It was 10am, February 3rd - a good two hours after Sky News had featured a good friend of mine, Emi Salida on their morning news at 8am where she discussed her discovery and development as a young, asexual individual and the importance of discussing less-common sexualities like asexuality - 1% of the worlds population to be specific - who identify as ace (i.e a short term for asexual).
Speaking to Emi today, I spoke to her about the recent interview and experience with Sky News and her own thoughts on Emmerdale's storylie with Liv.
"When I originally started talking to Charlie (the Sky News Reporter heading the documentary), he asked me to educate him on ace isues" Emi told me over the phone.
Emi continued stating that Charlie had asked about 'the basics' due to the intention of the magazine and to ensure that there was no misrepresentation in the questions asked - "obviously you have to start with the basics because there is a lot there to process at once".
She furthered this saying that Charlie was focusing on the 'right phrasing for questions' to ensure accuracy. When I asked Emi about what the experience with Sky News and what her experience with them will do to improve the understanding of asexuality she said that:
"the fact that it has been on live news - on a mainstream platform that intergrated it across social media and TV is going to do wonders"
Speaking about furthering opportunities on a personal level to speak about asexuality, Emi immediately informed me of the numerous opportunities she's recieved following her interview live on Sky News, especially given how close Valentine's Day is and the difficulties asexual people have with the sexualisation of the day.
Despite Emi's best attempts to educate people on the obscure sexual orientation, asexuality still has had a difficult go at it, both in news media and in entertainment media with little representation until the last few years when characters such as Todd Chavez from Bojack Horseman and more recently Liv Flaherty in the British soap opera Emmerdale. Once more, we've also seen asexual erasure from shows with historic ace characters in their source material, such as Jughead Jones played by actor Cole Sprouse, who even wanted the character to stay true to his asexual identity from the original Archie Comics.
While the growing repertoire of representational characters for asexuality is on the up, and with people discussing it more frequently, it has definitely become a hot topic for the mainstream to discuss as possibilities for new characters come and go. Even worse is a very large lack of understanding, from both publics and news organisations on the nature of what asexuality is according to Sky News corresponding data, that discovered while 53% of people were able to confidently define the term, 75% had gotten it wrong - demonstrating a misunderstanding of what asexuality actually is.
Sky News Reporter, Charlie Bell stated that a lot of the misunderstanding was down to 'stigmas, along with another misconception such as unattractiveness or the inability to get a sexual partner, have historically driven this form of sexual expression far underground'
With the popularity of shows like Emmerdal, specifically to more traditional audiences it may be time to bring that sexual expression up to the surface - something that the show has done well with Liv's character progression over the last year.
When I asked Emi specifically about Liv as an asexual character, she insisted that she was 'really happy with the representation so far' and even admitted to having followed her character development over the past year along with the show here and there.
"[Emmerdale] have been really good at representation for other LGBTQ+ people - so hopefully they will continue with positive representation"