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Freedom Requires Wings FRW The #1 QUILTBAG opinion blog on the web. We aim to open minds and help the queer community. News, blogs, video, worldwide suicide prevention and more. Worldwide

French TV Series Introduces Asexual Character

Freedom Requires Wings | by on 0 comments

I know that this might not sound very big to some of you out there, but to me it is. Two days ago a French TV series - Plus Belle La Vie, it's sort of the French version of Eastenders - did something that put a big smile on my face. It's very well-known in France, and has lots of fans. It has been running for 9 seasons that started back in 2004. I won't lie, I never liked the program, it drives me mad as it's always so dramatic. But I'm not here to rant about the program, but to congratulate it. Yes I am!

They were a sweet couple. (S)
As far as I can remember, there have always been at least two gay characters in the show. Thomas and Nicolas were the first couple, they appeared in season one and remained together up to the third season. During the third season Nicolas disappears and is presumed dead, and Thomas does his best to move on. Since then, more gay characters have appeared on the show; most of them have been Thomas's boyfriends.

We have to wait until 2008 to see a lesbian couple on the show though, with Céline and Virginie, I don't ever remember seeing them so I must have stopped watching the show by then. I actually only ever remember Céline being in relationships with men... So she might be bisexual? Céline and Virginie break-up after 3 seasons due to an argument.

If I remember correctly, the portrayal of the gay couple was good, well as far as good gets when it comes to Plus Belle La Vie; if any of you have ever seen the show, you'll understand what I mean by that. Despite Plus Belle La Vie's over-dramatic side, it has always been pro-gay, it has brought up subjects like adoption for same-sex couples, and put forth all the difficulties same-sex couples face to be able adopt.
Plus Belle La Vie is known for introducing controversial topics and that is why no one will be surprised when I say... Asexuality was mentioned on the episode that aired on the 8th November 2012!

One of the characters came out to her ex-boyfriend as asexual just before the end of the episode. I found the episode online and I watched the last minute or so of the show. The young girl whose name is Léa, walks into her ex, Jonas, who seems mad at her because she broke-up with him shortly after they had had sex for the first time without giving him any explanation. He's blaming himself for it and asks her if it's because he was bad at sex to which she replies and says that it's not him who is the problem but herself. She explains that she doesn't like having sex and that it would be like that with any other guy. He wonders how she could possibly know as he was her first boyfriend and that there is no such thing as not liking sex. She affirms that there is, and that she's never going to have sex again. Jonas then asks her if it's an illness but she says that it isn't and that she's asexual.

If any of you are interested the discussion about asexuality starts at 22:30. (It's in French though!)

I was stunned, I was. It was actually really well done. The scene was realistic and could actually happen in real life, which isn't something I'd say about most things I've seen on the series. The only thing that made me cringe a bit was the use of the term "dysfunctional" by Léa; but I almost feel like saying that it doesn't matter because this is by far one of the best TV appearances for asexuality in France. After all the things I have seen on TV in France about asexuality and how people seem to write it off as an illness, Plus Belle La Vie - a show that airs every day and gathers overs 3 million people in front of their TV screens - has finally come out and said that asexuality isn't an illness and that it exists.

And as people believe and listen to everything that the TV says, which for once isn't such a bad thing, after the episode over 121,000 people searched the term "asexualité" (French for asexuality) on Wikipedia, making it in a few minutes the second most viewed page on Wikipedia.

Needless to say, the show left people stunned and curious - the Wikipedia searches prove that. All that I hope for now, is that Plus Belle La Vie doesn't change its mind halfway through and decide that Léa isn't asexual after all...

After my AWW post about asexuality in France, I wasn't expecting something as good as this to come up so soon, especially not on France's most famous TV series! Believe it or not, this is really good for asexual visibility in France; if Léa stays in the show and they don't change her, then that will just be ace! I actually sent an e-mail to the production team, thanking them for portraying asexuality correctly and explaining why asexual visibility is so important. I also said that I hoped that Léa would stick around and be out and proud about her asexuality as that would educate people and help others come to terms with their sexuality.

Plus Belle La Vie, thank you! I might start watching you again, just for the sake of little Léa here.
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