Asexuality Resources

In the wake of Asexuality Awareness Week and a comment someone posted on one of my blog posts, I thought I’d create a non – extensive resources list on where people can go to find information on asexuality. Here goes:

Websites/ Forums

Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) – a forum and information resource on asexuality – includes FAQ for both those who suspect they are asexual and those who have asexual friends/ family/ partners

Asexual Archive – a collections of posts/ articles that offers information about asexuality and support for members of the asexual community

Books (available both in hardback and electronic)

The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality – Julie Sondra Decker (2013) – this book on asexuality is also available in iTunes, (I know because I’ve got it). This book is very good. It goes through what asexuality is, research conducted by Canadian researcher Anthony Bogaert, social and legal issues faced by asexual people in the U.S. as of 2013 (things may have changed since then). Overall, it’s a good book. It’s simple to understand, but also quite extensive.

Understanding Asexuality – Anthony Bogaert – I’ve never actually read this book, but giving it’s by one of the original researchers into asexuality, I can’t see how it can be that bad. More updated information may be available that isn’t included in this book.

Articles/ News Items

The media is starting to catch up when it comes to the existence of asexuality. I’ve seen and read a number of news items over the years that have talked about asexuality and most of them have been quite good.

Ravishly – What IS asexuality anyway? 27/10/2016

Debunking 5 Common Everyday Feminism: Debunking 5 common myths about asexuality – October 19, 2014

Everyday Feminism: Getting real about what it means to be asexual – October 1, 2016

Mamamia – This is what it’s like to live a life with no sex – 20 October 2014 I remember when I first read this, I think I nearly cried and I’ve had respect for Mamamia’s founder and publisher Mia Freedman ever since. Written by the former blogger and asexual advocate Johanna Qualmann.

I remember watching this on SBS, again in 2014. Very good clip. No sarcasm or impoliteness from the hosts of the show (which can happen).

 

Some magazines have also done articles on asexuality, including the late Cleo (again, by Qualmann), and “Australia’s Women’s Weekly”, I think back in 2014. That was a big year for asexuality awareness! For that, I’m grateful.

 

What other good items/ articles/ shows, etc have done a good job exposing asexuality? Feel free to drop links in the comment section below. 

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October Carnival of Aces: Asexual Community

This post is for the October Carnival of Aces: “Joining the Asexual Community”.

I live in a town that has no real LGBTQ or asexual community. There are LGBTQ events in a regional town where I live, but I’ve never been a part of them. To be honest, I’m not sure whether they are actually asexual inclusive. When I was studying Community Services Work about three years ago, I found out about a group called Hume Phoenix. Again, I’m not sure whether they are ace inclusive or not. Anyway, I didn’t end up completing the course and I’ve never had anything to do with the organisation. I’ve read about different meetups/ events advertised in their local paper, but have never been involved. My connection with the asexual community has been solely online. I’m signed up to Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), but haven’t been able to keep track of my passwords. I haven’t tried getting into it for probably a couple of years now. My main connection with members of the asexual community has mainly been on Facebook.

On Facebook, there are many groups for Asexual people; some general, there’s one that’s meant for asexual people who hold certain beliefs (i.e. a “Conservative Asexual”, ‘Asexual Christians’, etc), some with age restrictions, (18+ asexuals), and ones aimed at certain romantic orientations; homoromantic asexuals, aromantic asexuals, etc. I’m in a few, but the one I’m most active in is a closed group for asexuals of all romantic orientations, nationalities, beliefs, etc. Partners and spouses of asexual people have also joined the group to gain a better understanding of their partner/ spouse. I think that’s commendable. From what I’ve seen, these people are treated quite well.

The group is meant to be inclusive. Discrimination against anyone – including cissexism, trans-phobia, anti – allosexual attitudes in general, racism, ableism, etc is condemned. Any group member who breaches these (and other) rules risk being banned from the group. Sensitivity to others experiences and using appropriate warnings (e.g. trigger warnings, content warnings, graphic), are usually expected. This rule has caused a bit of heated debate over the years as some people don’t see the point in such warnings, or think that they are used too frequently, but generally, people use them without too much drama.

 

What I like about the group is how broad it is. It makes it easier for new members to express their doubts.  More often than not, other members will express similar experiences. Confused about your romantic orientation? You’re not alone. Christian? You’re not alone. Think your romantic orientation is fluid? You’re not alone. Question your sexuality because you have a sex drive? You’re not alone. Yout get it. It’s a broad circle. That’s what I like about it.

 

I’d really recommend people who have questions about asexuality either for personal or educational reasons to send a request to the group admins to ask to join (it’s a closed group. Prospective members have to be let in to look at content and participate). Don’t be shy! We don’t bite. If you abide by the rules pinned at the top of the group wall, you should be fine. Have fun and be informed while you’re there. Even if you are asexual and have identified that way for years, there’s still things we can all learn.

 

What asexual groups are you involved in on – line? Feel free to drop a comment. Please remain respectful to me and other users as always. 

Kudos to ABC

The ABC (Australian) did a good article on asexuality on their website yesterday. Not only that, the article is actually about an relationship both parties identify as asexual. Most media items on asexuality, at least that I find, tend to focus on aromantic or single asexuals. The fact that it’s a same – sex couple is another thing that should be pointed out. When asexual relationships are represented in the media, it’s often hetero – romantic/ opposite sex relationships that make the headlines. This is an interesting change. Politically charged?… Actually, I’m not even to go there.

As you probably aware if you’ve read this blog in the past, you may realise that I often offer a sort of evaluation on media utems about asexuality.bthis is deliberate abd something I don’t apologise for. I believe that asexual – both romantic and aromantic – deserve proper representation. Young people (and even older people), who may be concerned about feeling ‘different’, or confused about their sexuality should know that asexuality s a valid possibility. Non – asexual (allosexual) allies, also deserve information that’s accurate so they know the experiences of their asexual partners, friends orcfamily. Asexual people can’t expect allosexual people to be experts on asexuality right off the bat. That’s why accurate depictions of asexual people and their relationships is so important.

 

Most media coverage on asexuality – at least of late – has been quite good. I really hope it continues. Then, maybe, we’ll get to the point that asexuality doesn’t need so much awareness because it’ll be treated as just another orientation, just another way a small member of people experience attraction (or lack of, as in this case). That’s my hope anyway. It’s a hope I think will become realised soon.

 

What articles/ TV items, etc, have you seen/ read on asexuality recently? Dovyou think the information they provided was fair? Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.

 

Short open letter to Mia Freedman – you can’t speak for all the LGBTQ+ community

 

Dear Mia,

You are a great LGBTQ+ ally. Thank you for all that you’ve done to support and raise awareness on the LGBTQ+ comunity, including publishing articles on asexuality. I really do appreciate your voice to increasing asexuality visibility. You’re passion for justice for the LGBTQ+ community is much appreciated, I’m sure.

However, your comment on Liberal Senator Josh Manuatu was out of line. You, or anyone else, has no right to dictate yo how LGBTQ+ individuals feel about issues like same – sex marriage, adoption, or political persuasion. We are all indibiduals, just like all straight people don’t share all the same values and political ideology.

 

Manuatu isn’t alone as someone who is gay, but opposes same – sex marriage. In the lead up to the Irish referrendum, openly gay people opposed same – sex marriage, mainly because they believed that marriage there to raise children in a traditional nuclear family. In a protest that occurred in France to the lead up of same – sex marriage in May, 2013, people who were openly vocally opposed same – sex marriage for the same reasons. I have also heard that here, in Australia, gay peoplesay they’re againsr same – sex marriage, but feel like they can’t be open about their views in fear of a backlash from the wider LGBTQ+ community. This is unacceptable, just as unacceptable itvwould be to bully and ostracise an LGBTQ+ person who felt like they need the right to marriage.

Mia, you are a valuable voice in supporting the wider LGBTQ+ community. The way you’ve allowed LGBTQ+ people to tell their stories and continual advocacy for the LGBTQ+ is to be commended. It really does. However, the way you attacked Manuatu on Twitter is not the way to advocate for LGBTQ+ people. Please keep that in mind next time. And keep on speaking up.

 

Love and respect,

 

 

S.

Do you identify as LGBTQ+ and oppose same – sex marriage and/ or adoption? Feel free to leave comments below.

 

 

 

Thoughts on World Mental Health Week

This week is World Mental Health Week. LGBTQ+ issues and mental health are often tightly linked, considering that LGBT people (especially youth) are, according to mental health advocasy group, Beyond Blue, data showed that 36.2% of trans people and 24.4% of lesbian, gay or bisexual people:

met the  criteria for experiencing major depressive episodes.

Trans women under 30have the highest rate of mental health issues (59.3%).

Gays and lesbians had also been found to have significantly higher rates of anxiety (31% vs 14%sexual people also report having higher incidents of mental health issues at similar rates of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

One of the issues that are faced by asexual people is erasure – a lack of knowledge – or more likely – acceptance that people can be – and are – asexual. This is slowly, slowly changing, with a number of media outlets over the years doipng articles and news items on asexual people. Cleo, women’s site, Mamamia, Everyday Feminism and Ravishly has done articles on people on the asexual spectrum. Despite the controversy around the Safe Schools program, I’ll give credit when it’s due – it was acknowledged in the resource ‘All of Us’ that some people are asexual. Although not directky linked, I had looked at the site Minus18 for LGBTQ+ youth under 25, and realised that they did differentiate between sexual and romantic attraction. That would have madechigh school so much easier! It’s a pity it all turned out to be a political manifesto and that data on sexuality and gender diversity was inaccurate.

Anyway, back to mental health. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was slammed by tying the same – sex martiage plebiscite to gay t thing to sayand lesbian youth suicide. While I don’t think it was the wrong thing to say, and I agree with Andrew Bolt that it was emotional blackmail, mental health of LGBTQ+ does need to be a part of this debate.

 

I know I said this before, but I want to repeat it. To my LGBTQ+ friends and family, I love you and I hope that all of you are doing well. For those who need help, please get it. Don’t bottle anything up.  To all my other friends and family, I say the same. I love you, and if you have any issues, please grt help.

Lifeline number: 13 11 14.