While the asexual community is making progress in raising awareness, we still have a long way to go. In this article we’ll discuss the steps that need to be taken in order to improve asexual awareness, and how you can help make this happen.
The lack of asexual awareness
Asexuality is still often dismissed, or seen as a (psychological or hormonal) dysfunction. Even after years of research, including large-scale studies.
Schools hardly discuss the asexual orientation in their sex education classes. When over 1200 asexuals were asked about their experiences, 97.7% said they did not receive any information about asexuality in school. This results in very little asexual awareness and a lot of prejudice.
The effect on mental health
This lack of asexual awareness can have a huge impact on the mental health of the community, as coming out to family and friends can be a very unpleasant experience for many asexuals. The online community also battles with a lot of harassment. Unfortunately very little is done by social media platforms to prevent and stop this.
Higher anxiety and depression rates
40,000 people between the age of 13-24, participated in the 2020’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health by The Trevor Project. Within this group 10% identified as asexual or on the ace spectrum.
When they compared anxiety, depression and attempted suicide rates, the numbers for anxiety and depression for asexuals were higher than the LGBTQ sample (see image).
How to improve asexual awareness
There are many things we can do to improve asexual awareness in society. Here’s a list of things that we, as a community can do. As well as some pointers on how you can help the community to achieve them.
Asexual awareness in sex ed classes
Adding asexuality as a sexual orientation to sex education in schools has the potential of big long-term changes. Even more so because most parents are not familiar with asexuality and will not be able to share this information with their children. When schools teach children that asexuality is a normal sexual orientation, there will be less prejudice later on in life as people know the facts and understand that asexuality is indeed a sexual orientation.
How you can help:
Raise asexual awareness by talking to your local schools about adding asexuality and offer them the ‘Educator’s Guide to Asexuality‘ as a starting point.
Getting asexual (awareness) events recognized
Asexual awareness will grow when asexual events are formally recognized by states and countries. A great example of this is the recognition of AceWeek (previously known as Asexual Awareness Week) in 5 different states in the United States.
How can you help:
Ask your state or country to formally recognize AceWeek. Most states have a section online about how to submit a proclamation request.
You can also reach out to schools to suggest giving attention to this week.
Also an option: raise asexual awareness on social media for AceWeek and share events that are being organized during this time.
Support asexual organizations
The Asexual Visibility and Education Network, also known as AVEN, is the biggest organization for asexuals. Their goal is creating public acceptance and discussion of asexuality and facilitating the growth of an asexual community. They have been around since 2001, which means they will be celebrating their 20 year anniversary in early 2021.
One of the current biggest issues is that they are not being verified by Twitter. While the request was made and was under review, other accounts are actively getting verified throughout the year.
As of today AVEN has still not been verified. Even though they were founded 5 years before Twitter was and have almost 27k followers. This is an issue because being verified means people can be sure they have the right account. Being verified means asexuals know they can feel safe to open up, to reach out and to connect with other followers.
How you can help:
Within the asexual community on Twitter, many people have been creating tweets with the hashtag #VerifyAVEN to get the attention of Twitter and raise asexual awareness. Unfortunately without any success so far. The more people make noise, the better. So read up on some of the tweets under the hashtag (especially why verification for AVEN matters) and join by using the hashtag, as well as tagging Twitter in your tweet.
Also consider donating to AVEN to support them as they are dependent of donations.
Other ways to raise awareness for asexuals
- Support an asexual person
- Talk to others about asexuality
- Hold educational presentations
- Write a blog on asexuality and share it online
- Wear asexual pins/stickers/etc to start a conversation
- Share informational websites and posters where you can
- Get asexuality in media (TV, radio, podcasts, social media.)
- Print and hand out asexuality material ( asexuality PDF and more downloadable content)
Sexual Awareness: We’re in this together!
Want to talk to other asexuals? You can find new friends (and/or more) on our website asexuals.net