Marshall Blount aka the Gentle Giant Ace is a Black Asexual Activist from Erie,Pennsylvania. He’s a board member for Asexual Outreach (a non-profit organization) and on the Pennsylvania commission on LGBTQ Affairs. His mission is to spread awareness of Asexuality from his perspective. I had the pleasure of talking with Marshall, which you can read below.
First of all, welcome to Geeks OUT! Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Aww thank you, my name is Marshall Blount, aka the Gentle Giant Ace, I am 28 years old, I am Asexual, Aromantic, and Greyromantic. I’m an Asexual Activist, board member of Asexual Outreach, and I’m on the Pennsylvania commission on LGBTQ affairs. I’m pretty much busy doing incredible things for the Ace community.
As a person on the aromantic-asexual spectrum, how did you find yourself discovering this part of your identity?
I’ve spent a good deal of my early life not exploring my sexuality, I do know that this Heteronormative society impacted my view of what sexuality was. It made me unaware of how HUGE the spectrum of sexuality is. It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I REALLY started to question my sexuality, I broke my silence to my sister in law (Deja) who was (still is) awesome in helping me learn the complexities of sexuality. I googled Asexuality and was like “YEP, THAT’S ME”. And even after that, there was a lot to explore and still is.
How did you find yourself getting into asexual advocacy? Did anything or anyone in particular inspire you?
I got into Activism after some very negative experiences I’ve encountered while being open with my Asexuality. It was me not wanting those who are coming out to not have to experience the hatred I’ve experienced and sometimes still do. I want the world to know that being Asexual is NOT being broken, cold, alone and loveless. It’s a beautiful part of who we are.
As a Black asexual man, you represent a few demographics that are still underrepresented within the ace community, both in terms of your gender and your racial background. What are your thoughts on intersectionality within the ace community?
Intersectionality is KEY to the future of the Ace community and our activism. Asexuality is stereotyped as a “White thing” which as a result, Black and Brown Ace voices (activist or not) are often ignored and overlooked…Things are changing within the community however, non-BIPOC Ace folk need to listen to the voices and experiences of BIPOC Ace folk if we want to move forward as a community and break that stereotype.
How as a community can we work to do better for aces of color?
Share our work (with permission of the activist/artist and give credit to them), donate to our causes, tip us (BIPOC Ace Activist/advocates) so we can continue our work without instability.
As a representative on the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, could you tell us about your involvement with the organization? Also, on that note, how would you describe the ace community where you’re from?
My involvement with the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ affairs is to make sure that Ace folk in the commonwealth are represented and to also check in with the well-being of the community and what we (our commission works as a team) can do to improve on the quality of life for LGBTQIA+ Pennsylvanians in general. The Ace community of Erie is small. It’s rare (not too rare) that I bump into another Ace person here. I do wear an Asexual pride pin on my shirt or hat so I can be spotted by another Ace in public. I do think eventually we will have hangouts especially post pandemic but it’s the matter of who will be the first of us to host it here lol .There will be cake though.
Besides your work online, what do you like to do in your free time?
Outside of my work online, I love to dive into photography. There is just something about capturing a moment in time and sharing it with the world that is joyful to me. You can’t really beat it. I also love to explore the varieties of coffee and teas from different cafes lol.
What are some basic things about asexuality you would want people to take away from this interview?
I want people to know that Black and Brown Asexual people exist…That our voices, our experiences, and humanity should never go unheard or overlooked. I also want the world to know that Asexual people are not broken and that we are not going anywhere. Our sexual orientation is valid and we deserve to be recognized.
For someone new to the ace community, what resources would you recommend checking out?
I highly recommend Asexual Outreach (AsexualOutreach.org). It’s a wonderful organization that can help you get connected to the community and provides resources so you can get educated about the Ace community. You can even search for Ace groups in your area or nearby . I am biased lol but Asexual Outreach is a wonderful team to be a part of and I’m so, so proud of the work we create so we can help our community.
What are some ways you would recommend for someone hoping to celebrate or advocate for their own ace-ness?
For starters, get you some cake lol, that is a huge tradition in our community and a must. If you want to get involved with community advocacy, I have to again recommend reaching out to Asexual Outreach, we have the steps to help you with that. Head on over to the website (Asexualoutreach.org) for more information.
Who are some ace activists you would recommend others to know about?
What LGBTQIA+ media (i.e. books/ television/etc.) would you recommend to the readers of Geeks OUT?
1.The one and only Yasmin Benoit’s YouTube channel, their content is just amazing and badass. And you get a lot of behind the scenes of the work they do.
2.The Asexual Goddess’ YouTube channel, their work is also badass and they breakdown the various subjects in our community and they never fail to deliver great commentary
3. Bojack Horsemen on Netflix, I can watch that entire series a million times and never get tired of it lol. It’s a very real show because you can relate to the various characters on it. My favorite being Todd Chavez for obvious reasons (I won’t spoil it for those who did not watch). Check it out.