Welcome to the latest installment of our 2022 Pride Month Series! Each weekday in the month of June, we will be highlighting a different member of the LGBTQIA+ community who we think is a great example of representation and dynamic characterization. We will focus on fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — the positive voices within the LGBTQIA+ community and in mainstream media.
Alice Oseman, whose name you may remember from our Heartstopper article, finally released her novel Loveless in the US earlier this year, and today we’re taking a moment to highlight the book’s main character Georgia Warr. So if you have not had a chance to read the book yet, this is your moment to do so, because from here on, we’ll be diving deep into Georgia and her story.
Loveless kicks off as Georgia and her two best friends — Pip and Jason — head off to university. However, Georgia feels as though she is already behind everyone else when she gets there because she has never dated or even kissed someone. Not because she doesn’t want to! Georgia loves the idea of dating and kissing and having sex and falling in love, but it just doesn’t seem like something she can actually do. So, upon arriving at university and meeting her obviously sexually experienced roommate Rooney, Georgia decides to ask for help figuring it all out. Unfortunately, Rooney’s help isn’t actually all that helpful. Ultimately it is Georgia’s rather accidental connection at the university’s Pride Society that helps her figure it out: she’s asexual and aromantic.
Throughout the book, and her first year at university, Georgia begins to explore what being part of the “A” in LGBTQIA+ means for her. It challenges the way she understands love, as everything she sees in real life, fictional media, and even in her own imagination tells her that love at its most basic boils down to sex and romance. Georgia is forced to reevaluate the way she views the world, and, more importantly, her own role in it. The path she had always imagined for herself no longer fits who she is, but she is determined to get her life on the right track, whatever that track is.
Georgia struggles with self-acceptance throughout the book, and especially once she comes to terms with her sexuality. Asexuality and aromanticism are more common now than they used to be, but they’re still not terms that everyone is familiar with the way they might be gay or lesbian. Plus, even if someone has heard of the terms, many people deny that they are valid. Even within the LGBTQIA+ community, the “A”s are often dismissed as ‘not really queer,’ and within all of this, Georgia really has to fight to accept that her sexuality is valid. One of the best moments in the book comes when she finally does accept it:
I came back to the words until they felt real in my mind, at least. Maybe they wouldn’t be real in most people’s minds. But I would make them real in mine. I could do whatever the fuck I wanted.”
As someone who realized that they are on the asexual (ace) and aromantic (aro) spectrums in their late twenties, this book is a really special read. From virgin shaming to adults pressuring her to explore relationships to feeling left behind by friends because of their relationships, many of the issues Georgia deals with in the book are things I dealt with myself when I was younger. Loveless is the best representation of my journey to discovering my sexuality I’ve seen, and I imagine that there are many others who feel the same! Georgia’s story offers ace/aro readers a place to see themselves represented in a way that they haven’t been before, and it reminds readers that just because someone is ace/aro, it doesn’t mean that they are incapable of love — their love just looks different. You might think of love as purely romantic or sexual, but it can be found in strong family bonds or self-love, or, as we see in Georgia’s case, in platonic friendships.
Ultimately Georgia discovers that she is not, in fact, loveless, but is seen and valid just as she is. A message that everyone, asexual/aromantic or otherwise, can take to heart this Pride.
Stay tuned to more Pride Month Spotlights here at Nerds and Beyond!