This profile is part of Queerty’s 2022 Out For Good series, recognizing public figures who’ve had the courage to come out and make a difference in the past year, in celebration of National Coming Out Day on October 11.
Intro: When you identify as asexual (ace), aromantic (aro), or both (aroace,) the world can feel like a cold, confounding place. It’s especially hard to find oneself in a community that’s all about love, romance, dating, and sex when the thing that sets you apart from the hetero world is a total disinterest in all those things.
But, as animator and OG YouTube creator Jaiden Animations knows, there’s no wrong way to be queer, proud, and on the ace spectrum. When Jaiden came out as aroace earlier this year in a heartfelt video, she put into words (and animations) something that aroace folks have silently struggled with forever:
“[We’re told] that romance and intimacy is what makes someone human,” she explained. “[But] you don’t have to feel any kind of romance or whatever to be considered a real person.”
Name: Jaiden Animations, 25
Bio: Jaiden started her YouTube channel in July of 2014, after a few animated videos she made for the popular channel IHasCupquake blew up. At first, she stuck to her primary passions, making animations about gaming and nuzlockes (i.e. strategies to make games you’ve played a million times more challenging) and eventually wading into more personal territory. In the next few years, Jaiden would talk about struggling with disordered eating, toxic relationships, burnout, and getting locked out of her house.
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But none of it came easy, or especially intuitively. After taking a 3D animation class in college (and hating it,) Jaiden ultimately learned animation by searching “how to animate” on YouTube, a fact she’s wonderfully transparent about. “I still have no clue what I’m doing,” Jaiden explained in a video “I could be doing everything wrong, and probably am.”
Coming Out: As far as her 11 million fans are concerned, she’s doing everything right, including giving more of a voice to a community that’s traditionally been underrepresented. By sharing her own story in the classic, vulnerable, honest Jaiden Animations style, aroaces around the world can finally come to terms with the ways in which society has placed them in an impossible position.
“Everything I’ve been taught or learned through society is that love and romance is everywhere,” Jaiden said in her coming out video. “Everyone feels it, and it’s gonna happen to you.”
But that’s not strictly the truth, as Jaiden and every other aroace knows. It’s an identity that can be hard to come to terms with, especially in a society that believes that romantic love is the best, most human part of us.
When she started learning more about being aromantic and asexual, she saw how others were struggling under the weight of an often misunderstood and underexplored identity. She saw in video comments and chats that “people felt broken or that there was something wrong with them.” But that wasn’t how she felt at all. Still, she understood why the identity can feel so isolating to people used to being told that love is one of the only things in life worth living for. It was especially wonderful to see someone as private as Jaiden is come out to a community that’s deeply in need of good representation.
“As cool and amazing as I think it is,” she admits, “it can be hard for other people to relate to or even understand.”
When Jaiden released her coming out video, titled “Being Not Straight”, this March, she didn’t know what kind of response she would get. But she did know the response she wanted. “I thought if I could help more people become more aware of this,” she explained in the video, “then that would be awesome.”
New video aha pic.twitter.com/UC6Ix7dNfy
— JaidenAnimations (@JaidenAnimation) March 20, 2022
More than awesome, the video was eye-opening, even for people within the aroace community. In the comments, longtime fans praised Jaiden for shining a light on a part of the queer community that’s too often misunderstood or looked down on. And she did it in her signature style: no bullshit, no judgment, all heart.
“I rewatch this video every couple months,” wrote one commenter. “It’s how I found the term aroace. It’s my comfort video.”
There’s nothing more comforting than being told, by someone you admire, that it’s ok to be exactly who you are, no matter what.