There’s always a lot of discussion around of major TV characters (such as Sherlock and Sheldon Cooper, for example) being asexual. So I thought I’d put together a list of four other, perhaps lesser known characters – from books, movies, TV, web comics – who are either named as asexual (in one case), strongly implied to be asexual, or at least could easily be asexual in my mind. Please feel free to add any of your own!
Hypatia (from the film Agora)
I actually just watched this movie a few days ago, and one of the things that struck me was Hypatia’s representation as quite clearly asexual. Though there’s little historical evidence about Hypatia, her character in the film has dedicated her life to philosophy, learning and teaching, and doesn’t seem interested in sex, romantic relationships or marriage. Despite this, she manages to have a close relationship with Orestes (who is admittedly in love with her, but she doesn’t return his affections). In one scene in particular, Hypatia somewhat wistfully tells Orestes how even her father had a lover once, but that she has never loved anyone. But instead of going on to say that she feels incomplete without love, she looks at the sky and says that if only she could come a little closer to figuring out the stars, she would die a happy woman. I loved Hypatia’s character in this film, and could really relate to her pursuit of learning, and her frustration at not understanding it all.
Poppy (from the TV show Huge)
Poppy is one of the few characters on TV that actually self-identify as asexual. She’s a counselor at a weight loss camp for teenagers (this sounds really bad and un-feminist, but Huge is actually one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen, and actually portrays fat teenagers as real, multidimensional people – the main character is even proud of her fatness!) The show doesn’t make much of a fuss about her asexuality, which is really great. The scene where she comes out to another of the counselors isn’t melodramatic or inaccurate – it’s just matter of fact, and it’s accepted without drama, for what it is. Poppy is also adorable, caring and somewhat hyperactive, so I like her character a lot. Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t have a clip of the scene where she says she is asexual, otherwise I would link to it.
Antimony Carver (from the web comic Gunnerkrigg Court)
Antimony Carver (or Annie) isn’t named as asexual, but she’s never seemed to show any interest in dating or romantic relationships (unlike her best friend Kat, who has a new crush every few chapters, it seems!). Which means that in my brain, I choose to think of her as asexual. However, Annie does have a lot of really close relationships with all sorts of people and creatures, and some of the recent chapters have made me think of her relationship with Kat as a queerplatonic one. At the very least their relationship is characterised by a strong sense of intimacy and platonic affection, like you can see in one of my favourite panels with both of them below (it makes my heart melt a little). One of my friends think Kat is totally into Annie, but I guess that remains to be seen. I don’t particularly think Annie is into Kat in a romantic way. Now I’ll just have to hope that Tom Siddell agrees with me, because I find their relationship beautiful and meaningful the way it is.
Plotina (From the book Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar)
Plotina (wife of the Roman Emperor Trajan in the early 2nd Century AD) is only a very minor character in this book, but I was struck by one little passage on her, as described by the Emperor Hadrian. The historical record indicates that Hadrian and Plotina got along very well, and Yourcenar imagines their relationship as a very close, intimate platonic relationship, but without a sexual component:
Friendship was a choice to which she devoted her whole being; she gave herself to it utterly, and as I have done only to my loves. She has known me better than anyone has; I have let her see what I carefully concealed from everyone else; for example, my secret lapses into cowardice. I like to think that on her side she has kept almost nothing from me. No bodily intimacy ever existed between us; in its place was this contact of two minds closely intermingled.