It changes every five minutes, and has already changed since I started drafting this post. But in one recently captured moment, these were the real-life people listed as asexual on Wikipedia: Edward Gorey, Keri Hulme, Bradford Cox, Emilie Autumn, Morrissey, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Erdős, Mike Skinner (The Streets) and T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). I've always taken an interest in possible asexual role models, so I do watch the Wikipedia list with interest.
And aside from Hulme, these people all have some striking similarities. Their asexuality is either mentioned once and never again, it is quite vague, or both. I was inspired to write this post after an AVENite's comment made me wonder what Mike Skinner had actually said about being asexual. I always enjoyed his music as The Streets, so of course I was curious. On the whole of the internet, I found this one Twitter posting:
"I am asexual. you could think of me as the cliff richard of geezer urban beat poetry."
Now, I have no idea if this is a joke or if it means Skinner really identifies as asexual (apparently, the Wikipedia editors ended up agreeing with me). How can we possibly know from one out-of-context Tweet? And while Emile Autumn has actually come out as asexual, she's only mentioned it, to my knowledge, in one interview. Same with Edward Gorey and Bradford Cox.
With out gay celebrities, there is usually some ongoing story--of being closeted, of coming out, of seeking fulfilling relationships. Where is the story for asexual celebrities? It would lead me to think that their asexuality isn't very important to their lives, which is diametrically opposed to myself and many asexuals of my acquaintance. Maybe they don't want to better known for being asexual than for their work. Perhaps asexuality is deemed as something that wouldn't be interesting to the public, but when I talk about asexuality to people they're usually somewhat intrigued.
That said, interviewers don't exactly try to draw out lots of information on their subjects' possible asexuality. Take this Gay.net interview with Kim Deal (definite role model material):
Interviewer: The last time I interviewed you, the piece got hundreds of comments and a lot of them were about how both lesbians and gay men are attracted to you. I have to ask, do you have a gay bone in your body?
Deal: [Thinks] You know what? I'm just so…asexual, I wish I had a gay bone.
Interviewer: That's so wierd [sic]. You don't seem asexual. Does it seem weird to you that both are attracted to you?Perhaps only an asexual would jump on that. Anyway, going back to people's stories, celebrities tend to be much more sexualized than average people, especially musicians and actors. Maybe this is one reason why they might want to keep asexuality more private, although I can see an equally compelling argument for speaking out about it in greater detail. Keri Hulme has remained the only famous ace who has mentioned that there are other asexuals besides herself...in short, that asexuality is a "thing". For most "regular" people on the street, naming our asexuality makes us realize that we're not the only ones. I wonder if the same holds true for celebrities.
[The Streets, "Fit But You Know It". Hurting my head trying to discern some kind of asexual content.]