the voice and vision of a new generation
Photo credit: x rance Graphic credit: Asexual Awareness Week

Asexuality: Shape and size may vary

October 27, 2017

Happy Asexual Awareness Week!

It is 2017 and there is still seldom conversation and dialogue about asexuality as an orientation for humans and what it means. If someone is asexual, they may experience little to no sexual attraction. Asexuality – it’s just as fluid of a spectrum as other orientations!

Ace” is used as an umbrella term to include the spectrum of asexuality. Individuals who identify as asexual likely have varied and personalized experiences. It is important to recognize that asexual people exist on a spectrum of sexual attraction. Some asexual people have sex regularly, some asexual people are in relationships, and some asexual people engage in self-pleasure. These facts do not invalidate someone’s asexual identity.

Visibility and awareness of asexuality is important, but hard to find. The U.S. media, entertainment, pop culture, art, and what is understood as marketable operates under a lens that assumes that people experience sexual attraction. In this context, everyone represented in media is "allosexual" (a term for people who do not identify as asexual).

When other LGBTQ identities are represented, we are often still assuming allosexuality to be the “norm” or “default”– like being cisgender and straight. I encourage people who feel sexual attraction towards others to use the word allosexual to describe themselves—similarly to how people who aren’t transgender use the word cisgender to describe themselves, diffusing the notion that any identity is more “normal” than other.

As an asexual, trans, AFAB (assigned female at birth), person of color, my body has been objectified throughout my life. My identity has subjected me to being hypersexualized and having heterosexuality imposed upon me. It is very common for people who are a part of the LGBTQ community to have our identity, experiences, and attractions (or lack thereof) attacked, questioned, and challenged; and this is not okay.

In my activism, advocacy, and artistry, I am keen on raising questions, challenging norms and (mis)representations. I have helped a friend with an essay on asexuality and have had difficult conversations with people who don’t understand. I am open about the nuances and complexities of my identity so that I can engage in healthy and effective conversations with others, providing firsthand accounts and my life experiences on panels, in rehearsals, and at dinner with friends. I am always discovering and inquiring about my identity and my feelings – my curiosity to learn about other identities gave me the language and tools I needed before I knew I needed them.

Whether you or someone you know is or may be asexual, it is important to address asexuality as a valid identity. This will help us change the way we think about what’s normal in order to improve the lives and experiences of all young people.

Check out some of my favorite resources and share them with your friends and family!

Resources:

Asexual Awareness Week

The Asexual Visibility and Education Network

Videos I love:

x rance is a GLAAD Campus Ambassador and a senior at Ithaca College, studying Theater, Dance and Art History. As a queer, trans, person of color x has put advocacy, activism, and accessibility at the forefront of their art, pursuits, and projects. Their main topics of interests are the intersections of race, (a)gender identity, and neurodivergence which they explore through choreography, performance art, installation, and scholarship.

the voice and vision of a new generation