Petition Closed

The House episode "Better Half" which aired on January 23, 2012, represented asexuality very poorly by attributing it to both medical illness and deception. The episode encourages viewers to meet asexuality with skepticism rather than acceptance, to probe asexual people for causes of our “condition” rather than to accept us as a part of the natural spectrum of human sexual diversity. This misinformation could have severe negative consequences on asexual people around the world, especially youth, who are struggling to come to terms with themselves and find acceptance. We ask the executive producers of House and the executives at Fox to reconsider portrayals of asexual characters and engage the community to find narratives that are appropriate depictions of asexual people and relationships.

Letter to
Vice President of Broadcast Operations at Fox Keith Goldberg
Creator and Executive Producer, House David Shore
Asexual people, grey-a’s and our allies fight every day to be accepted in a world which assumes that people who do not experience sexual attraction are broken. The House episode “Better Half”, aired on January 23rd, 2012, reinforced this assumption. It portrayed two characters whose asexuality was dismissed as being caused by either medical pathology or deception.

The episode begins by portraying asexuality appropriately; this meaningful work is immediately undercut with the resolution of the episode. There are very few openly asexual characters portrayed in popular media and as a result the few who are play a significant role in shaping public opinion in about our community. Early in “Better Half”, some of the characters accept a self-identified asexual patient without question and describe asexuality in accurate and appropriate terms. Later in the episode, it is revealed that the patient’s husband’s lack of libido is the result of a tumor and that her “asexuality” is a deliberate deception. The one character who fails to accept the patient’s sexuality orientation is portrayed as the hero for having “debunked” asexuality. His unyielding belief that anyone who does not desire sex must be broken leads him to “cure” the patients of their false asexuality, allowing them to conform to sexual norms.

The episode encourages viewers to meet asexuality with skepticism rather than acceptance, to probe asexual people for causes of our “condition” rather than to accept us as a part of the natural spectrum of human sexual diversity. This misinformation could have severe negative consequences on asexual people around the world, especially youth, who are struggling to come to terms with themselves and find acceptance. We urge you to accept your responsibility to these youth, and to commit to portraying asexual characters accurately in the future.

We would like to acknowledge the risk that you took in covering asexuality in such a public forum. The episode’s writer, Kath Lingelfelter, immediately began a dialogue after the episode aired with several people who were concerned. We appreciate the research and effort that Ms. Lingelfelter put into portraying asexuality positively. One scene introduces asexuality in the context of a doctor’s appointment; in another a doctor stands up for his asexual patient to the main character. These scenes portray asexuality positively. Unfortunately these positive representations are immediately undermined by the conclusion of the story.

Asexuality is a rich topic for shows such as House to explore. There is no benefit to being inaccurate. Our community is filled with stories which are accessible to a wide audience, and far more engaging than the plotline of “Better Half.” As a community, we raise fundamental, fascinating questions about the interplay between sexuality, emotional intimacy, sexual identity and human happiness. We’ll be happy to share these stories if you invite us to the table.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned


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Estimado Sr. Shore,

Las personas asexuales y nuestros aliados luchan cada día para ser aceptados en un mundo donde asumen a las personas que no experimentan atracción sexual como enfermas y/o falsas. El episodio de House, “Better Half”, lanzado al aire el 23 de Enero del 2012, reforzó esta suposición. Este representaba dos personajes cuya asexualidad fue rechazada por haber sido causada por patologías médicas o engaño.

El episodio comienza mostrando la asexualidad apropiadamente; este trabajo valioso es inmediatamente arruinado con la resolución del episodio: se revela que la falta de libido del esposo es el resultado de un tumor y por lo tanto su “asexualidad” es un engaño deliberado. El personaje que llega a este diagnostico es tratado como un héroe por haber desacreditado la asexualidad y mantener su arraigada creencia a que alguien que no posea deseo sexual esta totalmente mal, por lo tanto necesita “curar” a sus pacientes de su falsa asexualidad permitiéndoles conformarse con las normas sexuales. Kath Lingelfelter, la escritora del episodio, empezó un dialogo con nuestra comunidad después de que el episodio fue transmitido debido a la preocupación de muchas personas. Agradecemos la investigación y el esfuerzo que la señorita Lingelfelter puso en mostrar la asexualidad positivamente, desafortunadamente estas representaciones positivas fueron socavadas por la conclusión de la historia.

El episodio incita al público a ver la asexualidad con escepticismo, hay que aceptar a las personas asexuales por su “condición” y no como parte valiosa del espectro natural de la diversidad sexual humana. La mala y equivocada información transmitida por House causa negativas consecuencias para nuestra comunidad en todo el mundo, especialmente en los jóvenes quienes luchan para llegar a buenos términos con ellos mismos y encontrar aceptación. Le pedimos a usted que acepte su responsabilidad con aquellos jóvenes, y a comprometerse a mostrar personajes asexuales con más precisión en el futuro.

Existen muy pocos personajes asexuales abiertamente representados en los medios populares y por ello los pocos que hay juegan un rol significativo en la creación de la opinión pública de nuestra comunidad. Pedimos a los productores ejecutivos de House reconsiderar las representaciones de personajes asexuales e involucrar a nuestra comunidad para encontrar relatos y representaciones adecuadas.

La asexualidad es un tópico rico a explorar para programas tales como House. Pero no es sano socialmente formar concepciones erróneas. Nuestra comunidad esta completa de historias que son accesibles a una audiencia abierta, con argumentos mucho mas atractivos que los de “Better Half ”. Como una comunidad, nosotros levantamos preguntas fundamentales y fascinantes acerca del juego interno entre la sexualidad, la intimidad sexual, la identidad sexual y la felicidad humana. Estaremos felices para compartir estas historias si nos invitan a la mesa.

Sinceramente,
AVENes
(Red pala la visibilidad y educación de la asexualidad en los países hispanos)