibility that asexuality is an affiliation that could happen.

JB [18:20]: That’s well said. Yeah. I think also within that, then, this spectrum is something that, for some reason,  I hadn’t thought about before. I completely accepted that there’s a spectrum of gender and a spectrum of orientation, but I think in my mind I had this either/or when it came to being a sexual person. You’re either asexual or you’re allosexual. But the idea that there’s a spectrum was just really useful for me to broaden my idea of what sexuality can be and what asexuality can be. And I think it fits somehow into this idea of compulsory sexuality: that we have this idea that there’s one thing, and then there’s this thing that’s not that, when in reality it’s many things. 

Feel free to jump in if you have comments.

JK: I feel in general, we are pushed to binaries and to believe that there are only two extremes at the end of the spectrum and not anything in between.  And I think that really flattens the category and possibilities that you can have to  articulate your queerness or your sexuality or asexuality. I’m so glad that people are kind of opening up to the idea that there’s more to that picture than just one thing or the other. And this doesn’t just pertain to just sexuality, but also the gender spectrum or different kinds of sexuality outside of asexual affiliation.

JB [20:08]: As well as romanticism: romantic and aromantic is another spectrum. And you get to decide what romantic relationships mean to you.  And that’s also one of the things I’ve really enjoyed about  queer relationships. Folks queer friendship, which means queering the idea of what makes someone a friend versus a romantic partner.  I think it fits into this conversation somehow.  

But we did have a question from somebody. So I’m just gonna read it and either of you can take it or both of you. The person is asking if either of you have felt shame around asexuality, especially as a grey ace or that you weren’t entirely valid. 

AO:  Okay. I can definitely say that I felt invalidated in my asexuality in almost every relationship that I’ve been in. Because of how I present and because I’m sex positive, it’s very, very confusing for people to grasp the idea that I am not sexually attracted to them, but I still want to have sex. And to people who don’t really understand asexuality, it can seem a little fake. It can seem like I’m lying, and I’ve been told that every time. And in two instances I’ve told people that I’m asexual, and the other person cried.  And it was very, very, very overwhelming.  Another instance with somebody who also cried, I gave them information in regards to asexuality and they told me that they didn’t care about it at all. So they’re not gonna look into it. 

Another instance I had somebody that I was seeing ask me if I was sure that I was asexual because they were sexually attracted to me. And I had to explain to them that just because I like having sex … and I’m also a very sensual person — I touch a lot. And a lot of the times people can confuse touch with a sexual intent. And I have to explain to people that just because I’m touchy-feely, based on culture, it doesn’t mean that I want to do anything with you that alludes to sex. And I’ve also had conversations with people who — that’s just their personality — they are validated by sex. And even though I am asexual, I can go very, very long periods of just not being interested in that and not having sex and that can put people in the position where, ‘Oh, they’re not interested in me anymore. They don’t want to be with me,’ And it’s  … no, there are other ways for me to show affection and love to you that’s not sexual. And I think that I’ve had to have a lot of conversations with people to have them understand that my asexuality is valid and your lack of understanding doesn’t invalidate me, it just means that you have to continue doing work in how you perceive queerness and how you perceive people across the spectrum of queerness. Because again, asexuality is something that’s never been taken seriously until recently, and even now with it being more of a topic of conversation, it’s kind of  like ‘Oh, well, I don’t understand this.’ Or, ‘Are you sure? ,Do you think that, you know, you could just have sex with somebody and then you’ll stop being asexual?’ Or all these other things that basically invalidates me. And having to have continuous conversations with people so they can deconstruct why they feel that has been very challenging but it’s just something I’m just used to feeling. I’m just used to going through the motions of there’s going to be somebody that I’m with in the future who I’ll have to have a serious conversation with in regards of how they navigate their own sexuality and how I navigate my asexuality and how they feel in regards of maintaining the status quo in their life. And if they want to deconstruct that and understand that there are multiple layers to how sexuality is and how attraction is and all of these things.  I think I answered your question. I rambled a little bit,

JB: Jiyul, any thoughts to add? 

JK: Yeah. I think one core misunderstanding about asexuality is that, when you’re asexual, it doesn’t mean that you are unable to perform or understand sexual scripts.  And so I think the first thing that comes to mind when people think asexual is someone who is just totally a prude, completely against the idea of sex, completely repulsed by the idea of sex, but it’s not quite that black and white. And I think I’ve found it challenging to navigate it in relationships, just  you, Ashabi, where it feels it’s such a terrible confession to make in a relationship  because of the reactions that you get to it.  And I can just say that before my current partner, I felt this immense pressure to perform sexuality adequately and to be perceived as a sexual person or be at least sexually desirable. And for me personally, sex is not a component of romantic relationships that I require., and it’s a mode of intimacy that I can in some ways understand, because it’s something that my allosexual partners can appreciate,  but I think what’s different about a partner that truly accepts your asexuality is loving you in addition to your asexuality rather than in spite of it. 

JB [26:50]: Do any tips come to mind about navigating relationships and boundaries with folks that you’ve learned?

AO: Regarding asexuality or just in general?

JB: Oh, that’s a good question. I would say … I mean, I’m curious about what you’d have to say, period. But I know in particular … let me preface this: I’ve gotten a lot of of anonymous questions into my column about whether it’s okay to find things that are not sex just as intimate or even more intimate. And a lot of questions from folks who are dating or married to people who are potentially asexual or just have very low sexual desire, and I get the sense that there’s a lot of questions out there about how to navigate relationships when you have different levels of desire or different ideas of intimacy. And I know you two have had those conversations with your partners.  So anything that comes to mind, but that is part of why I researched and found this book and decided to set this up. I think there’s just a lot of questions out there about navigating relationships when someone might be on an asexual spectrum.

JK: I think it can be a very difficult conversation to have, but I think that conversation starts with really knowing what you need out of a relationship and where you draw the line. Because on one hand, if you’re an asexual person in a relationship with an allosexual person, you don’t want to compromise your asexuality, but at the same time, you don’t want your allosexual partner to need to compromise their desire for sex.  And I think it really varies by situation.  And in some situations it can be easy to navigate that, especially if the allosexual partner has a lower sex drive to begin with. But in other ways, I think you might need to consider what alternatives are out there.  For example, navigating  multiple partners or exploring different kinds of intimacy beyond traditional sex or anything along those lines, if that makes sense. 

AO: Bouncing off what Jiyul said. Yeah, it has been, it can be honestly really, really hard. I mean, it’s really, really hard from the get-go. And I want to use two examples because I just feel they work here. In the first relationship that I had that I told my partner that I was asexual, they cried. And the reason why they cried was because, in the beginning we were having sex all the time, but then we stopped because that’s not what I needed anymore.  I was validated in other ways that they were showing me affection and love. And when I told them that I was asexual, they cried because they thought that I’d stopped loving them because we had to be stopped having sex. And we ended up having a conversation in regards of how I express affection and love and romantic things to them. 

And from that relationship, yeah, we still had sex, but we also found other ways where we both felt validated in the relationship, which made the relationship really work.  My most recent relationship, we were in an open relationship and it was their first time being with somebody who was asexual. And they were on the opposite end of sexuality: they were hypersexual because of other things, and they also had another partner, and we had to have a sit-down discussion in regards to: is sex the only way you feel validated in this relationship? And they said that sex is a really big thing for them to feel validated in their relationship. And for me, it’s not. And we had to talk about love languages and how they perceive receiving affection and love. Their love language was physical touch. My love language is gifts and acts of service. 

So we use that a lot to show affection to each other. And at the end of it, it didn’t work out. But I think that in relationships with a person who is asexual and a person who is allo or even hypersexual, a lot of conversations need to be had, whether it be at the beginning or even throughout the relationship: basic check-ins in regards to how they feel validated and how I want to feel validated, because it’s not going to be a one-and-done thing. It’s going to be time. And with time you’re going to face challenges, you’re going to face road bumps and you’re going to feel differently. There might be two months straight where I don’t want to have sex. And when they don’t have sex, they don’t feel loved. There might be times where I want to have sex and they want to have sex and they were awesome, or it’s weird because I feel like I’m having sex because they want to have sex.

And it’s just even … speak less of asexuality, just relationships in general, you have to communicate for them to work. You have to make sure you all are talking on the same level for them, for us, for the both of you to be successful in any relationship. And with asexuality being another factor, it’s just another type of conversation. It’s just another way to educate yourself. And you just have to understand that you have to continue educating yourself and all relationships for them to work. And if you’re not doing that, then regardless of the sexuality, it’s not going to work because you aren’t on the same page.

So I think just constant communication and check-ins and relationships with asexual people and allosexual people — and just relationship in general — will make for a better and more healthy and stable relationship. 

JK: Yeah. I think that when it comes to these conversations, you should always navigate them with a mindset of mutual respect and a desire to understand the person and focus on the needs of the relationship as a whole and not necessarily the individual components. And then I think it’s hard to give one answer to this question because there’s no “one size fits all” answer.  But I agree with you a hundred percent, Ashabi, about communicating being such a key component of figuring out how to make this work. And this is not just something that pertains to asexual and allosexual relationships, but just relationships as a whole.

JB [34:25]: Yeah, that’s great. Thank you.  Someone commented and just asked what resources you would recommend for folks. Does anything come to mind? 

AO: Uh, literally go to my Instagram, Ace in Grace, quite honestly. I’ve been doing a lot of work in regards to that and I don’t post I post as often as I need to. And when I’m not posting, I’m doing my own research to make sure that what I am posting is accessible and knowledgeable enough for people who are and aren’t asexual to understand. And I really do think that’s a good place to start, but I do think that outside of that, taking time on your own … Google asexuality and talk to other people who are also asexual or just have conversations with people in regards of sexuality in general and letting them understand the spectrum of it all.

And also AVEN is a really good resource.  AVEN is a really great resource now, before it wasn’t. But now I feel with the more publicized conversation of asexuality, they’ve been doing more to represent people who are across the spectrum of that and to better represent people who may not fit that one box or one mold so that everyone in that identity feels valid.

JK: Yeah. Jumping off that, I think finding communities in person can be a really powerful source of finding solidarity and support from your peers, but there’s a lot of online communities everywhere from Reddit to Instagram. And you can find other people that are like you. There’s going to be someone out there who understands at least some aspects of your experience. And I would also say looking at scholarly sources has kind of helped me understand how I can break down ideas of compulsory heterosexuality and sexual regimes as a whole because it very clearly describes how we learn these social scripts and how deeply ingrained it is in our culture to value sexuality. And so, for me at least, it was a really good starting place to kind of deconstruct my own beliefs about what a relationship should be and what sexuality should be.

JB: I put a link to AVEN’s website, which is asexuality dot org.

Ashley asks if there are good examples of asexual characters in books or media. Does anything come to mind? 

AO: Um, if you watch BoJack Horseman and if you’re a fan of being so tripped out by how real BoJack Horseman is, to get to the point of the identity being revealed … I think BoJack Horseman did a really good job making it not a big deal. And I’m not saying that because asexuality isn’t a big deal, but a lot of the times when stories or shows introduce queerness, they make it seem their queerness is all that there is about them. Not that it’s a part of their story and there’s more to them. And I think BoJack Horseman not only talks about his sexuality as a normal conversation, but it also shows that character’s journey on finding community in regards to his asexuality, navigating being with a partner who isn’t asexual, but how that partner reacts there is asexuality and helping them be more proactive and being more comfortable in their own truth.  Yeah, I honestly … they’re probably different characters, but I really do like how BoJack Horseman portrayed asexuality. So I think that’s a really nice start for that.

JK: Yeah, honestly, that was also the first character that came to mind for me from BoJack Horseman.  And I find it kind of hard to find asexual characters, but it depends on what you’re looking for and how explicitly they name a character as asexual.  Because a lot of the time it’s just implied. Like I’m thinking of  Steven Universe and the character, I think Paradot.?And I don’t know if they ever explicitly label her as an asexual character, but it’s pretty strongly implied. And I feel watching that, you can feel very validated and feel you’re being represented in that aspect of your experience.

JB: I am linking to a book that I read: Every Heart, A Doorway by Seannan Maguire, which is sort of a YA book.  It’s really well written, but the lead character … what do you call it … articulates their identity as an asexual person.  And Kenzie said that they like Claire Cannes book, Let’s Talk About Love, so there’s another one. But obviously there needs to be more right? I think probably as this identity becomes more valid or validated, then it’ll start to be in more people’s imagination when we’re thinking about characters. 

I’m seeing nods to that. Yeah.  For folks watching this, if you have other recommendations, please leave them in the comments for folks.

I interviewed … I just lost her name … I interviewed a children’s novelist who was talking about how important it is to have mirrors and doorways to be able to see yourself and imagine different possibilities for yourself.  And so being able to see these things acted out is part of what helps us form our identity.

So any closing thoughts?

Yeah. I put you on the spot. While you’re thinking about it, thank you all for tuning in and for your comments. This has been great.  If you have other ideas that you’d like to see: live videos or interviews, please email me at and check out my column. And if there’s people that I’ve interviewed that you would like to see a live interview of, I will happily reach back out to them.

So yeah. Anything else come to mind you’d like to leave people with?

JK: I think I just want to say that labels are there to help you. And if you feel  labels are not helping you, or you feel they’re pushing you into a certain box or restricting your ability to wholeheartedly feel this is something you can identify with, then you don’t have to adhere to those labels. You don’t have to identify as asexual or on the asexual spectrum if you don’t feel that validates your experience.  But it’s always a good place to do your research first and then see what feels right for you personally. 

AO: I think what I’d like to say is, going onto that, while understanding that you don’t have to identify as anything, also understand that you don’t have to stick to the one thing that you identify with.  Instead of thinking of it as one solid thing you have to be your whole entire life … instead of thinking of it as that’s all you can be … think of it as you are a ball of clay and as you’re growing, you’re maneuvering. What works and what doesn’t work? And all of those things are valid in your journey. And to be respectful of that, not only with other people, but also with yourself and be really forgiving because most of the times. And in asexuality, as I’ve grown to understand this, a lot of people didn’t feel they were asexual enough because they didn’t feel this one thing that they thought that identified the whole entire community, they felt like.

So I think just being more forgiving with who you are as a person and your own personal growth will help you understand other people’s journeys, as well as your own. And also being really receptive to other people when they come to you and are comfortable enough to come out to you and not treating it as a farce or as a lie, or as non-truth. Just accepting it and understanding that you have work to do to not only understand them, but understand why you may have those misconceptions about what that identity may be. So just overall be receptive. Be open to conversations around this identity. And understand that with community, you have to do a lot of work to make sure that not only the people who are coming to you are safe, but that you are a person that can maintain safety within yourself and other people’s journeys. 

JB: Thank you both and, for everybody watching, I feel this takes a lot of . . . my cat just decided to start scratching the couch next to me . . . it takes a lot of bravery to be able to talk openly about your history and your identity. So kudos to you, and thank you so much for joining in. This video will be posted as soon as Facebook does its thing, and then it will be live on my blog too. If you have followup questions or you want to get in touch with these two, feel free to reach out and I will pass you on. Look for Ashabi’s awesome work on Instagram. It sounds great. So thanks again and have a good evening. All right. Closing up. Alright, bye.

Jera writes about sexuality, spirituality, and social justice. They are the author of Just the Tip, a queer-friendly, sex-positive, relationship advice column and the editor of Sacred and Subversive,...

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