Asexuality: The misunderstood sexuality that still needs better recognition

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Asexuality is part of the acronym LGBT+ and is part of it.

Described as a spectrum of identities, asexuality is the word to describe someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Asexuality is often compared to aromantism, which means that people do not feel romantic ties to others.

On April 6 every year, International Asexuality Day takes place. The monumental day is set up to recognize, reflect and celebrate asexual communities around the world.

Read more: “Homophobic threats still haunt LGBT+ people in Wales every day”

Generally, these sexual traits and identities are grouped together as “ace” or/and “A-spec” identities. Asexual people are part of the LGBT+ community because they don’t feel attraction to other genders.

Many asexual individuals fall into sub categories. As people are all different, the experiences of asexual people differ. For example, asexual people may identify as “asexual gray”, which means they feel sexual attraction, but it is extremely rare for this to happen to them.

  • Asexuals – who do not experience sexual attraction, but may experience other forms of attraction, such as romantic attraction.
  • Aromantics – who do not feel romantic attraction, but may feel sexual attraction.
  • Aro-as – who do not feel romantic or sexual attraction.
  • Grey-asexuals – who very rarely experience sexual attraction.
  • Demisexuals – who only experience sexual attraction after forming a close bond with someone.
  • Sex-repellent asexuals – who have an aversion to having sex.
  • Sex-friendly asexuals – who like sex even if they don’t feel sexual attraction.
  • Egosexuals – who can find things arousing even if they don’t feel sexual attraction.

Research shows that ace people face prejudice and discrimination across the UK. In government National LGBT Survey asexual respondents had one of the lowest life satisfaction scores (5.9 out of 10) and almost 9 out of 10 (89%) also avoided talking openly about their sexual orientation. These statistics show that today in the UK many ace people still face significant barriers to living their lives freely.

While many are aware of some of the challenges asexual people face, there is a disturbing lack of research into their experiences – often due to a historical lack of engagement with communities of asex. Despite estimates showing that between 0.44-1% (295,768-672,200) of the UK population is genderless, the needs of this important community have long been ignored in the fight for wider LGBT+ rights.

Nancy Kelley, CEO of Stonewall, said, “Ace communities have always played a vital role in the fight for LGBT+ rights, but their needs and experiences have too often been ignored. We know that Ace people face dehumanization and prejudice from across society, including in our own community.

“‘This groundbreaking project will directly address the concerns and experiences of ace people and create an action plan based on their needs. Our community has always been stronger when we fight for each other and today’s announcement ‘today is a step forward in helping more aces feel safe and free.”

The project is championed by asexual model Yasmin Benoit. Yasmin started the #ThisIsWhatAsexualLooksLike movement and has since become a vocal activist.

“I am incredibly proud to partner with Stonewall on such a monumental project and to use my background, my platform and my research experience to advance the rights of aces,” she said.

“Having worked as an asexual activist for the past four years, it has been continually brought to my attention that there are people in the UK who do not feel protected by current equality law. There is a void in research when it comes to asexuality and acephobia and this will help fill it.

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