By Kerensa McElrath
It’s a commonly held misconception that the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA is for Ally - but just because a misconception is common doesn’t make it any more correct; A is actually for asexual, not ally. But the fact is, most people don’t even know that asexuality exists as an orientation, even among those in the LGBT community. It remains all too easy for someone who identifies as asexual, or ace, to be met with questions about plants or amoebas. While other marginalized orientations are celebrated with pride weeks and parades, the asexual community is simply trying to tell the world that they exist - hence the designation of the week of October 26th to November 1st as Asexual Awareness Week.
Ah, yes, but I’ve forgotten. Chances are, you don’t know what asexuality is!
Although experiences vary from person to person, the generally accepted definition of asexuality is a person who doesn’t feel sexual attraction or the desire to be in a sexual relationship. But this is not to be confused with aromanticism, or a lack of romantic attraction. One of the delightful distinctions of the asexual community is that they recognize that romantic and sexual orientations aren’t necessarily the same thing, and many asexual people still desire and enter into romantic relationships. Of course, this isn’t to say that asexual people can’t enter into sexual relationships or that aromantics can’t enter into romantic relationships, but in general if you don’t feel the sort of attraction a relationship is based on, it can be at best uninteresting and at worst profoundly uncomfortable to be in that relationship. But again, these things vary from person to person.
So what’s the big deal, you wonder? Why on earth should we acknowledge the existence of asexuality? Because somewhere between 1 and 2% of people are asexual, which may not seem like a lot until you realize that 1% of 7 billion people is 70 million. That’s enough asexual people to populate a small urbanized country. If you know more than a hundred people, you probably know at least one person who’s ace.
In conclusion: Please. Help raise awareness. Tell your friends, your enemies, heck, tell your dog. Just let the world know that it exists, so that maybe by this time next year we’ll be celebrating Asexual Pride Week instead of Asexual Awareness Week.
(And while you’re at it, raise awareness for the existence of aromantic people, too. Hardly anyone remembers them either.)
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