On March 20th, well known story teller animator JaydenAnimations made a video titled Being Not Straight. In the video, Jayden stated that she was aroace-that is aromantic asexual. The response to the video was mostly positive with other viewers who are aroace ( myself included) were happy to find this out. As of today, the video have 7 millions views.
Here is why that’s important.
First, lets get to know who exactly JaydenAnimations is. Starting out as a fanartist, and then animator on YouTube on February 2014 JaydenAnimations soon became a storytime animator; A genre of YouTube videos where youtubers talk about stories from their lives and make animatics to go along with them. From Jayden’s beginning in 2014, she steadily rose in followers. By January 2016 she had 1,500 Subscribers, and by May 2016 she had risen to 1,465,547 subscribes. She mostly told little stories about her life and things that had happened to her.
The video where she came out as aroace came out was watched by eleven million people. They watched and listened as she said she was aromantic asexual, explained what each label meant separately, and gave stories from her life as to what growing up aroace was like.
Both aromantic and asexual people are often not included or thought of even by other orientations. Arophobia and Acephobia ( that is the discrimination against people who are aromantic or asexual) can be found both within and outside the lgbtqa community. While it’s gotten better, and there have been steps towards inclusion, this have led to a lot of silence on what it means to be on the aromantic spectrum and people not knowing about the orientations can in ignorance be hurtful, so that it begets more discrimination.
Having a youtuber who reaches eleven million people on average and with the kind of following Jayden has not just say she shares our orientation, but explain it means that that many more people can learn and understand what being aroace is. Spreading awareness is a big part of fighting against the prejudice that both aromantic and asexual people can be exposed to. Jayden’s explanation of what asexuality and aromanticism are both accurate and well explained. She also takes the care to explain that there are one and not the other and what kind of relationships we have. Overall, it does an incredible job of being informative which makes it all the more important that it’s a video by someone with such a big following.
It’s important because it gives us what finding someone who shares your identity always does, a kindred spirit. In her video, Jayden shares stories of things that she experienced in her life due to what she now realizes was her growing up as aorace. In the comments a lot of her viewers who were also aroace were saying how relatable the stories were.
Another way in which the video is important is that Jayden states that she’s happy with her orientation. Too many times when aroace people come out it leads to isolation. This is a part of the experience unfortunately, it can often lead to some of us feeling like our life will be less happy due to our orientation. I know that I’ve struggled with wondering if I’ll be happy in the future because of it. To see Jayden say so confidently that she’s happy and loves who she is and the kind of life she is leading gives people hope.