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This interview has been made in 2021. Full version will be available only on The Queer Talks book. To be updated about its release click here

Arono Persona giovane con capelli colorati seduta su un prato con jeans e maglietta

Foto di © Clotilde Petrosino tutti i diritti sono riservati. Ne sono vietati l'utilizzo e la riproduzione 

 Hi, tell us a bit about yourself. 

Hi, I’m Arono Celeprin, I’m 23 years old. I am asexual, non-binary, and autistic. I am studying Television, Cinema, and New Media, and I am very interested in queer representation in the audiovisual field. In life, I want to become a director.

What pronouns do you use?

I prefer gender-neutral pronouns

What motivated you to do a documentary on asexuality?

The documentary began as a thesis project for my bachelor's degree. I studied New Technologies of Art at the Brera Academy. Thanks to the course on filming techniques, I became interested in the world of documentary and underground cinema, which sparked my desire to make a film on a topic that concerns me and which I believe lacks sufficient information and representation. There are three movies that have been my main points of reference for this work: 'Chronicle of a Summer' by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin, 'Love Meetings' by Pier Paolo Pasolini, and 'D'Amore Si Vive' by Silvano Agosti.

Can you explain to us what asexuality means? 

Asexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by a lack of sexual attraction to any gender. It's a spectrum that includes various micro-labels, among the most common being graysexual and demisexual. Graysexuality refers to experiencing sexual attraction rarely or only in certain cases, while demisexuality pertains to experiencing sexual attraction only after the formation of an emotional bond.

Trailer od "Asexuality a documentary" by © Arono Celeprin all rights reserved

In your documentary, each person tells their own experience, also addressing the prejudices and common misconceptions about individuals on the asexual spectrum. In your experience, what are the most common ones? 

The most common misconception is certainly that asexuality is a choice of abstinence. Asexuality is a sexual orientation, therefore it is not a choice, and asexual individuals may still decide to engage in sexual activities, even without feeling attraction to the person they are with. Often, libido is confused with sexual attraction: the former is influenced by hormonal and psychological factors and consists of purely physiological sexual desire, while the latter occurs when sexual desire is directed towards a particular person.

Do you think that within the LGBTQIA+ community asexual people are still discriminated against? If so, what do you think is the reason?

Unfortunately, many asexual individuals report cases of discrimination even within the LGBTQIA+ community. I have experienced it myself as well. Sometimes it's due to complete ignorance about the topic, which is then mistakenly categorized as 'just a phase' or worse, something to be cured. Other times it's outright gatekeeping because for some people, being asexual wouldn't be 'queer enough,' and they refuse to acknowledge asexuality as a sexual orientation different from heterosexuality. 

When and How did you realize that you were asexual?

I understood that I was asexual when I was 18, thanks to the valuable information provided by 'carrodibuoi,' an asexual collective that manages a blog on the topic, and the Facebook group 'La comunità degli asessuali italiani' (The Community of Italian Asexuals).

How much do you think heteronormativity and toxic masculinity influence the stereotypes and discriminations of asexual people? And why?

The term commonly used in the asexual community is precisely 'allonormativity': the norm that dictates that everyone should experience sexual attraction. Consequently, in an allonormative world, asexual individuals are seen as wrong and sick.
Regarding toxic masculinity, it is definitely a factor of stigma in men and individuals perceived as such, as the expectation towards them is that of being sexually active and for them to have the desire for numerous sexual encounters. Not experiencing sexual attraction is perceived as a lack of masculinity, and due to this strong social pressure, the male presence in the asexual community is scarce.
On the female side, we definitely have discrimination linked to misogyny and the control that the patriarchy wants to have over the sexual lives of women and individuals perceived as such. At first glance, it seems quite curious, because usually femininity in the patriarchal perspective is linked to modesty, but on the other hand, if you are too modest, you are considered a 'prude'.

What do you think is the impact of the act of hyper-sexualization of queer people, in our lives? 

Hyper-sexualization puts asexual individuals at risk, as they often face proposals for conversion therapies or reparative assaults.
Often, asexual individuals are excluded from the community, or when attempts are made to include them, they find themselves in environments that are not safe for them.

What do you think of the mainstream representation of the LGBTQIA+ nowadays? And in movies? 

I am always critical of the representations of the LGBTQIA+ community carried out by those who are not part of the minority they seek to represent. No matter how much someone can educate themselves, there will inevitably be nuances they can never grasp and therefore convey on the big screen. Almost always, these representations are stereotypical, if not downright horrifying. I believe it is necessary to give visibility to queer authors who bring forward their own vision, for an authentic and non-problematic representation.

As a director, how do you think you can contribute to changing it? 

I believe my documentary is a good starting point, but there is still much more to tell. Currently, I am working on a project about the transgender community. What I want is to offer a non-stereotypical narrative, and actually challenge common misconceptions about us

What are, in your opinion, the best movies and documentaries that portray trans and non-binary people in the most accurate way? And what about asexual people?

The movie by Paul B. Preciado, "Orlando, ma biographie politique", n my opinion, has raised the bar for transgender and non-binary representation to a very high level. It's clearly a film made by trans people for trans people, and that's why it works. Similarly Disclosure,  the Netflix documentary by Sam Feder, has done a remarkable job in this regard.
When it comes to fiction films, there's not much out there, but there are some successes in TV series. For example, "Sex Education," although it lacked a bit in representing asexuality. The best asexual characters are found in Alice Oseman's series "Heartstopper." Again, it's a representation made by an asexual person for asexual people.

Progetto di Clotilde Petrosino

Intervista e foto di Clotilde Petrosino
Proof reading e traduzione in inglese di Bartolomeo Goffo

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