The Ace in Escaflowne
"Male-Character never shows any interest in women, not even Gorgeous-Female-Character! He must be gay!"
I've come across this 'logic' far, far, far too many times over the years. Most often, it's used as the rationalization for a non-canon slash pairing. I don't have any problem with slash pairings. Most of my favourite pairings in fandom happen to be slash. This is not what frustrates me.
People can embrace whatever pairing they like. That's ok. To each their own, right?
But I really, really wish these people would stop using that justification. It is not okay. When you're dealing with a character who never expresses any sexual or romantic interest whatsoever towards anyone in canon, do not assume that said person is homosexual. Do not say "ne is never interested in the opposite gender! Ne must be homosexual!"
Because asexuals are people, too. We exist, and we do not like being invisible. We don't appreciate the assumption that sexuality is implicit and a necessary aspect of one's personality. It is, essentially, telling us that there is something wrong with us, and that we don't exist. Now, I realize that most people don't even know that there's such a thing as asexuality. In which case, the assumption is a natural one to make, if not a reasonable one. But that's one reason why I'm posting here--if no one speaks up about this, how will anyone else ever know or understand?
Let's take Dilandau from Escaflowne as an example. For those who don't know the series, Dilandau is the captain of an elite, special forces team. He himself is considered to be the finest soldier in his nation's (Zaibach) possession.
He is also the transgendered, brainwashed, amnesiac little sister of one of the series' main characters. It's.....complicated. Now, some people might argue that any 'quirks' of Dilandau's personality (aka his asexuality) should be attributed to how messed-up he is, or that he's not a complete person and is only a manufactured persona forced onto Celena. I don't buy into this, because in order to discuss Dilandau's personality in any depth, one first has to accept that he is a person. And the people using the argument mentioned at the beginning of this post are already implicitly assuming that he is a complete person.
At this point, it becomes beautifully obvious how very ace Dilandau is (specifically aromantic asexual). He's a fifteen year old boy and he never shows any form of romantic or sexual attraction to anyone. He gets a fair bit of screen-time, too, and plenty of opportunity to show some form of interest, even crude.
But he doesn't. Ever. In fact, towards the beginning of the series, one of the main characters claims another main character to be his 'paramour', and kisses her on the cheek. Dilandau is right there watching. Out of ALL of the possible reactions a teenage boy could have, he gives THIS one. And then promptly changes the subject.
But strangely enough, no one else in the fandom seems to recognize that he's ace. Most people pair him with one of his subordinates with the excuse that "he never shows any interest in women! he must be gay!" Well, no, he doesn't show interest in men, either. Not even once. Not even a hint. And this is in a series that plays like a soap opera when it comes to the romantic entanglements (seriously).
But I've never seen a fanfiction that focuses on an asexual Dilandau (I am rectifying this with my own story). I've seen the standard Mary Sues, I've seen Dilandau x Hitomi, Dilandau x Celena (people get creative with that one), Dilandau/Allen, Dilandau/Van, and Dilandau/-insert-Dragonslayer-here. And I'm okay with these. Really. I enjoy reading several of these pairings, and my favourite Escaflowne story in the entire fandom has a well-executed Dilandau/Van pairing.
But it would be nice not to hear, over and over, the slash pairings justified by "lack of interest in women == interest in men". It doesn't work like that. Be educated. Please stop. This type of attitude is hurtful, even if that hurt is unintentional. More people need to be aware that being sexual is not a given, and that that's okay. People need to acknowledge the existence of asexuality, and not assume that it's impossible.
I have a paper to write now, otherwise this would be longer and more elaborate. I might expand it later when I'm feeling a bit more energetic and eloquent.