Matt Walsh ALSO Hates Asexual & Aromantic People...
Get your bigotry bingo cards ready, because today we're talking about Matt Walsh! We break down his hateful talking points over the course of a year and three separate videos including ways they stay consistent, get subtly more inflammatory, and parallel his anti-Trans propaganda.
Trans voices on Matt Walsh and "What is a Woman"?"
- The Unending Lies of Matt Walsh
- The Manipulations of Matt Walsh's "What is a Woman?"
- How Matt Walsh Vilifies Trans People (To Grift his Audience)
Courtney: Greetings, dear listeners. I would like to offer you a warm welcome to this week’s podcast, but unfortunately, you will find that this week we are indeed talking about one Mr. Matt Walsh and I fear that there are no such greetings that are warm enough to preced such a cold-hearted person. So enter at your own risk. We’re not going to have fun, but we’re going to talk about some stuff. For those of you who are new here, my name is Courtney. I’m here with my spouse, Royce, and together we are The Ace Couple. We are indeed an asexual married couple. I am sure we would be deeply offensive to one Mr. Matt Walsh.
Courtney: If you aren’t familiar with Matt Walsh yet, I’m just going to say stop the episode right here because I don’t want to be the one to introduce you to him. But I suspect that you do know, since you are already here, and Matt Walsh is one of the more prominent right-wing hacks, peddling conspiracy theories about LGBTQIA+ people being groomers and pedophiles. He’s one of the most famous transphobes speaking on a large platform these days.
Courtney: You may have heard of the debacle that is ‘What Is A Woman?’, a book written by him, as well as a documentary, which I cannot in good conscience recommend. But for those of you who are curious, I will put some resources in the description to some reviews and responses by trans voices. I think your time and energy would be much better spent there than on Matt Walsh himself. But essentially, it all comes down to, you know, the very bio essentialist “A man is a man, a woman is a woman.” There is no in-between, no outside of, no trans, nothing. He is a very strong proponent of the very TERF-like rhetoric that a woman is an adult human female. One of his biggest projects lately is talking about how, “Oh – you know – the liberals, the progressive, the queer people, they can’t even tell you what a woman is. They work themselves into knots trying to philosophize, and theorize, and examine, and over examine, and they can’t even give you a straightforward explanation. But if you ask a conservative cis straight woman what a woman is, she’ll keep it short, and simple, and correct. And she’ll tell you it is an adult human female. What a concept! So simple! We figured it out! Gotcha liberals.”
Courtney: So that’s his thing in a nutshell. And although given his book and his documentary, the wider conversation about Mr Matt Walsh is about his transphobia and his horridly bigoted views about gender, he is not a single issue hater. Oh no, he– Make no mistake. He detests all levels of the LGBTQ community. And lately, I’ve noticed a few people start to talk about how he has taken issue with asexuality and aromanticism. And a lot of the talking points I’ve seen are like, “Oh, now Matt Walsh is coming after the asexuals.” And it’s not terribly new. I wish I could say it was. Well, I guess it doesn’t matter when it’s happening, but his asexual slander has been very public for at least a year now, if not further. So we’re going to talk about a little bit of that today.
Royce: So if you want to make this a little more fun, get your acephobia Bingo cards ready. Maybe turn this into a drinking game.
Courtney: [laughs] I like the Bingo card. For those of you who do drink, we can definitely do a drinking game too. Although I found it very interesting, in the Ace community, it’s pretty well documented that we as a community are far less likely to drink than the broader population.
Royce: Oh, really?
Courtney: Yes. Haven’t you heard that? We’ll have to have a conversation about that someday, because I find it fascinating. But today is for Matt Walsh. Today is for bigotry through the eyes and mouth of one very prominent bigot. And we do this not to overshadow or derail the conversation about trans rights, because he definitely does attack trans people, trans women especially, far more often than asexuality and aromanticism, and on a much larger scale than this. But we really want to drive home the fact that, as we’ve spoken about in the past, these really are all the same fight. And aside from the very obvious fact that there are trans ace people, there are trans aro people obviously, even those of us who are cis or agender in a way that they don’t necessarily identify with the trans experience either; the type of bigotry that this man and people like him are peddling is fundamentally rooted in a protection of the social order. And the social order has to do with gender binaries. It has to do with straight relationships that are monogamous, that are with the goal to get married, getting married with the goal to procreate.
Courtney: This is the social order that shapes so much of the world view behind these folks. So, anybody who is a disruption to the social order – be it because of gender, sexual orientation, some combination thereupon – is all a threat to the worldview of these folks. So it really comes from the same place. We all need to be in this together. And that’s why I think it’s important to be looking at all angles of this and what exactly are they saying.
Courtney: So about a year ago, Matt Walsh decided to pick a fight with an executive producer at Disney named Latoya Raveneau, who spoke during the Walt Disney Company’s Reimagine Tomorrow. Which we’re not going to make this episode about Disney because we know they have some issues. You can see our episodes on The Owl House for a few more thoughts along those lines. But according to the Walt Disney Company, their Reimagine Tomorrow is a way of amplifying underrepresented voices and untold stories, as well as championing the importance of accurate representation in media and entertainment. “Because we are all greater than a single story, and we all deserve to feel seen, heard, and understood,” says Disney. Great in theory. I would love to see it more in practice.
Courtney: But during this conversation, Latoya Raveneau came out as a biromantic asexual, and Matt Walsh cannot have that. [laughs] How does he talk about this? Oh, well, a Disney executive found a way into “the club” – says what a slanderous tone. So after showing a clip of Latoya Raveneau speaking about this experience as a biromantic asexual, Matt Walsh – in a very, very smug fashion – goes on to very inaccurately or grossly oversimplified way of defining asexuality as someone who– And he always uses ‘supposedly’, ‘allegedly’ as if he’s planting seeds of doubt that this doesn’t even exist anyway, but then goes on to get mad about it existing. So it’ll be like, “Supposedly, this is someone who never experiences any sexual attraction to anybody ever under any circumstances.” It’s like, well, if you’re defining my personal brand of asexuality that’s not necessarily incorrect, but that does definitely exclude a lot of people who are on the gray a-spectrum, people who are in the realm of demisexuality.
Courtney: So he’s not only inaccurately oversimplifying it, but he’s also saying, [emphatically] “Supposedly, there are people who are like this.” But then he goes on to say that, [emphatically] “Even if such a person exists, then they really shouldn’t be in “the club”.” The LGBTQ club. Which is fascinating to me. Because for as angry and inaccurate as what he is saying about this is, there definitely are also some queer people who think exactly like this too. So right here, we’re seeing a collision of two people from very different viewpoints, who still come to the same very wrong conclusion.
Royce: Right. And when that statement was made, I was really curious what the explanation was going to be. I didn’t expect the comparison we got, which was: imagine you have bird-watching clubs, you wouldn’t also include people who didn’t like bird watching. [Courtney agrees] But the thing is in any classification system there’s always a word for every category, including non-interest. So if you’re looking at religious identities, atheism is a religious identity that is not theistic.
Royce: And if you were to go into like in the example here, I bet there are some hyper specific bird-watching groups that have a slang term for non bird-watching people.
Courtney: Sure! Well, now I need to google that, if I’m being honest. But there’s also, like, in any group there’s always always going to be the exclusionist. Even if it isn’t identity, even if it is just a hobby or an action, like, I’m sure. I would say that you and I are very casual birdwatchers, in the sense that we very well feed our birds that live in our backyard. We feed the birds so well that we get a lot of them and we’ve started to, you know, learn all the different types of birds that come by our house, the native species. We’ve seen some that come through just during, like, migratory patterns that aren’t usually living right here. And we have some birds that we can just recognize because they’ve lived here for years and they have babies in our backyard every year. So we’re like, “Oh, there’s our mourning dove couple.” Like, we’ve developed a relationship with some of the specific birds. But we aren’t leaving our house with binoculars for the sake of, like, finding a rare bird or checking a bird off of our list.
Courtney: So I’m sure there are people out there who would be like, [mocking aggressive tone] “Well, you’re not real birdwatchers! A real bird watcher!” And you get that in any, like, all of the shitty corners of any interest. Like, as– as a high femme person who enjoys video games and has my entire life, there are always those like gamer bros who are like, “Girls can’t be gamers!” Or they’ll try to quiz you. That happens in the Goth community too. That happens in every single community. Like you show up wearing goth clothing, to a goth bar, and some bratty guy will walk up to you and be like,”Name three goth bands, I bet you can’t.”
Royce: And those communities – as I’m sure we’ll see Matt Walsh do as these videos progress – they always come up with these nonsense arguments to try to prove their points. Like, “Oh girls can’t be gamers. Your girl hands are too small to work the controllers properly.”
Courtney: Hey. Hey now. That’s– that’s rude. [laughs] I do actually have very small hands.
Royce: They also make small controllers, it’s not a big deal.
Courtney: But they break so much fast– You’ve seen this first hand! How many of my little kid Xbox controllers have we gone through in the amount of time that your, like, regular sized ones have been fine?
Royce: That’s because we’ve been making the mistake of buying shitty third party tiny Xbox controllers, and not ones from reputable companies. [Courtney laughs] But the one we got from a reputable company has been holding up better. [Courtney laughs] The other ones get a locked key or a joystick drift in like two years.
Courtney: Yes. Yes, can confirm. But aside from how silly that is, and how quickly that falls apart when you apply it to any group of people, regardless of what they’re assembling around, they’re always going to be those shitty shitty exclusionists. You now also have Matt Walsh saying that the reason why it doesn’t make sense, he uses the bird-watching metaphor, but it’s because he says, “Well, the LGBT community is fundamentally based around–” He doesn’t use this word but I’ll say non-normative sex. He says, “That is what this group of people is.” And he, in my eyes, is diminishing a very diverse group of people down to sex. And I think that’s never okay, under any circumstances, to do. And he’s saying that that’s why asexuals shouldn’t count because this is about sex. And these are people that aren’t about sex. Even if we ignore all of the gray area, the demisexuality, because clearly Matt Walsh is not talking on these levels, and clearly his viewers aren’t going to be thinking in these levels that we do in our own community. Even if we say, okay, we’re only talking about people who are on, like, the side of the spectrum that I am, where I genuinely don’t feel that sexual attraction to anyone ever under any circumstances. Even if you’re just taking the people in my camp, and saying, like, “Well you don’t belong in the Queer community, because the Queer community is about sex.” I would argue it’s not.
Royce: It isn’t.
Courtney: It isn’t. But here’s what– here’s what– here’s what really gets my goat. There are actually some queer people who also say this too, in an effort to exclude asexuals, and I don’t like that overlap.
Royce:They’re also wrong.
Courtney: Yes! They– yes. [laughs]
Royce: You can have– you have people in every minority group that fall into some extremist bucket. [Courtney agrees] Like, we have people who vote conservative at the detriment to themselves and their own communities, for example.
Courtney: Yes, the leopards eating people’s faces party, I believe is the old adage.
Royce: Right, but even if you run through the algorithm, like, you can only get so far in before you stop talking about orientation.
Courtney: Yes. Yes. Well, and that’s the thing, too. Because there are the exclusionists within the broader LGBT community, who do say, “Yes, this is about sex. Therefore asexuals don’t exist. Therefore, any asexuals who get upset when an asexual character gets changed to be sexual in some way. Oh, you’re– you’re just homophobic, because you’re anti gay sex.” Like that is– that is not– That is very rarely, if ever, the case. But you’re not acknowledging the fact that aceness is inherently queer. The Queer community, we are queer because we are a challenge to the arbitrary social order. We are queer because we disrupt the worldview of men like Matt Walsh, and the people like him, and the people watching him. It’s not just because we’re having non-normative sex, that can be a component of it, but it is gender, it is orientation, it is relationship structure, it is relationship anarchy… It’s–
Royce: There are a lot of ways to exist outside of the status quo.
Courtney: And they will hate you for it. They will hate you for it. And that’s why it always baffles me, anytime– occasionally, there is a well-meaning ally who does find us, and they do want to learn and I don’t begrudge them for not knowing at the time of entry. But I do want it to be very clear that this is a common experience where someone who’s not familiar with the aspec community will dip their toe in for a first time and say, “Wait, wait, wait, wait a minute. Where Is all this hate coming from against aces and aros?” Like, “I want to be an ally to them. I think they’re great. I think they’re fine and all that. But I genuinely didn’t know they were experiencing hate and discrimination on this level.” And sometimes you’ll get a weird little slip, like, “Well, I understand why conservatives hate gay people, or I understand why conservatives hate trans people,” and I know these people don’t mean it to sound the way that it kind of does sometimes, and so I do give the benefit of the doubt, but keep an ear out for that. Because you’ll start hearing it, if you haven’t yet, where they’re like, “Well, yeah, because, you know, conservatives just think gay equals bad. That’s just what they think. Or they just think trans equals bad, or trans doesn’t exist.” Like, they just think those things and it’s like–
Royce: The pattern’s not clear. They think–
Royce: Everything that isn’t me, everything that isn’t the status quo, is bad.
Courtney: It’s so much more broad than that. And we laid that out in excruciating detail, I would say, in our four-part series that we did last summer about the religious political discrimination against asexuality. Because we have documented evidence of conservative usually, fundamentally religious based organizations, lumping asexuality in with, not only, you know, same-sex marriage but also, oh, time-bound marriages and platonic marriages, and child marriages, and incestuous marriages. So they think all of these things are in the same basket. Because that is not how they were taught that the world should be. It’s a very rule-following worldview.
Royce: What you’re describing is not how they were taught the world is, and at the same time, they were taught not to question things like that.
Courtney: Yes. And that’s where you do start to get all of these other intersections, of not only bigotry against the Queer community has a full community, every single letter, but also other minority groups. You’ll start to have overlaps that go deep into history where a lot of anti-Blackness and anti-queerness start to have similar overlapping, or like blurry talking points. If you go back in history, or even still today, because people would– This is a gross oversimplification, because we’re not going to make this a history lesson on race and queerphobia today. Maybe someday because I got a lot to say about that. But you know, white straight cis colonizers of yesteryear would look at a Black woman and be like, “Well you’re technically female, but you’re not a woman. You’re not a woman like our women are.” And they would use this language to sort of justify why this is not the ideal person. This is not the ideal woman. Or that, I mean, there were rules in masculinity too, this isn’t the ideal man. This isn’t the ideal relationship, the ideal marriage. And anybody that did not fit into that, regardless of the reason, was the other. They were wrong.
Courtney: And there were even parts in history where people would look at even white lesbian women and in a very bigoted pseudo-scientific way tried to explain that, “Oh well, these white gay women are the way they are because their genitals are more similar to that of Black women. And as we know, Black women don’t count as, like, real, true, you know, correct women.” For whatever that means. It’s all horribly disgusting to think about, but these are the roots of this type of thinking, and this is the modern manifestation of this. So, you get all these other things. You get racism, you get anti-Blackness, you get– you– prejudice against people with disabilities as well, because you know, if you don’t have an able body and you aren’t properly contributing to this capitalist society that we have, you are wrong and incorrect. And that does extend further to even– even a straight childless by choice couple. Like, they’re on the chopping block next, I assure you.
Courtney: So, in any way, carrying on with what Matt Walsh specifically has to say, in his own words about the Asexual community. He’s already planted these seeds, like, “They supposedly, they apparently...” And he talks about how sex is what defines the club, the LGBTQ club. And these people don’t want to partake in the activity that defines the club. First of all, and here’s the thing too, it is okay to love and celebrate whatever type of non-normative sex it is that you may or may not be having, or wanting, or aspiring toward, there’s not an issue with that. But the people within our community who do say that that is the defining factor, not only are you excluding so many other people, and I think reducing everybody – yourselves included – down to an activity, rather than an identity. It gives people like this a foot in the door to say these are all inherently sexual people, and that’s what they use when they bring up the predator rhetoric, the grooming rhetoric, which is on a steep incline as of late, with all of these book bans that we’ve already spoken about. Oh my gosh, I just read a news story about a librarian actually, like, being called a predator and a groomer, and like five adults trying to get a librarian fired from her job at a local high school just because some books they don’t like are on the shelves. And like three of the five of them don’t even have kids that go to that school. Like that’s absolute utter nonsense.
Courtney: But that’s what they do. They reduce the entire community to sex. And not just sex, but a perverted type of sex. Because it’s outside of their acceptable sex and their acceptable worldview, with their arbitrary rules. So after he makes that perfectly well established, that well aces don’t count because they don’t do what the club’s built around, he says, “But also, people aren’t meant to be asexual. And in fact, people aren’t asexual.” He just outright says this isn’t even a thing. It can’t be a thing because humans are sexual. Which again it’s the right sex versus the wrong sex. It’s never been about “sex is bad.” That’s the number one mistake I see people make when they try to define what this conservative, sort of puritanesque, culture is. It’s like, “Oh, well it’s anti-sex.” No, it is not. And it never has been. It is very pro-sex, but it must be the correct type of sex. It must be straight, cis, married, procreative sex. That is what it is for, nothing outside of that is allowed. Well, because then he pulls the whole, like, “Well, humans aren’t asexual. Some animals are asexual.” And he uses two very silly ones. I don’t know where or why he got these in particular. Because of all the things I’ve heard in my life as an asexual person, I’ve heard a lot of people pull out random asexual creatures, and being like, “What are you? Well this? Or oh, you’re not a that.” Like we hear that all the time, right? But Matt Walsh goes: “Komodo dragons and crayfish are asexual, but humans aren’t Komodo dragons and crayfish.”
Royce: These arguments always seem so clumsy. [Courtney muffled laugh] It’s like they get this deep into the conversation and they don’t have their speech prepped, and so they just reach into a box of animal names. And are like, “Uh, this one! And that one!”
Courtney: [laughs] Ones that the average person doesn’t like and interact with on a daily basis, and wouldn’t, like, necessarily know, unless you’ve researched it, you know?
Courtney: Like the average person isn’t interacting with Komodo dragons every day.
Royce: Right. Which this– this is a common theme in these discussions. It becomes very clear that in order to make their argument what it is, they have defined very specific definitions for their words. Like earlier on, you mentioned that Matt Walsh is famous for the “What is a woman” argument. [Courtney agrees] Where even before the argument gets started he’s working with very specific definitions. [Courtney agrees] The only reason his argument works is because those definitions have been set up that way in the first place.
Courtney: Yeah… [laughs]
Royce: And so–
Courtney: “Who set up these definitions?!”
Royce: In this case, much like how many bigoted conservative arguments don’t understand the difference between sex and gender in our society, this argument is taking biological reproduction and confusing that with orientation. Which are two different things.
Royce: And I don’t know much about crayfish– [Courtney laughs] Other animals, particularly Komodo dragons are, oftentimes, special interests. [Courtney laughs] Komodo dragons are not asexual.
Courtney: No. [laughs] They are not.
Royce: Many reptiles, many kinds of animals, fish and reptiles are major ones, are– in some conditions, are able to reproduce through a process called parthenogenesis, which is a type of asexual reproduction. But that is in addition to what you would think as regular biological reproduction.
Courtney: Yes, and–
Royce: The multiple individuals involved sort of reproduction.
Courtney: Which is also so weird that, you know, a fellow like this who is often like, “Well, what is a woman?” would also pull something like that. Like, oh well reptiles and, you know, fish are asexual. It’s like a lot of those creatures also just, like, change gender if they need to.
Courtney: That’s a thing that happens in the– And I wouldn’t even say gender because it’s not in the way that, you know, humans experience that when we’re talking about trans individuals. But like, they change their sex. Like–
Royce: Yeah, it isn’t gender whatsoever, which we would need to learn how to communicate with animals before we could figure out if their societies even had the concept of gender. But no, this is a fish in particular. There are a few famous species of fish that were recorded to having done this, will change their sex.
Royce: A group of an entire school of female fish, one of them will become male.
Courtney: Yes. And so, like, someone who wants to have these such arbitrary boxes will only acknowledge any sort of anything outside of it when they’re using it to discredit someone else. Like, I don’t know, I guess maybe he’ll be like, “Oh, you know people can’t change their sex, we aren’t fish.” Maybe he has said that, he– he says whatever he needs to that he thinks will rile people up. He’s not here to report the news. He is here to enrage other conservatives. He’s trying to anger other people who would hate us.
Royce: And the depth of scientific knowledge in these arguments is often approaching, like, magnets, how do those work?
Courtney: [exaggeratedly] “Nobody knows!” [laughs] And we all know we can’t trust scientists, am I right? But no, no. So yeah, I don’t know why he pulled out Komodo dragons and crayfish. That is ridiculous. What a silly, silly man.
Courtney: And it’s also whenever someone like this pulls out this argument, it says if they think that no asexual person has ever taken, like, a basic biology class in, like, K-12 schools and learned about asexual reproduction, as if we aren’t self aware of this as a community. That the word asexual is also used in a different way, in a different context. Because like, literally predating AVEN, Haven For The Human Amoeba that was the– the first big congregation of asexual individuals online was Haven For The Human Amoeba. That is what it was called. We know! We’re aware of this. Sometimes we fully embrace it.
Royce: Most of the time we’re just tired of hearing it.
Courtney: Yes. Well we’re tired of hearing it from these people. It’s fun and cute if it’s like an in-community thing that we’re doing.
Royce: It’s kind of like being from Kansas and going elsewhere and hearing Wizard of Oz jokes. Like occasionally a good one will come out, but most of the time it’s like, yeah I heard that one before.
Courtney: Yes, yes. [laughs] Yeah, I mean I’ve even noticed this only living in Kansas for 8 years now, but like you grew up here, you’ve always been here.
Royce: Yeah. Any time–
Courtney: And you went to college in different states. I’m sure you heard it in a lot of places there.
Royce: Any time you travel and someone asks where you’re from, they go, “Oh, well, you’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Royce: I know that.
Royce: I got on the plane.
Courtney: Fact. [laughs] So who– who actually did the extra credit and made their Bingo card before this episode? Because you might be able to knock all of it out.
Royce: Right here.
Courtney: Right here. Because then Matt Walsh is like, “Well, that was a human speaking. That was not–
Royce: A Komodo dragon.
Courtney: Or a crayfish. [laughs] “But asexuality isn’t a thing. Humans can’t be that, it’s impossible. What we’re calling asexuality is either lack of libido, it is a dysfunction of the brain, it could be hormonal problems, or mental illness, or trauma.” But then he tacks on one that I don’t hear as often as those other ones.
Royce: This one was new to me, actually. But it makes a lot of sense.
Courtney: I– I’ve heard it in, same concept, different words. He uses the phrase: spiritual despair. Ooh, it’s so ominous. Honestly, I would say that just to be extra someday, “I’m in spiritual despair!” Honestly, that’s– that’s like– that should be the subtitle for like 90% of Anne Rice’s books, spiritual despair. So then he does go on to say that, you know, the– the queer community that counts, “The people I’m saying count as the Queer community,” it’s weird of them, they’re bizarre, and they are limiting themselves by defining their entire existence around sex. Which, uh… Most people in the Queer community are not doing that. You’re the one doing that to them, and with a couple of exclusionary exceptions. He says that’s bizarre and self-limiting, but it’s even more bizarre and even more self-limiting to build yourself around not having sex. [laughs] It’s so baffling to me. Because he’s like, “Yeah, I famously hate the Queer community, but the aces who aren’t a part of that queer community are even weirder.”
Courtney: And he makes the argument that people who are not actually asexual, but claim to be asexual I guess, cannot be fully formed, fully functioning developed humans. Because they’re defining themselves around a lack of something. And they’re defining themselves alone and devoid of relationships to other people. And that’s– I fundamentally disagree with the definition of asexuality being based around a lack. I think there’s a lot more to asexuality than lacking sexual attraction, that is an important component of it, in many cases, but I don’t think that is the end-all be-all definition. I know that’s the definition he’s working off of. But, where he’s saying that’s bad, I almost think that’s the only right way to become a fully developed human because otherwise you get really codependent relationships that can be very toxic, they can be very abusive. If you define your sense of self around your relationship, like a person you are in a relationship with, that can get very bad very quickly.
Courtney: And people who do find themselves, maybe, you know, divorced, or widowed, or needing to flee an abusive relationship after a period of time, often might find that they don’t have a sense of self anymore because their entire energy has gone to building themselves around the other person. And that is not healthy. The healthiest relationships are two – I don’t want to say fully developed, because there’s a weird- there’s a weird connotation to that – but two independent souls who are able to maintain their individual sense of self, and share their lives with one another, and continue growing together, and on their own. And he’s saying, like, “Oh, how sad, how pitiful, and how dysfunctional are you that you’re defining your sense of self not by being in a relationship with a man or a woman – a proper man or a proper woman, I’m sure he’d say – but by being alone?” Like, what– what– Literally what is wrong with that?
Royce: Yeah, I have trouble following this entire identity segment, and I don’t know if that’s just a bit telling of how I think about gender. But these words we have, these identities we have, to me are just a means of coming to self understanding and being able to communicate broad aspects of your life with others that you’re going to interact with. [Courtney agrees] And that’s all there is to it. It’s– it’s a descriptor. Again, if we were going back, away from orientation, and speaking of – I used religion as an example earlier – I can very quickly summarize my theology in one word, because there’s a word for that, that exists. And that helps me communicate with other people.
Courtney: Yeah. And one word is never going to have the all-encompassing nuance of an individual experience. And that’s with any word, that’s with a religious label, that’s with the political label, with a personal interest. You know, are you a bird watcher? Or are you a [emphatically] bird watcher. So then it’s so fun to see Matt Walsh, like, twist himself in knots here, because for someone who’s so obsessed with vocabulary and rigid definitions, he sure doesn’t even have the accurate definitions for a lot of words he’s talking about. [laughs] Even if you don’t want to go into all the nuance that comes with the words, he’s like, “All right. So we broke down the asexual component, but this person is also saying biromantic. What does that mean?” And he’s like, “Because ‘romantic’ is, you know, feelings of love and affection for another person. And we have to consider that in the erotic sense of the word.”
Courtney: So it’s like he’s saying that romance and sex are the same. Romantic attraction and sexual attraction are the same, which a lot of allosexual people do that. And a lot of them can kind of get away with that in their own experience because both of those attractions do point in the same direction, and often simultaneously. But that isn’t the same for everyone. And I think the ace and aro communities know that better than anyone else. But there are allo people who might also have sort of mismatched directional identities, where might be romantic to one, sexual to the other, romantic to both, sexual to none in this case. And he’s saying, “Okay, well, let’s define the word romantic. The word romantic means erotic.” [gibberish noises] Does it? [laughs] Where did you get this definition, Matt Walsh? Because I have never in my life, even before using the word asexual, considered romance to inherently be erotic.
Royce: Well, that’s what I said earlier. The only way that people like Matt Walsh can get up and make these videos is if they first construct a glossary of terms that doesn’t allow them to reach any other conclusion. [Courtney agrees] Because this is not a logical thought process. The only way it can work is if you stage it up. Like you have to set all the dominoes up first so that you can knock them down in order, otherwise it doesn’t work. And that glossary of terms is fundamentally flawed.
Courtney: Yes. Well, it also helps feed into the broad conservative worldview. Because, I said, these are theories that come from a very rigid set of rules, a very specific concept of what order is. So this is just another means to outrage the people that hold that worldview. Because you’re saying, “Here’s another way that they’re ruining the social order. Words have meanings, definitions matter. They’re coming through and they’re trying to take a – you know – hatchet to the dictionary. Do words mean nothing anymore? It’s anarchy, I tell you!” Like– And that is a problem for them. That is something to be alarmist about. That is something to try to outrage other people that don’t feel comfortable outside of rigid rules.
Royce: And I hate that this is this simplistic, but so many of these arguments, or so many of these situations, are so obvious forms of projection. Like we just established they are the ones twisting the English language, [Courtney chuckles] but they’re saying that– that we are changing the meanings of words. They’ve done that first, because they have to, to form these arguments. They are calling queer people groomers for just being an example of a human being that’s not in part of the status quo, while trying to hide information from people, from children, so that they can force them to grow up to be the people that they want them to be.
Courtney: Well and if you’re saying that romance is inherently erotic all of the time, why do we still exchange Valentine’s in elementary school and middle school? You know? Why are people still looking at literal children and saying like, “Oh – you know – young Sally made a friend at daycare, who’s a boy, ooh! She’s got a little crush. She’s got a little boyfriend!” Like, if you’re saying that all roads there lead to erotic, sexual relationships that nobody should ever be doing that to children ever. That’s, that’s very messed up. And yet they’re like, “Well, you know, queer people are the ones.” Which is, you know, weird. Because they will use that they’ll say, you know, a child cannot be gay, a child cannot know themselves to be gay, or trans, or insert any identity. Because they’re like, “Well, because that’s a child, they aren’t sexual yet, and sex is inherent to this thing. So how could they possibly know? So someone’s grooming them if they think they know this.”
Royce: And that’s, again, another intentional – or unintentional – confusion of the language, much like we mentioned with sex and gender with action and orientation.
Courtney: Mm-hmm. Yeah. But to them, it’s like, well, if it’s a straight person saying, like, “Oh look, Sally’s got a little boyfriend.” That is okay, because that is instilling the proper social order into Sally at a young age. And that is grooming! So he then says, erotic, sexual, and romantic are all synonyms. And I don’t even think in the simplest form of that, does, like, Webster agree with that. I mean, I know some people do use it that way. And some people think that. But that’s part of what a lot of us in the aspec community are trying to– It’s what we’re trying to queer, if you will. We’re trying to queer those definitions, because it’s not always synonymous.
Royce: And it’s usually very quickly disputed, if you get into it. Because most people who are allosexual have had a non-sexual romantic interest, or have had a sexual activity with someone that they were not romantically attached to.
Courtney: Yes. Yes!
Royce: Those two things are both very common.
Courtney: Yes. And he puts this definition in very close proximity to incest. Which is interesting, because we see that happening in other places. We saw that in the letter condemning the Respect For Marriage Act, where 84 religious organizations said, like, you can’t pass this Respect For Marriage Act because then this will open the door to platonic marriages, and that will open the door to incest. And it’s like, you’re putting it in proximity that way. But the way Matt Walsh does it here, is– he says, you know, romance means erotic, romance means sexual, and that’s why there are different kinds of love. “Because you’ll say you love your mother but you don’t romantically love your mother. [emphatically] I hope! You hopefully wouldn’t be taking your mother to a romantic candlelit dinner. Because romantic means erotic. And you wouldn’t have those feelings to your mother, would you?!” And it’s like [sighs] why do they always have to put these things in proximity with things that really have nothing to do with each other? ’Cause–
Royce: This is the basis of every fear-based argument.
Royce: To pull up an extreme that you know that someone is going to have a knee-jerk reaction to so they don’t think about your actual argument.
Courtney: Yes. Because in that letter that I referenced to, child marriages was something they mentioned and that one really ticked me off because that is shockingly legal!
Royce: It’s still something that happens in conservative, religious communities. I–
Courtney: It happens way too often!
Royce: I told you, it is frustrating how many of these arguments are projections.
Courtney: [laughs] Yes. So then he goes on to do what he is famous for, by grossly oversimplifying things, and he makes this direct comparison– And this is why we need to be able to talk about the relationship between acephobia, arophobia, and transphobia. Because they use each other. They lean on one another. They mix and match talking points. And we often find that there is sort of a radicalization pipeline that gets people’s foot in the door with acephobia first. And once they have a strong foothold there, hating the Ace community, then they feed them down the line of transphobia. So there are distinct correlations there.
Courtney: And Matt Walsh sums it up very well. He says, “Romantic and sexual are synonymous, there’s no distinction. There is not a difference ever. Just like sex and gender are exactly the same thing. There is no discernible difference. They can’t be two different things, you can’t separate them.” And that’s where you get his whole, like, “Oh, adult human female is what a woman is, because female and woman are the same thing. And you can’t have any variation.”
Courtney: And it’s fun, the little words that he uses for us. Because first it’s like, “Ooh, they’re in the club.” Or they want to be in the club. And here is like, “Here’s their game. Here’s the game that the Club plays”. [laughs] Very, very schoolyard-like. You can tell this is someone who was really into, like, a “No girls allowed,” like, treehouse as, like, a nine-year-old. But he says this is the game they play. There’s no discernible difference between romance and sexual attraction, none, never can be, never will be. Just like there’s no difference between sex and gender. No discernible difference. [emphatically] “But these people, they are waging a never-ending assault on language!” It’s so extra! He talks about it as if we’re literally starting a war against words.
Courtney: And so he goes on a tirade about how, you know, we just want to tear words apart. We want to take simple, orderly concepts, things that mean something, and just tear it all to shreds, throw it in a blender. Make it incoherent. Make it illegible. Really silly little tirade.
Courtney: But then I love how he twists himself into knots. Because he’s like, “There are two groups of people who are going to hate asexuals: people who hate them for inherently what they are, and the people who don’t think that they even exist and they just want attention. So I’m just going to cater to both of those groups of people at exactly the same time.” Because, I kid you not, he ends the episode by saying, “We are canceling biromantic asexuals! We’re canceling them! Well, we can’t really cancel them because they don’t exist, but they are canceled nonetheless.” What are you doing?! You silly silly person!
Courtney: So then fast forward about a year, this was just a couple months ago now. I believe in response to an article that came out around Valentine’s Day-ish. And he puts out a new video called ‘Stop glorifying asexuality’. And before he even starts talking, there’s a little graphic of an asexual pride flag that someone’s holding up with a big red stamp over it that says ‘Canceled’. So it’s not just the biromantic asexuals he’s coming after. Now, it’s just asexuals. They are canceled! According to Matt Walsh.
Royce: I intentionally avoid seeing any media like this, but it is kind of funny to me [Courtney chuckles] that the conservative voices are using canceled as a thing.
Royce: Because they get so angry about that.
Courtney: Oh, yeah, that’s– They’re constantly decrying, “Oh! This is cancel culture! Cancel–” And it’s like– I’m sure they started this ironically, but it’s not ironic anymore. [laughs]
Royce: Well, they couldn’t complain enough about a thing to make it go away. So they’re like, “All right, I guess we have to do it now too.” Even though like cancel–
Courtney: “If you can’t beat them…”
Royce: Well, canceling isn’t new. It’s just it used to be like conservative housewives getting things pulled off the air.
Royce: And it’s just recently that the balance of power has shifted.
Courtney: Ah, yes. So actually he starts– This came out on Valentine’s Day, no less. So this is great. So this is after this article came out, but like a few days before Aromantic Awareness Week. Because that happens, like, the first full week after Valentine’s Day. So I definitely remember we were kind of on vacation at that time, we had a cousin of mine coming to stay with us. So we were, like, offline for a couple of weeks during this period of time. And I just remember coming back to like a barrage of emails, and tweets, and comments, and DMs from people who are like, “Did you see this? Did you see this?” There were so many articles and videos that came out that were just vile towards aces and aros during this period of time. And I was like, oh… boy, I guess this was a good week to be off. But we’ve got some catching up to do.
Courtney: And he’s got to open with some misogyny. And I feel like it has to be a joke but he’s playing it completely straight. And with a guy like this, I really don’t know…
Royce: Was it a joke?
Courtney: [stammers] It didn’t seem like a joke, but I cannot fathom. He played it completely straight. But he’s like, “Oh, if you just tuned in and forgot that is Valentine’s Day, don’t worry, just go, like, swing by, pick up a gift at the grocery store for your wife on the way home. They’ll probably be out of flowers, but like get her some kitchen utensils, get her a spaghetti strainer to spoil her. You know, some pots and pans. Maybe some new forks. Like, you’ll have a very happy wife and you’ll have a very romantic evening, trust me.” And we know he means erotic and sexual when he says that word! So that’s, you know, that’s fun. And of course he’s got his whole set, he’s got like this, What Is A Woman book set up in the background. Like, alright.
Courtney: So he’s – as I said – he is a professional enrager. He’s here to enrage you. So today he is enraged about a Post article called ‘How asexual and aromantic people make Valentine’s Day their own’. and he’s like, “What a shame. How sad that the Washington Post is thinking about these people on Valentine’s Day. And not – you know – the good romantic and sexual people of the world, for whom this day was for.”
Courtney: So he goes on to pick on someone who’s quoted in the article named Odele Pax, who is asexual and on the aromantic spectrum, using the label idemromantic, which is defined here as not making a distinction between romantic and platonic feelings. That’s– sometimes often seem in the same realm as some of the other microlabels we’ve discussed previously on the show, like quoiromantic, or some people just say, like, WTF-romantic. It’s sort of in that realm where, despite what Matt Walsh tries to say, there isn’t always such a clear, hard border between romantic and platonic feelings.
Courtney: And the Washington Post reports that Odele takes time for self-care, for self-love, soaking in a nice hot bath. Sounds like a lovely night. I don’t see anything wrong with this. But then they point out that Odele Pax has three stuffed animals, two of whom are named after prominent trans activists, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. So then he picks on the stuffed animals. He’s like, “Oh sure, why don’t you tell us about this grown adult’s stuffed animals?” And he– [sighs] Here’s the– Here’s the thing. Here’s the thing: his set has a stuffed walrus, and it’s next to a book about the walrus who has a name. It’s kind of blurry because it’s in the background and it’s really far, but I want to say it says ‘Johnny The Walrus’. So does that stuffed animal have a name? Does this grown-ass adult have a stuffed animal that has a name?
Royce: Looks like it.
Courtney: It looks like it!
Royce: Does he also write children’s books or something? Is that what that is?
Courtney: Let’s google real fast. Okay, well, now I’m confused. Because I googled ‘Johnny The Walrus,’ and the first thing I see is a picture of the walrus with the shirt that says, ‘He/Him/Walrux’ and it says, “Bring home the cuddly companion to Johnny The Walrus.” Oh, the companion to Johnny The Walrus! “By best-selling LGBT children’s author Matt Walsh inspired by his world-renowned story of imagination and discovery. This lovable stuffed walrus is the perfect gift for any child or adult who enjoyed the book, and would like their very own walrus.” So, I think this is by Matt Walsh, and I think that’s satire. I think that’s an attempt at that. But yes, he did write the book. I found the book, Johnny The Walrus by Matt Walsh. According to Wikipedia, [reading] “It allegorically compares being transgender to pretending to be a walrus.” Hum, charming… Oh here’s where the joke came from: Amazon listed it in the LGBTQ+ category, and it had sold enough copies that it became temporarily the best-selling book in the LGBTQ category before they caught that error and re-categorized it. So it sounds like he’s leaning into that now. But yeah, so he’s making fun of an adult having a stuffed animal with a name, while his set has a stuffed animal with a name that he himself created. Why aren’t adults allowed to have fun?
Royce: Well, if you’re a conservative, it’s because every person has a very strict role that they have to play. And when you stop being a child, you move into a different role, and so you have to be that one specific thing now.
Courtney: You have to work, you have to contribute to capitalism. Hmm!
Royce: And fun is a thing for children.
Courtney: Fun is for children… Yeah, I think more adults should have more stuffed animals. I think they’re great. They’re timeless…
Royce: Or just anything you enjoy.
Courtney: Anything you enjoy!
Royce: Think about something you liked doing as a kid and try doing it as an adult.
Courtney: Yes! I’m sure Matt Walsh would be livid to know that we, an asexual married couple, have like no less than three axolotl plushies in our house. [laughs] They’re not exactly Komodo dragons or crayfish… So he shows the photo of Odele with three stuffed animals. And apparently the caption in the article calls them all dolphins, but I think at least one of these is a shark, if not more. In fact, is one of these the Ikea shark? The Ikea shark has become a trans icon in case you weren’t aware. [laughs]
Royce: It has teeth. Visible teeth.
Courtney: Well, in this one it looks like it has gills, the head is kind of cut off, but–
Courtney: A dolphin would have… blowhole.
Royce: Right. So once again conservative commentator Matt Walsh not knowing his animal biology.
Courtney: Despite the fact that he has a stuffed walrus! You should know [laughs] about aquatic mammals. And he goes on just saying some generally not nice things about Odele. Which I’m not going to give a lot of attention to right now because he’s just mean, he’s just being a bully at this point. I think Odele’s great. I say more baths and more plushies for adults is a good thing. Whether or not you’re aroace, I think it’s great.
Courtney: But Matt Walsh, actually recently, more recently than this episode had a response to a response about this episode. So I’m very curious to see what someone else has said in their own words after we go through this one.
Courtney: But here’s something that’s very interesting. Because someone like this was already trying to enrage people, but there is an escalation to the outrage here. And you can see it so clearly when you watch a video on the same topic from one year to the next. Because last year it was like, “Oh, the LGBTQ club.” The Club and their games. Now he’s calling it, The LGBTQ Cult. Like the word he’s using to describe the Queer community has gotten more radical. And that’s something someone like this has to do because that’s your job. People aren’t going to stay enraged with the same talking points, you have to make it seem like it’s getting worse and worse and worse. And sometimes it’s subtle language shifts like that.
Courtney: So Matt Walsh goes on to pull the definition of asexuality and aromanticism from Cambridge University. It’s a pretty lengthy definition, so I’m not going to reread it here, but we will put a link to it, if we can, in the description, if you’d like to see it. But it does add more nuance, it talks about the fact that there are gray areas on the spectrum. It does reference demisexuality and demiromanticism, and even points to the fact that there are other identities within the spectrums. And says, like, there is a glossary of other terms that you can refer to if you’d like to learn more.
Courtney: And for the most part it’s a solid definition, it uses the basic form of little to no sexual attraction, little to no romantic attraction, specifically calling out some of the gray areas within the spectrum and referencing that it is itself a spectrum.
Courtney: But Matt Walsh can’t handle that because that’s not a black-and-white definition. There’s too much wiggle room in that word. So he says, “That’s a lot of words to say nothing.” And he says, this is a quote, “It’s a bunch of narcissistic, fart-sniffing, mumbo-jumbo that’s dressed up to sound complex and nuanced, when all the complexities and nuances are just varying degrees of self-contradiction.” The– First of all, we don’t love the ableism of, “Oh this is all just narcissistic.” Can we not just call anyone we don’t like narcissistic, please? But also, like, [sighs] to someone who refuses nuance in any identity or word, this can work for anything that you don’t like that’s too nuanced. You can just say, “Nuance does not exist, it is fundamentally wrong,” and if you try to add nuance in definitions, you’re just making shit up.
Courtney: So there’s really, like, there’s no arguing with someone like this. But this is the person who is talking to other people who like the rigid black-and-white binaries of society, in all the ways they manifest. He goes on, again a year later, to reinforce his belief that there is no discernible difference between sexual and romantic attraction. Those things are synonyms. One hundred percent of the time. You cannot separate those two. Which I do think is interesting, and we do intend to one day do a more comprehensive episode on the concept of the split attraction model. It’s something we’ve referenced often, either by name or in general concept. We’ve been talking about it for years, but there’s a lot more to it that will take more time, and research, and – heaven forbid – nuance.
Courtney: But there has been sort of an increasing wave of aspec people who are rejecting the split attraction model out right. And I do think on an individual level that the SAM is not going to work for everyone, and we shouldn’t try to make it work for everyone. But the various uses of the SAM is still very, very important and useful as a linguistic tool for a lot of aspec people. And I think, now more than ever, when we are hearing very widespread criticisms of asexuality and aromanticism, attacking the very fundamental concept that romance and sex can be two different things, we need to have a tool like that at our disposal to talk about this to our audience of people, who would be on our side if they are able to be educated about these matters.
Royce: Yeah, as I was mentioning earlier, all of these concepts, all of these labels, are just a means of self awareness, of self understanding, and of communication. And for some people romantic attraction and sexual attraction, or aesthetic attraction, or what–
Courtney: sensual attraction…
Royce: However many different feelings you can pinpoint, they may or may not be separate. They may or may not be so intertwined that you can’t tell them apart. And that’s a part of what understanding yourself and what your orientation is.
Royce: And so it’s– The split attraction model is a means of talking about these. But a person might introspect themselves, look at their own feelings, and find that there is no clear separation.
Courtney: Yeah, and that’s okay to do on an individual level. It’s not okay to take the Matt Walsh route and say, “That doesn’t apply to me so therefore it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t apply to anybody.” Because get this, this is– this is true actually, people are different. Which it is funny that you use the word, like, useful and tools, and means of communicating, because Matt Walsh also tries to do that. He goes on to say that, “If someone says, ‘I’m romantically attracted to you but not sexually attracted to you,’ They have not given you any useful information at all.”
Royce: They’ve been very explicit, actually.
Royce: They’ve told you a lot.
Courtney: They– Yes.
Royce: And one thing I want to add on to what I was just saying: one of the reasons why when you start to dig into the asexual spectrum you get hit with a glossary of terms is because until fairly recently, at least in modern society, these concepts have not been talked about.
Royce: And it is really hard to figure them out without being able to contrast them with a different person.
Royce: Or a variety of different people.
Royce: And we’re just now getting to the point where people are talking about this on a large enough scale that we can start to identify patterns.
Royce: But what these conservative arguments consistently come back to is, they do not want those discussions to happen. [Courtney agrees] They don’t want people to understand how they really are because then they would diverge from the status quo.
Courtney: Yes, it is a threat to their social order. And you can see the development of these languages. Like, the charge really has been led by the Ace community, and has been for 30 some years now. Before that also, but you can go– If you go into– I mentioned Haven For The Human Amoeba earlier, if you go into the archives of those old forums, you can start to see people really try to explain their experience and their identity, and creating new words, and creating new means to discuss this that did very much translate over to AVEN, where the conversation did continue at a larger scale on an internet forum. So you can see the development of these.
Courtney: And it’s not that we are just making something up that doesn’t exist. It’s the fact that we are fundamentally queer in this society, and therefore we all – in our individual experiences – have noticed at some point or another that we don’t quite fit in with what everyone’s telling us we should be feeling or experiencing, or in some cases we’re being treated very poorly for the way that we are or the life we want to live. And we didn’t have exactly the same language that maybe some more established groups of, you know, gay and lesbian men and women of the earlier, like, trailblazing trans activists. We didn’t have exactly the same language history that some of those communities did. So once we had the venue to get together – which normally happen online – you very quickly see that we have these shared experiences, regardless of where on the spectrum you are. And you get to see people, you know, try out terms, some of them stick, some of them don’t, some of them evolve.
Courtney: And I think that’s fascinating and I’d love to do an episode on that, because I’ve looked into these things for years now, and it’s very, very cool. But that’s actually why the word aromantic even developed. Because there were people in these asexual communities who, once they started talking to other asexual people, sort of said, “You know, I kind of get what you’re saying here. I kind of experience that same thing, but my experience is a little bit different. And I guess it’s not really asexual in the way that you’re using the word asexual. So maybe aromantic is a better word for it.” And people hearing those words, and thinking about what that word could mean based on their own experience and what they’ve seen and what they’ve observed, some people it just fits, and it just clicks. And that’s when a term actually stays around, and works. Because it has now become very useful and distinguishable from the already established terms.
Royce: And to wrap this back around to where we left off with Matt Walsh, his comment about an identity not being useful, well, saying that you are romantically inclined and not sexually inclined is a very succinct way to start approaching the topic of a relationship. Because some people will not be able to do a mixed-orientation relationship like that.
Courtney: Yes. Or some people want to find other romantically but not sexually inclined people. I mean, literally, when the two of us met, we are – get this – an asexual married couple, our labels have gotten [sighs] unfortunately more nuanced – oh, Matt Walsh is gonna hate that – over the years. But at the time we met each other, we were both using some version of the basic split attraction model. I am asexual, and I think we were both using heteroromantic at the time. But that is an oversimplification, but it’s an oversimplification that at the time was still useful, I think, for us. I don’t think it would be useful for me anymore at this point in my life, but that’s the beauty of labels. They can evolve. They can shift. They can outright change over time. And that’s okay. But that was an exceptionally useful thing to say to other people, because that’s what helped me find you, for one. But it also helped me weed out a lot of awful, awful people before finding you.
Courtney: Which– Then he goes on and contradicts himself. Because then he starts talking about the demi spectrum, like demisexual people who need the romantic bond before the sexual, uh, comes along. And he tries to say, “That’s not a thing. That’s not queer. That’s not asexual, that’s not demisexual. That’s just called being a person.” Like, people need that romantic bond before the sexual bond. And it’s like, okay so what is it? Is the romantic and sexual bond the same thing that happened at exactly the same time or not, Matt Wals?!
Royce: So if you have those on your Bingo sheet, Matt Walsh actually hits both, the ‘demi is just how everyone feels’ misconception and also the ‘it’s especially true for women more so than men’.
Courtney: And also ‘it’s not a thing, period’. It’s the trifecta! And then he brings it all back to [sighs] sex, and his perceived perversion of it. Because he says, “Well, this is normal. This is just being a human. But this group of people they’re fetishizing it. They’re fetishizing being a normal human.” And what even does that mean? Like that’s such a weird thing to say.
Royce: It’s the same old argument that’s at the root of queer bigotry throughout the ages: the idea that anything that is not heteronormative is perverse.
Courtney: Mm-hmm. Well, and the thing is too– Because here’s also now the overlap with, you know, bigotry against the kink community, like consensual kink relationships, like ethical, healthy BDSM relationships. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it at all, but people will say, like, “Oh, even if it’s two consenting adults, or more than two consenting adults, it’s wrong because that’s not our acceptable kind of sex.” Like, it’s still the same root of that bigotry. It’s still, “Here is a disruption to our very limited, very rigid social order.” And so they try to put all of these communities that they see as wrong in proximity to one another. Because even if someone isn’t on board yet, say for the sake of argument – most people who are followers of Matt Walsh will be hanging on his every word by this point – but say someone’s like, “Oh well, what’s so wrong with someone saying they’re asexual?” For the sake of argument. But then he puts it in proximity to fetish, he’s like, “They’re fetishizing normal sexuality.” Well, now we’re going to get the people that think that being kinky is wrong. And he says, “Well, the reason why they’re fetishizing being a normal person is because they want to be in The Cult. This is a way, a sure fire way, to rack up social capital if you’re in the LGBTQ cult.”
Royce: That is something that I hear all the time, that it’s popular to be queer, it’s fashionable to be queer. I don’t get it.
Courtney: Mh-mh, I don’t. Honestly, if we were hacks, if we only cared about money and not social justice, if we only cared about fame and not ethics, I bet you right now, if we turned around next week and said, “We were brainwashed. We used to think we’re asexual but really we’re just good, nice, straight people who were tricked by the LGBT cult.” I bet we would get so famous so fast, we could be on Fox News. We could be talking to Matt Walsh. We would actually be making more money and get in front of more eyeballs and ear– I was about to say earballs, but [laughs] more eyeballs more earballs–
Royce: Well, yeah, that’s–
Courtney: Like I genuinely do. Because–
Royce: That’s what the news cycle does.
Courtney: It’s what it does!
Royce: They find one person who will say the things that they want to hear.
Courtney: They find the Blaire White’s and the Caitlyn Jenner’s for the trans women that they’ll talk to, you know, the good ones, the ‘Pick Me’ ones, the sensible ones. They’ll pick the most conservative Black people possible, so they can be like, “We’re not racist. We have a Black friend. He’s also conservative. He agrees with us.” Like– And like detransitioners, for people who are like TERFs, for people who do think that they need to ban trans medical care, they’ll pick the detransitioners who are saying talking points about how they were too young to know better, they wish that a doctor would have looked at other issues in their life before transitioning them. And–
Royce: Going back to other trends, there were the ex-gays who spoke favorably about conversion therapy.
Courtney: Oh yes! RuPaul, famous ex-gay in that one movie. What was that? Oh, But I’m a Cheerleader.
Courtney: RuPaul played an ex-gay, that was– that was fun. [laughs]
Royce: But beyond that. The faux-scientific arguments. The anti-global warming arguments. The anti-vaccine arguments. The, you know, anti-pandemic preparedness arguments. You find someone who appears to have enough of a credential to convince an average person watching who will also say the things that you want them to say.
Courtney: Yes. And like, am I wrong? If we just did that next week, am I wrong? I don’t think I am. I mean, we wouldn’t– I would never.
Royce: No, there– [Courtney laughs] There’s– the marketing channels for that exist.
Courtney: Yes. But his argument it’s also like [stammers] He– What– You can’t even talk to these points because you are just living in a completely different world at this point. Because he says, “Well, the reason why you get social capital is because LGBT people in the United States are the [emphasizing every word] least oppressed people to have ever walked the face of this Earth.” I’m not even going to engage with that.
Royce: We don’t need to.
Courtney: We already have! So now that we’ve established that the LGBT people are the least oppressed people on the face of the Earth. He’s like, “What about the asexuals in there? What about the asexuals? Let’s talk about them.” He does this thing again where he walks both sides, both incorrectly. He says, “First off, asexuality is not a thing. But also – even though it’s not a thing – it still has a very rigid black-and-white definition. The definition is no sexual attraction, no desire for sex. No sexual relationship at all, period. That is the definition.” Which is wrong, and he already contradicted that by actually reading a more accurate definition earlier. He just didn’t like it.
Courtney: So he says: this is the definition and it’s not real. But since it’s not real, let’s play ball with them. And let’s use this wrong definition, that they aren’t even using for themselves. And based on this very narrow definition, most people who say they’re asexual aren’t even because low libido isn’t asexual, wanting to engage in sexual activity is not asexual. “Oh, the leftist group, The Trevor Project, talks about how asexuals might masturbate and asexuals might engage in sexual activity, so that’s not asexual.” So, he’s using the wrong version of what he thinks is a made-up definition. You have gone through so many mental hoops to get here at this point.
Royce: Which again, I hate how often these arguments boil down to simple projection. Because that’s supposed to be a stereotype. But in the previous video we were watching, he was expressing his frustration with the Queer community tearing apart words and removing meaning from things to try to form their own definitions.
Courtney: [Tired laugh] Welp. Yeah, about that. And he’s also like, “Oh, I hate it. Because if you ask– if you ask the leftist, if you ask the LGBTQ cult, they can’t even define words.” And it’s like–
Royce: We have so many definitions.
Courtney: We have so many definitions. And you’ve pulled up some of the definitions and read them. You just didn’t like that there were too many words in the definition. You want like a two or three word definition, and that’s it. Any more words than that and you’re like, TL;DR?” Like, that’s too long, I’m not reading that.
Courtney: But then, this is again for the ones of the Bingo cards, then he says, “Oh, this is just, you know, made up word to ascribe meaning to their self-centered existence.” There’s– there’s the aces are just selfish. We get that a lot. And then he says, “Well, it’s also in many cases just narcissism,” there’s that ableism again. He goes, “That’s– it’s just a coping mechanism to cover up this character flaw that is their own narcissism.” Character flaw, like, oh my gosh.
Courtney: That’s like– That’s how deep it goes. Because, again, this narcissist is used so often as just a flipping, off-handed insult that not everyone has actually been able to yet train their eye to see the ableism in there yet. So I do want to take a moment to point that out. Like Narcissistic Personality Disorder is part of the– what psychologists and psychology– psychiatrists would call, like, Cluster B Personality Disorders. And like, it is a diagnosable thing. It does not mean that they are all horrible people. It does not mean that they are inherently going to be abusive. It does not mean that they have all of these character flaws. Or that any of their other identities that they might have, like part of the Queer community for example, it doesn’t mean that those are just made up in order to justify the perceived character flaw.
Courtney: But to put it in relation to how they put asexuality in proximity to trans people, and they put both those groups in proximity to fetish, and they’re putting all these different things in proximity to one another to just sort of collect all of the bigots, they are now using the word narcissist, the word narcissistic, to put this in proximity to mental illness, to disability to personality disorders. And that does come from a very ableist bigoted worldview too. So if you say, “Oh, well everyone in the Queer community, they’re just narcissists.” A lot of people are going to say, like, “Well narcissism is bad!” You know, people who are uneducated on these matters. So it’s the same game that we’re just seeing with every single other marginalized group of people. That’s why all of these fights, like, it is the same fight.
Courtney: And then he does a good old-fashioned, like, “Yeah, I don’t think it’s real. It’s not a real thing, but for the people that it is real for, the actual true real, like, the Goldstar asexuals–” He doesn’t say that but that’s what he’s getting at. The people who have no sexual attraction, no sexual arousal, have never had sex, never want sex. It’s like, “For those people, they just have a physiological issue. Something– something went wrong there. They’re fucked up. That is bad. You should cure that.” Like that, that should be fixed.
Royce: Yeah, the common thread is any time Matt Walsh wants to attempt to play with the idea of asexuality existing, it’s 100% pathologized.
Royce: Which is something that has been seen throughout the Queer community.
Courtney: Yes. And although it hasn’t been relevant to these particular conversations with Matt Walsh yet, that’s another strong overlap that we start to see between transphobia and acephobia, is because the current push to criminalize trans medical care, HRT, any sort of medical transition– Which happened in Missouri recently. That got– that got challenged and hopefully will stay challenged. But there– there’s a– there’s an upheaval going on right now in Missouri. If you don’t know about that yet, look into it.
Courtney: A lot of the people arguing for the fact that medical transition should be illegal, sometimes it’s for minors, sometimes it’s just across the board, just period, gone. A lot of the talking points that people try to justify are because, “Well, how are they going to have a normal sexual relationship? If you mutilate their genitals, if you screw up their hormones, if you don’t let them go through a natural normal puberty. What’s going to happen there?”
Courtney: And a lot of those talking points, if you follow them far enough, it’s like, “Well, they’re not going to have a normal sexual relationship.” And so there it is. It’s not only the ‘what is the normal and acceptable gender, gender presentation’, you know, Matt Walsh would say, sex and gender are the same thing, there’s no difference. But a lot of it does come down to that straight cis sexual married procreative relationship being the ideal that is not only to be aspired to, but should be mandated. So a lot of those talking points get, you know, borrowed from one another. To the point where, to me at this point, these bigotries are really indiscernible from one another. They are– they are one and the same. You know, transphobia and acephobia is basically like what Matt Walsh is saying sexual and romantic relationships are, and what sex and gender are.
Courtney: And I mean, then he just again goes on to say since this is a problem with you, this is an issue, this is a disorder, you shouldn’t be proud of something wrong with you. [laughs] You shouldn’t be proud of that! And then he talks about Pride marches. And he says, “The only thing more bizarre than marching around to be proud of your sexuality, is to be marching around being proud of your lack of sexual activity.” [laughs] So it’s just– Uh! To use his word, it’s just bizarre, it’s just bizarre!
Courtney: And he does the whole, “Why do you have to make this your whole personality?” He’s like, “This is a flaw that you have, if this is real – I don’t think it’s real, but for some of you it might be real – and for those of you that it is real, don’t be proud of it. Because something’s wrong with you, and maybe you should fix that.” And he will say, “Why would you take this flaw, this issue with you, and make it your whole personality. Your whole sense of self.” And they always try to say that. They say, “Your queer identity is your whole personality.” And it’s like, I don’t know a single queer person where that’s the only thing they’ve got going for them, and like, all of my friends are queer. [laughs]
Royce: I mean the only reason we’re having this conversation right now is because Matt Walsh can’t let it go. He keeps bringing it up. That’s why we’re recording this podcast.
Courtney: Yeah. Well, it– And he’s also neglecting the fact– So, at the beginning of this rant of his, he was like, “Oh, here’s an adult, who’s asexual and idemromantic. And I’m going to be mad about that because they’re making it this– you know, this is the whole personality for the– this Ace community.” But Odele Pax was a lover of stuffed sharks. Had– had three stuffed animals. That’s a personality trait that is not inherently queer…? He just didn’t like that part! He just, like, writes off parts of other people’s personality that he doesn’t like. But it’s the one he’s furious about that’s the only one that matters.
Courtney: Because I guess I am asexual, and that’s a big part of my identity, but I’m also many other things. I am a professional weirdo. I make artwork in jewelry out of human hair. I’ve had many jobs over my life. I’ve been a zookeeper, I’ve been a science educator. I owned an insurance company. I have been very, very poor to moderately wealthy. I have lived so many different experiences, and I am a whole, complete, rather odd person, I must admit. And asexuality is just a component of that. It’s not my whole identity. I’d never claimed that it is. And the same is true for all aces out there. One time, I accidentally pulled a sword on a couple of Mormons and I would argue that I’ve made that more a part of my personality than I made asexuality. [laughs]
Royce: It’s a story that comes up often.
Courtney: It’s a great story! So, one year later, last year, he canceled bi-romantic asexuals. This year he’s canceling, not all asexuals, but just the ones that are proud of being asexual. If you’re proud of being asexual, you’re canceled! If you’re waving an asexual flag, you’re canceled! And also just to, like, really twist the knife against Odele, he’s also canceling asexuals that have stuffed animals that are named. So– I think we got canceled a few times over, in that. So you heard it here first, folks, we are canceled. [laughs] Officially!
Courtney: But then, I also– Just like– Again, the very much of two minds mindset he has here with everything he talks about where he says, “The reason why I’m not canceling all asexuals, just the ones that are proud of it, is because – in my very narrow rigid definition that isn’t even correct – the only asexuals are so few and far between it’s nowhere near one percent of people. It’s only people who actually have something physiologically or mentally wrong with them. And it’s something that should be fixed.” And he sets it up as something that should be pitied.
Courtney: Like, well, you know, this– this is a disability and they’ve got enough going. Like they– they’ve got enough wrong in their life. They’ve got enough to deal with. But the ones that are proud of it– Like, if you have this you shouldn’t be talking about. It should be very hush-hush, because that’s an issue. It’s not proper to talk about your medical problems, I guess. But I reckon, in his mind, he’s thinking that this is generous and this is, like, kind to people who have a medical issue. Because I’m not going to be mean to you, but then all the others, they’re narcissists and that’s why we can attack them. So the very performative grace that he’s extending to the people who have something, quote, “wrong with them.” We can very clearly see the limitations of that mindset.
Courtney: So, apparently bits of this segment of Matt Walsh has started making the rounds on TikTok, which I did not see first hand. Because I have not been on TikTok much at all for a while now. But also we, as I said, we were– we were on a family vacation during this period of time. But a lot of like ace tiktokers started responding to it. And there was one tiktoker that caught Matt Walsh’s eye, that he actually responded. The account was artsy.and.ace, a period in between all of those words. And oh my gosh, what– What a legend? [laughs] Artsy And Ace on TikTok was like, “Oh, I hear that to piss off Matt Walsh all you have to do is be asexual and have plushies. So, let me introduce you to my plushies.” And not only is there a montage of showing the plushies and giving the names, but also the proper pronouns for each plushie are– are given upon introduction. And I am like, I am snapping. I am giving my snapplause. I love it!
Royce: Adding in those little pronouns details is a surefire way to invoke conservative rage.
Courtney: Oh, it’s beautiful! It’s genius! I loved it.
Royce: And the video had no cuts. There is reaching behind the camera. It’s a lengthy tiktok video.
Courtney: No notes! No notes. 10/10. I– it’s gorgeous! And then Matt Walsh, get this, responding to this now, is like, “What a sad pathetic person.” Because he thinks an adult who has plushies is just inherently to be pitied. And he’d even said, like, “Oh, I try to be a good man who doesn’t revel in the misfortune of others, but I look at people like this and I think, thank God, I’m not them!”
Royce: He has a segment about canceling things. [Courtney laughs] Like that was a thinly veiled lie.
Courtney: Yes. [laughs] And he’s in a different set as he’s responding to this, then he was for the original video, like, completely different room, differently furnished, and yet he still has that walrus plushie in the background! And he’s like these poor, pitiful adults who have plushies, what’s wrong with you? This is just driving home my point that you’re pitiful. Like, no plushies are great. They’re comfortable. They’re nice to hug, they’re cute. They can be decoration, you can set them up on a nice shelf and they can decorate your house. They’re multi-purpose. They don’t break very easily. Like come on now. If you like plushies, have plushies. At any age.
Courtney: And then, I think some of you out there who did the extra credit, who are sitting there with your Bingo cards, maybe this is the last one you need for a blackout at this point. He says, again, you shouldn’t be proud of this because this is a lack. This– He not only says, this is a lack, but also, this is your perceived inability to experience romantic attraction. So again, this doesn’t exist, but also, if it does, it shouldn’t be, you know, something to be proud of. And he says, “It’s your lack of ability to experience something that is fundamental to the human condition.” So, like, why? Lots of humans are born and die without having sex. Whether willingly or not. Maybe due to age, maybe due to illness. I– Maybe due to personal choice. Maybe due to circumstance. They’re not less human, nor are asexual, and/or aromantic people. But we get that all the time, like [mockingly] “Uh, sex is what makes us human.” Unless you’re a Komodo dragon or crayfish! [laughs]
Courtney: And he just, you know, reiterates, the same things he said before, where this is a lack, sexual romantic attraction – which is one and the same for him – is what makes us human. But then he says again, you know, other queer people, the real queer people that build their identity around the sex they are having, it’s wrong of them to do that, but the only thing that’s more wrong than them doing that is asexual people building their same sense of self around not having that. That’s the only thing that’s worse. So he’s putting us in proximity, but he’s still setting us apart and saying that we are worse.
Courtney: Recently we had a [kiss noise] beautiful YouTube comment. I am genuinely obsessed with this person. I’m– I– I’m happy that we got these comments. I posted about it on Twitter with the screenshots to the comments from YouTube, where someone came in on one of our episodes from our four part series on religious discrimination, and someone said, “Wow, this is – to summarize it – I don’t even like asexuals, and yet I am against this unnecessary hatred.” But then, they added a second comment to say, like, “By the way, you guys are great at podcasting.” Like, you have a knack for this, congrats. And I was like, I love you. I don’t know who this person is, but without any irony at all, I am like, you know what? Honest. The honesty. And I can’t wait for them to set up the first-ever chapter of the people who don’t like asexuals against the unnecessary hatred of asexuals. I will support that. [laughs] It’s beautiful.
Courtney: But here’s the thing, like, there are people who just very casually do not like asexuals, but then they’ll hear someone like Matt Walsh be like, you know, queer people are bad and wrong and should be demonized, but asexuals are worse than them somehow. And the people who just casually dislike asexuals are like, “Now, wait a minute?! Where is that hatred coming from?” [laughs] Oh, it’s baffling to me. I love it. It’s– I imagine that this feeling I get from conversations like that is what the average person gets from watching, like, reality TV. It’s just– I love the– I don’t even know what it is. I want to say just the mess. I love the sloppiness of it. The circular logic. Oh, Matt Walsh, quite a character.
Courtney: So– And he says, you know, for those of you who are asexual – see even though I don’t think you exist, but sometimes you do, but even then don’t be proud of it – don’t put your flag on it, don’t put your letter in the, and he says, ‘acronym’. And I wouldn’t normally be this petty of a grammar Nazi, of a vocabulary cop, but since it’s Matt Walsh and he loves that words have meanings, and definitions cannot and should not change: LGBT, LGBTQIA+, 2SLGBTQIAA and whatever version thereupon that you’re using, none of those are acronyms. Those are technically, a Mr. Matt Walsh, initialisms. Fun fact of the day! Acronyms are abbreviations that make their own word. So like I’ve heard some people use quilt bag. Quilt bag is for: queer, questioning, undecided, intersex, lesbian, trans, bisexual, asexual, gay, genderqueer. And that actually makes a word. It makes ‘quilt bag’. So you can just say the word ‘quilt bag’ and each of those letters means something, that’s technically an acronym, Matt Walsh. LGBTQIA doesn’t make a word, they’re in initialism. Gotcha! Checkmate, Matt Walsh. You play with fast and loose definitions of things yourself.
Courtney: Royce is giving me the most disappointed face right now. [laughs] And then he decides to end the segment by– by ending off on an encouraging and uplifting note, he says, he claims. The encouraging and uplifting note is for those of you who perceive yourself to be asexual, you just have an issue that needs to be addressed, and you need to stop and address it, and take the time to fix that problem. Because then you’ll actually be a normally functioning human – by his definition – and it’ll actually be good. So, fix yourself. There you go. Boom. Emotional uplifting life advice from Matt Walsh. Which this is all.
Courtney: I mean, I don’t relish in talking about Matt Walsh specifically, as a person, I’d prefer if I don’t have to talk about him again, but we’ll see, as– as the actual talking points like this begin to transition to actual legal action, which it already has. It is happening in real time right now, and we need to pay attention to it. And we need to see what these talking points are, and how they evolve, and what their goals are and what they’re fighting for. Because I genuinely believe that the intersection where transphobia and acephobia meet is where there are a lot of common talking points that are going to get weaponized even further, even harder, in very near future.
Courtney: I really do believe that. Because there is a war on trans health care right now. We’re already seeing people say, you know, minors can’t have puberty blockers, minors can’t have any sort of HRT because this is going to, you know, fundamentally ruin their normal sexual experiences. And they use that word, normal sexual experiences.
Courtney: I genuinely– And we have to remember that trans health care is health care. So this is a war on health care. Whether or not it’s your health care, it is somebody’s health care. I don’t think that war on healthcare is going to stop because it has direct ties to getting Roe vs Wade overturned. The same groups that have been lobbying to get Roe vs Wade overturned – and as I may remind you, happened last year, that did happen – are the same groups who are now talking about overturning other queer rights. And more specific activist groups that are trying to overturn queer rights are saying maybe we should take a page out of Roe vs Wade, like, those activists, those anti-abortion protesters, because they seem to know what they’re doing.
Courtney: I fully believe that this is going to continue and spread out of control if it’s not stopped. And that’s going to start popping up in more broad forms of healthcare also, that are going to be equally detrimental, things like antidepressants, things like SSRIs.
Courtney: I think they’re going– there are going to be people who are going to use this politically. There are currently people who are already saying it flippantly like, “Oh, anti-dep– you’re not asexual, you’re just depressed. You’re not asexual, you just had antidepressants as a minor.” People are going to start using those talking points politically to try to ban antidepressants for minors, or for everyone! Depending on what State you’re in. I genuinely believe that that’s going to happen. And we already know that they don’t care about healthcare, because healthcare is extraordinarily inaccessible in this country. It is not cheap. It is not free. We do not have Universal Health Care. And a lot of trans minors do not have proper access to healthcare, mental health care, or gender affirmation health care. Sometimes the two are heavily interlinked.
Courtney: And we already know that proper access to trans healthcare does lower rates of attempted or performed suicides in trans individuals. It does increase overall mental well-being. But the folks who are lobbying to overturn those rights don’t care about that. They care more that this person fits into their arbitrary– arbitrary society that they’ve created than the fact that each individual person is actually able to thrive and live the life they want. And I don’t want us to wait until it gets to that point, where they’re trying to ban antidepressants for everybody, because it’s going to ruin sexual dysfunction. That’s going to be a thing that happens. And I don’t want to wait for that, for everybody to rile together and say, “Okay. Now you’ve gone too far.” Like it needs to be happening now. The war on healthcare is happening now.
Courtney: So we need to identify these talking points. And even though Matt Walsh himself is just a hack, there are actual political lobbyists that are using these talking points. And they’re using people like Matt Walsh who have these platforms, who have these audiences, to enrage the voters, to mobilize them, to get them to the polls. You just have to tell them about the latest crazy thing that the queer people are doing. Get them all mad. You just have to tell them about, do you know what kind of books they have in your kids’ library down the street? They pick these little culture wars like that to enrage people. And so we need to fight against that. Maybe– maybe with a little rage of our own. Maybe– maybe with plushies. Maybe we show up with, like, plushie guns to protest. Like, I’ve– I think I’ve seen that before, like, there are those t-shirt guns. I’ve definitely seen those to shoot out, like, little teddy bears and things. I’m gonna get a plushie gun for my next protest, I think. That’s a great idea, I like that. Let’s mobilize with plushie guns and compassion.