Welcome to the fifth article in our Pride series for the month of June! Each day we will be highlighting a different LGBTQ+ character who we think is a great example of representation, dynamic characterization, and overall badassery. Check out the rest of the series here.
Asexual characters in television are hard to find, especially characters that canonically identify as asexual or on the “gray spectrum.” And, while we can speculate that characters such as Sherlock Holmes and Sheldon Cooper are likely on the spectrum, the only character I’ve come across that is a truly out asexual character is Todd Chavez of the Netflix series Bojack Horseman.
Todd’s journey into opening up about being asexual spanned a few episodes, but really comes to a head when Todd is discussing his sexuality with a friend. He says “I’m not gay. I mean, I don’t think I am, but I don’t think I’m straight either. I don’t know what I am. I think I might be nothing.”
As someone who identifies on the ace spectrum seeing this was HUGE. When I was first learning about my own sexuality, this was exactly how I felt. Todd is the first openly asexual character on mainstream television, and when I was watching him have this discussion with his friend Emily, I couldn’t help but note how similar it was to discussions I’d had with friends about being on the asexual spectrum. And, luckily Todd also had support in his friend Emily. She tells him “whatever you call yourself, your my friend and I support you. But sometimes labels can be helpful.”
And they can be. When I first heard the word “asexual” and had someone explain it to me, I realized just how much I related to it. While labels aren’t everything, having something click and make sense to you is very helpful and can help give a sense that there isn’t anything wrong with you and that you’re not alone. Todd having this revelation is that it doesn’t change the character in anyway, and the way the show brings Todd’s consciousness into his newfound identity is extremely well done and makes for positive representation of an asexual character in a way no other program has done.
Todd eventually decides to identify fully as an asexual person and he begins attending meetings for asexual people.
He says in another episode “It actually feels nice to say it out loud. I am an asexual person. I am asexual. It feels good to talk about it.” Hopefully, seeing an out asexual character will both help others figuring out if they might be on the ace spectrum as well as be a guide for other media to follow in their footsteps.
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