Zine Review: An Asexual’s Firsts

An Asexual’s Firsts
Lauren Hamell
28 pages
https://www.instagram.com/laurenhamell/
https://weirdobrigade.com/2020/11/18/meet-this-zinester-lauren-hamell/

An Asexual’s Firsts is an about 17x13cm, black and red on white zine of poetry about discovering one’s asexuality and learning to embrace it.

A zine shaped and designed like an ace of hearts that also has an anatomical heart on the front of it. Colour me intrigued.

An Asexual’s Firsts opens with a short author’s note about how this zine isn’t limiting its audience – neither strictly inside nor outside the asexual community. From there we launch into the zine, which is split into two parts: part one: introductions and part two: starts.

In Starts, Lauren writes about questioning their sexuality with their first real crush and getting to know their own needs and wants. They write not about when they first heard the word ‘asexual’ but rather about when the word first took on a significant meaning to them.

It’s finding that label (but not necessarily going ‘this is what it is and what it always shall be’ with it) that takes us into Starts. Going into their first LGBTQ space on campus could have worked for an introduction, but it totally suits as a ‘start’ in Lauren claiming their space and taking the steps to move forward with learning more about themself. Not only that, but also meeting people like them.

As I mentioned, this zine is shaped like a card from a deck of playing cards and designed to look like an ace of hearts. I thought this was a fun nod to asexual people, who are also sometimes known as ‘aces’. As always, I appreciate the clear type making the zine easy to read.

The words inside are formatted like poetry and Lauren refers to the writing as poems, but I found them to be closer to prose. This is not a nitpick, however. I liked the approach of Lauren telling their story but in this more punctuated style. It gave what could have easily been a regularly written prose perzine and made it into something a little different.

I still remember the first time I read about demisexuals and what that label meant to me, so I really empathised with Lauren a lot throughout this zine. If only those of us who didn’t have zines to help guide us when we were younger actually had them!

All up, I found this to be an intriguing read that I could really empathise with. I also quite liked the style both in looks and writing style. This is one to pick up if you’re interested in the topic.

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