Celebrate International Ace Day with ‘BoJack Horseman”s Todd Chavez
On this very day, April 6th, folks all over the world are celebrating International Asexuality Day, or better yet referred to as International Ace Day. On this holiday, many asexual people are also making sure to commemorate some notable asexual characters in TV or film that they felt represented their community well.
While asexual representation in mainstream media is not common and some are even deemed as problematic within the community, many have taken the time to remember one asexual character most people felt shined asexuals in a respectful light, and that character is no other than Todd Chavez from Netflix’s Bojack Horseman.
On this day, let’s take the time to remember the iconic character of Todd Chavez, how well he represented the asexual community, and take a look at asexual representation (or the lack of it) in mainstream media. Happy International Asexuality Day!
What is asexuality?
On the International Asexuality Day website, the site emphasizes that this day is for “promoting the ace umbrella, including demisexual, grey-asexual and other ace identities”. So if you don’t really understand what these terms mean but want to educate yourself to support your fellow ace peers, let’s take a look at some important words to know in the ace community.
Stonewall wrote that “somebody who is asexual does not experience sexual attraction to anyone”. However, it’s crucial to note that asexuality is an umbrella term, and asexuality is a spectrum. The Trevor Project emphasized that Aces “may have little interest in having sex, even though most desire emotionally intimate relationships. Within the ace community there are many ways for people to identify”.
In the ace community, there can be grey-asexual folks, which Stonewall describes as people who “may experience sexual attraction very rarely or only under specific circumstances”, or Demisexuals who “only experience sexual attraction after developing a strong emotional bond with someone”. There can also be aromantics who don’t experience romantic attraction, or grey-romantics who do so very rarely.
Stonewall explained that “Demiromantic people are only romantically attracted to those they’ve emotionally bonded with first”. So there you have it! If you’re looking to learn more, there are plenty of sites and resources to educate yourself on everything that exists under the asexuality spectrum.
Celebrating Todd Chavez
When Todd Chavez, voiced by Aaron Paul, first realized his asexual identity and came out to Bojack Horseman in the show, it was an incredibly defining moment for asexual individuals everywhere who finally felt seen in mainstream media. In one episode in season five, Todd even explains how some asexual folks experience romantic attraction while others are aromantic.
Julie Kliegman wrote for Bustle on how defining of a moment the character of Todd Chavez was for the asexual community, writing: “Todd’s coming out was a leap forward for mainstream television, which doesn’t frequently acknowledge the vast range of asexual identities”.
Kliegman added: “Most ace characters on TV besides Todd are relegated to one-off punchlines, implied to be unfeeling sociopaths, or stuck in headcanon. At other times, characters’ asexuality is actively erased. So a sustained, sensitive story arc involving a main character is a huge breakthrough for asexual viewers; it was also the catalyst for my own coming out”.
Some very defining moments of the sexuality of Todd Chavez in the show include him first trying to figure out his sexuality to his former girlfriend, Emily, and realized: “I’m not gay. I mean, I don’t think I am, but I don’t think I’m straight, either. I don’t know what I am. I think I might be nothing”.
It isn’t until later on episodes later though, when Todd Chavez is finally able to claim his identity proudly, and he begins to attend asexual meeting groups. From there, he proudly stated: “It actually feels nice to actually say it out loud. I am an asexual person. I am asexual. . . feels good to talk about it”.
The character of Todd Chavez is one that will continue to be celebrated within the ace community, but it’s also important to stress that there is also a lack of representation in mainstream media of asexual folks. As we continue to spread awareness and knowledge of the asexual community, we can only hope that there will be more characters that bring awareness to asexuality as respectfully as Todd Chavez did.