October 23, 2017

“What Makes Us Human” by Victoria Sylvander

“Ramona! Hey!”

“Oh, hi, Yuki. Did geometry get out on time for once?”

“Yeah. I might actually make the bus today.”


“Hey, are you okay? You look like you’re about to be sick.”

“I’m going to tell my parents today.”

“What? Why?”

“Mom and Dad will be home at the same time for once. I could do it this weekend, but I’m sick of waiting.”

“Oh, no. This again? I’m telling you, you’ve only got this idea because you’ve never dated anyone.”

“Will you admit when you’re wrong when I show up to our 10th reunion and don’t bring a plus one?”

“Maybe our 20th reunion.”

“Oh, thanks, that really helps.”

“We’re only 16. Date someone cute and give it time.”

“Yeah. Sure. You’d better go; you’re about to miss your bus.”

“Mom? Dad? I have to tell you something.”

“What’s wrong, honey? Did you and Yuki have a fight?”

“No, it…well…I’ll just spit it out. I wanted to tell you that I’m asexual.”

“Oh, honey…that can’t be true.”

“What the hell does that even mean, asexual? You have a sex; you’re a girl.”

“It means that I don’t experience sexual attraction, not that I’m agender. Here, I printed these off of an asexuality Web site. They might help you understand.”

“You teenagers. If you see it on the damn Internet, you’ll believe anything.”

“Dad, hundreds of people identify as asexual. Please, just read these.”

“If these people want to call themselves asexual, that’s fine, but I’m sure they all have issues. There are illnesses that lower sex drive. You’re young and healthy.”

“Even if I did have some kind of disease, I would still be asexual.”

“Nobody is really asexual, honey. Sex is what makes us human.”

“Mom…are you serious? Animals have sex! Human as opposed to what, robots?”

“Don’t take that tone with your mother, young lady!”

“But she’s wrong!”

“I don’t know if you really believe this shit or if you’re just pulling this for attention, but either way, we’re getting you a therapist.”

“Good! Maybe you’ll believe me with an expert backing me up!”

“You’re not asexual, Ramona. No one is.”

“Yes, I fucking am!”

“Language! That’s it. Go to your room.”

“Fine! I’ll go on my favorite Web site and talk to some people who actually support me!”

“Terry…did you ever think we’d be having this conversation with our little girl?”

“No…God help us.”

“It looks like we have a new member of the Pineview High Queer Alliance! I’m Jay Danvers. Would you mind introducing yourself?”

“Yeah, okay. Hi. I’m Ramona Tassler. I’m a junior. I play field hockey and ice hockey. And…I’m here because I need support, I guess. My family was pretty crappy when I came out.”

“Well, we can give you plenty of support here.”

“Thanks, that…that would be nice. My parents even said they would put me in therapy.”

“Oh, shit. Conversion therapy?”

“I’m not sure. I hope it’s real therapy, because I’ve been having some pretty dark thoughts about…about being queer, and how sick and wrong I feel. And I don’t know if there’s conversion therapy for being ace.”

“Wait, being what?”

“Ace. Asexual.”

“Oh…so are you same-gender attracted or trans?”

“Um…I don’t know. I think I might be aromantic.”

“Oh. Well, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

“What? Why?”

“You have to be same-gender attracted or trans to be queer. This group is for queer people. We can’t have you taking up resources.”

“You’re saying that even though I’m not straight, I’m not queer enough?”

“You’re valid, but you’re not queer. Please leave.”

“Wow, really? Some support you assholes provide!”

“Come on, Jay, that was a little harsh. She might be a lesbian. Alison Bechdel thought she was asexual before she figured out she was gay.”

“Okay, Lakeisha, you have a point. If that’s true, she can come back. But right now, we don’t need straight invaders.”

“Hi, Ms. Channing. Thanks for seeing me on such short notice.”

“It’s no problem. I had a cancellation. Now, usually I start with a little getting-to-know-you…”

“Can we do that later? I’ve been feeling suicidal. I need to talk about it.”

“Of course; it sounds like we need to talk about that. Do you feel like you’re in danger?”

“Well, no. But I feel awful. Worthless. Like I’m not really human. Even the Queer Alliance kicked me out.”

“I’m so sorry you’re going through that. Why did the Queer Alliance’s unfair rejection of you make you feel like you weren’t really human?”

“Well, I’m asexual. That isn’t queer enough, I guess. It made me feel like I don’t fit in anywhere. And my mom said asexuality didn’t exist. She and my dad are making me see a therapist. I mean, I guess therapy is okay, since I’ve been feeling so…so warped.”

“I’m glad to hear you’re open to the idea of therapy outside of school counseling. How do you think you would react to being diagnosed with female sexual interest disorder?”


“Asexuality as a sexual orientation doesn’t exist. Asexual-identified people have what used to be called hyposexual desire disorder. Now the name—at least for women—is female sexual interest disorder. Hormone therapy might be able to help you.”

“My identity is not a fucking disorder!”

“Ramona, there’s no need to be so hostile. If you are willing to listen…”

“I’m not if you’re not!”

“Ramona…wait, come back!”

“Fuck the world, Yuki. Just…fuck the world.”

“Why don’t you tell me how you really feel?”

“I mean it! My parents, the Queer Alliance, even the fucking student counselor…they all suck. And my parents told me they found me a sex therapist who can turn me into a hornball.”


“I know, right?”

“Ramona…don’t you think you should at least give therapy a shot?”

“Are…are you serious?”

“Don’t you think it’s possible you’re just a late bloomer?”

“Even if I am, there’s nothing wrong with me! What the hell, Yuki? You’re against me too?”

“I’m not against you! I just want you to be happy. I’m trying to help.”

“That’s not help, that’s invalidation. And you can shove it up your ass.”

“Whoa. Okay. Fuck you too, I guess.”

“Tassler! I heard you really think you don’t like dick or pussy! Want some of this dick? I can fix you!”

“You just need to be with a good lover. Like Emilie Autumn; she thought she was asexual until she got with someone who knew what they were doing.”

“Asexuality doesn’t exist. You’re just trying to be a special snowflake.”

“So do you not have, you know, junk?”

“I hope you get raped.”

“Selfish bitch!”



“Ramona. Ramona! We told you that therapy was this morning. Now get up.”

“Ramona, honey, we know you don’t want to go, but it’s for your own good.”

“Pretending to sleep isn’t going to do you any…wait…oh…oh my God…”

“Ramona, trying to scare us like this isn’t funny! Wake up!”

“Lisa, she’s not trying to scare us! That’s real blood!”

“Oh, God! Oh, God, no!”

“Ramona…Ramona, please wake up…!”

“Ramona! No, God, not my baby!”

“I’ll call an ambulance!”


“911? My daughter slit her wrists!”

“Terry, it’s too late…she’s gone.”


© 2017 Victoria Sylvander

About Victoria:  Victoria Sylvander is a queer Disabled writer and loudmouth activist who started writing as soon as she could hold a pencil and never stopped. When she isn’t writing (which is rare), she can be found absorbed in a book, playing World of Warcraft, snuggling with her cat, or rehearsing with her rock band. She received the email informing her that her story about acemisia had won the “It’s All Dialogue” Short Story Contest for September 2017 on the first day of Asexuality Week, and she was both amused by the timing and overjoyed. She hopes those who read her story can learn from it.

Keep up with Victoria on twitter at @sylvanasvictory and Instagram @highfemmewriter.

Check out this story in our anthology: The First Annual Two Sisters Writing & Publishing Featuring International Writers by clicking here.

Victoria Sylvander Author Photo

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