In this series, we interview a variety of Disabled Aces with diverse backgrounds in honor of #DisabledAceDay and in conjunction with Ace Week.
I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to interview Irene Wolf AKA Nene from The Netherlands. Not only did she provide us with a great point of view to add to this series, but she gave us a reason to be even more excited for Halloween than we already were! Make sure to watch out for her webcomic Halloveen coming out in just a few days!
Please introduce yourself! How do you identify in terms of asexuality, disability, passions, professions, or anything else you’d like to share with us?
I'm Irene, or Nene, a 23 year old Dutch artist. I am a sapphic asexual. I am autistic, have ADHD and have fibromyalgia and a chronic fatigue syndrome. I studied to become a makeup artist at the age of 17, but I am not able to work and am on disability benefits. I rediscovered my passion for art about three years ago as well as a new found love of writing. Last year I decided to combine the two and I'm launching my first webcomic, Halloveen, this halloween!
How do your asexual and disabled identities interact with one another and what unique challenges have you faced while living at this intersection?
I do believe that my sexuality is influenced by my autism but can't recall any challenges this far in my life.
Have you personally experienced any ableism from within the asexual or other LGBTQ2IA+ communities?
Absolutely. I think that there is work to be done when it comes to asexuals respecting other asexual's experiences. A lot of us are quick to defend our sexuality but tend to forget that what isn't true for us, might be true to other asexuals. Things like 'asexuals aren't ace because of trauma" whilst there are plenty that are ace because of that. And "asexuals aren't ace because of stimuli issues", ignoring those of us who's stimuli sensitivity heavily influence our sexuality.
I host a discord server for acespecs, with private chats for disabled, autistic people and people with ADHD, where aces can talk to each other about these, and other issues.
Have you personally experienced any acephobia from the disability community?
Luckily most of my interactions with disabled people have been with other disabled aces. In my private life I am not very open about my sexuality, and thus the topic has luckily not been an issue with other disabled people.
What advice do you have for folks who wish to become better allies to disabled aces?
Advice I would give anyone really: ask before you assume, and treat every individual like an individual. Every disabled asexual has different needs and experiences, and I think where things go wrong is that people make broad and generalised assumptions about a group of people, failing to see a person behind their identity.