Today marks the first ever International Asexuality Day, which has been designed to campaign for equality for asexual people, raise awareness of asexuality and celebrate the community.
Organisers have arranged International Asexuality Day in April, six months prior/after Ace Week (formerly Asexuality Awareness Week) which takes place in October. The intention is to help boost visibility year-round.
So how can we educate and celebrate this International Asexuality Day?
There are lots of misconceptions regarding asexuality that are degrading and offensive to the asexuality community so understanding these is a great use of today.
For example, asexuality can be confused with celibacy: the choice to abstain from sexual activity. Asexuality is a lack of (or almost lack of) sexual attraction to any gender – orientation; not a choice.
Asexual people are also very capable of loving relationships based on romantic attraction. They form relationships the same way many people do: by making friends first and finding someone that meets their emotional and romantic needs and they are mostly intimate in this way as opposed to sexually.
However, asexuality is an umbrella term which includes aromanticism who often differ from the previous. Unlike asexual people, aromantic people are unlikely to form romantic relationships and they mostly give out love in a less intimate way – this isn’t a rulebook, however, and many aromantic people will form relationships. There are a number of identities under the asexual umbrella and looking these up would be a great way of increasing visibility for the ace-spec community.
As a result of the misconceptions and lack of education regarding asexuality, many asexual people encounter ignorance and patronising efforts to help. Common experiences include being told they’ve not found the right person yet or they’re not old enough to understand. This is not helpful and like conversion therapy, can go as far as to be harmful in making a person try and change or hide their identity which can result in low-self-esteem, self-hatred, low worth and poor mental health. They are not broken; they do not need fixing.
Instead, asexual people need to be celebrated and uplifted. Offer your friendship and a listening ear and let asexual people know that they are valid, they are enough and they are important.
We hope today brings enlightenment, acceptance and inclusion.